“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Release Date:  December 15, 2017

MPAA Rating:  PG-13 (for sequences of science-fiction action and violence)

 

While achieving impressive box office success, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is receiving mixed reviews by filmgoers.  The reaction is understandable, given the loyalty of longtime fans of the franchise, many of whom strive to connect the dots of each installment in a desperate attempt to link events of one film to those of past chapters, or to seek clues to the next installment.

In the hands of writer/director Rian Johnson, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” aptly continues the saga as Rey (Daisy Ridley) is mentored by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) while the Resistance defends itself against  the First Order. 

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) manipulates both Rey and, to some extent, the audience, as he seems to struggle with a balance between his internal light and dark forces.

Other familiar characters are back, including Finn (John Boyega) and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), while new characters are introduced, including Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran).

The most poignant scenes involve those of Fisher, and the film’s closing credits include a nice memorial recognition of the late actress.  Without spoiling the plot in this review, suffice it to say that I was disappointed there was no resolution to the character of Leia in this chapter, while the film does a nice job of bringing Skywalker full circle. 

I could have done without a subplot involving a cosmic casino that appeared to be an homage to the Cantina enjoyed long ago, and the scenes involving Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) seemed to bring the film to a halt. 

No single film in the “Star Wars” saga will please all of its fans, and “The Last Jedi” seems to have ruffled some intergalactic feathers.  I prefer to take it for what it is: a solid continuation of a wonderful space odyssey filled with interesting characters, fascinating storytelling of good versus evil and, in the end, a sense of hope.