Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi Review:
Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke (Mark Hamill) and is trying to convince him to return to the rebellion, but he has lost all interest in the Jedi religion and in the cause. As he stated, “I came to this island to die.” This statement did not dissuade Rey because she is lost herself and is struggling to understand what is going on inside her. What is this new feeling that has always been with her, but just decided to awaken? She doesn’t understand what is going on and needs someone to teach her the ways of the Force and who better than Master Jedi Luke Skywalker right?
Now that the rebels have safely evacuated their base and have jumped to light speed to escape the First Order, they believe they are in the clear to search for a new base. Yea, they thought wrong. The First Order tracked them through light speed and know that if they try to jump again, they would be sitting ducks. Stunned, the Rebels now need to find a way to knock out the tracking device but the need for a code breaker is needed to hack their ever-changing security codes. In order to find this code breaker, Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) set out on a mission to bring the codebreaker back to help disable the tracking device. Enter DJ (Benicio Del Toro) and the adventure begins.
Director Rian Johnson had some big shoes to fill when taking on Last Jedi and he does so very well. Unlike the previous Star Wars movies, this one was lighter and funnier than its predecessors and geared toward millennials than traditional fans. The opening sequence is both thrilling and hilarious. This is an approach that hasn’t been seen before.
Johnson’s continuation of the story that has spanned over 40 years doesn’t miss a beat. Let’s face it, from Phantom Menace to the current instalment (and beyond), Star Wars is centered around on family with exceptional powers, battling the forces of good and evil throughout generations. It started with Anakin Skywalker who passed his powers to Luke and Leia. Leia, in turn, passed it to her son, Ben who later became Kylo Ren. The only unknown is Rey. Her origin has yet to be revealed, but it can be assumed that she is some kin to Anakin. Perhaps granddaughter, but we will just have to wait and see.
There is no breakout acting in Last Jedi. Driver’s portrayal of Kylo Ren has gotten better, but he still comes off as the spoiled insecure little kid whose obsession with Darth Vader has taken a toll on him. He is quick to throw a temper tantrum and is always trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he is worthy of his lineage to Vader, but he fails at every turn. Seems like the rod was spared on him.
Ridley was her normal wide-eyed I want to find my parents and save the world self. Boyega stayed true to his “we need to get as far away from the First Order as possible” but with one small twist toward the end.
The acting was pretty even, except for Leia. This was to be Leia’s movie where she would finally become the center and driving force of the movie. In her last on-screen appearance as Leia, Carrie Fisher’s performance was awe-inspiring and to know that she is no longer here to reprise her role will be hard to bare by all and will be felt for generations to come. However, she doesn’t go out quietly. There is one scene that will have a true Star Wars fan screaming “YESSSS!!!! That’s my girl! You Go Leia!!” R.I.P. Carrie Fisher.
While Johnson’s Last Jedi, has taken this epic story to another level, it also has some drawbacks. As a Star Wars fan from early childhood, I couldn’t help but notice that the last two instalments were upgraded carbon copies of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Empire similarities: The destruction of the Starkiller base, and the battle at the new rebellion base situated on a planet that resembles Hoth, but instead of snow, there is salt. The role reversal of Luke and Rey is similar to Yoda and Luke. Jedi similarities: The entire dialogue between Kylo and Rey where she senses the “conflict” within him to the Vulcan mind meld between them which is similar to what Luke and Vader had to the “We can rule the galaxy together” speech. It would seem that the imagination and creativity of the writers have left the building and the stories are being recycled.
Overall, there is no need to mention that the special FX/CGI is off the chain, the action is excellent, the laughs and cheeky comments are refreshing, and the storytelling is on point, but could use some work. True fans will like Last Jedi but will notice the flaws. Just know, this joint is 2 ½ hours long so go to the bathroom before and sip that drink slowly because you don’t want to miss a minute!