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By Megan Bianco
Star Wars: Episode VIII— The Last Jedi surprisingly became the most divisive and polarizing movie to end 2017. After J.J. Abrams revived the franchise with the very successful, but very creatively safe, Episode VII— The Force Awakens (2015) and then Gareth Edwards gave us the barely decent side film Rogue One (2016), San Clemente’s own Rian Johnson had a lot on his shoulders to keep the series afloat for fans. The result currently in theaters is fascinating, to say the least.
Picking up where The Force Awakens left off, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is still courting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to mentor her into becoming a Jedi and connecting with the Force. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is trying to recruit Rey to turn her potential over to the dark side. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is having to deal with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) ignoring her orders; and Finn (John Boyega) meets Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who can be a great help to the Rebellion.
What most people were likely expecting was for the second film in this new trilogy to be like Episode V— The Empire Strikes Back (1980): darker and deeper. It is safe to say that Johnson’s new feature is not along the lines of Empire. It is completely its own thing and is the least “Star Wars-y” film made in terms of tone. Some will like the overt comic relief, some might not. Some might not like the character developments. For the first time ever, I’m recommending a Star Wars movie to viewers who aren’t fans.