This is a fantasy/science fiction film which is one of many for this billion dollar globally successful film Franchise. J.J. Abrams swooped back in to make sure the “mission” of this franchise was for something. And you can feel that weight of history and obligation, especially in the first hour of “Skywalker,” as Abrams delivers a movie that practically lifts off directly from “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” using that film’s combination of action and fan service as a storytelling template way more than the previous movie. However, the inherent rush that came in revisiting this world four years ago is naturally lessened, replaced by something closer to desperation. Whatever one thinks of “The Last Jedi,” if that film was trying to build a new house on familiar land, this one tears it down and goes back to an old blueprint. Some of the action is well-executed, there are strong performances throughout, and one almost has to admire the brazenness of the weaponized nostalgia for the original trilogy, but feelings like joy and wonder are smothered by a movie that so desperately wants to please a fractured fanbase that it doesn’t bother with an identity of its own.
R. Ebrt, Bria.T.