Episode VIII is out now in theaters everywhere. See it soon, as there probably won’t be too many spoiler-safe news posts and reviews for long.
I am going to do my best to avoid any plot details at all, so forgive this review for being as short and vague as possible. To get right to it, I am just going to say that while I really enjoyed my theater experience watching this film, I didn’t like it more than The Force Awakens.
The Last Jedi picks up a variety of plotlines moments after the events of Episode VII, with Rey showing up to see Luke to begin her Jedi training and try to make sense of her newfound powers. Leia and the last of the resistance are preparing to face Snoke, Kylo, Hux, and the rest of the First Order while Finn recuperates from his light saber spinal injury he received facing Kylo Ren in Episode VII. Poe Dameron is still around doing what he does best, being an all around reckless fighter pilot. TLJ is funny, with a lot more humor tossed in than in previous movies, but that’s about all I can say without ruining the plot or being slammed on social media by anyone who reads this.
Now that we have that part out of the way, lets just talk about the elements that made this film good, bland, and emotional. It’s a Star Wars film, so naturally there will be times where you tear-up in sadness as well as happiness. The movie has some major feel good moments but there will also be those times where you feel a sense of desperation in clinging on to your seat hoping that things go a different way. But aside from a few fun surprises, I couldn’t help but feel that this movie was pretty boring.
Above: The Last Dude
The first half of the movie tries to establish a half of a dozen plotlines that don’t get resolved until much, much later in the film, which nears about two and a half hours already. Among those plotlines, most of them go nowhere or wrap up in a manner that felt so unfulfilling that I felt duped. Almost like there was an attempt to build up suspense in TFA just to let the audience down in TLJ. There were unanswered questions, of course, but I get the feeling there are questions that director Rian Johnson just doesn’t care to answer for you at all. And trust me, there are a lot of questions on everyone’s minds regarding so many characters, I was really upset with how they were answered or if they were ignored or glossed over really quickly.
There were just so many plotlines that seemed forced or otherwise unnecessary. There was not a cohesive way to get some characters from point A to point B so a lot of absurdity too place to get them there that otherwise hindered the movie or kept it from progressing in a manner that would’ve properly reflected previous Star Wars films. The good ones, I mean. A lot happened for the sake of just… happening, only to be ended abruptly or with an unsatisfying conclusion. Even though this was quite constant throughout the whole movie just to keep things going, there were a lot of intense and satisfying scenes that balanced it out. I am just disappointed that the movie was “okay” or “pretty good” when it could have been excellent. This movie could have been so much more, and had the potential to be the best of the series, but the hype and suspense of certain climactic moments was built up so high that it couldn’t quite pull of the closure it needed to wrap up some of the story and simply fell kind of flat.
The visuals and music were outstanding, and the performances from the cast were as solid as they always were before. If nothing else, TLJ is fun, and a great addition to the Star Wars franchise, but I felt let down all over the place as the movie changed its pacing towards the end and gave up on so many plot elements and devices that it really upset me.
The Last Jedi is a movie you should see in a theater as quickly as possible before someone on social media ruins it for you. Is it the best movie in the franchise? Not even close. Is it better than The Force Awakens? If you can get over some of the copying it did from Episode IV, then no it is not better. Is it better than Return of the Jedi or the prequel trilogy? Definitely.
Love it or hate it, agree with me or disagree, The Last Jedi has redeeming qualities but for me personally, I can’t for the life of me understand why people built this film up to be a cinematic masterpiece, because quite frankly, it just is not.
Star Wars Episode VIII, The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. The film is directed by Rian Johnson.