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Film Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

03:40 December 15, 2017
By: David Vicari

I feel the days of actually witnessing another great Star Wars movie, like The Empire Strikes Back (1980), are long gone. With that said, the latest installment, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, isn't life altering but it is decent entertainment. While it moves in fits and starts, the movie has an exciting opening and a finale that is rousing and emotional.

At the conclusion of Episode VII: The Force Awakens scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), who appears to be strong with the Force, finds Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on an isolated island. Now, Rey wants Luke to teach her the ways of the Force but he refuses at first because of the disastrous training of former pupil who is now known as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and is the poster boy for the evil First Order. Eventually Luke agrees to train Rey, but this task gets complicated when Rey begins to have a psychic link to Kylo Ren. Meanwhile, Resistance fighter pilot Captain Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) clashes with Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) on how to evade the pursuing First Order, and Finn (John Boyega) and engineer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) search for a master code breaker to disable the First Order's tracking device.

The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rain Johnson (Brick, Looper) and he goes fairly dark with this entry, but it's sometimes too much of a downer. Also, the Finn/Rose storyline feels like filler. And, again, Princess/General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) has little to do. In fact, she's in a coma throughout part of the movie. And because of Fisher's untimely passing, I have no idea how the next film will deal with her iconic character.

What is good about The Last Jedi are Ridley, Driver, and Hamill. They are all sensational with Ridley and Driver really finding their footing with their characters this time around, and Hamill's presence is a welcome return.

*** out of four

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