MOVIE REVIEW – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
When The Force Awakens came out in 2015 it was like taking a nostalgic walk down memory lane and seeing old friends again. It left you with a warm, fuzzy feeling and a longing for the next episode. Thursday night that longing was satisfied with The Last Jedi where this new trilogy comes into its own. Warning, spoilers ahead…
Traditionally the middle part of a trilogy is where the story arc makes its dramatic turn and sets up the final film but like how The Empire Strikes Back (arguably the best Star Wars film to date) did for the original. One of the many challenges director Rian Johnson had was creating a middle that harkened back to Empire without copying it. Yes there is a student-master teaching moment with Luke (Mark Hamill) in the role of the reluctant and recluse Jedi Master and Rey (Daisy Ridley) as his eager if not impatient student. Luke has lived as a hermit on a secluded island since his failure with his nephew Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Luke sensed a power within his nephew that scared him but not as much as apparently the power that lies within Rey. This power that Kylo Ren possesses led to the destruction to the Jedi temple and the training of a new generation of the Jedi order that was hinted at in Force Awakens.
Speaking of Kylo Ren, we see his further decent into the dark side as well as the conflict he struggles with especially when confronted by Supreme Leader Snoke. Without saying too much, their verbal exchanges were nothing like the ones between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. While Vader appeared to be the obedient servant, Kylo Ren appears as the rebellious child. As the film moves forward with the Resistance led by Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) and a returning Finn (John Boyega) trying to stay ahead of the relentless First Order after an early victory, the connection between Rey and Kylo becomes more and more intense. It is this connection that becomes the heart of the new trilogy. It’s as if they’ve become the living embodiment of the balance in the Force. That fragile between the darkness and the light. They share something that won’t be fully realized until the third film.
At 152 minutes, The Last Jedi is the longest film in the saga. It is also one of the most satisfying. The battle scenes and CGI visual locals are eye-popping and crowd pleasing. The music by John Williams is another important character that brings out so many emotions both in triumph and in despair. Director Johnson understands the mythology and respects it. But in doing so, he also adds to it in a way that brings new energy and excitement for the next episode in which I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Bravo!
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie, Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o and Carrie Fisher
PG-13 152 mins
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – **** (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight