Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★★

Minor spoiler warning.

Quite possibly, my second favourite Star Wars movie, bettered only of course Empire Strikes Back. The Last Jedi represents a bold new step in the franchise, as mastermind Rian Johnson - who has given us some of the best episodes of television ever including Breaking Bad's Ozymandias, brings his talents to the Star Wars franchise in a memorable and unique way that lets go of the past in favour of creating a memorable and terrific experience.

This film pretty much gets better and better on every viewing. It's now my third watch, and it holds up just as well on the small screen on Blu-Ray. The whole cast is incredible - Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran - everyone makes this a fantastic ensemble experience that really benefits from putting the focus on character first, as we go through clear thematic and relevant arcs that help define the newer characters like Rey, Finn, Poe and Rose. And of course, Kylo Ren continues to stake a claim for being one of the best villains in the franchise. The film wisely manages to keep the focus on the newer characters too whilst managing to give the old guard a satisfying send-off.

I even liked the Finn/Rose subplot more on a rewatch (I didn't not like it the first time I saw it though). It paves way for good, character-defining moments for both that helps add murkiness to Star Wars with the involvement of the arms dealers. Plus you can tell that Benicio del Toro is just killing it as DJ. It's also refreshing to see a new character like DJ introduced as Johnson seems to go out of his way to subvert fans expectations where possible in the franchise, which needed a breath of fresh air after The Force Awakens, which as much as I *loved* it, it did feel like it was retreading similiar beats at times.

The influences on this film are very much noticeable - like Lucas himself, Johnson draws from the legendary Akira Kurosawa for inspiration to weave a Rashomon inspired sequence between Luke and Rey that is possibly one of the film's finest moments. The film also draws inspiration from Twin Peaks' Red Room in the climatic Throne Room sequence, which is one of my favourite final battle sequences in the entire franchise, and another highlight of this film which is full of them. Every battle sequence on the planet Crait was handled so well too - you can't help but be blown away by the sheer visual prowess that is brought to the table. This might be one of the best looking Star Wars movies to date too.

A flat-out masterpiece and one of 2017's best films. Star Wars at its best.

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