Directed by Rian Johnson
Film Review by Nicholas Haberling
It is no secret that Star Wars has played a huge role in my life so any attempt to appear objective with my review would be disingenuous. With that disclaimer out of the way, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was everything I didn’t realize I wanted in a Star Wars movie. Let me say that again: It is very unlikely that you would have predicted the twists and turns of this movie prior to seeing it. Admittedly, not every part of the plot was exceptional, but the core story arc and characters have taken Star Wars into uncharted territory that I think will excite old fans and capture the imaginations of new ones as well.
Despite the destruction of Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens, the First Order has rallied and is hot on the heels of the Resistance. While the Resistance flees from the Star Destroyers of the First Order, Rey confronts Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To and demands to be trained in the ways of the Jedi. Honestly, that is all I can write without going into more detail about the plot. There is one storyline about half-way through that doesn’t appear to have much of a purpose besides giving a main character something to do and ultimately slows down the pace of the film (you will know what I’m talking about after watching the movie), but that is all I can really say at the moment.
Once again I can’t go into any real detail here without the risk of giving away spoilers. Mark Hamill was incredible as Luke Skywalker. He brought to life a Luke with thirty years of Jedi experience that the audience hasn’t seen since Return of the Jedi. Is he the same hero we left on the forest moon of Endor? No, but the man we find among the ruins of the first Jedi Temple is undoubtedly Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.
In addition to Mark Hamill’s return to the franchise (the end of The Force Awakens doesn’t count), we also saw our final film with Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia. Fisher certainly haunts the first few scenes she’s in and she played a strong, funny, and inspiring Leia throughout the film.
As far as our new characters go, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega each brought in high quality performances as Poe Damerom and Finn, respectively. But Rey, played by Daisy Ridley and Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver were definitely the highlights of The Last Jedi. I know a lot of people weren’t happy with Kylo Ren in Episode VII, but I think the conflict we see in his character in this film more than makes up for any perceived faults in the prior installment.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a must see for any fan of the franchise and a fun experience for casual viewers. Frankly, opening weekend is the time to see it when you are surrounded by passionate Star Wars fans. I have never been to an opening night for other films where the audience is so interactive with the movie. The crowd cheers when “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…” appears on the screen, laughs at every sight of a porg (penguin creature), and applauds at the end of the film. In short, give Disney your money.