The Last Jedi picks up the age-old story of the resistance versus the Empi- I mean First Order. Continuing on from The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley), has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and her training begins as the rebels prepare once again to fight off the Galactic evil.

'No, that's not true. That's impossible!'

Going into The Last Jedi I was arush with excitement and anticipation, I had caught little glimpses of "On par with Empire Strikes Back" and 5-star reviews. I'm to blame for setting myself up for disappointment like that. I'm not sure where to really begin so let's start with my thoughts of the beginning...

The opening was great, I had a huge grin on my face when I realised the title crawl had returned and it was great to get right into the action following the ending of 'The Force Awakens' (Dir. Abrams. 2015), all of this calling back to the original trilogy opening. From there, however, the Film started to drag; it didn't know how it wanted to proceed with these stories. We got finally to Rey and her meeting with the long-awaited Luke Skywalker. He has changed, but unlike most fans reactions to Luke's change, "cultural vandalism" is one such description I have seen, Hamill himself has said he disagreed with all of Johnson's choices for Luke's character. I, however, found the change intriguing, engaging and a natural progression for his character, after the movie reveals a few things down the line.

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The plot of the entire film follows the thematic link of heroes and the realities of actions on them. It's truly wonderful to see a Star Wars film exploring ideas in this avenue. The fresh ideas that Johnson brings in are both this movie's saving grace and its demise in quality.

Partially fleshed out

There are many new avenues Rian Johnson has pushed this story into, some for better and some for utterly tragic disappointment. Sadly it's hard to get into without spoiling but I will say there was a scene in the beginning of this movie that almost made me want to walk out of the film - something I've never done. Yet there are moments of pure ecstatic energy that make you wonder why everything surrounding these scenes is not on the mark. For example, every scene with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey is riveting, the film follows this arc to a very divisive resolution. But I found the twist to be very natural for the character of Kylo Ren and it made nothing but sense for me. There are moments of breathtaking action, which Is supported by equally stunning visuals.

Character-wise, unlike Finn who I'm sure, is supposed to be a main character, yet is given a major back seat; Luke, Kylo Ren and Poe (Oscar Issac) are the only characters that are fully fleshed out, and are utterly three dimensional and engaging, stealing every scene they are in. These are the only characters that inspire debate and talk amongst how they are, which is a good thing. Why isn't this the treatment for its main characters of Rey and Finn who seemed to just idly follow the plot and do what they need to do to progress the story?

A mixed bag

Technically and thematically the film is very well made and directed, yet creatively Rian Johnson's directing and writing seems to not show any care and protection for Star Wars. Sure, this could be the sour taste of being a fan and not wanting the established universe messed with but some of the choices made by Rian Johnson are profoundly silly. Dare I say as though it were creative bankruptcy. You can see the real care and attention in some scenes scattered through the movie and then there is the obvious influence of Marvel's dominance. This formula of blockbusters being littered with comedy has done nothing to hurt the mimics, The Last Jedi will be counted among them. The comedy in this film is so dreadfully forced that it hinders moments that should shine like diamonds amongst the rough of this film - once again much like in Justice League (Dir. Snyder. 2017) great moments are cut short or detracted of all life for the sake of a quick joke.

The pacing of the movie seems to go from bad to good to bad again as it juggles unnecessary side plots and useless characters appearing to sell more merchandise, but I didn't find it too be boring at any point in the film. I do like the idea of longer Star Wars movies, they lend themselves well. A lot of the film could have easily been cut and the story streamlined to its core plot. What is also wonderfully refreshing; a small situation is made grander to show the importance of this event, it does a great job of tieing the main plot to Luke's - the editing is great, it felt like original trilogy style again with ques to cut to what is being talked about and shots to remind you of the previous films. Johnson does do an excellent job of honouring the past while ushering in the future (despite my trepidation on the quality of that future).

Final say

Sadly a lot of The Last Jedi misses the mark of what Star Wars is and should be in its entirety. Instead, it favours itself to a general appeal trying to mimic the stylings of Marvel which utterly defeats the purpose of this being a Star Wars movie. There are numerous stunning scenes with the story being pushed in exciting new avenues, which feels natural. While others almost destroyed the entire movie and leave a rotten feeling as you leave the cinema. The structure should have been more focused and refined. The Last Jedi was truly engaging and impressive but still while technically and thematically well made, Rian Johnson's directing and writing fails him creatively as his choices fall flat and downright silly.