What is it about?
As Rey (Daisy Ridley) begins training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the Resistance, led by Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), has to face the First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
How is it? 8.9/10
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a unique, ambitious Star Wars movie that still maintains the magic of the previous ones. Rian Johnson’s excellent direction and script gives the movie a ton of surprises, while the gorgeous cinematography, effects, and action also make this movie even better. This is a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, but you should definitely go experience this for yourself.
First off, Mark Hamill is fantastic here as Luke. He’s shown as a darker, more damaged, and haunted Luke, but he’s not completely different from the one in the originals. Mark Hamill is truly compelling and gives such a complex performance. His character goes interesting new ways and has a great, satisfying arc. Daisy Ridley is again amazing as Rey. Her character also has a great arc, and her training with Luke is super entertaining to watch. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is one spectacular villain. He’s very well developed and you get to see his internal conflict throughout. Driver’s performance is captivating and really lets you look into the character.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) has much more to do here. I liked him a lot in The Force Awakens, and Oscar Isaac is again great. Poe’s such a likable, charismatic character, and I found myself always rooting for him throughout the film. He became one of my favorite characters after this film. John Boyega is amazing as Finn, who is a really strong character here. Carrie Fisher’s tragic death is handled well here and Leia’s character gets justice and lots of great moments. Laura Dern is great as Vice Admiral Holdo. She gives a committed, fun performance as the new Resistance leader. Kelly Tran also gives us a promising new character in Rose, who I want to see more of in Episode 9.
Director Rian Johnson gives The Last Jedi the feel of a Star Wars movie, but also adds his own voice. He does a stellar job directing it, and the movie boasts a spectacular script as well. This is a Star Wars movie that takes risk and is definitely super ambitious. It’s unique and has some very bold story choices. The story also has a ton of surprises, and the movie will subvert your expectations lots of times. There were several genuinely shocking moments that had me gasping. Johnson also deepens some aspects of Star Wars mythology that might anger some fans, but I personally thought was really cool. This movie also has emotional moments that will definitely satisfy fans and are done well. As long as the movie is, despite one issue (which I will discuss later), its pacing for the second and third act is handled very well. The movie generally moves at lightspeed and even when it slows down a bit, it’s still super compelling.
Rian Johnson gets very meta here at times, and this movie has some great self-aware commentary about itself that’s both entertaining and interesting. Although this movie gets really dark sometimes, it’s still endlessly entertaining. I had so much un with this movie and had a grin on my face for a large portion of it. There’s some great comedy from all of the characters and it’s used at the right moments so that it never detracts from the drama. The script explores the difference between the light and the dark and the blurring between the two. Its characters also see where they stand on this spectrum and these themes are very well dived into. Any and all fan service here doesn’t feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. There are lots of crowd-pleasing fan service moments that are earned and you can see the director’s love of Star Wars shine through.
This movie is gorgeous. The visual effects are truly jaw-dropping. Combined with the incredible cinematography and action, this movie has some of the best Star Wars effects ever. The work on the creatures and all of the locations are just amazing and so hyper-realistic, you are really transported to this other world. The action is present throughout the film and is some of the best in the series. All of the space battles, hand-to-hand combat, and the lightsaber fights are just beyond words and look and feel so amazing. The choreography in them is so great and every detail about them is perfect. The cinematography is also fantastic. Some shots are just so well framed and had me in awe. A lot of the locations, like the salt planet Crait, utilize this, and they look fantastic. John Williams’ score is, as always, magical. It adds so much to these movies and is, again, just amazing.
My main problem with this movie is the storyline on casino planet Canto-Bight featuring Finn and Rose. Johnson needed to give them some to do, so he…gave them this…? It leads nowhere, has barely any payoff, and drags the pacing of the (already long) movie a ton. The design of the location is cool but it adds nothing to the movie and could have been cut out completely with no effect on the story. Benicio del Toro’s new character DJ is just…meh. He doesn’t get much screentime at all, and doesn’t have much of a role. Another underdeveloped character is Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), who didn’t get her character done justice in Episode VII, and doesn’t get it here either. She barely has any screentime and is just there for the sake of being there.
Overall, I loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Packed with action and surprises, and boasting a great story, The Last Jedi goes deeper into these worlds and characters. However, there is one storyline that doesn’t land at all and could be taken out of the film, which is my only big problem with The Last Jedi.