Star Wars: The Last Jedi lives up to its outer-space-high expectations thanks to a rich but easy-to-follow storyline, consistent pacing, great comedic timing, and, unsurprisingly, mind-blowing special effects.
The film, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad), features excellent performances from young stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega; and fans are treated to a throwback performance from one of the franchise's legacy actor Mark Hamill, whose portrayal of old-man Luke Skywalker will break your heart and make you laugh within the span of one scene.
Speaking of legacy actors, the late Carrie Fisher reprises her role of Leia Skywalker wonderfully in the last film of her storied career.
Finally, Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran does not disappoint as the first ethnically Asian actor with a significant role in the Star Wars franchise with her depiction of Rose Tico, a rebel worker caught up in a romance with stormtrooper-gone-rebel Finn (Boyega).
There are many ways in which The Last Jedi was able to surpass its predecessor. The Force Awakens was a great film in its own right, but it understandably had to spend significant time introducing the bevy of new characters, while satisfying old-school fans by scratching the nostalgia itch.
With introductions out of the way, The Last Jedi is able to delve deeper into the complex relationships between characters, and is almost Game of Thrones-like in its ability to keep multiple plotlines going at once.
The most fascinating and complex relationship of all is undoubtedly that between protagonist Rey (Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). “Rollercoaster” best describes their relationship, and the audience is kept on the edge of their seat wondering: “what exactly is going on with these two?”
The movie has plenty of cutting-edge and brilliantly choreographed action sequences, but nothing felt overdone. Every action scene - be it a large-scale spaceship battle between armies or an epic light-sabre duel between two main characters – is purposeful and furthers the plot.
Balance is one of the key themes of the film. A relatively simple - and some might even say, “cliché” - concept for Star Wars fans is finding the balance between good and evil, but The Last Jedi delivers this in a clever and nuanced way that allows the audience to connect the movie’s lessons to their own lives.
Last but not least, the legendary John Williams, who was the lead composer for the previous seven Star Wars films, made The Last Jedi an absolute treat for the ears as much as it was for the eyes.
Overall, The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off and engulfs the audience in a brand-new, brilliantly engineered sci-fi universe. The film undoubtedly deserves the title of the biggest and best film of 2017.
Edited by Heidi Yeung