Is this really "The Last Jedi"? Was it really 1977 when we saw the first "Star Wars"? And has it (finally) run out of ideas and energy? It's a "yes" to the first – and "no" to the second.
We meet Rey (Daisy Ridley), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and rebel leader Leia (Carrie Fisher) – most indeed of the usual suspects. Familiar and new – none disappoint. How sad that Fisher's actual death deprives us of her planned contribution to the next movie.
Some of the plot lines are not unfamiliar - yet more full-scale computer-game style battles on a wintry planet; more seemingly un-beatable space technology emanating from the Dark Side; more cute and not so cute space creatures (I want to adopt the Wookie's new friends); another elder Jedi mentoring a novice; another daring invasion of the Dark Side's space-craft; another light-sabre contest between light and dark ...
But in each of these episodes, all is not as it seems, and expectations are overturned by unexpected plot-twists. All of which makes two and a half hours pass with scarcely a passing wish that the editor had been a little more rigorous. The writers have not lost their capacity for suspense, spectacle and shock.
While trying to avoid spoilers, I liked how some relationships developed, and how we were given a deeper understanding of the way characters developed their loyalties to both darkness and light and to gradations between.
I found "The Last Jedi" the most substantive and the most engaging movie in the series for a very long time. I really liked this movie, and am amazed to find not only that it is admirably set up for a sequel, but that I'm looking forward to seeing it. Which, given that it was 1977 when all of this started, is amazing and admirable.