Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Director: Rian Johnson
Screenwriter: Rian Johnson
Cast: 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, Benicio del Toro
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13| 152 Minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017
There truly is a Star Wars for every generation. Each and every one of them is unique in there own way and a fantastical commentary on the changing times. So as we enter a future where diversity, inclusivity, and feminism are becoming widely accepted, we are going to see a new Star Wars that speaks to that. So as J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that spark in feminism for Rey and Leia, and diversity in Finn and Poe, Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the fire that burns ever so brightly and shines a light on those themes ignited by its predecessor.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a Star Wars film through and through, and it is something else entirely at the same time. To say that this sequel will change the way you look at Star Wars really is just selling the film short. What it does is push its boundaries and test its limits by doing things no other Star Wars film has done in the past, both on a story front and on a visual level. The result is a near-flawless film that moves with fluidity and strikes with visual excitement. My full review below.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi literally kicks off moments after The Force Awakens ended, with The Resistance having crippled The First Order by destroying Starkiller base. However, The First Order retaliates by bringing their military fleet to decimate their base. Outgunned, outmatched, and with very little fuel, The Resistance is forced to go on the run. Their only hope lies on Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is trying to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to return and help bring down the Resistance once and for all. At the same time, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) finds himself at odds with his military superiors, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). Meanwhile, Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) are on a side mission of their own, which may help them tip the balance in The Resistance’s favor.
Because the story goes from The Force Awakens to The Last Jedi almost immediately, it doesn’t need to worry about what happened before or worry about what happened during a lengthy gap in between films. This transition also allows the film to go deeper into the war aspect of Star Wars. There is no time for The Resistance to strategize or plan their next attack because they are being picked off one-by-one.
The small victories come at too large a price, and Holdo and Leia are forced to make difficult decisions, while Poe would rather go on the offensive. This goes far beyond the traditional war scenes that we would expect in any Star Wars films. Though the dogfights and the trench battles are some of the elements that continue to be a part of these films, seeing the strategies and difficulties to come in making a decision gives us a rare look at how The Resistance and The First Order function.
While the The Last Jedi excels on a narrative level, its characters carry the weight of the story on its shoulders, each of them getting their moment to shine. Saying there are strong female characters in this film would be a vast understatement. Not only are they strong, but they are fearless, and they do their part to help The Resistance. The feminism is something that is embraced, and they use that to be military leaders, a Jedi Knight, and a soldier. Though Rey and Leia are the obvious favorites going into this sequel, I really can’t say enough about Holdo and Rose, who are the odds-on favorites to be the scene stealers in The Last Jedi. Each of them brings their own brand of badassery to the sequel. Holdo leads through grace and power, while Rose shines through with her vulnerability and Lionheart.
The Last Jedi‘s strength also lies in its diversity and inclusivity. There is no bias, but rather an embrace of all genders and cultures. This shows that the film is in touch with the current times, and never forgets that war affects everyone, not just certain people.
As great as these characters are, credit must also go to director Rian Johnson, who steered this ship into the direction that it is in. The writing brings in the drama and makes the stakes clear. It finds a balance in the funny and emotional, so when those hard-hitting moments do come, the film becomes lighter with a touch of humor. But it also strikes with unexpected drama. And let me tell you, there are things that this movie does that will surprise you. All of it, though, flows so well.
Not once does The Last Jedi forget that it is a Star Wars film, but it also feels like something else entirely. There’s that sense of action, adventure, humor, and drama we’ve all come to expect from the franchise, but there is also a heart and qualities that make it stand out above the rest of the feature films that came before it. The conflict goes far beyond the war between the two factions. There is also conflict between the characters themselves. And a lot that has changed Luke, who struggles with the decision on whether or not he should train Rey, and also reconcile with the decision that he made in the past. Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) all get their moments, but revealing any more would be diving into spoiler territory.
And not enough could be said about the how cinematographer Steve Yedlin uses lighting in The Last Jedi. Yedlin uses the Star Wars franchise as his canvas, and what he creates is a work of art. The things he does with the lighting in this film is absolutely stunning. There are moments so visually striking, it will come as a shock that they were able to pull all of that off. There are moments where time in the film seems to stop, making whatever is on the screen a subject of a portrait. The way that ships explode or a light is cast on certain characters, it’s all so beautiful. All of it makes The Last Jedi a visual masterpiece.
It’s truly incredible what Star Wars: The Last Jedi is able to accomplish, especially in its runtime. While it may be one of the longest Star Wars films, The Last Jedi earns every minute of it thanks in part to a well-crafted story that has equal parts humor and drama. Combine that with all the exciting visual aesthetics and incredible action sequences, sequences that will leave you speechless. This film will constantly surprise you. It will make you laugh, and it will leave you on the edge of your seat. Above all, it will make you excited for what’s to come in future Star Wars films.