The last two years have felt like a lifetime, but Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally here, and you know what? It largely lives up to the ridiculous amount of hype bestowed upon it, which is no easy feat.
Whether it actually betters the original trilogy or not will certainly be up for debate, but Rian Johnson's outstanding direction combines with a daring, often unexpected script and game performances to ensure the film avoids the same pitfalls that left some fans a little deflated after The Force Awakens.
Is it a perfect, five-star triumph? Certainly not, but anxious fans can rest easy that the series remains very much on the right path, and after everything that happens in this movie, the two-year wait for Episode IX is going to be nothing short of agonising once again.
Here's our SPOILER-FREE assessment of why Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a high-point for the franchise and one of the year's very best films...
11. Mark Hamill Is Fantastic As Luke Skywalker
After The Force Awakens served up an all-time blue balls moment by having Luke Skywalker appear for just 30 seconds at the very end of the movie, The Last Jedi thankfully gives fans the grizzled, aged Luke they've been hoping for, and the results are absolutely fantastic.
Mark Hamill gives a terrific performance as the character, certainly his best in the role to date, benefiting tremendously from the three decades that have passed since Jedi, making him look and feel like every bit the legendary relic you'd hope the character to be at this point.
Hamill's chemistry with the new cast combines with some reveals that deepen Luke's characterisation in surprising and fascinating ways. It's a great performance, and though Hamill's acting is routinely held up as one of the worst aspects of the original trilogy, over 30 years later his work brings a more confident and lived-in feel to it.
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