RIAN Johnson’s hotly anticipated eighth instalment of the saga sees a return from veteran stars Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Leia, as well as The Force Awakens favourites, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.

Princes William and Harry, who make cameo appearances as storm troopers, were at Tuesday night’s premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, and at a press conference yesterday, the film’s stars spoke about the pair’s visit to the set.

Mark Hamill said he used it as an opportunity to pose a burning question he had about Luke Skywalker’s title.

Loading article content

He said: “I used that opportunity to try to solve something that had been bothering me since Return Of The Jedi when they told me Luke and Leia were brother and sister.”

He said he asked William and Harry: “I really want your opinion on this – my sister is Princess Leia, doesn’t this make me royalty?”

Hamill added: “William said ‘yes’ and Harry said ‘I need more information’.”

The actor said this left him unsatisfied, telling the press conference: “It’s been going on for 40 years!”

Reviews of the film flooded in yesterday ahead of the film’s general release from midnight tonight.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw lauds the movie as “excitingly and gigantically proportioned” with only “very small disappointments” – mostly in the form of the parallel plot concerning the Resistance’s military strategy. He also gives a special nod to newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Resistance soldier Rose Tico.

In an eloquently glowing review for the Telegraph, Robbie Collin said the movie “flexes its fingers before riffing over old chord progressions in ways that will leave fans beaming with surprise”.

He adds: “The Last Jedi mounts some genuinely startling narrative twists and feints, while charting an onward course for the franchise that has you itching to discover what comes next. That’s smart business practice, but it’s also exemplary blockbuster filmmaking.”

Radio Times magazine also offered gushing feedback, with writer Alan Jones hailing new levels to the stories fans are familiar with. He compliments the “dazzling special effects work, interestingly well-rounded characters and second-to-none action... with events taking place all over the galaxy, the adventure this time takes on an extra epic dimension.”

For the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, The Last Jedi offered both “visual wit and a human touch”. While the storyline itself is sometimes a “tangle”, the complications are “mitigated by Mr Johnson’s quick pace and the appealing performers”.

In The Independent, Christopher Hooton pays special tribute to director Johnson for “pushing the saga forward” and taking “the narrative for a walk, meandering into new realms and trying out more risky stuff”. He adds that, in some ways, the film “throws out” JJ Abrams previous 2015 instalment, The Force Awakens.

HOWEVER, while Variety magazine said the film was entertaining and packed with “jaw-dropping visuals”, it panned the release as “ultimately a disappointment” and the “longest and least essential chapter in the series”.

That view was echoed by the Press Association’s film critic Damon Smith, who says: “If Episode VII: The Force Awakens crammed everything fans love into one giddily-entertaining origin story, the next chapter accelerates towards a different kind of Star Wars experience.

““Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way we can be who we are meant to be,” proclaims masked antagonist Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) during one breathless stand-off.

“His doom-laden words reverberate throughout Johnson’s bloated, special effects-heavy picture.”

He adds: “Johnson engineers some jaw-dropping set pieces, including a visually-stunning battle conducted on a salt plain that throws up plumes of red dust.

“But more is less in a flabby caper of contrivances and coincidences that clocks in at 152 minutes, uncomfortably and unnecessarily the longest instalment so far.”

However The Sun reviewer Jamie East says: “This is a GREAT Star Wars movie, possibly the best. It’s certainly more satisfying and easily the most emotional.

“The Last Jedi is also the funniest by a million parsecs.”