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
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, and Oscar Isaac
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!
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Comment down below!
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This will never be as beloved or iconic as the original trilogy, but I do think it edges out RotJ for a place in the top three films in the Star Wars universe. It’s put together so well, and takes every chance it gets to add a new little wrinkle or plot twist or decision point to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. There were just two things I actively didn’t like, one being a brief scene clumsily filmed and the other being part of the premise that was necessary for the movie to have as high stakes as it did.
And, as you say, there is a LOT to process. I’m always a little taken aback when a reviewer puts out an hour-plus video talking about a new movie he just saw . . . but I can believe there’s an hour’s worth of talking about this movie.
You said it, man! When this film gets it right, it is so wonderful and jaw-droppingly good. People hold that original trilogy to such a high esteem that it’s just annoying to try to argue with people about it lol
I saw The Last Jedi at the tail-end of opening weekend and I found it to be a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Nice to see our trinity of Rei, Finn & Poe see further development where Rei become more confident in her growing Jedi skills, Finn gets a new friend in Rose & finally stands up to Captain Phasma and Poe grows into more of a leader through General Leia Organa. I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention about the growing awesomeness of BB-8, especially with the lil’ guy driving an AT-ST to help Finn and Rose escape! Also, it was really nice to have Luke Skywalker back one last time. In the end, it’s nowhere near deserving the level of unjustified hatred that it’s somehow getting from the hateful fans.
I agree with most of your assessment! The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way was BB-8 on the AT-ST. I felt like that rivaled something in the prequels! ??
What would that be?
I don’t know, I just found it pretty hoaky in comparison to the overall serious nature of the rest of the movie.
That was a little over the top, but it was set up earlier with BB-8 showing off all his, erm, fingers while he tried to repair the starfighter. And it worked for me because I expected a different character to be in the AT.
They did set it up, but I still felt it to be a little silly and childish given the serious nature of that scene.
It seems that we both watched different films. I agree Rian Johnson put his mark on Star Wars by infusing his filmmaker style, but the question is, did it really work. I happened to think that he failed. His editing is brute, his character development is unleveled, he further shows an utter lack of concern for respecting internal consistency of the Star Wars universe, his infusion of marvel comedic relief at best is annoying at worst it reminds you that you are watching a movie and thereby it disconnect you from the world that you are trying to submerge yourself. He is shameless in giving fan service, and quite honestly didn’t bring anything necessarily new to the franchise, other than a potentially interesting story arc between Rey and Ben…I recommend you to watch it again…let the sugar rush die down, you may change your opinion.
PS Thanks for visiting my blog…I hope is not the last time.
I take offense that you believe me to be a fanboy of sorts. We all have different tastes and I found enjoyment out of certain elements in the story. It’s an opinion, that’s all it is
My apologies: My intend wasn’t to offend you and I clearly did. For that I am sorry.
I was wrong in making that inference. If anything I was projecting myself, because I am a Star Wars fanboy.
As for the rest, it’s just my opinion and I totally respect yours. I do like some of your post…although we may have to argue about your ranking of Christopher Nola movies :-)
Thanks for the apology, is much appreciated!! My site embraces debate, but I never want to spread the feeling of animosity and venom that runs rampant through film discussion these days so I’m very quick so jump on any situation that might call for it. I was probably too quick to judge as well!
Dude no worries! I should have been more careful…honestly I was writing from a perspective of a fanboy who was disappointed about the movie….here is to future debates and celebration about movies!!!
Agreed! Let’s start over and forget the confusion ?
With comments like “let the sugar rush die down,” I won’t be revisiting your blog
This movies is amazing!!nice post!
Glad you loved it!! Thank you!
aww, your welcome!
I’m looking forward to seeing it. I think I may well agree with what you have said but I’ll let you know.
Looking forward to hearing from you!!
Good review. I personally loved this movie more than The Force Awakens. My biggest complaint was a lot perplexing WTF moments that are riddled throughout the film (be a narrative decision or character decision).
I agree there. I do love however that this film took sooo many chances. A lot people dislike that about this movie, but its certainly refreshing
Definitely agree with you on that. It was kind of refreshing, especially after The Force Awakens narrative being similar to A New Hope.
Nice review! I can’t wait to hear your spoilers review. I totally agree with you – the characters have so many layers & I really enjoyed that aspect of the movie! I saw this movie last night and I just finished my review on it: https://nerdthisup.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/star-wars-the-last-jedi-review-spoilers/
I’ll take a look!
Thank you so much!
Happy to help :) !
Nice review, I do agree that sometimes it felt a little cheap. One certain moment when a character manages to somehow save their own life using powers they never demonstrated before – felt a bit jarring to watch. All in all a very different Star Wars film but a good one at that!
That particular moment will be made into ALL the gifs in the future lol
I probably won’t see it for a few weeks.
While I do like the films, I’m not a Star Wars fanatic, so I can wait a bit and I’m a bit busy these next few weeks.
Probably smart! Wait until the crowds go down. Being a critic I’m basically forced to see ur early ??
Saw it last night and adored it! I left the theater on a cloud!
Regarding the writing – apparently Carrie Fisher was a well-known and respected script doctor and Rian Johnson had her work on the script. Not sure where her work ended and his/others’ began but I’m sure that will come out with more interviews and discussion while the movie makes the press rounds.
I’m glad you loved it! There’s certainly a TON to talk about that I’m sure Star Wars fans will adore!
Thanks for the spoiler-free review! We’ll be catching Star Wars this weekend :O
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