Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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The Last Jedi is a fantastic Star Wars movie.

This film starts off where the Force Awakens left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) presenting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) with his light saber.  This was the cliffhanger at the end of Episode VII and everyone was dying to know what would happen.

Meanwhile, we start off with an exciting action scene with Poe (Oscar Isaacs) in a great space fight.

I want to try to avoid getting into too many specifics here when dealing with the plot, so I am going to try to write this review with only the basis plot beats.

Mark Hamill returned as Luke Skywalker and he was spectacular.  This is one of the best performances in Hamill’s acting career.  His interactions with Rey were some of the best parts of the movie.  Every scene involving Luke is just magnificent and makes you want more.  There is one scene in particular with Luke and another character that is just heart breaking.

I loved the entire Rey-Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) parts of this movie.  They had some of the best kick ass parts of the film as well.  The dynamic between these two characters really set the film series up as an effective way moving forward.

There were some wonderful action, especially in space fights, as is the case with Star Wars movies.  The CGI is mostly excellent in the film.  There is a sequence involving the Millennium Falcon that is just an amazing scene.

How about the Porgs?  I did not hate them.  They were cute and not annoying.  Since there have been many Star Wars characters over the years that have felt as if they were meant to be included so there would be toys, and most of them have been iffy at best, the Porgs are not that bad.

And what can we say about Carrie Fisher?  Our princess was great in The Last Jedi, in what will turn out to be her final role.  Carrie Fisher’s time on screen was very melancholic. I loved watching her, but it was sad as well.  This was a wonderful way for Leia to be remembered, almost a year from Fisher’s passing.

I enjoyed John Boyega as Finn in the film.  He is paired with a new character for much of the movie named Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), who I also liked.  She was fresh and engaging and I liked seeing her.  I will say. though, that I was not much of a fan of the way their story played out.  Their trip to another planet was easily my least favorite part of the film and I think it is the reason why the middle of the film felt like it dragged a bit.

As I said, the middle of the Last Jedi dragged, and some of the humor that was included felt like it was in the wrong movie.  I would say that around half of the jokes/laughs were forced and did not fit.  I was also not a huge fan of the roles played by Benicio del Toro or Laura Dern.  Neither one felt fully fleshed out.

There was a point in the second act that I started to question whether or not this film was going to be good.  However, it was not too long after that where The Last Jedi just took off. About midway through Act Two and into Act Three, the movie was unbelievably exciting, full of tension and positively awesome.  It has one of the best third acts of the year.  The film took all kinds of chances and it felt like a Star Wars movie that we had not seen before, while still maintaining enough of the Star Wars flavor to know that we were watching a Star Wars film.  It really walked that tightrope well and that ending sequence was mind blowing.

Rian Johnson brought a true gravitas to the eighth film in the franchise, and reinvigorated the series with his vision.  The film feels less like a trip down nostalgia road and much more like a new and exciting chapter in a world where we are comfortable.  You can certainly understand why the people in charge handed Johnson a new trilogy all of his own to create after this trilogy ends.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a marvelous film that has everything a Star Wars fan could want.  We have characters we love, exciting action and adventure, a brilliantly conflicted villain in Kylo Ren, a gaggle of heroic figures struggling against overwhelming odds, fantastic visuals and plenty of unexpected twists that you won’t see coming.  The Last Jedi is great despite a few flaws in the second act that drags the film down a tad.

4.5 stars

 

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