Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Revisiting Star Wars: The Last Jedi

On to perhaps the most contentious of the Star Wars films.  The Last Jedi divided fans, though I’ll be honest that I have a lot of trouble understanding why.  Its really unfortunate, as this fan divide would shift the momentum of the new Star Wars film franchise considerably.  But that doesn’t detract from the greatness of the film.  Lets get into it.
Highlights:
  • Lets talk about Luke.  The decision to have Luke become a despondent hermit was very interesting, and his backstory with Kylo brought a lot of understanding with it.  Its still the Luke we all know, but with many more years behind him and more depth as well.  Mark Hamill knocked this performance out of the park.
  • The relationship that was formed between Kylo and Rey through their force connection was an excellent choice.  Having these two foils be able to interact more really strengthens the film for both of them.  Kylo in particular seems like a much more rounded character and is really coming into his own.  One scene that really stands out is when he makes the choice not to shoot his mother in the ship. This is undoubtedly Driver’s best performance as Ren.
  • This movie looks amazing.  The shot composition and the colour palate both pop off the screen.  The verdant island of Ahch-To, the vibrant reds of Crait and Snoke’s chamber, its a visual feast.  Oh, there’s also the Falcon flying through the mineral caves; don’t forget that.
  • Porgs are awesome.
  • As Carrie Fisher’s last real film, I thought she also put in an excellent turn recapturing Princess Leia.  She sort of just had a cameo in Force Awakens, but here she is a vital player.  I like that we actually see her use the Force, though only at desperate need.  I loved the scene with her and Luke as well.
  • The choice to make Rey’s parents be people of no consequence was a great choice.  WAS a great choice…
  • I really liked the friendship that forms between Finn and Rose.
  • There’s lots of cool design choices throughout this film, such as the resistance bombers and the way their bombs have that spiral drop, that weird magnifying glass, etc.  And then of course there is the “Holdo maneuver”, which looked and sounded incredible.
  • I was genuinely surprised when Yoda showed up.  For some reason, an appearance by him was just not on my radar, so when we get that shot of the back of his head I got very excited.  And he really does feel like the original Yoda we all know and love; a mixture of goofy and wise.
  • All of the stuff in Snoke’s chamber is surprising and awesome.  Kylo Ren really comes into his own.
  • But what really caps off this movie as being truly great is the climax, where Luke ‘walks out with a laser sword to take down the whole first order’.  This sequence was epic though confusing, but when the reveal happens everything makes sense and we finally get to see just how powerful Luke has become.  Its shot, written and acted brilliantly.  Such a powerful scene.

Downfalls:

  • “Master Skywalker, we need you to bring the Jedi back because Kylo Ren is strong with the dark side of the Force.”  This may be the lamest and most poorly delivered line since “sand”.  I think Daisey Ridley is great, which maybe makes this awkward line stand out even more.  Its odd.
  •  There was a lot of stuff on Canto Bight that I still find kind of tangential.  There’s a lot that feels “prequely”.  I liked the idea of an elitist casino planet, and there’s lots of great stuff with BB8 and a cool chase scene.  But the sentimentality around those weird horse creatures felt like too much.  I also didn’t really need Benicio Del Toro’s speech about the war machine.
  • I honestly wasn’t a big fan of Laura Dern in this movie.
  • I wasn’t a big fan of the very final scene with the broom kid.  I understand the idea behind it; the promise of the Force expanding beyond the central characters and the possibility for new Jedi in the future. And that I’m on board with.  But its placement felt awkward and sort of killed the momentum of the film’s crescendo.


Current Re-ranking List:

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Last Jedi

3. The Force Awakens
4. Attack of the Clones

One Response to “Revisiting Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

  1. Yoda making an appearance did make a difference in my opinion. Having said that, this movie was not as good as I had hoped or expected.


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