Release Date: 12/15/2017
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson, George Lucas (based on characters created by)
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, Amanda Lawrence, Jimmy Vee, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, Justin Theroux, Tim Rose, Tom Kane, Adrian Edmondson, Mark Lewis Jones, Hermione Corfield, Veronica Ngo, Noah Segan, Jamie Christopher, Paul Kasey, Michaela Coel, Jonathan Harden, Dan Euston, Priyanga Burford
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 142 minutes
Production Company: Lucasfilm, Ram Bergman Productions, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
When a Star Wars movie comes around, it’s not just another movie that’s in theaters. For some, the world stops and this theatrical experience is like no other being the second coming of all things great. Given that this is the 9th film in the franchise, questions are raised on how much original content will be explored in the next chapter as opposed to rehashing out what came before. Fortunately, The Last Jedi doesn’t make as many of the same mistakes The Force Awakens did, but it is still guilty of repeating elements from past films. Though it’s still a breath of fresh air in a galaxy far away, and while there were aspects I wanted to see that didn’t come into fruition, The Last Jedi still gets me excited for the future.
The Last Jedi picks up right where the last film left off, so for fans; this is the perfect start to completing the next story arc. We finally get a glimpse of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as now the great Jedi that started it all. Hamill is great in the role, embracing every aspect fans wanted and dreamed of from the character. And now that he potentially has a new Padawan (student/apprentice of the Force and/or Jedi), the legacy of the role is being pass down with great honor. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is back as well, and from the start of the film, it’s obvious she’s grown. She was a stronger character in the last film, and is humbly hungry for even more knowledge, and teaching. There’s so much more for Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to do this time, as he takes up a good portion of the screen time. There’s no compliance there because as brave as flying into battle with no fear, there’s still lessons he has to learn, with one being that a fly boy isn’t always the best solution when in war. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is even more conflicted than the last time we saw him. While it seemed clear he was completely converted over to the dark side, there’s still an iota of hope he may transit back to the light. But with the writing done by Rian Johnson, there’s still no telling, and only seeing the film will answer that question for you. Finn (John Boyega) role is just acceptable, but there’s nothing too special or new developing within his character which is sad to say the least. There are other characters that have a standout performance as well, but its better left unsaid here to surprise you if you decide to see the film.
During the film, there are three key story points to follow. Some work, while others should’ve been left on the cutting room floor, or not even shot to begin with. The first which is the most interesting is being Rey on an island with Luke trying to receive teachings to be the next best Jedi. The comedy within these scenes is well timed and placed that they don’t intervene with the seriousness of the entire situation. And when things get serious, the mood is heightened to dangerous omega levels. In the trailers, Luke states that this will not end the way you think it would, and while it was initially conceived as a misdirection to avoid spoilers, is the man doing nothing but speaking truth in relation to how events eventually turned out in the film. The second arc of the film takes place in space, and while majority of it is a cat and mouse chase, there are still moments that make you gasp for air in shock, and eventually end with plot twists and turns that were impossible to predict. The story arc that failed miserably bringing the film down to a level of disappointment was that of Finn and Rose (Kelley Marie Tran). This entire subplot was a text book example of boring, and a true definition of counter production. If you have to go to the bathroom during this portion of the film, don’t worry. You won’t miss a thing of importance. Taking up at least 20 minutes of the film, this easily could’ve been the time to develop more characters, but instead I’m not sure what Rian Johnson was thinking, but he clearly missed the mark with this bland inclusion.
Star Wars wouldn’t be Star Wars unless it contained a certain level of action and The Last Jedi does, but still doesn’t earn an A in the arena. I’ll just say first that I wish it contained more lightsaber battles. The space battles is where the actions shines, and I got everything I wanted from this portion as a fan of the franchise. I was at the edge of my seat during certain scenes, with no clue of how things would turn out, which of course made the experience much more enjoyable. Even when the film concludes its third act, it feels we the audience were given an extra fourth act of action that contained even more great action, and some new surprises I didn’t know were possible in a Star Wars film.
While I’m not a diehard Star Wars fan, I’ll admit I’m a casual fan, so, know I’m throwing my biased opinions out the door. There were still some elements in the film that disturbed me dearly, that left me leaving the theater disappointed. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a film based on my own expectations. I feel you can only judge a film on what it contains, but a number of decisions made turned me off, and I’m still scratching my head on why things had to conclude this way. I’m bothered by the way the character Snoke (Andy Serkis) was handled. I feel completely let down by his presence in the film. He was the ultimate baddie, but at the end, I still wanted more. There are also questions about his back story that were never answered, and to be honest; I feel robbed. The time spent with Finn and Rose’s story could’ve been avoided completed, that screen time could’ve been given to Snoke, but I guess I can’t have everything I want. Also, this film The Last Jedi isn’t entirely original. There were plot points that mimicked the original trilogy, and this was one of the weakest points in one of the last films in the Franchise coming from The Force Awakens. The prequels are trashed by critics and most fans, but at least they were 100% fresh ideas. I can’t say that about The Last Jedi. There are a few more mishaps that happened within the film that rubbed me the wrong way, but they’re hard to discuss without spoiling the film entirely.
As we know, all film are subjective, and none of them are perfect with a random mixture of the good and the bad. But overall, I did have fun with this film even though in the end I wanted more. I honestly can’t say if I’m excited for what’s to come next, and think it’s wise to tailor my expectations, but I will say it’s still good enough to buy on home video months later during that release. As I mentioned before, I’m a Star Wars fan, and I did enjoy this installment more than the Force Awakens that was release back in 2015, but out of the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One still holds the crown for my sense of taste.