Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,' a 'worthy end to the saga'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The highly anticipated conclusion to the third Star Wars trilogy is in theaters this weekend, but does it live up to the hype?

The true meaning of the title, "The Rise of Skywalker," only becomes apparent in the final minutes, and that's just one reason I found the movie so satisfying.

It manages to honor the Star Wars legacy and bring the story to a close with a lot of integrity, while also being very entertaining and engaging.

The past embraces the present and leaves us with a hint of the future in a worthy end to the saga that began more than four decades ago: a series of nine movies that represent the most successful franchise in Hollywood history.

"What are you doing there C-3PO?" Poe asks.

"Taking one last look at my friends," the droid replies.

Given the stakes for friends and foes alike and the huge expectations of fans, there was almost no chance director J.J. Abrams was going to please everybody -- and there are gaps in the story that will leave the faithful less than satisfied. But I am hardly a true believer and still managed to enjoy it thoroughly.

The fate of the galaxy far, far away is in doubt again thanks to Emperor Palpatine, who will be a familiar villain to those who have followed the series. But if the movie belongs to any one single character, it is Rey, the Jedi knight played by Daisy Ridley.

She has help from Finn, played by John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac's Poe. All have grown into their roles over the last three movies.

The elaborate special effects never overwhelm them, and it helps that Adam Driver as their antagonist, Kylo Ren, comes into his own as a great actor and movie star.

The stakes are clear and so is the story, and seeing it on a big screen after recent improvements in sight and sound left me marveling I was able to have such a rich, immersive experience -- and it can be yours for the cost of a movie ticket.

Fair warning the scenes involving the late Carrie Fisher are going to bring a tear to your eye. This Star Wars movie is emotionally satisfying and one of the best in the series, a worthy end to what George Lucas started back in 1977.

It's from Disney, owned by the same parent company as ABC.

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