I went on an excellent date last night. It was a low key movie date. We met at the theater after work and got right to the business of watching “The Rise of Skywalker”. We chit-chatted a little after the movie and then my son went home to his mom’s house. Yep, the best legit date I’ve had since starting actual “romantic” dating was getting to chill and watch the new Star Wars movie with my son and my ex. It was simple and fun, just a slightly non-traditional family sitting together and enjoying a movie.

There’s a lot being said about the movie. It feels like the critics are working extra hard to find bad things to say. Main complaints have been that it tries to fit too many things and is not the elegantly simple, linear story that outlines the original three. No shit? Really? Maybe they wanted the stodgy, stiff acting of the Episodes I – III. Something akin to opera without singing. Perhaps then they’d have legit things to complain about. Maybe they should have brought Jar-Jar Binks back as a force ghost? Me’sa no tink so!

SW-RoS is one of the first movies in a long time that have me clambering to go watch it again. It’s deep and rich and fast moving. It is an appropriate ending, which I quipped with my son that things are resolved “until the next movie” đŸ™‚ In a lot of ways it’s richer and deserves some better tempered version of the Marvel Universe treatment. However, in my opinion, SWU should be slightly more hallowed ground.

Obviously, the critics are there to criticize, but leave this one alone. In watching “The Force Awakens” on a recent flight I came to realize what made the original trilogy was the relationships and the ability for the cast to ad lib. The key talent in that was Han Solo. I think all of the SW nontology movies he is in will outrank those without his presence. Fortunately, “The Rise of Skywalker” does include a little Han.

Beyond that is the friendship and loyalty displayed in the characters. There was a definite level of comfort between Rey, Po and Fin and those around him. It enabled banter and made the movie feel human. It’s the human connection that makes the film. Connection between the rebels, connection between the characters they encounter.

Lastly, beginnings are simple. They can be slow moving. It started with Obi-wan, with Luke, with Rey. Things build and get complicated. Even in SW-RToJ there were three paths all in motion. The fleet, the ground force on Endor, the emperors chambers. Different groups, committed in cause, but taking the paths they need to. So is SW-RoS. Endings are messy and multifaceted. Things are more complicated than the simple start. I think this is what made Episodes I-III so insufferable (along with a host of other things). We knew going in where it would end. It was merely the setup for the main story. I think there could have been much more and Darth Vader’s coming could have been the best end to the worse situation.

The dynamic last movie is exactly what it needed to be. Full of struggle and action. When it was done I had that lonely, bittersweet feeling that comes after a family reunion, a party, a full season of playing football. That made it real for me, that made it beautiful.

Go watch it in IMAX with a huge tub of greasy popcorn and a small soda (that’ll save you a bathroom break) and enjoy the ride. It may be the best date, with friends, family or future loves, you’ll have in a long time.