Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2018) is written and directed by Rian Johnson, and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, and Laura Dern. It is the 8th instalment in the Star Wars Saga.
30+ years, 7 movies and numerous spin offs and Star Wars is still one of the cornerstones of pop culture. The formula and idea of Star Wars hasn’t changed much and when it did, it wasn’t as loved as the originals. But this film, shakes up the foundations of what you took as the core idea of Star Wars, and succeeded.
The Last Jedi is a near masterpiece. If The Force Awakens (2015) was this generation’s A New Hope (1977) then, this film is the new Empire Strikes Back (1980). This film challenges the audience, and really flips over decades of established Star Wars lore. The series has been revitalised in a way I didn’t know I needed. If I’m vague here, it’s because I’m purposefully being so. My spoiler filled review will cover more of these details.
This film picks up LITERALLY where the last one left off. Perhaps you should watch the previous one right before just to catch up on your bearings, it doesn’t feel like much time has passed between the events of the previous film and those of this one at all.
But let’s get down to more nitty gritty. Oscar Isaac is sooo likeable. I fell in love with Poe Dameron the moment he appeared in the last film. He *really* shines here too. A gripe I had with the previous film is that he was lacking in it. But he’s definitely gotten a bigger more developed role, and I see great character development for this new fan favourite.
To be honest, I found Hamill’s acting corny and a little irritating in the original trilogy.
Daisy Ridley rocks. She’s essentially the same as she was in the previous film, spunky, hopeful, a little naive, stubborn but she grows and develops much more in this film. She’s far more badass by the end of the film than she was in the previous film (if that is even possible). Oh, and she acts her heart out.
Carrie Fisher, oh man this was a hard one to watch. In her final ever film before her sad death, the actress gave Leia some of her best moments. Here she clearly assumes the role of an elder,she was wiser and even stronger than she was before. I am so happy with what we got from Leia, after her lack of presence in the previous film.
Dominic Ghleeson was soooo entertaining as General Hux. He stole the show from the other villains. Charismatic, over the top, pasty and theatrical. Perhaps him shining over the others is a bad thing though. I was honestly expecting more from Andy Serkis’s big bad Commander Snoke. And Kylo Ren was, well he was Kylo Ren. His vision and his motives are clearer and perhaps more sympathetic. And his hate is definitely better explained. I think Star Wars has certainly given us its most complex, sympathetic and troubled villain. Something the prequels couldn’t do in three longly winded films. And that says a lot. Yet, he lacks an entertaining screen presence. Maybe I just don’t like Adam Driver, but he wasn’t as much of a thrill to watch as Ghleeson’s character. Although I do love their dynamic.
Mark Hamill!!! Luke Skywalker after having a short scene in the previous movie absolutely smashed this film. To be honest, I found Hamill’s acting corny and a little irritating in the original trilogy. But he gave an earth shattering performance. This movie…this Luke Skywalker…is the one people will remember.
I’m sorry to say but the weak point of this film has to be with the John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran storyline. I really, really disliked the latter in this film. I found her extremely annoying. Not Jar Jar Binks annoying. Just an annoying performance. And the dynamic that’s evolving between the two is a really unasked for detour from the rest of the film. Their scenes, grind the movie to a halt. The character of Fin is no different by the end of this movie than what he was in the previous movie. If all his and her scenes were cut out, it would hardly change the film. They have a sequence in the movie that scared me. I was scared that if it would go on any further, I would dislike the film. Thankfully, the Third Act MORE than made up for this.
John William’s epic musical accompaniment is an improvement from the last film. Again, that was a gripe I had with The Force Awakens that I’m glad they fixed. The CGI in this film is breathtaking. There is one scene, that I’ve never seen the likes of it in any other movie in my life. The audience was speechless. The cinematography was breathtaking on the salt planet. And those sequences, were among the best in the saga.
And that’s another thing. This film has some action scenes that are among the best in Star Wars. Director Rian Johnson deserves the credit for the inventiveness in which some of the lightsaber sequences are shot. The sense of true dread in the space battles leaves your heart racing. He really does make you feel fear for these characters, and is a type of fear I haven’t truly felt since Empire Strikes Back.
The humour is subtle, it’s much less on the nose as it was in The Force Awakens. But that’s a good thing, the film is funny but definitely darker.
The Last Jedi asks some tough philosophical questions. It’s great social commentary on the perceived nature of Good and Evil, and challenges our own views on religion, idols and legends. MOST importantly, it does this without being pretentious. Perhaps this paragraph won’t truly be appreciated unless you’re a huge fan, but it does ask thought provoking questions nonetheless.
There certainly are some plot holes and unanswered questions. Perhaps this is just my overly critical mind, perhaps the upcoming instalments will address them. The character of Captain Phasma was a true waste. And I’m disappointed as I said previously with Snoke and the utter waste of time that came with Kelly Marie Tran’s character. This film should have been half an hour shorter. God I already hate her SO much.
With some flaws, The Last Jedi has flipped Star Wars on its head. People are going to be talking about the beautiful message in this film for a while. It also has some commentaries that are bitter pills to swallow. I think when a franchise is this old and well established, it owes it’s followers a duty to be self critical.
I was purposely vague and I needed to be. There’s just so much to discuss in the spoilers review. But suffice to say that I am very pleased for the most part with this shining new instalment in this deeply beloved franchise. What are your thoughts? Leave behind your views in the comments. Remember, spoiler free!