Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

random thoughts:

-1st act is particularly clunky. the movie is fun and surprising when the plates start spinning, but i think a few shattered on the way there.

-the new trilogy shies away from overt romance, and the films are better for leaving things sort of vague.

-the marketing is genius. so many twists and turns from what you expect, knowing the Star Wars mythos. painting Luke as the bad guy was a genius move.

-some of the world building feels like these places/creatures were better concepts than they are practice, and thats probably because the pace is all-out breakneck and doesn't really allow for a lot to sink in.

-definitely the briskest moving film in the saga. the scene i thought was the ending was actually the middle.

-leans heavy into theology in a way that Star Wars has always hinted at, but never dives into so overtly. It's the most thematically ambitious studio blockbuster since maybe The Dark Knight.

-explain to me why the action CGI looks amazing and ALL of the CGI creatures look like cheap cartoons. feels like the technology is working backwards.

-dualities are leaned in hard here (surprise!). but more than just light/dark. there's a ton about risk/restraint in wartime that is fascinating and really well executed.

-the new trilogy has committed itself to expanding the makeup of the cast, and its paying off. there's even a moment when the entire rebellion mission control center is being run by women. word. now, i need Disney to pull through and throw the queers a bone here.

-so many moments soon to become iconic. kylo ren twist. luke twist. hyperspeed destruction. yoda.

-there are some maaajor Harry Potter moments in this movie. two minds of enemies psychically linked. the balance of the lightsaber in between rey and kylo mirrors Deathly Hallows part two almost exactly. speaking of mirrors, where else have i seen a child look in a reflection in hopes of seeing their parents?....

-the comedy is wackier than ever, which is strange and also really cool. there's a sense of lightness to this that counters how dramatic it can be. it does not find this balance as well as Force Awakens.

-this film seems to comment on the original trilogy and the pop culture surrounding it the way the original trilogy commented on the serials/westerns Lucas grew up with. the concept of acknowledging the past but letting it go to build a new future hits super strong here. definitely a lot of meta commentary on the nostalgia for the original trilogy. also cements itself as a referendum to Force Awakens- this is not a retread. Last Jedi seems determined to prove that.

-all in all, it doesn't feel as momentous, strangely, than The Force Awakens did. narratively and tonally, Last Jedi is a little all over the place. that being said, it's more surprising than Force Awakens, it had a lot more to accomplish, a lot more to prove, and, as it turns out, a lot more to say.

-The Last Jedi is also going to encapsulate 2017 like no other movie this year, save perhaps Get Out. the movie starts and ends in the midst of a rebellion that can at times feel futile, which is strong allegory for an American political climate where enemies feel as unexplainably evil as movie villains. the films meditations on balance, the merging of forces and ideas, the failures that test faith and the perseverance that restores it inevitably seem pointed in such contentious times. The Last Jedi is the movie 2017 needed. and the ending is so powerful and perfect, it couldn't be more of a spark to ignite again after a most difficult year. brava.