Welcome back! This is my review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was one of the most anticipated films of the year, collecting more than $200,000 domestically on the opening night. The Last Jedi seems to be a divisive movie with a wide variety of opinions from devout fans. I have a lot of mixed views on this film, so let’s break it down.
For those of you who saw The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi continues the battle between the Resistance and First Order. Rey finds Luke Skywalker on a remote island and we continue to see a lot of classic elements that are typical from the Star Wars franchise. If you haven’t seen the previous Star Wars films, this review will be really confusing. Unlike some franchises, it’s hard to jump in the middle of the Star Wars saga. So, keep that in mind while we move forward.
I definitely have several good things to say about this movie. Many of the characters were quite interesting. I thought Carrie Fisher was fantastic as General Leia. Sadly, we lost Carrie Fisher earlier in the year, but her final performance was excellent. I thought Kylo Ren had decent character development. He was one of my least characters from The Force Awakens, so I'm glad his character had some improvements in this film. Mark Hamill also gave a strong performance with his revival of Luke Skywalker. We’re seeing a different, thoughtful, and conflicted side of Luke. Kelly Marie Tran was relatable and fun as Rose. She’s a brand new character in the Star Wars series and I found her character quite refreshing. John Boyega was pretty good as Finn, even though the character is one dimensional. He adds a lot of comical elements to the film’s serious tone. Laura Dern was also solid as Vice Admiral Holdo in the Resistance. Holdo was an interesting supporting character, but I wish she had more screen time. I'll bet you guys want to hear about the Porgs. They're adorable and absolutely hilarious. The Praetorian guards were pretty cool too. They serve as body guards to Supreme Leader Snoke and I found them very entertaining. However, they're not particularly big characters.
We can always count on Star Wars to deliver great visual effects and action scenes. It’s a hallmark of the franchise. The environments and battle scenes are cutting edge. You’ll see action in a couple forms. There are big battles in space and some individual conflicts on the ground level. Again, it’s typical of Star Wars. Even though we’re not seeing a lot of new elements in regards to visual effects, it’s still very entertaining and exactly what an audience should expect.
This is an unpredictable film and I mean it in a positive context. It keeps the audience guessing and makes a lot of surprising turns. The Last Jedi should surprise even the most seasoned Star Wars fans. I thought Rian Johnson gave a unique perspective to a long lasting franchise. He made a lot of interesting choices in directing. Most of the unexpected elements worked fine for me, but they might irritate some traditional Star Wars fans. Johnson definitely took a lot of risks in this film.
Even though The Last Jedi moves in a new direction, we still see a lot of influences from previous Star Wars films. I can see some classic elements in the battle sequences, visual effects, themes, plot points, and more. This isn’t the same problem from The Force Awakens. Many viewers thought The Force Awakens was a rehash of A New Hope. This isn’t the case for the The Last Jedi. It’s both different and familiar at the same time in a positive way.
This movie brings up some interesting ideas regarding rebellion and the underdog. Every Star Wars film showcases a rebellious band of heroes who tries to overthrow a corrupt empire. The message is particularly strong, sentimental, and oddly logical in The Last Jedi. Some elements are surprisingly realistic and thought provoking. It was a stellar and bold move in both directing and writing.
This film also has a lot of funny scenes. It’s awesome. The humor works really well and lightens up the somber mood. Earlier in the year, I wrote a review about Thor: Ragnarok. That film went overboard with the humor and became very silly. In fact, the story dragged along because the characters stopped all the time to say jokes. We don’t have that problem in The Last Jedi. The humor is brief, sporadic, and appropriate. I really appreciated it.
Unfortunately, I was unhappy with certain elements in this film. Some of the choices with characters seemed odd or inappropriate. It’s kind of hard to talk about the situation without giving away spoilers. Basically, some of the characters make decisions that seem out of place. I expect consistency in the character’s personalities, decisions, and values. The Last Jedi randomly changes some things and certain elements didn’t work for me.
I also felt like the movie dragged in the beginning and middle of the story. It has some pacing issues and a few scenes seem like unnecessary tangents. The Last Jedi is around two and half hours long. A few sections in the middle could have been eliminated to help the pace.
The plot needed some work too. Ironically, the story doesn’t move forward very much. You’ll have a better understanding by watching the film. I feel like Episode IX will need to cram a ton of information, plot points, and direction because The Last Jedi doesn’t move the overall story through the next chapter enough.
I also have a minor complaint about Kylo Ren's lightsaber. It's the same one we saw in The Force Awakens. I think his lightsaber is weird and awkward. The other lightsabers worked well in the earlier Star Wars movies and there was a big variety of them through the years. Kylo Ren holds his lightsaber in a particular way and the weapon seems a bit inefficient. In fact, clumsy might be a better word. I suppose the creators of the new Star Wars films deserve some points for originality though.
That concludes my review for The Last Jedi. It’s actually a pretty good movie. I just had a few issues with it. Should you see it in theaters? Of course! It’s a Star Wars film! See it on the biggest screen possible. The visual effects and action sequences will be stunning. I know it’s hard to find the time and money to watch movies during the holiday season, but it will be worth your effort. Bring the whole family. A lot of kids will probably enjoy this film. Did you already see The Last Jedi? Please leave a comment and tell us about your experience. I'm wishing you guys a happy holidays and stay tuned for next week’s blog post.
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