Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a joyous hyperspace ride

Nerd ALERT! The wait is over Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally here and listen up kids it’s a joyous rollercoaster hyperspace ride of space opera goodness.

In this instalment from a galaxy far far away we pick up the action directly after The Force Awakens where the galaxy is in disarray after the First Order’s epic rampage of destruction in Episode VII.

Fin is in space hospital resting up due to a lightsabre slice to the back, and Rey has finally tracked down Luke Skywalker who she hopes will bring balance back to the force and help the resistance kick Kylo Ren’s ass. But, is Skywalker the legendary Jedi Master that she believes him to be? And, is Kylo really all bad or just misunderstood??

Though there are some familiar beats to this film and nods back to previous outings, specifically Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi, this is the most unique instalment in the franchise with director and writer Rian Johnson definitely taking some risks. He pushes characters in unexpected directions and gives us some twists that even hardcore theorist will not see coming.

There is lots of top-notch action with the film opening with a space battle as the Resistance try to escape the pursuit of the First Order. As with the whole franchise, although these battles are set far from Earth their similarities to the strategy and tactics of WWII bombings are hard to miss. Visually mesmerising, you’ll be engrossed by these often nail-biting sequences that inevitably see casualties. The script also allows for much commentary on military industrial complex and our systems of war.

It is absolutely sweaty nerd heaven to see Leia and Luke on the big screen again and both actors reprise their roles wonderfully and it’s obviously especially poignant as Carrie Fisher is sadly no longer with us. This movie very much passes the baton to the new school of Star Wars heroes as they get equal screen time as our classic Jedi legends Leia and Luke. Both Hamill and Fisher will not disappoint fans and they both fully embody these iconic characters that mean so much to so many.

John Boyega is paired with newbie Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose, with whom he creates great chemistry. Tran plays the likeable and determined Rose with heart and spunk. Boyega can securely feel cemented in this Star Wars universe as he delivers another fan-pleasing performance. Daisy Ridley really gets to shine here as well, probably more than her last outing, so she’s definitely able to flex more movie hero muscle and it’s great to see another strong female character develop. Super pilot Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, also gets his chance to play in this movie and he’s a good Han Solo substitute. Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro are new to the fold and both fit in well with Del Toro being the more intriguing personality and one that we’d certainly like to see more of. And, of course, Chewie is back, flying the Falcon like a bad ass mofo!

The cute factor is there too with many a new alien creature (see Porg memes) but BB8 stole the show for us in the adorable-loyal-indestructible-droid stakes. Alongside this crowd-pleasing cuteness is a rather comedic side to the script which most characters actually get a crack at. We enjoyed this side of the film and allowed for some light relief from some of the other heavier moments.

Ultimately, we need to talk about Kylo….again. This is one angry young man and he’ssooooooooo good at it! Adam Driver brings great depth and torment to the movie and his powerful emotive performance really is award-worthy. The excellent casting choice here has really paid off as his ability to draw so many levels from his character adds many dimensions and conflicting alliances. The other main baddy is the GCI Snoke who has the creep factor switched to full and Andy Serkis does another stellar job here bringing him to life. However, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux is a comedic pressure cooker of camp anger that may have gone a little too far to be taken seriously – but he’s enjoyable nonetheless.

The Last Jedi looks brilliant from start to finish with many explosive and fast-paced big movie sequences along with tender and close character moments that’ll bring out all the feels. It gives you epic battles and characters to love – dark and light.

Due to the inevitable spoilers that’ll start floating around, it’s time to fire up your X-Wing and get your nerdy butts to a cinema near you to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi now before the internet or some idiot down the pub ruins it for you. Feel the force of this highly entertaining, fun and touching instalment of a cinema franchise that looks to be a strong as ever.

Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar and Ian Wright.

4 stars small