The 2nd installment of the new trilogy is finally here! Director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, and a few episodes of Breaking Bad) takes on everyone’s favorite space opera. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher all reprise their roles from The Force Awakens with new additions of Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro joining.
The Last Jedi picks up right after The Force Awakens with the First Order giving chase and looking to wipe out the Resistance once in for all following the events of the aforementioned film. While Rey finds Master Jedi Luke Skywalker, who went into exile after the fall of his revival of the Jedi and playing a part in the creation of our villain Kylo Ren.
I was entertained enough to appreciate The Last Jedi. But I couldn’t help but feel unsatisfied. This film clocks in at 2 hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest film in the franchise. They could have easily trimmed down maybe 30 minutes by removing a story line featuring a planet that is very reminiscent of the prequels with shades of Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and that isn’t a compliment.
Humor is very, very hit or miss this time around. But it has more to do with the moments these jokes are made as opposed to the jokes and gags that are made. There is a similar issue with Thor: Ragnarok were the moments jokes are said kind of take you out of the movie, you have to ask yourself are you watching a Star Wars movie or a parody. General Hux is regulated down as the butt of the joke here and there and it doesn’t work with the narrative of the character that was established. The funny moments from Poe Dameron work, but are consistent with the character from the first scene of Force Awakens.
There are about 4 battle sequences in the whole film and maybe 2 of them stick with you. A space battle that could rival Return of the Jedi’s or Rogue one’s space battle as being the best in the franchise. Action takes a back seat in this film compared to the last 2 Star Wars films. It’s not a completely bad thing.
Graphics computer generated and practical are all in top form. Supreme Leader Snoke is damn near flawless, I kept wondering if he was a real person in makeup or cgi. There is one cameo that brought so much joy and warmth to me seeing this character again. For a few seconds, they did look weird like the cgi was incomplete or difficult, but it goes away fairly quickly. New creatures are also introduced and I can honestly say… The Porgs are kind of fun. I thought they would annoy me to no end and they brought the right amount of levity.
You also get a glimpse into some new force powers that aren’t seen in previous films. It’s not like powers were rewritten for the new trilogy or anything that could bug seasoned fans. I for one liked getting a new glimpse of powers the Jedi and Sith possess. It’s a new wrinkle that can work for future films The best parts of the film are the sections involving Luke, Rey, Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. These moments are well written and acted. I could have used more time with these characters than the new ones.
Now, my issues with the film are with the decisions Rian Johnson (and perhaps Disney) made with characters and questions we had after the Force Awakens. The acting is great all around the board. Keep in mind, there is a difference between bad acting and bad scripting. Despite the new characters falling short of my expectations, everyone from the last film worked well. I didn’t like Del Toro’s DJ or Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo. What bugged me about these new characters is that there was need for them. Even Tran’s Rose I felt didn’t add anything to the story other than being a love interest for one of our heroes. I would have had fan favorite characters that survived the first time be highlighted. A minor spoiler here…there are 2 deaths that will bug you.
There are 3 major character reveals that fell flat. One makes one characters’ journey not so special and one rewrites a character that you can’t help but be angry about. Yes, angry. The last reveal isn’t so bad, but you will question why haven’t we seen this reveal sooner.I know, very vague details, but you will know it when you see it.
Along with the above grievance, 2 story arcs that are presented in the Force Awakens that many fans, film pundits and bloggers spent tons of time debating and dissecting and wanting answers for are answered, but answered in a way that seems like these ideas were abandoned, and the quick way to end them was to just snap a finger and make them disappear.
I feel this isn’t a spoiler, but the end of the film plays out like a Target commercial rather than an end to a movie that has gutted you after everything plays out. I’m now hesitant on the idea of Rian Johnson having the Keys to create a new trilogy after this one ends and with JJ Abrams returning to close out the trilogy, I’m hopeful the series will rebound.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
- Solid acting perfomances from returning cast.
- Graphic both practical and cgi are top shelf.
- Very few action pieces, but all work.
- Sound and music ques consistent with the series
- Major character narrative issues
- a 2nd act that feels misplaced
- Too many comedic moments that didn't land
- Unexpected and unearned character deaths