No spoilers in this review.
As surely as I’ll need to see the movie again in theaters, it’s going to take me more than one post to get talking about it out of my system.
The coolest part about Star Wars: The Last Jedi was that it appealed equally to my inner seven year old that remembers seeing the original back in 1977, and the adult who understands story, character and consequences today.
This film is now the title holder for the longest Star Wars film, it feels it, and that’s a good thing.
The length isn’t felt in the way it was for the previous record holder, Attack of the Clones:
“Dear Lord, not another senate scene.”
Instead the length was felt by my thinking on several occasions:
“Oh well, it looks like the movie is wrapping up now…HOLY CRAP!” *another awesome action scene happens*
Some criticized The Force Awakens for rehashing many of the happenings of the original Star Wars. At the time I felt there were significant enough differences to allow the subsequent films to go in what could be new and exciting directions.
I was right! Yay! Go me!
The new trilogy belongs to the characters introduced in these films. The returns from the Original Trilogy do execute some awesome events and speeches, but that’s further proof of who’s story we’re following.
The Original Trilogy characters have moments. They do awesome things, and inspire others.
The New Trilogy characters have arcs. They learn, they grow and they develop.
It's a reminder to us fans to judge these stories and individuals on their own, building off what has gone before instead of being reflections or copies of it.
This is true on both the dark and light side of the force.
As the middle film of the trilogy, of course the heroes end up in the worst place possible. In fact it may be the worse-est place we’ve seen in the franchise. Taking a cue from recent Marvel films in that other action adventure franchise Disney owns, the script is infused with a great deal of humor to keep the audience from leaving in a complete depression fueled mess.
It’s nice to see Disney understands Walt’s line, “For every laugh a tear must fall,” works both ways.
Not to mention, as it should be in Star Wars, a new hope keeps everyone going.
There was an interesting, and in my opinion, long overdue, inversion to classic, and particularly prequel Star Wars doctrine. After forty years of promoting the idea of “Don’t think…feel” the franchise finally admits doing that can seriously come back to bite you in the butt sometimes. Thinking is often an outstanding idea.
That’s close to all I can come up with without giving anything away. In summary:
Ray, Finn and Poe continue to be the leads and their character arcs are what drive the central story.
Luke, and Leia, (along with Han’s memory) provide more Star Warsy examples and inspiration. Nice to see they recognized Mark Hamill is awesomely goofy, and previous Jedi trainers have been snark masters, allowing the wisdom of Luke to be tempered by some of Hamill’s natural wise-assness.
The actors for Rose, Admiral Holdo and DJ bring some excellent acting chops and look to fit into classic Star Wars roles. However, new stories bring new surprises.
Artoo, Threepio and Chewie do some cool stuff and provide comfortable sidekick continuity, but its BeeBee Eight who takes over Artoo’s mega heroics.
Kylo Ren and General Hux develop further as villains and characters in their own right, under the watchful manipulations of Supreme Leader Snoke. Captain Phasma remains enigmatic yet dangerous.
The characters travel through many and varied new worlds, encountering new environments and creatures which simultaneously are fresh and exciting but still feel like Star Wars.
And John Williams is still awesome, weaving themes old and new together to create the perfect audio picture for this universe once again.
Before I go-a tip of the hat to the filmmakers.
They could have easily done rewrites and edits to change General Leia’s story to make it easier to segue into Episode Nine now that she’s gone. Instead they kept the movie as originally planned and shot, allowing us all to see Carrie Fisher’s beautifully done final performance as our Princess the way she intended when she played it.
May the Force be With You.