If The Force Awakens was about balance, then Chapter VIII is about commitment. With an armada bearing down on the rebel alliance, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) summons Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), whose “force” is in contact with Rey (Daisy Ridley) after she approaches Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to instruct her in the ways of becoming a Jedi. Similar in scope and expansion to The Empire Strikes Back, even a non-believer such as myself has to acknowledge that this is a superior film all around, with an excellent, emotional performance by Hamill and a next-to-perfect ascension by actor Oscar Isaac as Poe, the meat-and-potatoes action hero. Things have progressed full circle at this point where it is evident how the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has influenced this picture. There has always been a slice of humor, especially in the Han Solo/Chewbacca relationship, but here it’s peppered throughout (and in one particular scene there is a not-so-subtle acknowledgment of Boba Fett’s ship’s resemblance to an iron, shades of 1978’s Hardware Wars!) Entertaining, choreographed lightsaber battles highlight what is basically a pursuit adventure, but at its tail end is a sequence that is quite possibly the most emphatic science fiction scene in the Lucas oeuvre! Well done!