This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Addison’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Luke is the last Jedi, Snoke is the last Sith, and Star Wars is dead as we know it.
Rian Johnson’s complete departure from the typical formula established by Lucas will be leaving audiences disoriented for it’s entire theater run, and Disney’s approval of his methods shows the dedication they had to making the most introspective and groundbreaking Star Wars film yet. This isn’t your daddy’s Star Wars.
The Last Jedi is the first entry in the saga where plot gets completely out of the way in order to let the characters shine, rather than characters and plot equally lending themselves to each other like the other films do. Every major character has their own arc that began with The Force Awakens and finally saw resolution here. Rey has moved past her family. Finn has stopped running. Poe has learned to save the things he loves rather than attack what he hates. Kylo is no longer conflicted and knows exactly what he wants.
The writing from Rian Johnson and Carrie Fisher takes such a different route, but never feels like a purposeful departure from fan theories; it’s an unpredictable story that is purely original. Johnson and Fisher do not care at all about fan service, yet their unexpected choices—making Rey’s parents into nobodies for example—don’t feel like they are simply there to take people by surprise. Rey is now her own character and no longer needs a family, and that’s what’s so groundbreaking about that choice.
The Last Jedi has not only Mark Hamill’s finest acting, but the most mature and developed Luke. Dying on his own terms without giving Kylo the satisfaction was the perfect capper to the character who used to be far too rash for his own good in his actions. I get the feeling he still could not have faced Leia in the flesh with the weight of his guilt.
With the deaths of Luke and Snoke, all that is left is balance in the force. Rey is just as much of a Jedi as Kylo is a Sith—there is now balance between light and dark without barely any influence from Jedi or Sith teachings. Rey and Kylo are evenly matched, displayed by the brilliant moment where they split the lightsaber in half (one of the many images that has been burned into my head).
I barely slept last night after I saw this film; it crawled under my skin and kept me thinking about it for hours after it ended. The Last Jedi is the first film of it’s kind that stuck in my mind the way that it did, and is quite possibly the most baffling blockbuster ever made. I’m excited to see it multiple more times to unpack it’s mysteries.
This is the best Star Wars film.