In a year that historical hindsight will not acknowledge as particularly hilarious, one of the funniest things to hit 2017 was fandom. First it was the bellowing idiocy of "Doctor Who CANNOT BE A WOMAN!!!" (well, she is, so stop whining and get over it), at which even Davros would have found it hard to breathe through the laughter, and he's a genocidal maniac who created the Daleks and has never been noted for a riotous sense of humour. Then it was the Official Fan Demand for Justice League to be rereleased properly in accordance with the mighty Zack Snyder's artistic vision, complete with a new score by his regular composer Junkie XL, and the removal of Joss Whedon's reshoots. Now it's the shrieking petulance of an actual petition to the Disney Corporation demanding that the new Star Wars film be removed from the canon because it didn't pan out exactly the way they wanted and it didn't explain who he is and where she came from and why that guy did these things. Seriously, guys (and they tend to be guys), have a bathroom break and calm the hell down: you're giving us regular fans a bad name here.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Episode VIII in the overarching saga) is fine. It's not great, it's not terrible, it's somewhere in the middle but it's really nothing to get worked up about in either direction. It does some lovely things and it has some serious problems, but waaaaahing like a four-year-old in Tescos, stamping your feet because Mummy won't buy you any sweeties, isn't a particularly dignified look. At the end of The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley, surprisingly not very good this time around) has found Luke Skywalker, now living as a miserable, grumpy hermit on a remote island and absolutely refusing to help the Resistance in their darkest moment. Meanwhile General Leia and her dwindling band of rebels are being pursued through hyperspace by a Dreadnought of the evil First Order (captained by Adrian Edmondson, whom I constantly expected to start smacking his fellow officers round the head with a frying pan), and maybe only a hastily cobbled together plan to abduct a codebreaker from a casino planet and smuggle him onto the Dreadnought to disable the tracking system for long enough to make one last light-speed jump can save them, whether hothead/idiot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) gets permission or not...
As a zippy blockbuster that alternates frenetic action sequences with moody, serious character drama, nodding back to the earlier films (the horse-like Fathiers race feels like the dreaded Pod Race all over again), The Last Jedi does more right than wrong. On the plus side, it's mostly hugely enjoyable, John Williams' score is great as ever (though the piano rendition of Leia's Theme in the end credits against the dedication to Carrie Fisher feels very awkward, as though it's been shoved in at the last minute) with many of the familiar and recognisable themes well to the fore. The best single sequence is the Battle Of Crait, on a salt planet where the crystal white turns blood red when it's disturbed. Snoke's throne room is a visual treat as well. Bad moments include an absolute clunk of comedy when Poe pretends to put the Dreadnought on hold, and a jaw-droppingly stupid scene saving Leia from certain death.
I could also have done without the return, albeit briefly, of one character from both preceding trilogies, and the less said about the tribblesome Porgs the better. As the middle part of a trilogy it's not as good as The Empire Strikes Back - it should go without saying that it's better than Attack Of The Clones, because most things are - but the main (new) hope is that Rian Johnson is setting everything up for Episode IX's grand finale in 2019. At 152 minutes it's comfortably the longest Star Wars movie so far, and there are moments when it feels like it, but there's more than enough popcorn fun to be had as well as material for scholarly analysis. (There's also a great visual gag involving a steam iron, of all things.) Personally I can't take it as seriously as others have: it's enjoyable and entertaining but not without faults: on balance it's a win but not a walkover.