It has been a rather tumultuous time in the Star Wars franchise since Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012. They started their full feature length films with Episode VII in 2015. that film was a success for Disney but wasn’t without its detractors. Disney followed up with the excellent back story on the mission that got the rebels the Death Star plans in the opening scene of the original episode IV back in 1977. “Rogue One” told that tale in 2016. It looked like Disney was off to the races ready to cash in on the $4 billion dollar investment. But things were about to get real squirrelly. In 2017 they released the much anticipated “Last Jedi.” They had taken a little bit of heat by introducing Luke Skywalker only in the final waning moments of the previous film. But that may have been a moment of genius had they followed up with something better than a trash can script and clunky story in episode VIII. Last Jedi was just awful for a Star Wars movie, easily the worst of the bunch. But the fans showed up on opening weekend eager to see Grandpa Luke. I reviewed that movie with mixed feelings. Some of the scenes were memorable and even ‘LOL’ funny. But there was little cohesion and the story was crap. In 2018 Disney gave us “Solo.” The fans were still pissed off over Last Jedi and many simply didn’t show up. Solo was actually a pretty solid movie, middle of the pack in my opinion but it turned out to be the worst performing Star Wars movie of all time. That all led up to this moment. December 20th, 2019.
Well I am happy to report that this film is much better than the other two in the third batch of the triple trilogy. It does not rise to the levels of the original three movies but is at least as good as most other Star Wars films outside of the first three. One of the big problems with all of these Disney versions of Star Wars is that they tend to be predictable, formulaic to a fault, and they practically cut and paste scenes from the original trilogy. I wrote about this in the “Force Awakens” review.
All of that on the table JJ Abrams took the story and material he was given and did about as much as possible with it. I went into this film with nothing but the trailers in my head and after watching it I read a few professional reviews that are largely negative. This was not a bad film at all and is worthy of your time and money to see it in the theater. The end of the film does reserve some unspoiled reveals about who Rey is and who she is not. They did a nice job wrapping up the arc of Rey and Kylo Ren. There is a sub plot of redemption and some genuine bad ass Jedi / Sith force powers that are almost worth the price of the ticket all by themselves. It seems Disney was able to get back on track and focus on the Star Wars story instead of a social indoctrination. This film is a real beneficiary of that decision.
Here is my totally subjective and likely to change in the future list of the best Star Wars movies.
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 1983 ★★★★☆
- Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker, 2019 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015 ★★★★☆
- Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005 ★★★☆☆
- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017 ★★★☆☆
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002 ★★★☆☆