Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★½

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Rian Johnson. You finally have given us the best Star Wars movie since EMPIRE. And all it took was the capacity to think outside the common knowledge of the franchise. I know this movie has proven quite divisive among fans, but there is no reason for it. This has everything we could have hoped for from a new trilogy of Star Wars films. It builds off of what we already know, but also isn't afraid to give us new ideas, and twists and turns off of what we've already seen. And it did it without having to remake a similar plot.

However, not everything in this works perfectly. I found Finn and Rose's side plot, other than some cool worldbuilding and hope to younger characters, was extraneous to say the least. John Williams' score has been taking a lot of heat, and though it's nowhere near the caliber that the Originals or Prequels were, it's fine. Just kind of... there. I've also heard that the humor/writing has been criticized, and yes, there were some lines that were questionable, but on the whole I did not mind the writing. It felt natural, and you have to remember, these films are meant to be fun. They can deal with dark themes while still sliding in a few light moments. Snoke and Captain Phasma are not in this very long, and I question the latter's inclusion at all. "Reylo" has not been my favorite ship to come out of these movies, and there's a lot of fire to that ship's fuel in this.

Thankfully, though, their interactions are only kept to a new concept - communication through the Force over long distances. And that's only the beginning of new key concepts that I'm sure will only be built upon in the future. The best part about this film is its character moments, and there are a lot of them. Carrie Fisher and Oscar Isaac are given so much more to do here, and they absolutely shine together. Mark Hamill arguably gives his absolute best performance as the now-troubled Luke Skywalker, after 34 years of not having said one word. Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley play well opposite each other, as what Snoke describes as "counterparts of the light and the dark." Driver's Ben Solo specifically shows signs of wavering alliances, something that I'm interested to see play out in the next installment. Undoubtedly, this is the best-looking Star Wars film to date - through beautiful special effects and cinematography, it'll leave you speechless. And might I say, Snoke's throne room looks absolutely GORGEOUS and only serves the red and white aesthetic throughout the latter half of the film. Oh, and yes, I am 100% Team Porg. There are multiple sequences in this film that that are absolutely breathtaking - both having to do with lightsaber duels. There are tons of callbacks to the original films that don't feel forced, and are absolutely granted. (A few of them even got me choked up or smiling like an idiot.) Where this film gets it right is portraying the hope that the Resistance, the Jedi, and even this franchise itself bring to people inside its galaxy and ours. It's completely inclusive - showing us that you don't have to have special blood to make a difference in the universe. For a middle chapter of a series that's arguably run its course already, that's a really powerful message, and it only makes me more excited to see what Johnson does with his trilogy after this one is complete.

This film is not for everyone, and if you're expecting it to follow your theories from the last one, you're not going to have a good time. This takes everything you thought you knew and turns it on its side - kind of like EMPIRE itself. Go in with no expectations, other than a really good time.

(P.S. RIP to my princess, Carrie Fisher. You had me sobbing like a baby throughout this whole thing.)

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