An unapologetic injection into the series that’s very welcome.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the 8th instalment of the wildly successful Star Wars series, and the 3rd offering from Disney since their takeover of Lucasfilm back in 2012. Brick and Looper director, Rian Johnson has taken over directing duties from JJ Abrams; who is currently working away on his own script for Episode IX.
I think it’s safe to say that this film has split the audience quite like nothing I’ve seen before.
The Last Jedi kicks off proceedings immediately after the events of The Force Awakens. The resistance is fleeing the First Order and find themselves in a deep space bind. The First Order has developed a Hyperspace Tracker and can now stalk their prey across the galaxy.
After a heavy fire fight the rebel fleet limps out of range and relative safety, but as they lose fuel they find themselves slowing getting picked off. It is up to our heroes, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (Jon Boyega) and newcomer Rose Tico played by Kelly Marie Tran, to rally the troops. Meanwhile Rey eagerly awaits for Luke to take his laser sword and take up his true mantle as leader of the Resistance. But Luke is reluctant, a bitter, broken man who wants nothing to do with the Jedi order or the resistance.
The film’s final act sees the resistance holed up in a mountain fortress on the mineral flats of the planet Crait while the full force of the First Order bears down. Only one man can save them. Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren then duel for fate of the resistance and the soul of the galaxy…
Johnson seems to have pulled off a really audacious film; a protest film wrapped up in a Star Wars movie.
Johnson has a lot to do on this film. There are a lot of storylines to weave together, and I feel that he’s done a really good job. All the major characters have good storylines and have solid arcs to their character. One of the major criticisms of the prequels was a lack of decent storytelling. More often than not there was a reliance on characters delivering long explanations, often shot and lit in the most mundane ways.
I didn’t feel this with Last Jedi, the movie’s long and just like the equally awesome Blade Runner, doesn’t give a damn. The script allows the characters to drive the story forward through their actions and the film looked great. Certain space shots and landscapes stay with you, and will remain for a long time in the collective conscience.
This film isn’t without it’s faults. I didn’t understand what Laura Dern was doing there when we still had a Carrie Fisher. Finn and Rose’s storyline has received criticisms of going nowhere, but I enjoyed it and felt that it provided ample set up and food for thought to be left in its final state. John Williams’ score is curiously flat, mostly reprising older themes from the series. But that’s no criticism as John Williams on an off day is still head and shoulders above anyone else. The character arcs are a bit one note; however, this is more than made up in the film’s subtext and themes.
There’s a lot to unpack in The Last Jedi, and not everyone is going to like that. From the very first second of action The Last Jedi is determined to defy your expectation. Even if that means opening the movie immediately after the events of The Force Awakens. The movie then asks you to ponder the nature of war, the class and generation divide. Our obsessions with the past, rigidity and religion, hope, revolution and most controversially Star Wars fandom itself.
From the very first second of action The Last Jedi is determined to defy your expectation.
Johnson seems to have pulled off a really audacious film; a protest film wrapped up in a Star Wars movie. And it is a Star Wars movie. For me this film was make or break for the series. Would we see a breath of fresh air, or the same old tired formula? I am so pleased to say it was the former and am really looking forward to seeing Episode IX.