In the conclusion to a 40-year journey, director J.J. Abrams returns to helm the film as well as write alongside Chris Terrio as we bring the stories of Luke and Leia Skywalker, Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Chewbacca to a close.
Since 2015’s The Force Awakens – the Star Wars films have been very divisive. From utter praise and admiration for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One to sheer disappointment and disgust with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
J.J. Abrams had a difficult task with creating not only a conclusion to the sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) but to tie in the other six films as well – and that’s where this film starts to fall apart in some regard. While the obvious connections are made to the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) are largely ignored outside some minor (and I mean incredibly minor) cameos.
What doesn’t help the film either is its pacing, which alternates from fast-paced, nonstop action to immediately hitting the brakes for a shot at an emotional moment which then slows down a bit too much. The first half hour of the film, quite literally, jumps from world to world and makes it feel as if there’s at least another chunk of story left on the cutting room floor that gave it some breathing room.
The writing also lends itself to some incredibly repetitive and cliched beats that end up removing any sense of emotional weight or impact in moments where there should be just that. It’s not as similarly plotted out as Return of the Jedi (as many like to point out that The Force Awakens is a beat-by-beat retread of A New Hope) but the self-contained writing for the story can’t seem to make a decision on what it wants to do with certain characters.
With all of that said, it makes it seem like a horrendous movie, which it is not. The Rise of Skywalker ends up being highly entertaining with some very hard-hitting emotional moments which will be explored in our in-depth spoiler review.
When the action is happening, it is crisp, clear and very entertaining to watch. The sabre choreography has been stepped up in a major way and Abrams has brought back the colourful visual palette he had in The Force Awakens.
With this film being his last time scoring a Star Wars film, composer John Williams gives it his all and provides plenty of throwback themes to films gone by, however not all of his iconic motifs are utilized to their fullest extent and it’s mildly disappointing.
The cast get much more time to shine and showcase their ability to act in a massive franchise such as this one. Daisy Ridley gives her best performance yet as Rey as she struggles to battle the conflict within her and remain true to the teachings of the late Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Oscar Isaac provides the second best performance of the film as Poe Dameron, who for me, has always been a highlight of this trilogy.
John Boyega’s Finn takes a backseat (as does Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico) and it feels like a knee-jerk reaction to the reception of The Last Jedi. Finn is present in battle and on the journey, but nothing about his arc is overly memorable because wherever he goes, he’s either with Poe or Rey.
At the end of the day – this is Star Wars, and even the worst movie in the franchise, which is agreed to be Attack of the Clones, has entertaining moments. The Rise of Skywalker feels more like a direct sequel to The Force Awakens than The Last Jedi, which isn’t really how trilogies work, but this is far from a bad movie. ■
MGM holds preliminary talks to sell properties
The studio will be the next one looking to get rid of their assets.
The studio has sought potentially interested companies in purchasing their assets which contain one of the biggest franchises in film history.
The film studio MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) has sat down with interested buyers for their film assets which includes the James Bond catalog.
The two biggest interested parties are Apple and Netflix. The outcome of either one would lead to an interesting future for franchises like Bond where any subsequent instalments in the franchise could lead to streaming-only content.
Apple’s new streaming service launched with very little hype, at least in comparison to its recent competitor in Disney+, but adding something like James Bond to it could draw some subscribers, especially if any future movies, or series, are kept exclusively to Apple TV+.
Should either of these companies move ahead with the acquisition, it will also lend to a shift to the ‘big six’ of media companies, which include; Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Comcast, AT&T and Apple.
Aside from Bond, one of the other large properties coming with an MGM acquisition includes The Handmaid’s Tale which has been a popular show on Hulu for the past couple of years.
No finalized buys have been singled out. ■
‘Captain Marvel 2’ officially in development
Carol Danvers’ sequel has officially been greenlit at Marvel Studios and is aiming for a 2022 release.
Debuting twice in a small window of March – May 2019, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) thundered into the MCU and became an icon for young women everywhere. Now, in a world post-Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios is moving ahead with a sequel for 2022.
Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, however, are not expected to return. Marvel is still looking to keep the female eye for the director’s chair but no frontrunners have been announced. Boden and Fleck will remain with Marvel Studios in some capacity, and are rumoured to be discussing an upcoming Disney+ property.
The film is expected to take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame despite the mild cliffhanger teased in the first film which hinted at a long-running war between Carol and Ronan The Accuser.
The sequel will be written by WandaVision scribe Magen McDonnell.
Captain Marvel 2 will come to theatres in 2022. ■
‘Clone Wars’ trailer drops ahead of final season
The anticipation builds for a finale.
Get ready to fly back to a time in that galaxy far, far away you haven’t visited in six years.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is returning for one more highly-anticipated seventh season and a trailer released on Wednesday has this galaxy buzzing with excitement.
It will of course release on Disney+, the streaming home of all Star Wars. Though in the past six months alone we got our first Star Wars live action TV series with The Mandalorian, the final film of the 40-year Skywalker Saga and a new video game with Fallen Order, fans are hungry for more.
There will be 12 episodes to bring an end to the iconic series with weekly releases starting on Feb. 21, a Friday.
Showrunner Dave Filoni returns to direct the new Clone Wars episodes, continuing the storylines introduced in the original series and exploring the events leading up to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Featured heavily in the trailer are fan favourite characters from the series and Star Wars universe as a whole. Anakin Skywalker, Ashoka Tano, Captain Rex, Darth Maul, Yoda and others are back for what appears to be a wild ride to the end.
The series ran for six seasons between 2008 and 2014 but it was cancelled when Disney purchased Star Wars from George Lucas, ending the much-beloved show without giving Filoni and his team a chance to properly bring it to a conclusion.
But now the director who was behind Star Wars: Rebels and played a big part in The Mandalorian is back to give The Clone Wars what it has always needed: a proper finish. ■
Reporting by Eli Ridder;
Editing by Nicholas Seles.
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