Ambitious, powerful, and unpredictable, The Last Jedi is a worthy entry into the Star Wars Saga.
Rian Johnson opens his Star Wars directoral debut with a film that is unexpectedly special in a fresh and exciting way.
The themes of this film are layered and have multiple facets to them. One of them is to let the past die. This message goes for the film but also the audience. The Last Jedi respects its historic past, addresses the legends of it’s lore, and takes into account the events of the previous films but makes you think about them in a bold new way.
Over the last two years, we’ve heard every fan theory, speculation and prediction possible for this film and Rian Johnson accomplishes to circumvent all of them and give the audience a film they weren’t expecting. The second the film picks up from where The Force Awakens leaves off, it instructs you to expect the unexpected. From Luke Skywalker’s demeanor and actions, to Rey and Kylo Ren’s arcs, everything is given room to breathe and isn’t spoon fed to force you into one particular way of thinking. What Rian Johnson did is challenge these characters and challenge the audience of their pre-conceived notion of these characters like any middle point of a trilofy should.
Rian Johnson did not give us Empire Strikes Back 2.0. Instead, he took what made Empire special, it’s unpredictablity, and used it well for the middle point of this Trilogy.
The characters all impressed in this film. This mostly extends to three characters above all. Luke Skywalker, Rey and Kylo Ren. All three were used well and serviced in a way that adds to the lore of Star Wars and history of these iconic characters.
Mark Hamill’s performance as Luke is nothing short of spectacular. Starkly different from his joyful and unyeilding hopeful nature of the original trilogy, we meet Luke in a broken state. Haunted by the past and afraid of the present. While audiences might be wary of seeing an iconic character like Luke in this state, it is precisely why this characterization was so great. It was a challenge to the audience and a challenge to the character to find his way back to the light. Luke had an arc that impressed me and his legendary status in Star Wars lore has resounding development. Without spoiling, my favorite scene in the film was one involving him.
Rey and Kylo, two sides of the same coin, are developed well in this film. Both go through a soul searching arc that arrived to an interesting and unexpected destination . Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are impressive and have developed right alongside their respective characters. Both moved significant steps in their respective arcs and I’m very excited to see where Abrams and Terrio take them for the final entry of this trilogy.
Poe, Finn, Rose and BB-8 are all serviceable and did their required jobs in the story as secondary characters. While I felt the story thread with Finn and Rose in particular dragged a bit, it didn’t hinder the film much. Poe was developed well and is on a clear emotional arc in this film that will surly be developed and concluded in the final entry of this trilogy.
Original Trilogy icons, Leia, Chewy, C-3PO and R2-D2 showed up in true form and Carrie Fisher’s Leia gave a resonant, powerful and emotional performance as the Princess/General. It was a bittersweet but inspiring to see her and she had some of the best moments of the film. R.I.P
Rian Johnson filmed one of the most beautiful films in the Star Wars saga. Filled with impressive, striking and beautiful shots, The Last Jedi is a constant eye pleasing beauty, all backed behind John Willaims’ iconic and powerful score.
Overall, The Last Jedi is great. It challenges the characters, challenges the audience and challenges the actors. In the end, it transforms into a film that will stand the test of time and rank right up with Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope. Rian Johnson has proved his potential with this franchise and I look forward to what he does with a clean slate trilogy. The Last Jedi is the best way to handle the middle point of the trilogy, where The Force Awakens is feel good and nostalgia filled start, The Last Jedi breaks new ground and moves the story in a bold direction that is healthy for the franchise. In short, The Last Jedi is a powerful, emotional and ambitious film that makes for one of the best films in the series.