Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This is not going to go the way you think.

Picking up right where we left off. Rey (Daisy Ridley) attempts to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join in on the fight against the first order. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) remains conflicted as ever after being berated by Supreme Leader Snoke. (Andy Serkis) General Organa (Carrie Fisher) has to deal with hot headed Poe Dameron who hatches a risky plan with Finn (John Boyega) and new comer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) that they hope will help the Resistance. 

There's lots of opinions out there on this film right now. I read the spoilers ahead of time, and I'm not going to lie I hated how some of them sounded, but I was right to withhold judgment because this film played out far better than it read. And the thing that was making me the most nervous - my six year old sitting through a two and a half hour movie worked in my favor too. He loved it (though he now hates Chewbacca for eating a porg)

Director Rian Johnson took a very different approach to this. This isn't an Empire Strikes Back rehash. He took a lot of risks,(Even sticking with more practical sets than complete CGI) but I like what he did. He took the franchise and pushed it forward, instead of just winking at the people who grew up with the original trilogy. I appreciated that. That being said, it's pretty clear which character he prefers writing for. 

This film to me was ultimately about failure and what that can teach you. Rey and Kylo Ren have by far and away my favorite story here. They were my favorites after watching The Force Awakens. I always thought that they were destined to be allies. Since they're a foil for each other, Rey with the light and Kylo with the dark, they're going to be the ones to balance everything out together. No, not in a romantic way, but just as comrades. Johnson develops their characters so well that I was actually disappointed when the scenes would shift away from them. The two other characters I think Rian handles well are Luke and Leia. Seeing where they are at this point in their lives was interesting. I had kind of dreaded watching Luke's story play out because it was one of the things I read that I wasn't crazy about, but it was beautiful. I can't wait to see where it goes in the next episode.

Finn, unfortunately gets the shaft. His mission in theory sounds fine, he gets character development along the way, but it ends up being pretty pointless by the end. Poe also gets more scenes this time around, but his story can be frustrating. 

I'm struggling with how to rate this. I don't feel as hyped as I did leaving The Force Awakens, which I gave an A+ at the time. This film had some things I flat out hated, but it also had scenes that I loved far more than anything The Force Awakens did. Maybe even more than anything Star Wars has ever done. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You're not alone." - Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)

6 comments:

  1. I think one of the film's strengths is that exploration of failure. I think it says a lot about what we go through in life and I think Johnson should be commended for that. Plus, I really did like what he did with the characters as it relates to Rey and Kylo both being conflicted with their roles as is Luke who is filled with a lot of guilt and regret in his life. I also enjoyed Poe's character arc as we see him immediately as this reckless and impulsive figure who needed to be bitch-slapped into what it takes to be a true leader and take account for everything that happens.

    It's a bold move that I think needed to happen and Johnson did the right thing. It's OK if you have to harken back to elements of the past but you need it to create something that can push the story forward.

    Now I'm just worried about what will happen next as we all know third films in trilogies often don't exactly deliver all the way.

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    1. What JJ does will be interesting. I just hope he doesn't try to retcon anything that Rian did, particularly Rey's parents.

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  2. I love your kid! Chewie is a monster! :P

    I'm glad you ended up liking it but yeah Finn was totally useless here

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    1. Poor Finn. I hope he has something better to do the next time around.

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  3. Nice review! I wasn't a big fan of the movie the first time I saw it, but I liked it a lot more the second time. Kylo/Rey were by far the most interesting parts, and there's so much to think about with them and their arcs, and how they balance each other. Even though I don't agree with everything Johnson did with Luke, Hammil was still great, as was Fisher.

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    1. I'm really looking forward to seeing where Rey and Kylo go in IX. I expect they'll be on the same side by the end of it.

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