The Star Wars saga has returned once more for the second installment of the franchise’s newest trilogy. The Last Jedi is directed by Rian Johnson, starring Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher (in her final film). This will in fact be a full review of The Last Jedi, so tread lightly, there are many spoilers ahead.
Alright, Let’s Review.
The Force Awakens was criticized for being a virtual shot for shot remake of A New Hope, which is a mistake that The Last Jedi does NOT make. Rian Johnson has made a truly unique movie, that does so many things differently but still hits all the beats that make a movie feel like Star Wars.
There were plenty of unanswered questions after The Force Awakens, particularly surrounding the two newest and most mysterious characters of this trilogy: Snoke and Rey. The duties of answering these questions was abdicated to Rian Johnson and this movie. Not a task that I envy. Snoke’s background was still unanswered in this film, but his fate was not left to theory. As for Rey, the mystery of her parentage was answered in a totally unexpected way that’s likely to divide the fans, but in a way that is ultimately right. Yes, they are in fact nobodies, who sold their daughter for drinking money (Kylo is not a liar). The sentence feels weird to type out because out of the 1 million fan theories out there, Rey’s parents being unimportant, inconsequential figures was not one of them. This may upset people but it’s the perfect embodiment of what Star Wars is. It’s for everyone. Whether you’re from a prestigious bloodline of Jedi Knights, or you’re just a girl from nowhere.
As for Snoke, well who saw that coming? We didn’t know much about the First Order’s Supreme Leader after The Force Awakens, but what we did know (or at least thought we knew) was that Snoke would be the main antagonist of this series. During the climax of the movie, Kylo, Rey and Snoke convene in Snoke’s throne room. A scene reminiscent of both Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi. Snoke eventually gives Kylo the opportunity to end Rey and in turn, commit fully to the Dark Side. Kylo chooses to kill Snoke instead of Rey and while it happens so suddenly and definitively, you won’t believe it until the credits roll. Snoke is gone now and in turn a lot of the questions surrounding him are too. The biggest question that remains is ‘where do we go from here?’. The direction that J.J. Abrams wants to take in Episode IX in terms of villains is going to remain up in the air for another 734 days.
Oscar Isaac fills out his role in Poe Dameron, John Boyega delivers another great performance as Finn and the newcomers, Guillermo Del Toro (DJ), Laura Dern (Admiral Holdo) and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose) all served their characters justice. A movie that is going to be remembered for so many iconic moments could be equally memorialized for its great individual performances. The most important of them being Carrie Fisher’s curtain call. Just seeing her on the screen will elicit emotion from every member of the audience. The touching line by Mark Hamill “no one is ever really gone” is the perfect way to rememeber our princess.
Luke Skywalker said it best when he said “this isn’t going to go the way you think” and throughout the whole movie, not a single scene does.
The Last Jedi is a fantastic film, but it has misteps. The humor lands, almost all of it, but there are points where it didn’t need to be there. That’s what makes it so divisive. Tone problems abound, as the movie plays very dark in other points and very light in others. Maybe Disney is to blame, maybe us clamoring fans are. This movie takes undeniable risks and will split fans because some may love every decision Johnson makes and other fans will be completely against it. The Last Jedi is a homerun hitter, it is going to have the big moments and it’s going to make the audience clap. It is also going to strike out in parts. In the end, it all pays off.
The best Star Wars movies can stand alone despite being a part of a greater universe. This movie’s biggest critics are it’s biggest fans (which lends itself to a bigger problem) but it can be enjoyed by anybody and everybody. The Last Jedi is a fun-filled, action packed adventure, filled to the brim with humor, twists and some of the best visuals in Star Wars history. Luke Skywalker said it best when he said “this isn’t going to go the way you think” and throughout the whole movie, not a single scene does.
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