Curtains Up on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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This is one of the best instalments of the franchise.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. No joke, it’s that good.  That’s not because I’m a massive Star Wars nerd,  it’s because it’s a darn good movie. I watched it with a non-fan and she enjoyed it tremendously. It is one of the only films this year that made me want to get back in line right away.

The film picks up right after the final events of The Force Awakens. Our heroin Rey has finally met up with the reclusive Luke Skywalker and returns his famous light sabre. The once noble Skywalker dismisses her and retreats to his home — or rather, his cave. What is going on? This isn’t what’s supposed to happen. It’s refreshingly — bleak.  There are points in this film that does not feel like anything at all Star Wars.   And that’s great because many complained that The Force Awakens was a rehash of A New Hope. Director Rain Johnson has taken the Star Wars formula and turned it on it’s head. There are choices his makes that don’t fit in with what George Lucas conceited 40 years ago and I’m on board. After 40 years it’s time to shake things up a little.

Now of course there are the standard duels and space battles that we as fans crave. Here, they are directed with such passion and respect for the series that it’s hard to believe that director Johnson ( who made his bones with films like Brick and Looper) hasn’t done something on this scale before.  There are moments that will leave you exhausted, emotional and / or just plain giddy.

The cast is aces. Aside from the returning youngsters such as Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver, the old timers get a chance to act — and act they do. The late Carrie Fisher does some of her best work as General Leia Organa. But it’s Mark Hamill who shines as the old and defeated Skywalker. He’s never been this good and I look forward to seeing more of his late career resurgence.

The one gripe I may have is that it is a little — can’t believe I’m saying this —  long.  For me, more Star Wars is anything but bad but Johnson could’ve have shaved 15 minutes from a saggy middle section to make a tighter cut. But if that’s the one thing I have to complain about — then we have a pretty good movie on our hands here.

 

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