Star Wars: The Last Jedi
In this film, we get our older Luke and Leia movie. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher get to do what Harrison Ford did in The Force Awakens by spending a little more time—in the case of Hamill, a lot more time—in their iconic roles. Both stars shine in their frankly incredible opportunity to play in the Star Wars sandbox 40 years after the original’s release. When this film focuses on the saga of Luke and Rey (Daisy Ridley), it is nothing short of epic. When the camera is fixed on the late Carrie Fisher, who gets more quality screen time than her glorified cameo in Force Awakens, it’s heartwarming and, yes, sad. The Leia stuff gets a little kooky at times, but I’m trying to make this a spoiler-free zone. When writer-director Rian Johnson takes the action to the characters of Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and a new character named Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), the film falters. Poe, so engaging in Force Awakens, seems underdeveloped here. While the Resistance fights an oddly prolonged and bizarre space battle against the First Order, Poe just whines a lot—to the point where you are actually happy when Leia smacks him across his head. So, in short, this movie is part really good and part kind of bad. Johnson (Looper) seems determined to mess with the Star Wars formula —basically the opposite of what J.J. Abrams did when he rebooted the franchise with The Force Awakens. While some of his attempts at comedy are actually quite successful, his constant attempts to pull the rug out from under our expectations start to grate. The movie is still enjoyable overall, but it lacks a consistent tone.