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.

I’d consider myself a Star Wars fan, but the franchise’s uneven, inconsistent variations in quality is irrefutable; however, I personally enjoyed The Force Awakens as a much-needed saga rejuvenation that both functions as an introductory chapter to the new story and characters, whilst paying respect to the old, paving way for a modern era of mysticism and fantastical awe – although it wasn’t without its imperfections. When the end credits rolled for The Last Jedi, I was left absent of a strong, opinionated stance either way. Luke died, and yet I failed to muster up enough enthusiasm to care because the film is predominately stuck in second gear, accompanied by spikes of intrigue whenever Rey or Kylo appear (as far as movie-defining, soon-to-be “iconic” moments go, the revelation of Rey’s parents is the highlight, due to tossing ludicrous fan theories out of the window) but the narrative momentum of this light/dark confliction is regularly undercut by jolting shifts to fatuous subplots, further bogged down by failed witticism and an excessive quantity of contrived plot amour.

Rian Johnson has incorporated an overabundance of comedy, which is not necessarily a compliant singularly directed towards Porgs – despite them being unbearably mawkish when present, though – this is a critique aimed at the whole eternal flow of flat one-liners that never land successfully. Beyond failing at their intention, this comic relief additionally creates tonally jarring transitions from goofy light-heartedness to the seriousness of animal cruelty and child labour, neither mesh well when combined. I’m not opposed to comedy in case you’re thinking I’m just bitter and cynical; it worked in TFA, but here it diminishes the dreariness of a supposedly darker sequel.

Whereas Finn’s shoehorned love interest and Poe’s equally inane story falter and disrupt the narrative cohesion, the dynamic light v dark duality and spiritualism of the universe’s mythos excels – from Luke's acceptance in failing Ben and his cathartic scene with Yoda, to Rey’s emotional confrontation with Kylo; wherein Adam Driver is yet again allowed to express his talented abilities of inner conflict, also with these decisions pushing forth the franchise into a transitional state of fresh air after the safe approach to TFA. Although for all its solid moments of characters who we’ve built investment upon overcoming or being faced with obstacles, it’s unfortunately irreparable overall because these are minuscule crumbs spread throughout a film padded to 150 minutes. Even John Williams, never not on the top of his game, just derivatively recycles prior scores. The praise baffles me.

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