Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendolen Christie, Andy Serkis

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Rating: 1 2 3 4 and a half

Now let's be honest here: I am not the greatest Star Wars fan in the galaxy. I was in my early twenties before I even saw A New Hope – I'd seen Spaceballs first for crying out loud (yeah, I really didn't get it).

But if ever a film were to win me over to the dark side of geeky fandom, it would be The Last Jedi.

It's seriously good.

Carrie Fisher as Leia - inducing tears in a cinema near you

Director Rian Johnson (the man behind convoluted sci-fi thriller Looper) has stripped away the tedious politics (no trade talks in this movie – hooray!) to bring us a pure shot of adrenaline-fuelled action adventure, bursting at the seams with stunning set pieces (the dramatic use of red is on a par with Hero), fast-paced fights, cute critters and good old fashioned heart. Oh, and a bit with Carrie Fisher that will definitely leave you with something in your eye. Yes, I cried in a Star Wars film. There's no hope for me now.

But hope is what this film is all about. With the boring inter-planetary senate stuff gracing the cutting room floor, we are left purely with Goodies (the Resistance) and Baddies (the First Order) and, poised strategically somewhere in the middle, Adam Driver's Kylo Ren, keeping us guessing to the end like the surly young Severus Snape he so resembles.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)

Heroine Rey is in Ireland (or wherever) with a curmudgeonly, retired Luke Skywalker, stalwartly trying to persuade him to rejoin the fight. Meanwhile, the Resistance, headed by Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa, are scooting helplessly around the galaxy being pursued by the Baddies. And hope is in short supply.

And yet, for a film shorn of intergalactic politics, The Last Jedi's political message rings loud and clear, and it's all about co-operation. Co-operation and, yes, hope. For while the younger characters zoom impulsively around in X-wings attempting acts of spacey derring-do, their actions are, ultimately, all completely futile. They're like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark: they don't actually make any of the story happen. It's up to the old guard, to Leia and her pension-age cohorts, to stick to their guns and see their well-laid plans through to fruition. And yet without the younger generation and the hope and passion they represent, there's nothing worth planning and fighting for. Think on't.

Chewbacca and a porg

But lest that sound boring I have one word for you: porgs. These are the adorable puffin-like birds that inhabit Luke Skywalker's craggy retreat, along with the island's 'caretakers', who look like Mr Toad dressed up as a washerwoman. The porgs sum up everything that is right about this film: they are new, sweet and funny but also brave and loving, and you need to keep your eyes peeled to spot them.

If all you want for Christmas is a cracking Star Wars film, you're in luck. Exciting, epic, uplifting, moving, warm, witty and frequently goosebump-inducing, it only loses half a star for the multiple false endings (they went for the Bugsy Malone one – not sure about that) but otherwise practically perfect. Me, all I want for Christmas is a porg...

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