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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Battles both physical and spiritual play out in this ninth, and officially final, installment in the main body of the blockbuster franchise. With the evil First Order rebranding themselves the Final Order as they prepare to launch a vast space fleet capable of crushing all opposition, General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), commander of the Resistance, dispatches her ablest follower, Rey (Daisy Ridley), to locate the enemy's secret base. Rey is aided by ex-stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-fighter Finn (John Boyega) and by hotshot pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac). But Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), now the Order's supreme leader, is convinced that he can draw Rey over to the Dark Side to which he, once the good Ben Solo, long ago surrendered himself. While the status of the saga's trademark Force remains ambivalent from a Christian perspective, lessons about making moral choices, rejecting temptation and the power of forgiveness and redemption are clear. Although it feels less substantive than the previous chapter, director and co-writer J.J. Abrams' sci-fi epic certainly has spectacle to spare as well as some touching moments. Probably acceptable for older teens.

Watch out for: Much stylized combat violence with minimal gore, a same-sex kiss, a couple of mild oaths, at least one crass term.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020