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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review

Marc Kaliroff, Staff Writer

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi helps richen an already deep mythology. It delivers the unexpected and takes risk in order to flatter the audience during its two and half hour runtime. While massive Star Wars fans might be upset about the outcome of the movie due to its different take on its ideologies and mythology that were previously established in George Lucas’s cannon, it’s the majority of the people seeing this film that will enjoy it. There is no other Star Wars film that questions who is the true villain of this expanding universe that continues to evolve year after year.

 

The Last Jedi picks up right after The Force Awakens; when Rey travels to a distant corner of the galaxy, seeking the help of Luke Skywalker. Meanwhile, General Leia Organa begins to prepare the fight against the First Order and Finn was left in an injured state after being brutally sliced in the back by Kylo Ren. Of course the traditional opening crawl will catch you up on everything you need to know, if you couldn’t remember.

The Last Jedi is the story of multiple characters, split into five different stories that all intertwine with each other. The movie gives an even amount of time to both the light and dark side by connecting the two. It focuses on the internal conflicts of the Jedi, the Sith, and the resistance rebels. The majority of the story is focused on the conflict between both Rey and Kylo Ren, as the force has connected both of their minds. Throughout the film, the two question each other on the morality of their decisions. The film explores the good and bad decisions that the Jedi and Sith have taken in the previous films before, leaving the new generation of heroes and villains questioning which side they should really join and who their allegiance is truly to. The film explores the background of both Kylo Ren and Rey, explaining what exactly happened to their younger selves and their motivations for joining both The Resistance and The First Order. Between Rey and Kylo Ren is Luke Skywalker, Jedi master and the last of his kind. He is an old man now who has studied the Jedi religion for decades. This is a more gritty take on the character, not the young hopeful teenager you remember last seeing. Luke also struggles, however, by not being able to cope with his previous mistakes. He is the reason why the majority of the chaos is happening in the film, leaving him questioning if there really should be the Jedi religion due to the chaos they have caused since their birth.

Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, reprised by Mark Hamil.

The Jedi religion has always been a massive part of the Star Wars universe and one of the main points that has had fans coming back for more. Director and Writer Rian Johnson made some questionable decisions at first that pay off by the end of the film. One of the main ideas he brings to the table about the force is it being able to move matter across the galaxy. It brings in so many new opportunities to how future Star Wars films could use it’s supernatural powerhouse. Its ideology of the force is beyond any other piece of Star Wars media. Hardcore fans might despise this portion of the movie due to it being outside their norm, but casual fans will certainly welcome these new decisions.

While the Jedi and Sith are fighting, The Resistance is also up against The First Order. Poe Dameron, Finn, and newest addition, Rose Tico, all get the spotlight. Finn and Rose’s story has weight on the overall plot, but does not exactly fit into the movie. Their story was always grabbing precious time away from the stuff you wanted to see the most and completely tanks the pacing of the movie during the first act. There were moments where the movie completely shifts its story back to Finn and Rose, leaving the previous scenes build up at a halt. At the beginning of the story, the two characters go to a casino in order to find a codebreaker, DJ, played by Benicio Del Toro. This small break from the adrenaline rushing plot had me baffled. It goes on for far too long and serves barely any purpose in the long run due to the eventual outcome. It’s a part of the story that’s needed, but unwanted, a problem that plagued the prequel movies. Poe Dameron, on the other hand, is a hotshot flyboy who is put down by his allies. At his heart, Poe is indeed a rebel, but he also is dedicated to his mission which puts hundreds of lives at stake and decimates part of the rebellion during the first act.

Carrie Fisher’s role in the movie, General Leia Organa, is much more than what you’re expecting. The character appears for over half the film this time around as leader of the resistance. During the first act, there is one particular scene that the character has that will leave the audience confused. Even as a fan of this franchise, I could not even give an explanation for this scene. It’s a moment of despair that will leave you heartbroken at first, but then both glad and confused. This is the last time we might ever see an on screen Princess Leia, but Carrie Fisher delivered one of her best performances and certainly went out on a high note. She will certainly be missed. I left the theater thinking “how they can possibly explain her death due to the major role she played?”

Poe Dameron and BB-8.

The cinematography of The Last Jedi is absolutely gorgeous. This is the best looking Star Wars film by far. The special effects and choreography is absolutely stunning. Rian Johnson has put every other previous Star Wars director to shame. Johnson has crammed in so much detail in the film. I won’t spoil the moment, but during the last act of the scene where he tricks both the audience and villain. You just get so caught up in the moment that you do not even realize what’s really happening. It’s truly incredible how Johnson manages to capture the audience and stuff them inside this fictional universe.

Every laser blast and lightsaber swing is satisfying to just watch. The atmosphere goes beyond your expectations. Even the most out of place scenes still looked gorgeous. The space battle scenes, in particular, are always fun to watch and thrilling. The space battles in the previous Star Wars films have always felt a little messy with their focus on multiple starships and angles. Rian Johnson attempts to create a new perspective of the spacebattles by focusing mostly on one fighter at a time. It’s always interesting to see a different perspective of the action scenes in the Star Wars films. The movie’s final battle will leave you star struck, however. It is by far one of the best scenes ever made in a Star Wars film. Every costume and prop in the movie is also cleverly crafted. The use of physical props for the majority of the film really helps give a sense of reality to the audience. BB-8 and R2-D2 are back and bring more humor to the table. The droids also help bring out some of the personality in the main characters. Luke Skywalker and Poe Dameron have very heartfelt scenes with their droids, including a special callback for fans of A New Hope. John Williams also delivers another fantastic soundtrack that certainly beats out the majority of the other films. John Williams has become a staple of this series. There are tons of great new renditions of older scores in the movie that will leave lovers of the orchestrated soundtrack running out to buy a copy of it.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the middle chapter of the newest trilogy of Star Wars films. It’s a chapter that is absolutely mind boggling, filled with many surprises and memorable moments. The Last Jedi sets up the grand finale that will arrive in 2019. It still leaves many questions unanswered from its previous film, but it’s only a matter of time before we find out everything we are waiting to know. It will be interesting how this entry is viewed in the future by current day movie goers and the new generation of fans. With spectacular cinematography and a very emotional ending, it’s understandable how major fans could be disappointed by its take on its growing mythology, but at its core, The Last Jedi is a marvelous film that continues to expand on a universe that has existed for over four decades. It’s the deep mythology and deep symbolism of the Star Wars universe, that make this a spectacular film and by far one of the best science fiction films of this generation.

Rating: 9.6/10

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review