Star Wars returns to cinema. The biggest event of the year. In a Galaxy Far Far Away…..

  Rey has found Luke. Finn, Poe and Leia are surrounded by the resistance and the Jedi are almost extinct. Star Wars Episode VIII challenges the legacy of the Jedi on whether they will survive or die. Does Rey turn to the dark side? Does Luke help Rey? Will the first order destroy the resistance? Who are Rey’s parents? Episode VIII answers those questions… Well maybe.

As I sat in a cinema surrounded by Tusken Raiders, Ewoks and Jedi, the anticipation of this episode was at a all time high. Midnight screenings for Star Wars films are a real pleasure just from the amount of excitement that is in the air. As soon as the Star Wars logo shot onto the screen, a collective gasp shock round the room. The full room was ready to enter the world of Star Wars.

The nostalgia and fan service has finally worn off, now the Star Wars universe can finally get into gear. The stakes are raised and finally questions can be answered. First off, Star Wars has never looked so good. The visuals are astounding. The Star Wars universe has always been a joy just to look at but The Last Jedi gives a true sense of scale.  The ships, walkers and the planet scenery look beautiful. In this film we don’t get a recycled desert planet like Jakku in The Force Awakens. We are treated to a salt planet and a planet that resembles District one in The Hunger Games. This gives us a chance to look at the expanded universe of Star Wars. There is so much to explore and we get a small glimpse of what is achievable in the near future with the release of more Star Wars films.

It is a real joy to finally meet Luke Skywalker 40 years on from the original. He is much funnier and acts as an extension of Mark Hamill’s twitter profile. The whole tone of the film is funnier and this might put of Star Wars die hards but this is different from Lucas’ vision. It is still the Star Wars that we know and love but in new hands. The Force Awakens had hints of comedy but The Last Jedi really does have a strong comedic tone. This tone does lessen the impact of some of the scenes but the comedy is a welcome addition that brings a sense of fun to the 2 and a half hour long film. The length is a bit of an issue as it does drag. The beginning act of the film could of been shortened and it would of been an easier watch if it was just under 2 hours.

The new characters was a welcomed addition to the already huge plethora of characters. Rose, who plays a resistance technician, teams with Finn that is a nice subplot in the many connecting and complex story lines that have held throughout the new trilogy.  There are some characters that were a bit of an afterthought and probably didn’t even need to be in the film at all but I guess that is the flaw of having such a wide and diverse cast. The main cast was great, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, Rey all showed a natural progression from the first film. There was some lines that the delivery were wooden and cheesy, most from Daisy Ridley, but the passing of the torch trilogy seems to finally pass its torch over in this installment. Overall the cast was terrific and have made the characters their own.

The Last Jedi is everything you would expect from a Star Wars film. It has a wide range of creative characters that have complex and dark backgrounds. The wonderful space sets and space battles and fantastic lightsaber fights. The Last Jedi is another fantastic installment to the galactic adventure. The fight between good and evil is not so clear cut in this film and it is refreshing to see this in a big blockbuster. The questioning of what is good and what is evil is a central theme to the film and the whole team behind Star Wars should be rewarded for creating this complex conflict. This film sets up what is likely to be a frenetic and chaotic finale. This will not please all fans. The lore of Star Wars is played around like a children’s play toy, but I like that. The Last Jedi will pull the rug from right beneath you then hit you with that same rug.

The Last Jedi is the best directed film in Star Wars and has some of the finest cinematography in the franchise. The story has been made even more complex and answers some questions but poses a lot more. This is a refreshing Star Wars that doesn’t fall back on nostalgia and one could argue this is the first ‘new’ Star Wars in it’s current rebirth. There were some things that didn’t work, like the length of the film and some of the characters were treated quite poorly. However it did get a lot right. It is beautiful, funny and some of the cast really do shine. Adam Driver and Mark Hamill stands out and their complicated connection is fantastic to watch.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is a film some of the fans may not of wanted but it is the film that the fans needed. It needed a change of direction, it needed an injection of fun. It needed to be shocking. This needed to be further away from the The Force Awakens and it was all of this. It was an absolute thrill ride that was enjoyable. It might be one of those films that will be appreciated more when the complete trilogy comes out. However, this is a fun film that expands the universe and adds fuel to the fire of the Skywalker legacy.  It is not the perfect installment and probably not the best in the franchise but what you have here is one of the best directed and emotional films in the franchise. The Last Jedi is a fantastic film and I can guarantee that when you leave the cinema you will either go back in to watch it again or just be hungry for the finale in two years time.

 

Rating = ★★★★

 

 

 

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