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Recovering from their wounds a year after the events of The Last Jedi, the resistance is once again forced to face off against the first order. Only this time the first order is backed by the full and unrelenting power of the sith, who have their own plan for galactic dominance. Our heroes, Princess Leia, Rey, Finn, and Poe are all still facing their greatest fears, themselves, and trying desperately to overcome the insurmountable odds against them in order to survive and lead the resistance to some kind of victory. Not to be left out of the mix, Kylo Ren is still trying to win Rey over to his dark side, as he hunts down any and all threats to his newly acquired power. The problems with the film are not minor. The whole beginning is way too choppy and confusing. It's not until almost the middle of the film that the story really gets down to business. Add to that the fact that Abrams just threw out almost all of the set-up from The Last Jedi and created an absurd new direction you'll have to accept and come to terms with to be able to enjoy the film. The best of the films adhere to Lucas' method of storytelling, the slow and steady growth of situation, relationship, and peril. You can't just rush headlong into a slapdash ending, cramming everything you can into a two and a half hour conclusion. It just isn't what Star Wars is all about or what made the saga so much fun to watch. It would have been better to divide the last episode into two parts and tell the story right, instead of leaving us with some pat ending to a brilliant series of films that we will forever have to accept. Bad Robot. My take… Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is a flawed film, yet it's a Star Wars movie and any time spent in that universe is time well spent. By all means, see it! Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker Rating: 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi violence and action)

Running Time: 2 hours and 22 minutes

Alyn Darnay is a film critic; feedback is encouraged at adarnay@wiremag.com.

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