Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.
Rolling up with the kind of intergalactic swagger that gives us a cosmically infuriating phone prank within the first five minutes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a work of supreme confidence: witty, wild and free to roam unexplored territory.
This is the longest movie in the franchise. It just doesn t feel that way. I haven t been this into a Star Wars picture since the Empire struck back in The Empire Strikes Back.
It may sound like a backhanded compliment, but with so much on the line, Johnson deserves credit for not messing things up.
Still, this is no mere placeholder of a story. Huge, important things happen to characters secondary and primary. Surprises big and small abound.
Loaded with action and satisfying in the ways its loyal audience wants it to be ... generally pleasing even as it sometimes strains to find useful and/or interesting things for some of its characters to do.
It is a satisfying, at times transporting entertainment. Remarkably, it has visual wit and a human touch, no small achievement for a seemingly indestructible machine that revved up 40 years ago and shows no signs of sputtering out (ever).
Johnson is to be lauded for not locking himself into a retelling of the same old story. While there is plenty of familiarity -- this franchise basically demands it -- he isn t afraid to go in new directions.
A stellar entry that owes much to George Lucas original films while finding a signature vibe of its own and unleashing a few welcome twists.
Optimistically, The Last Jedi leaves plenty of intriguing possibilities for the climactic installment. But there s also the kind of room for improvement that remind us when it comes to Star Wars, such hopes -- new or otherwise -- spring eternal.
Falls right behind Empire Strikes Back and maybe the original film in providing the thrills and the heartbreak, the heroism and villainy, and the romance and betrayal that makes these films such a treat.