The eighth chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, picks up where last year’s The Force Awakens left off - an intriguing staring contest between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on an isolated island on the planet of Ahch To.
Don't worry, there are no spoilers in this post, but film critic and UW-Milwaukee film instructor Duane Dudek says that the new film features plenty of old favorites, including Carrie Fisher, who reprised her role as Princess Leia before her death.
"It's not just another movie, it's part of this really beloved and enduring franchise," he says. "But I don't feel the same anticipation for it that I did for (The Force Awakens) - I really enjoyed it however, and I'm super positive about it."
One large focus of the film is the relationship between Luke and Rey, and why Luke banished himself into hiding. "It seems very familiar...a hero wanting to hide from everything's (he's) done," notes Dudek. And while fans only caught a glimpse of Luke in The Force Awakens, the character is fully integrated into this film.
"(Mark Hamill is) great!" says Dudek. "He's got this great growl, is hooded, and looks worn and like an old Jedi."
In addition to canon favorites such as Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, and R2-D2, Dudek says writer and director Rian Johnson certainly puts his unique stamp on the franchise with this film. With impressive space battles galore and plenty of new worlds and characters, Johnson manages to keep the story centralized as audiences follow different characters' storylines throughout space.
"The story is so strong and the film itself is so mythic that we accept what he is showing us. I'll give it a solid 'A.' Big entertainment value and true to what we already know about what we love."