Star Wars – another one. No tax reforms or trading agreements but beware some jokes, some women and other stuff you might not like…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [2017]

Director: Rian Johnson

Written by: Rian Johnson (based on characters by George Lucas)

Starring: Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson

It’s Star Wars. The First Order have taken control of most of the galaxy and are now mopping up the last hardcore resistance. For their part the resistance is looking to escape and regroup.

Time to nail my colours to the mast here. I am not a huge fan of Star Wars, so I always go into these movies with no expectations either way.

I felt the Force Awakens was just Star Wars a New Hope remade almost beat for beat and this film takes the story and the way the conflict and characters are portrayed in a different direction. It’s a direction I can see a lot of people not liking but considering it is 2017 and not 1977 everything has to move with the times. Why not Star Wars?

Clearly there is a sense of the passing of the guard about the proceedings with old favourites still on display but the newer, younger, generation is moving in. Stepping forward most decidedly is Daisy Ridley who has a captivating screen presence and assuredly has a big screen future. John Boyega another of the new generation is not give as much screen time, which seems a waste, as he is equally as charismatic but due to the story’s structure the way the threads are woven some characters were always going to be slightly pushed to side. This is not to say that the contributions are light or inconsequential but certainly they aren’t the centre of attention. In The Last Jedi Oscar Issac seems to take the lead male role playing hot-headed Poe and once more the new Star Wars movies have hit the payload. Another charismatic and solid actor.

It would appear the makers have tried to drag the Star Wars formulae into the 21st century meaning that all genders and social demographics (amongst human characters at least) are given equal footing, screen-time and a real place in the imaginary universe they occupy.

The mercurial Adam Driver now occupies the space once occupied by the Green Cross Code Man and James Earl Jones and the film and story is no worse for that. Unlike his ‘inspiration’ in the story he is even given some motivation and some reason for being as evil as he is. He is even conflicted. Despite what many reviewers have since said I felt this wasn’t as deep as made out but it at least it stopped Kylo Ren being a one-dimensional baddy whose motivation was in the Steven Segal mode of ‘you’re evil’.

Yes, there are missteps in the film, the peripheral creatures are odd and distracting and a bit too cutesy and it probably is a tad too long, but one must remember what this film is, where it came from and what it is meant to be. It’s a space-war, adventure romp, in the style of the 1950s film serials. Don’t take it too seriously, don’t hark back to your past as a child and go with the changes, the sense of fun, which is even poking the uber-fans a bit, and just get lost in the adventure.

Who was Snoke, who are Rey’s parents? Is it important? So important it ruins your enjoyment? Not for me. Personally, I would have preferred a bit less gurning from some of the leads and a tiny bit more logic applied to some of the tense situations and perhaps the Force is becoming so all powerful and consuming does anyone really need spacecraft and weapons anymore, but it is all minor, nit picking quibbles.

I don’t get the backlash about the humour on display and I don’t understand the hate about love being shown by the Rebellion.  Benicio Del Toro’s ‘DJ’ specifically made the point about goodies and baddies in the film and Boyega’s Finn was unheroic at one stage. I am hoping DJ shows up again, he was really interesting and refreshing. Couple this with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron being heroic to a fault, hot-headed, unthinking and evening selfishly getting people killed and you have a fair attempt at dark and light and dare I say it again but nuance. Trying to get people to think beyond bang, flash, bang are all good in my book.

The idea must have been to stop making the dividing line black and white and have some grey. to my mind this has been done very successfully without showing any sympathy for the First Order, and we all know who they really are don’t we?

The Last Jedi might disappoint many fans, but these will just be the ones that want to see The Empire Strikes Back et al remade. Moving forward, changing and embracing that change is the way to go, sometimes this will backfire or not work correctly but how the heck are we going to make new films with interesting ideas to entertain millions if we did not push forward with new ideas and takes on themes? Makes sense to me, evidently not to others.

Summing up Star Wars: The Last Jedi is fun, exciting romp with explosions, fighting, humour and moves the story forward to the next instalment.

I would recommend it.

Oh and on a final note, apparently Disney are paying people to say good things about this Star Wars instalment so if they can DM me I’ll let them know my bank details for the big payment.

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