The Last Jedi not only meets the quality of its predecessor head on, but largely improves upon the new story set up by Abrams with The Force Awakens. With The Last Jedi, everything is bigger in terms of the scope of the story to the characters being more fleshed out and developed, making the audience genuinely care about them even more than they did before. The Last Jedi is first and foremost Rey and Kylo Rens story as the film picks up from where these two last left each other after their big lightsaber fight at the climax of the first movie. Although the story includes Luke Skywalker, Finn, Leia, and Poes characters journey, the heart of the film is Rey and Kylo struggling to grasp their powers as well as figure out their place in the scope of things. Daisy Ridley delivers a strong performance as Rey with her scenes with Luke played masterfully by Mark Hamill being among some of the finest moments in the film. Hamill gives a genuinely gripping performance as an older Luke Skywalker, whose experienced loss by witnessing Ben aka Kylo turn to the dark side, leading to his refusal to train Rey at first but finally agrees to. Hamills performance is among the strongest in the film and one that warrants a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination as the audience loves every minute that he's on the screen then anticipates his return. With his return, Mark Hamill takes the opportunity of a lifetime and gives his all with the part. Adam Driver does a strong job playing Ren, effectively portraying the conflict his character feels in regards to being drawn back to the light while becoming the Sith Lord he desires to become like his grandfather Darth Vader. Ren is more effective of an antagonist in this movie and has nice moments where he battles the light and darkness, but it can also be said that as hard as Drivers character tries, he doesn't measure up to the awesomeness of Vader being the villain in the original trilogy (His internal struggle though is fast more convincing than anything Hayden Christensen gave us in the Prequel trilogy). Perhaps his character isn't meant to be as frightening and more of a personal struggle as he's caught in the fight between good and evil internally. One does wish however that he kept his mask on longer as it made his character more intriguing and menacing in The Force Awakens. John Boyega returns as Finn, delivering another charismatic performance as well as developing a unique type of relationship with Rose played by Kelly Marie Tran. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern shine in small supporting roles, making welcoming additions to the cast with Del Toro playing a smuggler named DJ and Dern playing Vice Admiral Holdo. Oscar Isaac shines once again as Poe with a bigger role this time while still bringing the charm and humor his character possessed in the previous film. Carrie Fisher shines as General Leia Organa, delivering her final film performance while making it an emotional experience for the fans (The scene where she reunites with Luke is a powerful one that's both heartwarming and touching). In terms of acting and directing, everyone brings their A game to the film with Mark Hamill giving the best performance, and Rian Johnson directing the movie with a similar kind of energy that JJ Abrams had with directing The Force Awakens, giving the film twists and turns throughout its story.
Final Verdict: SEE IT