Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the eighth installment of the Skywalker storyline that began in The Phantom Menace. Star Wars is my personal favorite movie franchise with Empire Strikes Back being my favorite of the eight films so far. The Last Jedi picks up right after the events of The Force Awakens with Rey trying to learn the ways of the force from a secluded Luke Skywalker, while the Resistance is being constantly pursued by the First Order. In terms of plot and storyline this film is like Blade Runner 2049 where it is hard to really go into the overall storyline without getting into spoiler territory.TLJ story is the most challenging, thought provoking, and original Star Wars story that I have ever seen.
TLJ is both written and directed by Rian Johnson and all throughout the film you can feel that this is his version of a Star Wars movie, not some studio mandated film. At no point watching this film did I feel like this was going a certain way like previous Star Wars films, it is rather unpredictable where the story goes and where the film ends with its characters. That is something I like, a film that takes risks with the audiences and offers new and interesting ways to tell a story. When TLJ ends it is a lot to process and take in as a causal viewer. As a diehard Star Wars fan like myself, it is a film that I recommend multiple viewings for to fully grasp and comprehend this complex and well thought out Star Wars film that takes lots of risks.
Performances from the central cast of characters are all great. Daisy Ridley continues to shine and own the role of Rey as she did in TFA. Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker and delivers a knockout performance that reminds us as Star Wars fans why he is the great Jedi he is. Carrie Fisher in her last performance as our favorite princess is both heartbreaking at times, but also fierce and strong. There are a few scenes with General Leia that are just so well acted and it was amazing to see her as Leia in her final go around. Adam Driver as Ben Solo/Kylo Ren who I didn’t like as much in TFA, his character arc in this film is much more layered and complex. Though one of the character arcs I really enjoyed in this movie was Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who has a bigger and crucial role to the story of the film.
Now I mentioned most of the characters at this point except Finn (John Boyega) and that is because his story arc in the middle of the movie with new character Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is the weakness I have with the movie. Their sublot was crucial to the overall story but it felt non-Star Wars like at times and it could have been trimmed down a bit. However, I did enjoy seeing Finn and Rose interactions with one another I just wish their storyline on Canto Bite could have been better. Though once they leave Canto Bite their story in third act is much better. Another qualm about TLJ is the addition of Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), and DJ (Benicio Del Toro) where I felt those characters were a bit underused and could have been fleshed out a bit more.
TLJ is a bold new Star Wars film that takes risks and adds something fresh to the Star Wars universe. It does answer some questions that were asked in TFA, but also presents new ones going forward into Episode IX. Rian Johnson brings his own style into a Star Wars movie where it takes some time to think about even after a first viewing. It is a movie that is rich with thoughts and ideas and a film where repeated viewings could help and enhance the understanding of the movie. Overall, with great acting, music, action, visuals, and very cool surprises; TLJ is a Star Wars film that doesn’t follow traditional conventions and offers a daring new take on the Star Wars franchise.