Most films don’t receive the same level of anticipation that the Star Wars universe seems to generate. Two years removed from “The Force Awakens,” we are finally going to hear Luke Skywalker speak for the first time since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” That’s 34 years of waiting, which is more than a lifetime for most of today’s fans.

Who is the last Jedi? It’s complicated, just like the film in its entirety compared with the others in the canon. It’s far more mystical and magical than its predecessors, and full of symbolism that requires reflection, but that’s the evolution of the series over decades, I suppose. The imagery is beautiful, and the effects are state of the art.

Episode VIII has a certain expectation of grandeur to it. The second installment in a trilogy is notoriously either fantastic or terrible, but the common theme is that the characters need to descend into the depths of darkness before resurfacing changed and ready for the finale. There is often a disappointing lack of resolution, but that buildup is part of the formula of typical trilogy success. The tone of the film broods as expected, but it’s juxtaposed with more naturally humorous dialogue than I recall from any of the others in the series. Not once did anyone claim “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” which left me feeling nostalgic whimsy and melancholy.

“The Last Jedi” follows the same basic trajectory as all of the others, whipping back and forth among three stories; one plot line follows the individual journey by Rey (Daisy Ridley) into the meaning of the Jedi, one is a space battle between the Empire and the Rebellion with the ensemble cast, led by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and one is a fantastic and daring adventure where our rogue, Finn (John Boyega), gets himself into trouble on some wildly rowdy venue. Sound a little bit like Luke, Leia and Han? It should, because the backbone of the franchise has never really shifted. I suppose the respect for the master, George Lucas, keeps the new talent from straying too far from the heart of the film catalog.

As darkness envelops the light, and all hope diminishes, we find ourselves immersed and actually caring for 150 minutes about creatures (diamond foxes, fuzzy penguins who scream and giant manatees with green milk), light saber battles and a generally welcome escape from reality (and gravity). These types of films remind us why we go to the movies in the first place.

Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “Looper”) may have been a dubious and obscure choice to tackle such a high-profile project, but his chops prove otherwise. He is a midget-car champion finally given the keys to a stock car. He handles every twist and turn like a pro, which is even more impressive from a writing perspective than as a director.

Some may criticize the film for being a bit too far out and esoteric, but I argue it might have been the shot in the arm to take the franchise to the next generation. Johnson may have passed the baton for Episode IX back to JJ Abrams (with Chris Terrio, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly helping with writing), but his influence will last just like Irvin Kershner left his stamp with “Empire Strikes Back” back in 1980. Besides, Rian Johnson is working on a new “Star Wars” trilogy, so the end is nowhere in sight, which is good or annoying depending on where you fall on the fan spectrum.

Lucasfilms must be kicking themselves for selling the brand to Disney back in 2012 for a meager $4 billion, but the future is blinding for Disney Films, especially after the recently announced pending purchase of Fox films. That brings a film studio lineup of Pixar, Lucasfilms, Marvel and Fox all under one roof. Expect big things over the next decade from Mickey and Minnie, I know I am.

My fan theory that has been percolating for the past two years was debunked, to my dismay. Maybe my expectations had outgrown any possible outcome, and I suppose it’s time I come clean and admit for the first time publicly that I’m a Star Wars super fan.

“The Last Jedi” is as awesome as it could possibly be, and maintains the vibe created by “The Force Awakens” very nicely. I for one can’t wait for Episode IX in 2019.  Until then, we have next year’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” to look forward to.