It's back, and it doesn't disappoint
There's a certain futility in reviewing a “Star Wars” movie. The die-hard fans (you bet I'll include myself) will see it no matter what. Oh, and they don't want spoilers (there won't be any in this review).
Then there are non-fans who have somehow held out and aren't likely to hop on the bandwagon anytime soon. I asked a bartender friend at Little Rock Bar if she's ever seen Star Wars. Her (only slightly sarcastic) reply: “Fuck no. I get laid.”
So I'm not going to convince anyone to see “The Last Jedi,” but I can tell you that I had trouble sleeping the night before the press screening. And that, yes, I was wearing “Star Wars” pants to bed.
So this aging fanboy was giddy for the next chapter after J.J. Abrams kick-started the revived franchise with “The Force Awakens,” a movie so rife with nostalgia and parallelism that its biggest knock was feeling too similar to the original trilogy.
Rian Johnson takes over as both writer and director for “The Last Jedi,” and for a guy the same age as me, that must be a heavy burden. Well, he didn't disappoint me, and he won't disappoint you.
I'll steer clear of any plot description here, as I carefully managed to avoid seeing even a trailer for this movie. We do, of course, pick up where we left off with our next-generation hero, Rey (Daisy Ridley), finding the self-exiled Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
So while Rey is learning about the past and present of the Jedi, the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher, whose every line carries weight) is trying to escape the First Order. You know, good, evil, that whole thing.
Johnson works in the somewhat limited palette that is Star Wars, but this middle chapter in the new trilogy also starts to break out in ways that should excite fans at the prospect of what's to come. As one key character puts it, “Let the past die.”
But “Jedi” is also 150 minutes of pure “Star Wars,” swirling plots and thrills and laughs and, yes, tears. I first teared up at the 14-minute mark, and I wouldn't be done.
Yes, sometimes it feels too busy, and, yes, there's a lot of plot. But it also feels like … hope.
As Rey's character becomes more complex, it's clear that she'll be an indelible hero for a generation. And Adam Driver's Kylo Ren is breaking out of the shadow of Darth Vader in more ways than one.
“The Last Jedi” has its imperfections, but it's hard to imagine anyone will mind. It's our saga, and I'm glad it's alive again.