It’s been nearly a year since the release of this movie, which has given me a lot of time to think. The Last Jedi has some terrific moments which reminds me why I love the series, however there are also some moments which fuel the haters who send tweets to Rian Johnson saying that he ended Star Wars. Now, as for me, I don’t hate this movie, I’m somewhere on the positive spectrum of things. Which means some people might think I’m a Star Wars shill who will praise Disney for anything, but I’m here to let the past die and give this a positive score based on what I’ve seen. This is based on two viewings of the movie in cinema which both had their own mindset going in. As well as multiple DVD watches at home.
The Last Jedi continues to evolve the characters I fell in love with after The Force Awakens. However it still maintains a fair share of the old guys who introduced us to this universe 40 years ago. Luke is at the forefront of this one as he teaches Rey about the force and why the Jedi order should finally end after all this time. It’s sad to see this hero that everyone grew up with reduced to his depressed state, he specifies that he came to this Island to die after the mistakes he’s made. Making this movie a look at him coming to peace with those decisions and moving on from his failures.
Rey is also continuing to find her place, as she delves into the ways of the force she see’s the light and dark but finds no answer from either side. Rey was my favourite new character from episode 7 and she continues to be that in this film. She’s a very aggressive learner, in which she pushes Luke for the answers she needs and when comes up with a crazy plan she will commit to it. In that sense she is an active protagonist by making decisions constantly that directly effect her relationship with other characters.
As for the rest of the cast, the Resistance are putting up a fight against the First Order in a battle that spans the whole movie in what feels like 24 hours in their real time. They try to keep this interesting but unfortunately there’s a subplot involving Finn and newcomer Rose that feels a little out of place and unnecessary. While I do love both of these characters I just didn’t enjoy seeing most of their story in the casino on Canto Blight. There are some cool character moments but ultimately this plot leads to nothing and leaves the Resistance in a tight spot. I found that both times I needed to pee in cinema I left during these scenes.
However you do get to see Leia and Poe kick ass this time around as they were stripped to the side in TFA. These are two people that work really well together but also heavily conflict the ideas of the other person which is a fun thing to watch. Unfortunately you still have people like Chewie, R2, 3PO being pushed in the side while being very important to the originals. I think if I’ve learned one thing from this movie it’s that the focus should be on these new characters and you can’t have a mix with the old ones. Either do them all or none of them. Kylo even makes a point to say we should let the past die, which is something we should embrace.
It’s also satisfying to say that there’s a lot of “holy shit” Star Wars moments which leave you breathless for a few seconds. One of them involved the entire cinema and the movie in complete silence for a few seconds. It’s these moments that keep you entertained and remind you what franchise you are watching. However there’s some equally… intriguing scenes which look a bit silly or are bound to get people angry at wasted potential. Another involved Leia in a superman pose which felt weird after the passing of Carrie Fisher.
The comedy also seems to be striking up a few conversations in relevance to this movie. Comedy has always been a part of Star Wars from the beginning and has taken many different forms over the years. I feel there’s a lot of jokes in TLJ, with a lot of them that did make me laugh and I didn’t notice an overabundance of them. There were a few prog scenes in the end battle that maybe might have felt out of place but overall I had fun watching this movie and laughed at times where the movie wanted me to.
Rian Johnson has made a very beautiful movie to look at, I find that the Star Wars visuals are getting better each year. The planet Crait especially was pleasing to look at with the bright red contrasting the white background. So no, Rian Johnson has not destroyed Star Wars as we know it. The movie makes some unexpected turns which will upset people that spent the last 2 years making up some absolutely insane theories. Even Mark Hamill liked the idea of a clone of Luke from his hand that was Evil, sounding a bit crazy for a regular Star Wars movie, but I think Rian has done so well to achieve the vision that he set out to make, this is his Star Wars movie.
As a fan of the series and the characters, I’m happy with The Last Jedi. Rey and Kylo are both two of my favourite characters in the entire franchise. While I may have written something differently and answered more questions, I’m happy with how open it leaves the future of the series. With episode IX to be the last of this trilogy things could go in any direction after a very open ending. We just have to wait and see what J.J comes up with for the future of these characters and the fate of the universe.