Title – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Director – Rian Johnson (Looper)
Cast – Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Benico Del Toro, (voice of) Andy Serkis
Plot – The continuation of the Star Wars saga as Princess Leia (Fisher), Finn (Boyega) and Poe (Isaac) battle the new order lead by Supreme Leader Snoke (Serkis) and his apprentice Kylo Ren (Driver), while Rey (Ridley) meets with self-exiled Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Hamill).
“I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi… to end”
Review by Eddie on 15/12/2017
Disclaimer – This review is based on the IMAX 3D version of the film and is spoiler free
Simply put, The Last Jedi is an above average blockbuster but not a “great” Star Wars film.
It’s an odd feeling to have; walking out of a cinema after a screening of the latest Star War’s film and not feeling that immediate pang of desire to return to the ticket booth and book my next ticket to an encore screening, a follow up to allow me to take in all the spectacle, beloved characters and world-renowned escapism that George Lucas’s universe has been providing us since 1977.
It’s the odd feeling I got however from Rian Johnson’s polished and visually dazzling film, that for a variety of reasons (perhaps even petty ones, but such is the calibre of the high points of this series that all others will forever be judged against) just isn’t as amazing or memorable as many of it’s predecessors.
To be crystal clear, The Last Jedi is far from a bad movie, it’s a good one and a Star Wars entry that the growing number of Force Awakens naysayers will particularly enjoy (even this is Empire Strikes Back just as Awakens was A New Hope) but Johnson’s film harbors too many missed opportunities and so-so character advancements that end up holding it back from the greatness that feels precariously close underneath its glossy shine.
Set up so well by J.J Abrams previous series entry, The Last Jedi kicks off virtually immediately where we left off, with another stunning opening sequence and some eye-wateringly delicious visual candy but while it’s hard to talk in depth about where Johnson’s film takes us, there aren’t a whole lot of jaw-dropping plot developments in play here (bar one stand-out and beautifully set-up sequence around the mid-point of the film) which plays into why The Last Jedi is good, not great.
The characters we all began to love in Awakens all have their moments again here, without making the same type of emotional connection or impact .
Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo all get ample chances to spread their wings, even if Rey has a few to many teary-eyed scenes and a nagging feeling that she is becoming a more supportive character in this film while Ren’s arc in particular seems destined to end up rather disappointingly, even if Drivers impressive incarnation manages to still enthrall on more than one occasion.
In regards to our old cannon staples, Mark Hamill gets a lot more to do than his Awakens cameo and delivers what could well be his best ‘performance’ as Luke.
The veteran actor brings a real emotionally rich depth to Johnson’s epic and Luke’s increased presence is a winner, even if his and Rey’s meet-up feels like a missed opportunity for more ‘watercooler’ moments.
Things aren’t as rosy for Carrie Fischer’s swansong sadly, as the beloved princess plays a key part in The Last Jedi’s worst singular sequence in the blackness of space and those expecting to much from Leia will be left wanting from a role here that is fairly lacklustre for such a iconic figure.
You do get the sense that Disney are trying to truly move away from paying too much more fan service to characters and stories of old and if that is the case, Awakens and Jedi feel like solid enough occasions to see increasingly less important roles for these figures in the future.
New additions to the series, Kelly Marie Tran as feisty resistance member Rose, Benicio Del Toro as the slimy DJ and Laura Dern as the purple haired Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo don’t particularly stick in the memory, much like Johnson’s major setpieces that fall outside of the opening 10 minutes or a lightsaber battle aboard a New Order spacecraft.
Final Say –
The force is within The Last Jedi, just not as strongly as it has been in the past, tonal issues and some questionable character movements creating an imbalance in the natural order of things.
Being a series that’s judged more harshly and intently than any other, it may take some time for the hype and stirred up red salt to settle on just what type of Star Wars film The Last Jedi truly is.
At present judgement, Johnson’s film seems to stand up in it’s own right as a solid, sometimes fantastic and sometimes equally as disappointing experience that lacks the plethora of downright insta-clsssic Star Wars moments as other saga entries.
Sure to be enjoyed by millions of eager cinemagoers, The Last Jedi leaves plenty of work to do for J.J Abrams series return, to make sure this trilogy ends with a bang and not merely a whimper.
4 unlicensed chicken walker drivers out of 5
For Jordan’s take on The Last Jedi CLICK HERE