Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Here are our thoughts on the newest Star Wars film!

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Our Review Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

Our Review Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

The latest Star Wars film is one that shocks and surprises at every turn. It subverts expectations and takes audiences on an unforgettable and exhilarating adventure in a galaxy far, far away. It may disappoint many fans who have theories or aren't prepared for a unique experience. This is the most different Star Wars film to date as it sets itself apart in many ways. Rian Johnson takes plenty of risks here and most of them pay off in major ways. While it isn't a perfect film, it's well worth seeing and may actually be the best the Skywalker saga has to offer.

Telling this story was always going to be a challenge. How do you follow-up a $2 billion film in 2015's The Force Awakens? While that film was still divisive, as any Star Wars film is, it still brought back Star Wars in a big way since it's 10 year absence from cinemas. The first risk Rian Johnson takes is one that was set up by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan in Episode VII as this one picks up right where we left off taking no time jump. Between Episodes I and II there are ten years that pass, between II and II another three years, between III and IV there are 19 years, IV and V have three years between them, and after V one year passes before we begin VI, and another thirty before VII. So it's unheard of for this to happen, but that's just one example of what this new trilogy is all about: new and unexpected things.

There are four storylines in this film which all intersect at the end. One features Poe, General Leia and the Resistance on the run from the First Order, and another has Finn and Rose on a secret mission. Meanwhile Kylo Ren is actively pursuing the Dark Side, as Rey trains with Luke in the ways of the Force. Each of these storylines is compelling and all of them grow our heroes and villains in surprising ways. The core of this story is about learning from failure. There are plenty of other messages and themes in the movie, all of which work in their own ways, and are expertly crafted and brought together in a cohesive narrative.

The characters are all played to perfection by this amazing cast. Daisy Ridley never ceases to amaze as our hero Rey, and Adam Driver brings his work as Kylo Ren to the next level. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac once again deliver knockout performances as Finn and Poe while newcomers Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, and Benicio Del Toro all add layers to their complex characters. Andy Serkis is brilliant as Supreme Leader Snoke, Mark Hamill gives the best performance of his career as Luke Skywalker here, and the late Carrie Fisher reprises her iconic role of Leia with elegance and poise for the last time.

The visual effects are outstanding, as are the costumes, props, sets, and production design. The music by John Williams may be his best Star Wars score to date as it blends original trilogy, prequel, and new music in astounding ways. This script is an odd one in that it has plenty of laugh-out-loud humor along with some of the darkest moments of the entire saga. That's not to say it's bad as both are balanced well, but some of it feels so different that it may take some getting used to and shock audiences. It works so well, though, because Rian Johnson does everything to serve the characters and the specific story he is telling. It's clear that the director's vision is on screen and that's a wonderful thing.

Flaws and all, this new Star Wars film is exactly what the franchise needed. After hearing the criticisms of The Force Awakens were that it was too similar to the original  trilogy, Johnson wisely crafted a second entry that used the original trilogy for inspiration, but totally subverted the expectations of the audience right when they thought they knew what was going to happen. It's a stroke of genius from a visionary filmmaker and one that will go down in history as a turning point for the series and for blockbuster movies in general. The story is beautiful and the message harkens back to where it all started: anyone can be a hero and save the galaxy from the forces of evil. I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a 9.5 out of 10.

Star Wars The Last Jedi