Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russel, Kelly Marie Tran, and Ian McDiarmid
And it all comes to an end. The Disney-produced Star Wars sequel trilogy finally reaches its closing chapter. While people mostly loved the first one, The Force Awakens, the second one, The Last Jedi, proved to be incredibly divisive in the fan base. (I’m in the “loved it” camp.) So, it was hoped that the guy who gave us the better-liked Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, could bring the whole thing to a satisfying conclusion. Does J.J. stick the landing?
There’s a chill going through the galaxy. Mysterious transmissions are broadcasting the Emperor Palpatine lives, and has allied himself with Supreme Leader Kylo Ren to form a new order…the Final Order. Our heroes decide that to end this conflict once and for all, they have to take out Palpatine’s stronghold on the hidden planet of Exegol. They quest is on to find a Sith Wayfinder, the only thing that contains a map to Exegol. To do so means finding friends both old and new. But complicating things is the fact the Kylo Ren and his Knights of Ren are in hot pursuit. It seems Palpatine has nefarious plans for young Rey, and wants her alive. What are the Emperor’s plans for Rey? Will the mystery of her parents finally be explained? And will our heroes save the day?
What I Liked
Once again, we’ve got some very likable heroes in here. And it’s nice to see our core trinity of Rey, Poe, and Finn finally having an adventure together. Yes, there are some callbacks and nostalgic references to the greater Star Wars saga (resulting in some surprising cameos), but it never felt too gratuitous. Great lightsaber battles, great space battles, and some truly great performances by our lead actors.
What I Didn’t Like
The first half of the film is incredibly episodic and bouncing around as our heroes quest for the Wayfinder. New characters are introduced, and we barely get to know them, before we’re whisked off to our next step on the quest. Some characters wind up shoved to the side. As one of the few who actually liked Rose, I would have liked a little more of her. There’s just a little too much in that first half.
The film took a while to find its footing, but once it did, it was a great ride at the movies. All three of these Star Wars sequels made me cry.