Well, it's finally happened. I have watched The Last Jedi.
I suspect I'll be one of the last Star Wars fans to see the movie, and though I'll try to be spoiler free, I can't make any promises, so if you haven't seen it, best leave now. I have also read the book, which always helps to build understanding.
Overall, I thought it was very well done. It was time for the first six movies to exit stage left, and that was achieved, I think, very well. After the disappointment of The Force Awakens, which was A New Hope all over again, I feared that this movie would end up being The Empire Strikes Back mark II. It's not. Not at all. But there are scenes in it that were reminiscent of both TESB and Return of the Jedi. To me, that was fitting because this movie is the end of an era, and the beginning of something new.
Luke Skywalker's arc worked for me. He'd run away from the Galaxy, so of course he'd be a grumpy old man at being found. I was also comfortable with the final scenes. I thought of it as the difference between a journeyman and a grand master. If a Jedi attains a certain level of enlightenment they can do things ordinary Jedi can't.
Naturally there were lots of shoot 'em ups and derring-do. That's what you expect from a Star Wars movie. But this time, the storm troopers and the TIE pilots actually managed to hit their targets quite often. I particularly liked the star destroyer captain who was obviously unimpressed with General Hux's tactical skills. That's made much clearer in the book. Young Hux is not a nice man. I need hardly add the special effects (or should I say the digital effects) were terrific.
This is a much more mature Star Wars movie. People make mistakes – big ones, with huge consequences. Not every episode of derring-do ends up with victory. Poe Dameron may have grown as a character, but I think he might have a few sleepless nights. Kylo Ren is still a mixed-up mess, and Rey has found out what the Force is really all about. Luke's lessons to Rey resonated for me. Yes, there were echoes of Dagobah, but that was okay.
Watching Star Wars, it's always necessary to suspend belief at least a little bit. Eighteen hours to pop off to another planet, pick somebody up, and get a job done is hardly realistic unless space travel is almost instantaneous. But that's Star Wars.
I did have one major complaint, though. The female vice admiral wears a bloody cocktail dress, FFS. Really??? Everybody else is in a military uniform, even Leia is dressed to fit the part of a leader in a battle, but this woman's wearing a sexy little number that flows around her body. Rolls Eyes.
All in all, a jolly good effort. I'll look forward to the next one. But first, it's only a couple of months until Solo hits the screens.