Can it really be Episode 9? It’s hard to believe that we are at the end. It has been an interesting journey through space and time – and I am happy to say that I was a part of it all from the very beginning 40-something years ago(there really is no need to be exact on how long, right?) Star Wars has been a part of our lives for so long, and now with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the trilogy of trilogies reaches the end.

If you asked me to sum it up in one sentence, I would say, ” Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an amazing tribute to the end of an epic adventure.”

I remember seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We were all so nervous about a new trilogy, having recovered from Episodes 1-3. I was not a fan of this one – it was predictable at best. And then along came Star Wars: The Last Jedi and my heart ached.  I had so many questions that needed answers, like most of us. There were a few favorite parts and a whole lot of not-so-favorite parts. But still, they were okay, maybe even good. These two movies definitely set the stage for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

I think the backlash facing Star Wars movies these days are the comparisons and expectations my generation has as an audience. After seeing the original trilogy(Episodes 4-6), we had high expectations of what we should expect in future movies. Of course, these expectations are unrealistic, but the nostalgic side in all of us wants the same feels from our childhood. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with all of this. I did my best to stay away from trailers and chit-chat regarding The Rise of Skywalker and fully walked into the movie not expecting anything remotely close to Episodes 4-6.

But did that help?

Somewhat. As always, I am here, spoiler-free to share with you my take-away on this epic conclusion to the Star Wars saga. I have been wrestling in my head with what exactly to say.  So, let’s try to answer some of the more popular questions I’ve received…

Did you cry? Is it a tearjerker?

Have we met? Of course, I cried. But not ugly tears, and definitely NOT when I expected to. I choked up on the crawl. Hearing the music and seeing those big, bright, beautiful gold letters splayed across the screen for the last time kinda gets you right where it should. There was one other spot that I cried – and it near broke me. But that’s all I’m saying there.

Is the storyline any good?

At best, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker felt like testing a pot of spaghetti to see if it is cooked – throw it all at the wall and see what sticks. Do not get me wrong, this was not a bad movie. It had its good parts. But I feel there was so much extra in this movie, and not in a good way. There were a few scenes and relationships that had me wondering why they were even there. When you have a movie that is 141 minutes, extra fluff is just not necessary, especially when you are at the end of the saga.

No matter what you think of the previous movies, if you have seen a Star Wars flick, you have your own relationships with the characters. My loyalties will always lie with the original cast, but the newer cast is lovable. I am sad to say that I never did form that bond with BB-8 as I did with C-3PO and R2-D2. I just couldn’t find myself falling in love with him.

I will warn that predictability is HIGH in this movie.

Is this movie kid-friendly?

This is such a subjective question. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the first Star Wars movie I have taken my neurotic Disney kid (NDK) to see in a theater.  She is 12 years old, and not a fan of overly gory, scary movies. The movie is rated PG-13, and is in a whole other playing field compared to other Star Wars movies. I felt that the bar on the level of intensity was raised with this one. There is a lot of flashing lights, intense moments, fighting, and squeamish situations. There were at least two times we both looked at each other, waiting for the squeamish situation to be over. Love interests are present, with kissing – both opposite and same-sex, and slight innuendo, along with a few colorful words. These issues are extremely minor, but good to know for parents of smaller children.

Let’s talk about this “adult” stuff for a minute. This is NOT the first time a love interest has been in a Star Wars film. Padme and Anakin were a couple. Han and Leia were a couple. Leia kissed her brother. Nothing new. Does it detract from the film? Sort of. There were a few scenes where I was scratching my head wondering “why?” And before assumptions are made, I am not referring to the same-sex kiss. Colorful words were minor as well, but unnecessary.

As for the squeamish situations, this Star Wars movie does not use “magical death” like I have talked about before. Magical death is generally if someone is shot, they just fall over dead. No blood, open gaping wounds, etc. The Rise of Skywalker is a slight bit different. While there isn’t “blood all around,” there are smoldering wounds from blasters. And some of the wounds are a little graphic.

I would recommend this movie for children 7 and older, definitely not younger.

You have to see this movie.

Even though it is predictable, you have to experience the end. We have all come too far not to. You need answers. You need closure. You need to see how it all ends – for yourself. Hearing it from someone else is just not the same. I was not entirely pleased with this one, but I would watch it again. I feel that this goes back to expectations, and how we think a final movie after 8 previous ones should end. I think this may be a movie where less could have been more. Nostalgia is high in this movie, and I feel that is a good thing.

There are a few take-aways in this movie. Teamwork is important, as is determination and friendships. Poe Dameron says it best in the final trailer –

We’re not alone. Good people will fight, if we lead them.

Go see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and come back and tell me your spoiler-free thoughts.

What do you think?

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