STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Review - The Most Thrilling, Emotional, And Controversial STAR WARS Movie Yet

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Review - The Most Thrilling, Emotional, And Controversial STAR WARS Movie Yet

Following very positive initial reactions, the embargo has lifted on full reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Does the latest journey to the galaxy far, far away live up to the hype? Find out here...

"This is not going to go the way you think."

Luke Skywalker's ominous warning to Rey from the second trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi may as well have been directed towards the fans. Whatever rumours you've heard, whatever theories you may have, whatever narrative you've constructed in your head for the follow-up to The Force Awakens, chances are you won't have come close.

The story picks up directly after the climax of J.J. Abrams' film, with The First Order desperate to avenge the destruction of the Starkiller Base by wiping The Resistance off the map completely. As the battle rages, we return to Rey on Ahch-To as she attempts to convince Luke to return to the fight. Meanwhile, Finn regains consciousness and sets off on a daring mission of his own.

For the first act, at least, things play out much as you'd expect, but once Luke shows Rey how to connect to the force it's a very different story.

It's almost impossible to discuss the plot any further without spoiling, so let's just say Rian Johnson and co. have done their best to subvert expectations at pretty much every turn. The Force Awakens was criticised by many for being too similar to A New Hope, but - a few beats aside - The Last Jedi is far from a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back.

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The returning cast members are all on top form here, with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, in particular, really coming into their own as Rey and Kylo Ren. Carrie Fisher fans will also be very pleased to hear that General Leia is given much more to do this time, and her arc serves as a fitting final tribute to the late actress and her iconic character. As Finn, John Boyega tones down the humor and gets in on the action, but his scenes with Rose Tico on Canto Bight are probably the weakest aspect of the movie, and are bound to be singled out by those that feel the running time could have been trimmed down a little.

Speaking of Kelly Marie Tran's plucky engineer, while she's never less than engaging, her role feels a little tacked on, as does Benicio del Toro's enigmatic DJ. In fact, out of the new characters, Laura Dern's Vice Admiral Holdo is by far the standout.

It's Luke Skywalker that steals the show, however.

Mark Hamill gives a superb performance as the ageing Jedi master, and even though certain things about his arc are going to be divisive, he has several standout moments that should have entire generations of Star Wars fans the world over geeking out.

The set pieces are also stunning, as The Last Jedi easily contains the most edge-of-your-seat action sequences of any film in the space-saga yet. The fact that the stakes seem real from the off means the space battles are nail-biting stuff, and the lightsaber duels, although probably not quite what you'd expect (like pretty much everything else), are fantastic.

In the end, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is bound to divide opinion - but even if you're not on board with every story choice, there's no denying that Rian Johnson has brought us the most thrilling, emotional, and ballsy journey to the galaxy far, far away yet. Avoid spoilers at all costs, and prepare to be blown away. 

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