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December 14, 2017

'Star Wars' loses its way, magic with 'The Last Jedi'

Movie review: While the visuals are what one would expect, this story is likely to leave many fans feeling hollow inside

Fans of "Star Wars" have waited for two years to see Mark Hamill's iconic Luke Skywalker take his lightsaber back from Daisy Ridley's Rey – and the payoff of such a would-be magical moment – is that he tosses his lightsaber away.

That's as far as I'll go into spoiler territory for now, but it was necessary to include here because it is analogous to the main problem of the film: It strives so hard to be dark and unpredictable, it thows away the goodwill it has built up over the years, and at least tarnished some characters.

This film is so busy being dark, it forgets to give us a story that makes sense or characters to truly cheer for.

Gone are the underdog rebels fighting the good fight and confrontations that had payoff. In it's place are too many characters and creatures to keep track of, with no inspirational attributes and no real accomplishments to speak of. We get battles – like those involving the increasingly annoying Finn (John Boyega) – that are illogical – but hey, they look cool in the trailer.

Instead, we get plenty of creatures that likely will make for nice, plush toys and video games, but gone is the sense of wonder. This is especially true of Luke, the character forever etched in our minds as the simple farm boy who believed in himself enough to save the galaxy. Again, without spoiling anything, that character is gone– and it really isn't fun – which is incredibly heartbreaking when you're talking about a character that has epitomized heroism and derring do for billions over four decades. Fans probably won't like how General Leia is treated either.

The film, led by Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, blows a lot of stuff up and it looks cool at times, but, again, most of it accomplished little and makes as much sense.

In fact, the only time this film truly captures your attention are the scenes where Rey and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren confront and attempt to sway each other. But even with these two, Ren doesn't come across as very bright and fans may not be satisfied with what is "revealed" about Rey.

In the end, while the visuals are what one would expect, "The Last Jedi" is likely to leave many fans feeling hollow inside – and maybe even look wistfully upon the prequel trilogy.

In fact, the only character that truly looks and acts like a character in a "Star Wars" movie is Kelly Marie Tran's feisty, yet sharp, sweet and idealistic Rose Tico.

In the end, more roses would have made this adventure smell a lot sweeter.

Grade: C