Mike Torchic’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s that time of the year again. Time for people of all ages to flock to the movie theater, forget their troubles, and experience a new Star Wars movie.
I have a personal connection with the films. I was first shown the original trilogy when I was about 4 or 5 years old, and instantly was hooked. Ever since then I have held this franchise in high regard, with the films always being my go to for entertainment. Even though the series has had its lows, those original films have a special place in my heart to this day.
When I saw The Force Awakens 2 years ago, I felt like I was a young child again. J.J. Abrams and his crew crafted something that was rooted in nostalgia, yet planted the roots for the growth of this franchise. Rian Johnson had big shoes to fill, mainly how he would take these new characters forward.
Well....Rian did it. I walked out of this theater with the biggest, stupidest smile on my face knowing that I just saw one of the best, if not the best Star Wars film.
We once again follow the main cast of characters, Poe, Finn and Rey, as they try and fend off the impending attack from the first order. That’s really the most vague plot synopsis I can give you because there are so many moments in this film that can be considered spoilers. One thing that I felt was really well done here was the writing. The film is very dialogue heavy, yet it never feels like it drags. There are also humorous bits sprinkled throughout the film, with the two tones meshing well. I can’t think of anyone better to entrust the future of the Star Wars franchise with than Rian Johnson. He expertly conveys with this film that he can write multi layered characters and interesting stories, all while having the fun and adventurous spirit that Star Wars is known for. I can’t wait to see where he steers this franchise towards. The film also introduces several new characters. While I have to admit that the development on them is a little light, they’re still great to have onscreen and each have their memorable moments. The development of the already existing characters from the previous movie(s) is also expanded upon. As expected, we see Rey delve deeper into her Force training. We learn things about her that make the viewer sympathize with her character and her situation. I truly believe that Rey is one of the best written characters in the Star Wars universe to date, and is a role model to many. One thing that this film handled really well was emotion. While balancing humor and the adventurous spirit of Star Wars, Johnson also adds some pretty hefty emotional moments. I won’t spoil anything, but I have to say that this Star Wars film may be the darkest in the series. Oh, and the movie has porgs.........I like them
The returning cast does a great job with their performances, as does the new cast. Daisy Ridley once again shines as Rey, delivering a powerful performance. She really is able to balance the emotional side of her role with the more physical side. I can’t wait to see what she does in the next installment, as I am eager to see her back in this universe. Mark Hamill makes his glorious return in this film, after being mostly MIA in The Force Awakens. I don’t want to spoil his role/performance, but he does actually do shit in this movie. Adam Driver impressed me with his acting abilities in this film as Kylo Ren. The character is definitely more emotional, more enraged, and Driver does a great job at portraying that. Just see the film to get what I’m talking about, you won’t be disappointed. The new cast does a great job as well. One person that really stood out for me was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Trico, a Resistance mechanic who teams up with our gang of characters. With this being her first big movie role, I can’t help but say that she exceeded my expectations.
Following in line with The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi uses real sets and practical effects as opposed to the green screen fuckfest that was the prequels. The environments look gorgeous, and you can definitely tell that a lot of effort was put into making this film have a sense of authenticity to it, even though it is set in a fictitious world. Even the CG effects look great, meshing well with the real environments. The cinematography in this film is also really good. There are many shots that help to capture the tone and the atmosphere of what’s going on onscreen. A lot of the shots that stood out to me were near the third act, so make sure to look out for them.
It isn’t a Star Wars film without a score by John Williams. The melodies help to bring the whole film together, and that’s exactly the case with this film. While there are a lot of familiar melodies and musical themes, the score just fits so well that it’s hard to find things to complain about. All you need to know is that it’s a John Williams Star Wars score, and it sounds fucking great.
Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi made me feel like a child first experiencing a Star Wars film. I had a sense of awe and wonder walking out of the theater that I haven’t felt in quite a long time. This really is one of the best, if not the best Star Wars film. From it’s interesting characters to the more mature story, you’re definitely going to want to watch this one in theaters.