Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Director Rian Johnson pays a lot of homage to previous Star Wars instalments, while also breaking with tradition. The Last Jedi is very unconventional but entrancing.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Frank Oz, Benicio del Toro & Carrie Fisher.
Run Time: 152 min.
US Release: 15 December 2017
UK Release: 14 December 2017
German Release: 14 December 2017 Well here is something I didn’t expect… I actually needed to go see this sci-fi flick twice, before being able to make up my mind about The Last Jedi. This is a new situation for me because until now I either loved a Star Wars film or simply disliked it. This new instalment in the franchise, though, takes the plot into an unfamiliar direction and plays with the nostalgic formula we obtained in The Force Awakens, making it work for the longest part but also including aspects that didn’t fit into the story and dragged. So ladies and gentlemen, put on your helmets, jump into your X-Wing fighters and let me tour you through my review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The film begins where the last one ended. The First Order, having decimated most planets of the New Republic with the Starkiller base in The Force Awakens, is now hunting down what remains of the Resistance. Poe Dameron (Isaac) and Princess Leia (Fisher) are struggling to escape from Snoke’s (Serkis) fleet. While mean Rey (Ridley) found Luke (Hamill) and asks him to return with her and stand against his former pupil Kylo Ren (Driver). But the old Jedi is not what she expected and that is all I will say about the plot. The story has Rian Johnson’s fingerprints all over it but that isn’t a bad thing, as he took the liberty to guide the narrative into directions that were unexplored in any previous Star Wars instalment. Usually, all Star Wars movies follow a simple formula and thus are predictable plot-wise. In this film, though, there was never one moment in which I knew the outcome of a sequence and that gives The Last Jedi a sense of freshness, which I loved when watching it. Johnson uses a lot of visual references from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, to build the tale around it but ultimately breaks with tradition, which I found a ballsy and intriguing move, contrary to other hardcore Star Wars fans. The tone of the story varies from light-hearted to dark and serious but it is always infused with humour, which at times works fabulously and other times is completely misplaced and cringeworthy. My biggest grudge with The Last Jedi though, is a side arc - about 30 minutes long - that really slows down the pacing to a near stop. There are also a couple of inconsistencies in a few scenes, but nothing major that would distract from the plot. In the end, this new instalment has a solid narrative with a few hiccups here and there. Moving away from the story and focusing on the different characters, this Star Wars sequel managed to create amazing new arcs for some of the beloved personas of the franchise, while also disappointing at developing some good backgrounds for some of the second-class level characters. Mark Hamill was fantastic! It was so good to see him as Luke in a Star Wars movie again. Master Luke has gone through a traumatising experience while building a new doctrine of Jedi, in fact, it hit him so hard that he went into hiding, becoming extremely bitter with the Jedi and his failure as a teacher. Daisy Ridley also returns as Rey and just as in the previous film, her charisma and positive aura define her character. We find out a little more about her family and her chemistry with Luke and Kylo Ren was beautiful. This brings me to Kylo, who truly grows as a character and villain since The Force Awakens. It was hard for me to see Carrie Fisher on screen, knowing that she passed away in 2016. I loved how her character, that of Leia, had grown and we finally get to see her use the force, though she does get sidelined for most of the runtime. I am also curious as to how her character will be used in the ninth episode. We finally get more insight into the mind of Poe Dameron, played by the great Oscar Isaac. He is a hothead, who likes to shoot before asking questions and nearly puts the fleet at risk. Just as with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, who embodies Finn, is oozing with energy and likeability. Sadly, and contrary to his fantastic performance, his story arc is not that interesting. He is sharing most of the screen time with Kelly Mary Tran’s new character Rose and I found her to be quite annoying. Finally, there are the characters of Snoke, Vice Admiral Holdo and Captain Phasma. Snoke’s connection with the force is finally displayed and, although I didn’t like where his character arc was taken while watching it the first time, I found it to be suiting the second time around. I also didn’t care much for Captain Phasma in the previous episode, so her short scenes left me pretty cold. What annoyed me was the way Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo was built up; when in the end she was just a filler during Leia’s absence. This is one gorgeous film to look at, the cinematography is breathtaking and the effects are out of this world. The action sequences are intense and captivating, I watched this movie twice in cinemas and the space battle sequences always left me feeling as if I were right there, watching from a bubble floating in space. The lightsaber fight choreography is smooth and includes beautiful wide shots, making it the Star Wars flick with the best lightsaber battles I have seen as of yet. Then there is of course the music, which is mesmerising and a big step-up from The Force Awakens.
Verdict: Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an extremely polarising flick, critics enjoyed it while hardcore Star Wars fans seem to mostly hate it, and I say mostly because I am one of them but contrary to the majority I loved every minute of it. I have read that some think it is the worst instalment of the franchise and that Ryan Johnson was disrespectful to the saga and the fans, yet I couldn’t disagree more. There is more fan service in this movie than in Episode VII, the difference is that the director decided to shine a different light on it and I personally found that very refreshing. The plot is great but not perfect, the characters and performances are the best they have ever been, with the exception of some minor or exposable ones. I will give The Last Jedi a 9.0 out of 10.
Do me a favour and give this film another chance, because it does get better with each viewing, I personally have pre-ordered my copy of the Blu-Ray already and it is my fourth favourite Star Wars movie right after Force Awakens and before Return of the Jedi. If you are interested in my other Star Wars reviews, scroll down to the related reviews section. I wish all of you a happy New Year and of course, thank you as always for reading my review!