When "Star Wars" came back, it seemed no wrong could be done. Throw some lightsabers and stormtroopers on a screen and the positive buzz would follow. We're now three movies deep into the re-launch of the franchise, including "Rogue One." There's no more room for skating by with the Force. With "The Last Jedi," it was a tale of two movies -- one good, one bad. Coming from a "Star Wars" fanatic, that should be somewhat of a concern.

About the movie

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is the second movie in the newest franchise trilogy and the ninth feature-length film in the franchise overall. Directed by Rian Johnson, the film was released on December 15, 2017 -- two years after "The Force Awakens" brought the franchise back to the big screen.

Rey has finally found Luke Skywalker, but the Jedi has turned his back on the institution that made him a hero. Finn has thoughts of leaving the rebellion, but is drawn back in by a tech engineer with dreams of saving the situation. Poe faces some resistance from the resistance. Kylo Ren's conflicted nature comes through even more than before. And familiar faces say goodbye as the war over the galaxy rages on.

First half: 'Star Wars' bores

The film begins where the last one in the trilogy ended, with Rey finally catching up to Luke. For about 45 minutes of the film, Rey chases Luke in order to try to convince him to be her mentor in vain, until suddenly her efforts succeed. The pivot seems unwarranted as Luke's motivations suddenly wavered and wandered throughout "The Last Jedi."

The appeal to that storyline -- and much of the film -- was nostalgia.

In many ways, it was reminiscent of how Yoda trained Luke in "The Empire Strikes Back." In fact, much of the movie -- just like "The Force Awakens" -- played off that nostalgia. The planet at the end of the movie, for example, resembles Hoth in many ways. It just gets a tad old the second time around.

Most of the movie's exposition just isn't that interesting. The most engaging trilogy character -- Finn -- was given virtually nothing interesting to do. Poe's character fought the same battle in every scene, which wore thin quickly. Some of the random characters to pop up in "The Last Jedi" were grating and unnecessary.

Speaking of which, let's dive into DJ for a moment. Benicio del Toro's character should surpass Jar Jar Binks as the most infamously-terrible character in "Star Wars" history. DJ's motivations are inconsistent. His stutter? An offense to people with stutters everywhere. This character needs to disappear forever.

One last negative note: Carrie Fisher. There was never going to be an easy way to say goodbye to the original "Star Wars" princess.

But there had to be a better way. There were several times where the movie seemed to fake General Leia's death, teasing her actual real life death in a way that felt callous. It was an insensitive way to handle an issue that went beyond the movie.

Second half: 'The Last Jedi' emerges

Once Rey left Luke, the movie started to pick up steam. All of the storylines began to converge in believable ways. Finn and Rey were reunited, the friendship that made "The Force Awakens" work. And for the first time since the forest, Rey and Kylo Ren met in a dramatic overture.

Throughout the film, there was a Force-like connection binding the hero and anti-hero together, proposing conflicted natures within both. It led to one of the most dramatic moments in the film, when Kylo Ren faced his "true enemy." Again, it felt like a callback to the olden "Star Wars" days. This time around, it worked.

After that climactic moment, it felt as though the film could've come to an end, but "The Last Jedi" pushed on, determined to pursue one more battle that had been waging throughout the film -- the one between Kylo Ren and his former mentor, Luke.

The reveal during the fight made the battle seem much more clever than it originally was. It was also good to see Mark Hamill wielding a lightsaber once again. Their battle had all of the feels of some of the classic duels in "Star Wars" history.

There was also a surprising amount of humor in the movie. Almost every scene Luke was in involved a dash of comedy. The droids did their due diligence in the comedy sector. The memorable porgs brought laughs every time they got in Chewbacca's way. Sometimes it could be a bit much -- the other creatures on Ahch-To were played up for laughs, but distracted from the story. But, even Yoda got in on the action -- Yoda!

Final thoughts

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" contains two entirely different movies; at two hours and 32 minutes, that should come as little surprise. The first half of the movie gets stuck in the past in a negative way, failing to advance the plot forward in interesting ways and introducing frustrating characters. The second half entirely redeems the film, creating a sense of wonder and amazement reminiscent of "The Empire Strikes Back."

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" escaped with its reputation intact, but the franchise can't rest on its laurels. The universe is officially on notice.

Rating: B