Arts & Reviews

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: The Best Kind of Weird

By: Mike Massotto

Note: If you are yet to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” proceed at your own risk, this review is not spoiler free.

“It’s time for the Jedi to die,” said the trailer of the newest Star Wars movie, teasing a concept that sounds like certain doom for the galaxy that many people love. With the extreme success of “The Force Awakens”, there is little surprise that hardcore and casual fans alike are clamoring to see the next chapter of our newest trio of heroes. As Rey, Finn, and Poe replace Luke, Leia, and Han, many fans wondered whether the protagonists would develop in a way we haven’t seen before, or simply mimic the behaviors of the original trilogy heroes. While “The Force Awakens” clung close to the plot of 1977’s “A New Hope,” there are only a few points in “The Last Jedi” that resemble its counterpart, “The Empire Strikes Back”. This comes as a welcome surprise, because what Rian Johnson did with the story J.J. Abrams left behind was not only original, but exhilarating, opening up new questions and even more interest in the Star Wars universe.

 

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One of the best and most important parts about “The Last Jedi” was the character development. In comparison, “The Force Awakens” seemed to leave Finn, Rey, and Poe blank canvases; Poe more than the other two, as he was completely absent in the second act of The Force Awakens. In great contrast, much of “The Last Jedi” is dedicated to cultivating Rey’s understanding of the Force, her past, and the conflict between her and Kylo Ren. While on the note of Kylo Ren, Adam Driver’s character has greatly grown beyond being a Vader wannabe. All in the span on this movie, Kylo Ren is abused by his master, wavers to the light side, and then cements himself as the new leader of the First Order. All while keeping us, the audience, guessing as to the inner workings of his mind throughout. Overall, “The Last Jedi” has been a momentous piece of character development for everyone involved. Poe Dameron’s brash attitude has shown the flaws of being a reckless hero, Finn has obtained a love interest in Rose, a new character who was weaved into the story seamlessly; and even old Luke was taught a lesson or two throughout the whole ordeal. While I won’t be so hasty as to declare “The Last Jedi” as better than the original trilogy, it definitely does a great job at making the characters less black and white, adding multiple layers of emotion onto even the most ruthless villains of Star Wars.

 

My only complaint in regards to “The Last Jedi” is that some of the scenes contained a higher dose of deus ex machina than I was comfortable with, especially the highly-improbable survival of Princess Leia after she is literally blown into space, then floats back with minimal harm. While in some scenes the coincidences that occur seem probable, there are multiple times during the film where I sat with a confused look, asking myself if what I was watching actually just happened. In the end however, I am glad that “The Last Jedi” took this stranger route, as a less original route is the boring alternative.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” puts a lot on the table for the viewer to take in– that’s why the movie has a run time over two hours. But to say that it is too long would be an insult. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is just as long as it needs to be, and it flowed in such a way that I was enthralled from the beginning. My final score for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is mounted at a 9 out of 10, on the grounds of superb character development and plot, with the only point off being taken because of the more cliche bits. That’s all folks!