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.

Rian Johnson is a madman. In theaters, right now, Johnson has put out one of the most audacious, risky, unpredictable blockbuster films in recent memory, and it is playing for a mass audience as we speak.

The Last Jedi, on every level, is work of art - a fantasy canvas craved out by somebody so in tune with his craft that it is impossible to look away. The film shatters the saga, breaks it, destroys it, and in it's place leaves a brand new opening to enter in and take over. And it's a lot to take in, but it's oh so worth it.

Having found Luke (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley) attempts to be trained by him in hopes to bringing him to the Resistance and his sister Leia (Carrie Fisher), only to find that he is bitter and regretful. Meanwhile, the Resistance crumbles under the might of the First Order, and Poe (Oscar Isaac) sends Finn (John Boyega) and a mechanic named Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) on a top secret mission to infiltrate their base, and Ben (Adam Driver) struggles to please his master Snoke (Andy Serkis).

With a story that's packed to brim, The Last Jedi is constantly moving. It's inherently bleak, consistently moving into a path of destruction. Every scene ups the stakes more and more, as our heroes keep and trying and failing. Failure is the theme of The Last Jedi - failure to save lives, failure to live up to expectations, failure of your family. It's powerful emotional and thematic throughline that makes it all the more interesting, compelling, and involving.

And while some people are gonna be divided about the direction certain characters take, all of them work to narrative's advantage. It's a focused, streamlined film that, despite it's long length of 2 hours and 32 minutes, never feels boring and always has something going on. It has the essence of an Akira Kurosawa film, more so then even the original film, and it's deceptions of the Force lean more heavily into the mythological then before.

Johnson, bringing his directorial prowess here in full force, crafts the most beautiful and breathtaking Star Wars movie ever made. Every frame looks like something came out of a classical artist - it's a vibrant, arresting movie that is simply gorgeous to look at, combining the best in CGI and practical effects along with shot work that is among the best of the year.

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher both give the best performances of their respective careers, especially Hamill, whose tired, weary portrayal of Luke Skywalker is wonderfully different and unique. Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega all improve on their performances from the previous films, and Domhnall Gleeson steals much of the movie with a more comedic take that is extremely fun. Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran makes a great first impression as Rose, and Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo is great fun. Benecio Del Toro, while slightly underused, creates a highly unique character that I hope we see more of in the future.

John Williams' score is as spectacular as usual, bringing the best of his previous work into one grand melange of melancholy, strings, and darker tones that fit the proceedings perfectly. Another masterpiece soundtrack from the master himself.

An ambitiously different and risky film, The Last Jedi is brilliant. Both a meta examination of the legacy of the franchise and a meditative look into failure, regret, and death, it's a powerful, flooring film that ranks high in the Star Wars canon as one of the best, if not the best film in the series. A masterwork.

I give Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi 5 stars out of 5.

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