Film Review – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
The movie for which everyone has been waiting, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has finally come to theaters all over the world, prompting fans of all ages to collectively lose their minds. Unlike The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson and company have promised a very different Star Wars film this time around, turning the page on the most popular film franchise. The following review will be spoiler free.
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Quickly after the events of her previous journey, Rey (Ridley) comes under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker (Hamill) after discovering his whereabouts. Rey begins to learn the extent of her powers in the ways of the Jedi, learning more about Luke in the process. Along the way, shocking revelations about the Force are discovered as well as the continuance of a nefarious plot by dark forces in the galaxy.
Unlike most massive blockbusters these days, Star Wars: The Last Jedi appeared to breeze through production without a single hiccup. In fact, the only news that we received from the production was the carefully curated snippets of information that only wet the appetite for fans of the property to an even greater extent.
However, what gave fans even greater hope was that Rian Johnson, the film’s director, was given the opportunity to write an entirely new trilogy in the Star Wars universe that has absolutely nothing to do previously introduced canon after completion of The Last Jedi. This piece of news signaled to everyone that Disney loved what they were seeing from Episode VIII. After all, you don’t give something carte blanche for future projects unless his current project blows you away.
Rian Johnson isn’t the typical smaller director that gets thrust into a blockbuster. He’s created some great films, including Looper which some consider as one of the best science fiction films of recent memory (me included). He creates films that comment on the world in which the film takes place, offering story elements that aren’t quite like what we’ve seen before.
Rian Johnson’s Deepens the Bonds that We’ve Come to Love
To The Last Jedi‘s credit, it focuses primarily on the characters that everyone has come to adore. While Johnson works to give every character ample screen time, The Last Jedi can boil down to three individuals: Rey, Kylo Ren, and Luke Skywalker. Nothing here is very cut and dry. Rian Johnson implemented a lot of grey area into the thought processes of these characters, creating elements that form compelling ideological differences that are rooted in faith. The Last Jedi is certainly one of the more humanistic Star Wars films to date.
Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver shine as the two lead forces. Under different direction, their personal struggles as well as their relationship with each other could have been fairly simplistic. However, there’s much more to it. They’re more fascinating than ever before.
As for Mark Hamill, yes, he actually speaks as Luke Skywalker. His presence is felt throughout almost every move that our main characters make. Dare I say, his performance may become his most powerful performance as the powerful Jedi in time. Rian Johnson created layers for every character, and Luke is definitely at the forefront of that assertion.
A Distinct Style Makes Star Wars: The Last Jedi Verrrrry Different
These days, major blockbusters feel as if they’re made by committee. Some of them have six different screenwriters, feeling as if they’ve gone through a meat grinder in order to check off all the boxes for a general audience. The Last Jedi, on the other hand, is very different story. It certainly has the feel of a Star Wars film, but it’s told through a new lense. Rian Johnson took some serious chances with this script. Some of them work, others don’t. But, having the audacity to change the formula will always get brownie points from this critic.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has elements that many will ponder for ages. There are as many questions raised as there are answers discussed. Some of these points of finality will leave some scratching their heads, but it’s a welcomed change that may forever impact what Star Wars becomes in future iterations.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is weird. That’s probably the best compliment I could ever give.
The Last Jedi Hits, But it Also Misses
And yet, Star Wars: The Last Jedi falls prey to typical blockbuster beats that are becoming quite tired. There’s still a need to race after a MacGuffin with the occassional ex machina saving moment that writes a movie out of a hole only to get a cheap applause from the audience. There’s so much ingenuity to The Last Jedi that every generic bit sticks out horribly, causing the film to loose steam for awhile.
The first act of the film struggles to find its footing with these elements as characters race off every which way while manufactured conflicts arise to artificially inflate the stakes. Luckily, the film comes to a resounding finish once it embraces its truly different aspects.
You begin to feel the length of the film creep in in those early moments. Rian Johnson was forced to create semi-vignettes for the film’s plethora of characters in order for them to feel relevant within the context of the story. However, some of these elements severely detract from the more fascinating pieces of the puzzle. They become elongated without the proper payoff to make them feel worthwhile. It also doesn’t help that Star Wars: The Last Jedi also feels it necessary to provide the occassional bit of fan service.
The Last Jedi gets a bit rocky at times, but it sticks the landing with great gusto, offering fans a ton of information to process while being unafraid to take serious chances. Rian Johnson has put his stamp on this film, creating a very different Star Wars feature. Not only did he prove himself as an undeniably great filmmaker, he added his own stamp on Star Wars while maintaining that lovely sheen as one of the most hallowed franchises in history. It gets a B+.
Episode VIII is a difficult film to discuss without spoilers, so make sure you see the film as soon as possible to avoid undesired information.
Who am I kidding, you were planning on seeing it this weekend anyway!
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