Cert 12A Stars 4

Director JJ Abrams returns to the Star Wars universe to provide a suitably epic finale to cinemas greatest sci-fi saga which rockets along in fan-pleasing style and never skimps on the spectacle.

Having brought the series roaring back to life with 2015’s The Force Awakens and sitting out 2017’s The Last Jedi, Abrams satisfactorily wraps up this third trilogy with an emotional flourish which had people cheering in my preview screening in Leicester Square.

Killed off in in episode VI, the evil Emperor Palestine has returned and is hunting Daisy Ridley’s scavenger orphan, Rey, but we’re warned by the Emperor, ‘she’s not who you think she is’.

Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac reprise their roles as heroic members of the resistance, and set about the task of saving the universe, with their winning chemistry carrying us along as they try to set the galaxy to rights one last time.

Standing in their way is Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, the diabolical Supreme Leader, and his chasing them about the cosmos is a deliberate attempt to keep us guessing who the Skywalker of the title is.

The zippy action will keep my 9 year old son entertained, and for fans such as me who have been there since my own childhood, it serves up a banquet of nostalgia, not least the scenes featuring the late Carrie Fisher, whose presence as General Leia is squeezed for every ounce of emotion in a dignified final appearance.

Robot C3PO provides a lot of the humour, there are light sabre duals and space battles, and cramming in so much plot, action and old favourites such as Billy Dee Williams’ scoundrel Lando Calrissian, means some new characters such as Kelly Marie Tran’s mechanic, Rose, are sidelined.

This isn’t the greatest Star Wars movie ever, and not even the best of this third trilogy, but it’s driven by the desire to reward the fans for their devotion and is a triumph of hope over fear.