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.

Opening Statement
I totally get why people hate this. To everyone who thinks this is a disgrace to Star Wars, I sympathize, respect, understand, and appreciate your opinion. I also adamantly disagree with it, because The Last Jedi is phenomenal. Rian Johnson takes a decent film setting up an equally decent sequel and just works his magic on it, and it is wonderful. Every character seamlessly becomes a million times more complex, and every plot point and conversation becomes a million times less generic. I really do love this. Let’s find out why, shall we?

Direct Examination
First of all, we can take everything I liked about The Force Awakens and multiply it, tenfold. How the world looks and sounds is breathtaking. I think this may be my favorite cinematography in a Star Wars film, because everything is just so dynamic and beautiful. The scenes on the island especially were really well shot and demonstrated just how phenomenal Rian Johnson’s direction and writing was for this film, in every single way. He really is a creative genius (although I obviously prefer Knives Out).

I talked a lot about the characters in The Last Jedi. The direction these characters were all taken is a bold move. It is a risky move, and a divisive one. I think it paid off. Many don’t. For example, people absolutely abhor where Luke Skywalker is taken. But to me, it makes sense. They explain it… like, a lot. They have three flashbacks to what happened, and why he is like this. And it makes perfect sense, and it is incredibly well done. Sure, it’s a drastic change, but that’s the point. Luke’s the most obvious turn away from the standard character, but other characters are changed. More specifically, built upon. Rey goes from being a likeable enough protagonist, but slightly generic and safe, like a lot of The Force Awakens. In this, she becomes much more layered and complex. She feels the pull to the Dark side, but actively resists and rejects it. Kylo Ren is the absolute opposite, resisting and rejecting the Light side. And yeah, what I said in my TFA review about Adam Driver delivering the best Star Wars performance is undoubtedly true now that I’ve seen this. He was already a great, layered, deep character in The Force Awakens. But with the added backstory and actual arc in this, he becomes complex enough to be one of my favorite villains, not just in Star Wars, but ever. Rey and Kylo are the two driving forces of this film, but Poe Dameron was also pretty cool. I didn’t talk about him much in my TFA review since I didn’t have much to say. Now I understand his character: he’s rebellious, not entirely trusting authority. Those traits make his charisma actually have some merit, and his skill as a pilot balance out. So yeah, I like Poe now. And BB-8 is fantastic. That’s all for characters! Well, actually, I have some negatives about the characters as well that hold this back from a 4.5. But first, let’s talk about some other amazing elements of The Last Jedi.

I really like the style of interactions and dialogue now that Rian Johnson is at the helm. Instead of awkward, cheesy, campy dialogue like we got in The Force Awakens, the dialogue is largely more gruff and serious. When it does make jokes, it does more quippy remarks in the vein of Marvel, which smooths out the dialogue rather than stiffening it, like J.J. Abrams did. How can you prefer Han Solo and Rey saying technical stuff simultaneously on the Millenium Falcon and then grinning halfheartedly while doing it to Luke literally being blown up by every single weapon the First Order has and then brushing off his shoulder slightly? They are just such vastly different tiers of humor that work in such different ways. More importantly, the story is now really good. Our characters get put in scenarios that both create action and test their characters, like in the original trilogy. We get training with Rey, the scenes between Rey and Kylo (which are easily my favorite part of the film, their dynamic is undoubted perfection for me), space battles, an encounter with Snoke, a really pretty battle on a mining planet that looks AMAZING! Again. What’s not to love? Well, I’ll tell you what’s not to love.

Cross Examination
In a video made by the YouTuber Vito explaining why The Last Jedi sucks (I don’t recommend it, I adamantly disagree with it), he says “Rose is just terrible… for most of the movie she’s just kind of an annoying idealistic idiot who keeps dropping cartoon morals about how saving animals is good and slavery is bad. You know, real deep themes.” While everything else he says isn’t really my thing, I definitely agree with this complaint. Rose really annoyed me. More specifically, the relationship between her and Finn annoyed me. It returned right back to the overly cheesy and campy lines in The Force Awakens, doing the say-stuff-simultaneously cliche all over again. I just didn’t like their journey until they got to the First Order’s base, because until then, it was just sorta needless, boring, cliche, overly idealistic shlock.

Closing Statement
So yeah, I really loved The Last Jedi. Like, really loved it. It had some flaws, more specifically a flaw: Rose. But otherwise, it is a beautifully shot, scored, directed, written, character-driven film that I adore. Four stars, a high one too. Please check out my ranking of Star Wars!

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