Star Wars: The Last Jedi
December 21, 2017
It’s safe to say that the latest Star Wars movie has been pretty controversial. While critics rave, the fanbase remains divided over whether this is the worst or the greatest installment in the franchise.
As a critic, this movie is simply spectacular. As a Star Wars fan, it simply met expectations.
Shot for shot, this movie is stunning. Director Rian Johnson did a stellar job making the galaxy far, far away feel vibrant and alive. This feeling is also owed to John Williams’ magnificent score that has captivated audiences in films from Harry Potter to Jaws. As far as cinematography goes, The Last Jedi has no noticeable flaws.
The actors also give stellar performances. Mark Hamill makes a triumphant return as a jaded Luke Skywalker (this is in every poster/trailer for this movie, so it’s not a spoiler), adding a whole new dimension to a childhood hero. The late Carrie Fisher steals her scenes as a tried and wise Princess Leia, and the new cast hold their own in the face of these film legends. Most noteworthy is Adam Driver’s portrayal of the new villain Kylo Ren, who truly plays with the viewer’s emotions.
The action is top-notch as well. All these years later, it is still satisfying watching a lightsaber hum through the air and hearing an x-wing roar through space. The fight scenes are well choreographed and fluid, and the starship battles put the space in Space Opera.
But while this movie is great in my opinion, as a Star Wars fan it feels like keeping your phone in a pocket you don’t normally use. It just feels slightly unnerving as a Star Wars movie.
There is dialogue in the movie that feels like someone at Disney said, “Oh, just write it like an Avengers movie.” The jokes fall flat and only hamper the film because they are so out of place.
And the story objectively has some issues. While I won’t spoil them here, I can broadly say that Rian Johnson wanted to put his story first over making a sequel to JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens. Some of the nuance and mystery that Abrams established is ripped away from the viewer in some glaring Star Wars party fouls. Furthermore, there were characters (two in particular) who did little to serve the plot of the film; they should have been saved for when they were truly needed, even though it was nice to see one of them on screen.
The second act also drags a little. There is one planet/subplot in particular that, if removed from the film, would make this movie almost perfect.
But for the rest of The Last Jedi, I was smiling the whole way through. There is something about watching a Star Wars movie that will always make me feel like a kid watching A New Hope for the first time. Director Rian Johnson, while straying off the beaten path quite a bit, still made a worthy entry into the most well known film franchise in the world.
If I had to rate this movie out of 5, I’d give it a 3.5/5. But to Star Wars fans, what matters is where you rank it. For me, it’s right in between Return of the Jedi and A New Hope in my opinion. So yes, do not worry, this movie is still bounds above the prequels.