The eagerly anticipated next chapter in the Star Wars saga; “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has arrived and it is by far one of the best films in the series and a significant upgrade over “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. The film picks up where the last film concluded as Rey (Daisy Ridley), has located the long in hiding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and attempts to recruit him to return to fight the evil First Order and train her in the ways of the Force.
At the same time, the First Order has commenced an assault on the retreating forces of the Resistance and this has caused a rift when key members of the command staff are lost/injured leaving Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) in charge. Her style does not mesh well with the impulsive Poe Damron (Oscar Isaac), and in a move of desperation, he oversees a mission for Finn (John Boyega), and Rose (Kelley Marie Tran), to make a desperate move to allow the forces to escape the relentless assault and pursuit of the First Order.
For many films, the above scenario would be enough to comprise the bulk of the movie but in the case of The Last Jedi, it is simply part of a much larger and far more intricate storyline that is at times much deeper and darker than one would expect from a Star Wars film.
Rey finds Skywalker a broken and bitter man who is consumed with his past failure regarding his Nephew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and wants no part of his former glory and praise believing the best thing for the Universe would be for the Jedi to end.
Ren at the same time is a conflicted mess as he is eager to win the approval of his brutal master Snoke (Andy Serkis), while being drawn to Rey who believes he can be redeemed. It is this conflict as well as the tug of war between Snoke, Ren, and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), that shows a much more dynamic and complicated connection between the characters as well as drives home their complexity of their relationships and the situations they find themselves in.
The late Carrie Fisher is captivating as General Leia and her presence lifts the scenes she is in. She portrays Leia with a calm yet feisty and determined edge which shows that she is always in control no matter the situation.
The action in the film comes in waves and when it arrives, it is a wonder to behold as the lavish visuals and complex action sequences are dazzling but unlike the Prequels, never once overwhelm the cast as this is first and foremost a character driven story.
The film does put more of an emphasis on the new characters vs the old, but as this was always the plan, it is nice to see that older characters are not shoved aside or given a token cameo, they are still central to the plot just let the younger cast do more of the heavy lifting, but still get plenty of moments to shine.
Writer/Director Rian Johnson has done a masterful job in crafting a new entry into the series that not only entertains, but gives a deeper and dark look at the universe which makes the film easily one of the best Star Wars films ever made. There are sequences that will delight and surprise fans, and when it was over and I could catch my breath and reflect upon what I had just seen, I found myself saying that I could not have asked for a better sequel as it not only entertained thoroughly, but provided plenty of unexpected moments that makes me all the more anxious to see how the new trilogy concludes in 2019. “Star Wars”: The Last Jedi” is the film that fans have been waiting for as it contains all of the best elements of Star Wars and boldly moves the franchise ahead.
5 stars out of 5.