star wars The Last Jedi

The Force Is Strong with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Movie Review)

By Ryan Cadaver

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Intense space battles, exotic locals, fascinating creature designs, The Last Jedi has it all and it’s better than ever. Writer/Director Rian Johnson clearly understands how to make a Star Wars movie. I loved The Force Awakens but I feel like The Last Jedi takes this trilogy into more original territory with much more intricate story telling. The story just feels much more complex and I would even say that it retroactively makes The Force Awakens a better film.

I loved this movie despite a couple of things that felt out of place and temporarily killed the immersion. I have a feeling that a follow up viewing may change how I feel about these aspects, but I can say without a doubt that this is a solid Star Wars movie and fans will not be disappointed. I assume that almost everyone is planning on seeing this movie, so I am going to try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.

This movie picks up where The Force Awakens ends. Rey is face to face with Luke Skywalker, Finn is out of commission and Po Dameron is still a badass X-Wing Pilot, albeit a bit of a loose cannon. The stakes have never been higher and the First Order isn’t showing any signs of slowing down even after the destruction of Starkiller base. The story is interesting and it answers many questions that the previous film gave fans. After reading two years’ worth of fan theories and click bait articles I was shocked that the movie was not predictable at all! Almost nothing panned out the way I expected and the twists and
turns didn’t stop until the end. The film has multiple story arcs and they mostly tied the story together very nicely. There was one story arc involving Finn and a new character, Rose, that I thought bogged down the movie. Their story did have a satisfying conclusion, but I am not sure that the journey to it was worth it. Aside from that minor derailment, the plot of The Last Jedi was unique, unexpected and exciting! Instead of rehashing Empire Strikes Back, Rian Johnson made some bold choices that made the entire Star Wars universe more captivating.

This was, of course, a very action packed movie, but the real strength lies in the incredible character development and the performances. These characters have genuine depth and personality and the cast was (mostly) phenomenal. It was simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking to see Carrie Fisher one last time as Princess Leia. Mark Hamill’s return as the legendary Luke Skywalker was fantastic and brought some weight and depth to the character that has never been explored in the films. The new cast from The Force Awakens remains fantastic, with standout performances by Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac. If you have seen any of the marketing material at all you know that Kylo Ren doesn’t hide behind
the mask as much in this movie. This allows for an amazing performance by Driver and a realization that Kylo Ren doesn’t need the mask to be intimidating. I thought that the only weak link in the cast was Benicio del Toro. Something about his character didn’t work for me, it almost felt like he just wandered onto the set from some other movie. His character moves the story forward, but feels out of place and does somewhat disrupt the momentum of the film. A second viewing may clarify how I feel about him make him more bearable.

The Last Jedi takes the mainline Star Wars saga in exciting new directions and I cannot wait to see the conclusion. I have no doubt that the people behind this series know exactly what they are doing and the Star Wars franchise continues to be in good hands. This was not the movie that I expected to see and I am thankful for that. This movie exceeded my expectations significantly and I’d imagine that repeat viewings will only solidify that. I have some minor complaints and some of the humor didn’t land with me but I would still give it a solid 8 out of 10. That said, I already have tickets in hand for my second viewing Thursday night, and may The Force be with you.

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