Synopsis: Thirty years after the events of the Return of the Jedi (1983), a new generation finds themselves surrounded by light and dark echoes of the past, while the balance of the Force teeters on the edge of a clouded future.
• An aptly named installment that truly reestablishes the franchise.
• The new fiercely independent superhero, Rey (Daisy Ridley), was expertly portrayed as someone with nothing to prove yet always knowing where she stood. The new supervillain, Kylo Ren – Ben (Adam Driver), was chaotically dark in his desperate attempts to live up to a grandfather surely now looking on in great regret.
• Finn (John Boyega) was easily the most interesting in how proved he was more than just a mindless soldier. “I won’t kill for them.”
• The returning cast, especially Han Solo (Ford), Chewie (Meyhew), and Leia (Fisher) help to ease the transition to the new storyline.
• Yes, we do recognize you, C-3P0, with the red arm!
• The plot was overly familiar, reducing some of the tension.
• Tended to lean a bit too much on the nostalgia of the prior films.
• Some new characters felt a bit overwhelmed by the overarching story.
This film certainly had its dark fanboys, directly related to the deprecation of most of the spin-off materials, but unlike The Last Jedi, that issue luckily seemed muted here. Without the known plot lines of the spin-off continuity, this film was freer to create a familiar yet fresher platform for a new set of films. At the same time, J.J. Abrams certainly initiated plot lines that not only he planned prior, but also were inspired by the ones long sketched by George Lucas. Star Wars has always been a familiar blanket of good versus evil, yet the gray in between was always there lurking in the galactic fulcrum. As Vader and Luke were not truly extremes, Kylo and Rey have their own grayness. We’ll never know what would have happened to Rey if she succeeded in killing Ren, as Vader-Anakin needed to die in order to end the madness he let happen. There was certainly good in Darth Vader, as there is certainly darkness in Rey. Such things were certainly exemplified in Last Jedi, and likely to come to an action-filled forefront in IX. Thus is the continuing saga of Star Wars: Finding hope in the darkest of times to shape our own destinies, as we are as susceptible to failure as the prior generations.
Star Wars Franchise
Rotten Tomatoes — 93%