This exceptional addition to the franchise gets 4.5 Icees.  Although not perfect, this episode made many steps forward, including the introduction of a little humor into the franchise.

There are a few logic gaps (like no gravity in space to “drop” bombs), but otherwise the writing in this movie was superb.  There are several places in the movie where you will think that of course this will happen… and then something totally different happens. I like that in a movie, as I cannot stand it when it becomes too predictable. I mentioned humor earlier and this movie puts it in just a few times and when it’s there, it’s really funny.  The addition of the porgs is a welcome one, but we aren’t overrun with them (like the island is) and so by giving us just the right amount, it works perfectly.

Of course there are battles as no Star Wars movie would be complete without them. Whether it is light sabers going at it, or ships battling each other, there is enough to please anyone.  There is a popular flaw that people have pointed out before; how does Rey already know how to use the force without training.  That is discussed a bit in this movie. Not really enough to explain it yet, but enough to make us think it is ok.

The acting was really good, especially that of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.  One of the main drawbacks I had with The Force Awakens is how undecided/wimpy he was.  He does a much better job in this movie of being conflcted… until he’s not.  Daily Ridley excels as Rey. Her transformation is quick but well done.  The one character I haven’t really bought into yet is Poe.  Not that the Oscar Isaac does a bad job with the character. I just don’t really see where he really fits in.  What is his ultimate purpose?  Carrie Fisher in her last role was regal as always.  The addition of Kelly Marie Tann is an interesting one and I can’t really discuss why without spoilers, so you’ll just have to see for yourself.  There’s even a cameo appearance by an old friend that you should enjoy.

This movie has everything you’d want a Star Wars movie to have: action, lore, the Force, turmoil. It’s runtime is long (2.5hrs) and there are several points where you think, “oh, here’s the ending” only to look at your watch and see that there is plenty to go.  If you’re an anti-Disney person and hate everything that Disney did to the franchise with The Force Awakens… well there’s really no hope for you so why would you see this movie anyways?  For the franchise to grow, it has to move on from the past.  Luke is conflicted, deal with it. He had a traumatic event and it changed him.  That happens.  If you can let go of the past (aka 1977), you will really enjoy yourself with this film.

No scene after the credits.