Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

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While Rey attempts to recruit the now reclusive Luke Skywalker to the rebel cause, the last desperate survivors of a besieged rebel base flee the First Order fleet under the personal command of Snoke himself.

The Last Jedi opens solidly enough with another Death Star attack inspired space battle that although now rather over familiar, is executed with panache and supplies the requisite thrills and spills. Once the flashes and bangs subside and the film settles into its story arc, the cracks start to appear however. For the second act, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I was bored exactly, but I was certainly getting restless. By the time I experienced a navel-gazing Rey in a hall of mirrors, the slowest and most protracted “hot pursuit” this side of one of the drearier episodes of Battlestar Galactica and the sight of Luke Skywalker milking a space walrus (I kid you not) I suspect that my boredom was being staved off by sheer bemusement. This is inter cut with a CGI casino heist that was pure Disney and as far as I could tell served absolutely no purpose, plot-wise.

Thankfully things get back on track for the finale with a showdown between Rey and Snoke which is nicely done and a visually striking homage to the battle of Hoth, but the journey there felt overlong, meandering and ultimately rather dull. The Last Jedi has its strengths but ultimately it lacks both the spine-tingling moments and genuine sense of fun of The Force Awakens, and the jaw-dropping spectacle and emotional intensity of Rogue One. As such is it easily the weakest of the new iterations of the Star Wars universe because rather alarmingly, the old “magic” is glaring in its absence which makes it feel like just another flabby, overlong CGI-infested modern blockbuster.

6/10

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