Movie Review: The Last Jedi
The latest installment of the beloved Star Wars franchise has finally arrived, meaning the “Wait for VIII” is officially over. The Last Jedi was written and directed by Rian Johnson with Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman producing. While there are several characters to follow, the film overall covers the continuing fight between the villainous First Order and the Resistance. Daisy Ridley reprised her role as the force-wielder Rey with Mark Hamill returning as the illustrious Luke Skywalker. Other cast members who reprised their role from The Force Awakens include John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie. The film also bolsters some exciting new faces played by Kelly Marie Tran, Benicio del Toro, and Laura Dern.
Oddly enough, this might be the hardest film I have ever had to write a synopsis for due to the great potential to spoil some great moments of the film. So, with that said, I’ll keep it simple. As Rian Johnson had already told us, the film begins where The Force Awakens ends. Starkiller Base might have been destroyed, but the First Order still has plenty of ships and weapons. They know where the Resistance base is located, and they have every intention of eliminating the Resistance once and for all. Meanwhile, Rey has found Luke on Ahch-To but has found him uninterested in helping her or the Resistance. As the story unfolds, many lingering questions are answered and the pressing question focuses on whether the Resistance will once again be able to prevail against the unyielding, oppressive power of the First Order.
So, I think the best way to describe this film is surprising. There were so many unexpected moments in this film, and I will talk about none of them here. As Luke said in one of the trailers, “This is not going to go the way you think.” I’ve never heard a more concise statement summate a film going experience. However, while things are shocking and sometimes desperately dark, it is still a Star Wars film. There are incredible moments of humor and levity, and I’m honestly still shocked at the balance of light and dark that Rian Johnson was able to achieve with the tone of this film.
The story was fantastic and unexpected, and the story was highlighted by the incredible visuals present in the film. Honestly, I think The Last Jedi is the most beautiful Star Wars film we’ve ever received between the sweeping images of Ahch-To, the bright lights and grandeur of Canto Bight, and the stark contrast on the salt mines of Crait. All of the effects were breathtaking. In addition to the visuals, though, the performances were truly spectacular. Newcomers Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran give us some amazing new female leads in this franchise, and each of them deliver on some powerful character moments. Daisy Ridley continues to shine in her performance as Rey, and Carrie Fisher’s final performance is perfect and emotional. Mark Hamill delivers on every facet of Luke’s struggle, and Adam Driver delivers on the emotional turmoil of the complicated villain, Kylo Ren. Also, I think that Domhnall Gleeson was able to give an even better portrayal of General Hux in this film, and I thought he was spectacular.
I can admit that the movie was not perfect. I can admit that I did not love the storyline for Benicio del Toro’s character; however, this is an excellent addition to the franchise. It is a film that goes further into the Force and surprises at every turn. It is still a Star Wars film, which means that we still dive into some of those timeless themes of light, darkness, love, power, and family. Also, this film brings us some of my favorite creatures, and I am truly not kidding when I say that the porgs are everything. The Last Jedi ultimately brings the Star Wars franchise to a brand new place, and it leaves me to anxiously start counting down the days until Episode IX.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.