You know, it’s becoming ever more of a challenge to write about the “Star Wars” saga without doing spoilers.

Don’t worry. I really won’t spoil anything for you. But if some of my references are a tad murky, you know why.

Rian Johnson, who was a director for television’s “Breaking Bad,” and who also helmed the wonderful “Brick,” directed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Visually, it’s full of well-choreographed action, marvelous environments in air, land and water, a noteworthy color palette and, of course, engaging characters both long-beloved and new.

All the new trilogy characters have spotlight moments while their characters develop. Chief among them is Rey (Daisy Ridley), who has been dispatched by Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) to ask Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) for help. Also featured in pivotal roles are Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver.)

One of my favorites is Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a member of the support crew that maintains the Resistance ships. Her background is quite compelling, and carries through to one of the final transition scenes. She and Finn make a nice team in a relationship that will be interesting to watch in upcoming sequels.

The action begins immediately, with Poe among the pilots who are trying to take out an enemy First Order ship. The first laugh comes quickly when Poe has a mocking conversation with General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), a First Order leader.

In the meantime, Rey confronts Luke and asks him for help. But Luke wants no part of being a Jedi. He wants to be left alone in his solitary existence on the island of Ahch-To, where he remains embittered by incidents from his past (you’ll find out details when you see the movie).

The renowned motion-capture performer Andy Serkis plays Supreme Leader Snoke, the leader of the First Order. He recognizes that Kylo remains conflicted, and chides him: “You’re just a wild boy in a mask.”

And a well-recognized character from waaaay back makes a brief appearance.

With every episode, film-making technology enhances the imagery a little more. There’s a wonderfully vivid battle scene toward the end, and there’s an eye-popping scene in a casino that’s a nod to the cantina fans know so well.

Speaking of the cantina, this episode has a bevy of fascinating creatures that may appeal to those who welcome their high cuteness quotient. The porgs, for example, look like the offspring of an owl and a rabbit (I know that sounds weird, but you have to see them for yourself). Not surprisingly, they are available in various toy incarnations.

Whether you seek action, spaceships, creatures, romance, war or drama, you’ll find it here in this franchise that remains a force to be reckoned with.


Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Broadcast Film Critics Association member. College instructor for criminal justice, English and math. Serves on Safer Foundation and The Salvation Army advisory boards. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church