J.J. Abrams crams in enough fan-service to bring the epic saga to a satisfying conclusion.

Star Wars is undoubtedly the most influential global pop culture phenomenon in the last century. It spawned the concept of sprawling storylines with extravagant special effects, that has become commonplace now. Without Star Wars, it’s highly unlikely that the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Game of Thrones could have come to fruition. While those two sagas concluded earlier this year to mixed results, the stakes couldn’t be any higher for The Rise of Skywalker as it brings to close an epic saga spanning 3 trilogies and 42 years of storytelling.

Technically slick with ample fan service and nostalgic callbacks, J.J. Abram’s final episode is definitely entertaining, but a lack of coherence and imagination makes it less epic than what the fans might have hoped for. The Rise of Skywalker has the familiar mix of crowd-pleasing Star Wars spectacle, including the usual aerial dogfights, desert chases, and cool saber-duels. There is a lot of good fan-service, brilliantly complemented as ever with John William’s spine-tingling score. It doesn’t take much to open my tear ducts, but I remember crying a lot (although not as much as Avengers: Endgame). But for all its memorable moments, The Rise of Skywalker feels very predictable and hardly leaves any room for surprises.

Both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are impressive in their roles as Rey and Kylo, with the former at the center of the movie in many ways. Between them, they help shepherd the movie to a satisfying conclusion. Finn and Poe have also never been more engaging, but I didn’t buy the movie’s attempts to establish Rey, Finn, and Poe as a close-knit triumvir on par with Luke, Han, and Leia.

While there might be a discernible lack of coherence and imagination, The Rise of Skywalker packs enough relentless action sequences and heartstring-tugging nostalgic moments to bring the Skywalker saga to a satisfying conclusion.