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'm not gonna write anything better than this, , so here's more stray thoughts:

-There is a second deep blue BB droid on the Resistance's ship early on - it appears in shots with increasing frequency until it can be seen having an actual convo with BB-8 while Poe grills Holdo for the first time. I lost track from there, but I hope the little guy made it out okay.

-The Jedi temple, when set aflame, faintly resemble the Resistance's symbol. The spark that lights, etc etc.

-Poe storms the bridge, doesn't even refer to his superior officer by rank and in fact, throws a frickin' war hero a "Hey Lady". Like a mad dog, he only heeds to Leia's words, even when they come out of Holdo's mouth. Everyone in the main new cast struggles with being treated like an adult and what it means to act like one.

-The way Driver throws his body around in this is something to behold. When he's more petulant, his center of gravity is somewhere closer to the mid-torso area where he keeps the waistline of his big boy pants hiked up to. When he's vulnerable, he stands up straighter, like a kid begging for forgiveness from military parents.

-The dark side theme ramps up as Finn is filled with rage and his face is lit by the red beam of the battering ram cannon. Nice touch.

-Luke's Force Fight or Flight instincts aren't too different from Leia's, exchanging the cold vacuum of space for a house brought down on him with white-hot rage.

-Big mood: the awe and silence in the audience when Holdo pulls the mega-anime hyperspace freeze-frame power flex. No other experience in cinema this year like that.

-The red room scene features amazing physicality beginning to end - there are few action movies that can make motions so precise & tied to character motivations that it feels like you're urgently turning the script pages yourself, needing to know what happens next. Audience members literally on the edge of their seat, all in and without a care towards what's left of Snoke's torso.

-BB-8 is surprisingly mischievous and aggressive compared to TFA, a real driver of action. On first blush, I tended to blame Rose & Finn for picking DJ instead of trying again for The Codebreaker, but BB-8 actually forces their hand? Is BB-8 to blame for hundreds of good humans dying?

-"Strike me down and I'll always be with you" is an excellent synthesis of two familiar phrases ("May the Force" & "I will become more powerful" etc etc) that's also a fitting cap to put on a story about what it means when power controls you. Luke died with a lesson Han never grasped at the end - you can't inspire a person to change when you have never been willing to change yourself.

-The Millenium Falcon really needs some repairs or upgrades or a graceful retirement by the time the 9 begins. This is a great climax for it, but I worry about Chewie's piloting skills given how much shit he banged into.

-It was hard to say what they have been going for this whole time with Kylo's finely quaffed hair until his final battle with Luke: backlit by the setting sun with his face mostly in shadows, his head subliminally mimics Vader's helmet for the first time without any mask to performatively add to it.

-The dovetailing of Poe & Finn's stories is a terrific flip - they almost don't recognize what the other is doing when one is pulling back and the other is charging ahead.

-"BLOW THAT SHIP......OUTTA THE SKY!!!" Hux can't even give stock dialogue direction as good as Kylo. He's a future Supreme Leader in a world where that career path no longer exists. Typical Millenial Problems.

-Hammill's eyes sell the whole flashback structure - in Kylo's memory, they're filled with distinct, terrifying rage. In his own, they're soaked in sadness and regret. Neither memory is completely whole or entirely alike.

-Leia's " I know what you're gonna say. I changed my hair." line works doubly well, not just as an affectionate bun hair reference, but also because Luke clearly changed his hair from Ach-To and this line practically taunts the audience to notice he's Force Projecting on their first watch. If you're anything like me, you're too in awe of them meeting one last time to ever take stock. A bold stroke.

-So wait, Finn dragged Rose's body like 5 miles across enemy territory, during the bit where all ships were firing a massive crater into Luke? That's stealth, I guess.

-The casino stretch is the only breathing room you get from the main story visually until the very end (which is all a little familiar looking, Red Room excepted) and it absolutely jumps all over the opportunity to throw new shit at you constantly. If my knowledge of 80s sci-fi novel cover artists weren't so incredibly shallow, I probably could pick influences out of the air in every frame of that.
--If the image of wild alien animals running free from the law on the beach under the moonlight isn't the pure magic these movies are about, then I have no idea what is.

-Hammill needs some sort of special Oscar for how many times he dramatically turns his shoulder in this.

-The smooth transitions over the first hour are remarkable by most any blockbuster standard - scenes end in questions that lead directly into answers in the next, one right after the other. Unlike ROGUE ONE, none of it feels chopped and spliced together from a script that wasn't ready to go live. Johnson reportedly got to sit on his script for at least 8 months between officially turning it and the production start date. It shows. This is also probably the #1 reason why 9 & SOLO won't be as good as this one more than anything.

-There really isn't enough Porg stuff in this to even get annoyed by - the only extended scene where they're showcased is where they're being cooked for goodness sake. I like the idea of them as an incessant, persistent nagging burden of hope that leave's Luke orbit to spread itself across the galaxy basically right around the time he lets his past die and fully gives into becoming the legend the Resistance needs.

-It must be nice on one level to be a director of these mostly because you can just place the sunlight wherever the hell you want when you're in space. The lighting in this just makes the prequels look even more egregious than they already were.

-This made for a satisfying Leia send off, no matter the circumstances. Her goodbye to Holdo hits exceptionally harder because of real life, but her story as the seed of hope across all of these movies is fittingly relinquished by the end. Even her leadership duties can be handed off to a man who finally learned his lesson (something Han never really did, it seems). Knowing what these movies used to say about women and their ~will to live~, her Force-savior scene is even more tremendous. She will always be missed.

-I dunno about Luke fucking the Fish Nuns, but Yoda has definitely told them where the liquor is stashed on that island.

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