By Martin Murray ‘20

Over the holiday season, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was released worldwide. The film is the culmination of one of the most popular pieces of cinema and concludes the Sequel Trilogy.

Additionally, the film is the last installment of the Skywalker Saga.

The film follows the remainder of the Resistance as they continue to battle against the First Order while Rey faces her destiny and leads the charge in the ultimate clash between good and evil.

This movie finishes the mission started back with “The Force Awakens” in 2015. It brings in a new generation of heroes and establishes them as the leading force (no pun intended) of good throughout the galaxy. We finally get to watch Rey, Finn, and Poe fully take on the roles of the stars of the Original Trilogy.

Further, we get to watch the likes of Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega become more accustomed to their roles and grow more confident as the movie and series moves forward.

Ian McDiarmid also returns to his throne as Palpatine and puts on a show for the audience. I like the way that he is incorporated into all three trilogies showing that not only is it the Skywalker Saga, but it’s also a collection of stories with Palpatine in the middle, directing the chaos from the shadows.

The movie introduces us to more new characters, brings back some other fan favorites, and completes the story arc for many of the characters fans have come to recognize over the years. It is truly the end of an era.

However, the final chapter of the renowned series has received mixed reviews from loyal followers.

Senior Kevin Phelan said, “I thought the saga could have had a better ending with a different direction, but I think the movie was good for what the previous director left behind.”

Due to the narrative decisions of “The Last Jedi,” walking into “The Rise of Skywalker” was a huge challenge for director J.J. Abrams because “The Rise of Skywalker” would have to win back many of the fans who felt betrayed by “The Last Jedi” while also delivering a conclusion to the story that was both satisfying and unpredictable.

While there are a few new elements to the story, the movie relies heavily on nostalgia to make the film work, which takes away from some of the holes in the plot and the trilogy as a whole.

We see callbacks in multiple aspects of the film including characters, weapons, plots, and even music.

John Williams comes back to compose “The Rise of Skywalker” and does a brilliant job. He is able to bring about a sense of excitement, tragedy, and emotion when necessary that not many other composers can bring themselves. It was awesome that he got to give one of his most iconic works a proper sendoff.

The movie made me marvel at the success and longevity of the series, but it did not exactly add anything new to the lore, which is why many are disappointed with it.

I’ve had a hard time forming an opinion about the movie. I don’t know how I feel about it. There were parts I loved and other parts I felt were out of place. However, I would recommend the film and would watch it again.

But, in the meantime, I’ll stick to watching “The Mandalorian.”