Star Wars has been a big part of my life ever since I was a young kid, and sadly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Disney’s recent swings with the franchise apart from The Mandalorian.

The Force Awakens left me feeling unimpressed because it was essentially a soft reboot, incorporating most elements from A New Hope with a bit of Return of the Jedi sprinkled in for good measure. Rian Johnson went in a direction a lot of fans, including myself, disagreed with in his movie, most of which has already been talked to death.

So, going into The Rise of Skywalker, you could say my expectations were somewhere near rock bottom. It’s also no secret that there’s been turmoil behind the scenes with these recent Star Wars films, including Episode IX which lost director Colin Trevorrow.

It was probably after having seen a half hour of the film that I realized JJ Abrams had finally made a new Star Wars movie I was able to appreciate as a longtime fan. One thing Abrams is able to do with this final chapter is keep the momentum moving, and moving fast. The film is almost relentless in its pacing, which does cause some of the issues. He’s also able to deepen the characters of Rey, Poe, and Kylo Ren by revealing more of their past and internal struggles.

Rise of Skywalker certainly feels the most like Return of the Jedi, but goes in different directions. Being the last movie in a nine part story, there’s obviously tons of callbacks and fan service, most of which I feel hardcore fans will appreciate.

There’s a lot I loved about this movie, and things I didn’t like, but what’s most important is that I actually feel good about how this trilogy ended. As always, for my full thoughts be sure to check out the video below.

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