‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ review: The most emotionally driven film yet

Photo by: Disney

By Damian Gordon

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is perhaps the most emotionally driven entry yet, held back by shortcomings that damage an otherwise stellar experience.

This adds to the copy and pasted ground that The Force Awakens built to create something new. Featuring an original plot with twists and turns that play with fan expectations in clever ways.

The Last Jedi picks up where the previous one left off with Rey (Dasiy Ridley) seeking training from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Meanwhile, Finn (John Boyega) wakes from severe wounds to face imminent death as the rebels are on their last legs trying to escape the First Order.

There is a thick tension as the rebel cruiser ship runs on fumes, while Finn and engineer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) race for a figure that could save them elsewhere.

An incredible feat the movie achieves is making it believable that everyone might not make it out. The whole theatre sounded like Darth Vader with all the heavy breathing happening from each seat.

This wouldn’t work if not for the strong dialogue making you invested in what happens. When Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) gets fired up about higher-up orders, you’re ready to fight these fictional people too.

It wouldn’t be a Star Wars flick without hearing the buzz of two sabers touching, which makes this a disappointment in that regard.

This is the second of the trilogy and there are barely any lightsaber fights. Although this is not the only thing that makes a Star Wars movie, it is pretty damn important.

Every time a dueling scene gets good, it abruptly ends as if it has performance anxiety.  I kind of wanted to take the movie aside, pat it on the back and say, “it’s okay take two years and we’ll try this again.”

The biggest letdown was the final duel, being built up entire movie and then it ends anti-climatically.  I almost wanted to wait for the after credits to see if that is where they misplaced the duel.

The ground and space battles are well shot and exciting. The Croit battle showcases this as red dust trails behind high-speed action only disappearing when the pilot does in a cloud of fire.

Luke is as charming as he ever was in the originals; his first scene picks up from the last movie as Rey quickly learns he is an old man who doesn’t give a damn anymore, which makes their dynamic fun.
Returning after decades away from playing Luke, Hamil brings a menacing undertone at points from his role as the Joker that makes you wonder what broke him.

Rey is boring the fact that she has no last name is fitting since she feels unfinished. I could not describe her personality if I tried, as there is not much.  Her parents probably fell asleep while naming her.

She is almost like those silent protagonists from shooters, causing me to sigh when the movie cuts from more interesting characters. However, Ridley provides great performance despite what she is given.

Some unforgettable moments pop up involving people such as Leia (Carrie Fisher), Amilyn Holdo or Luke. Which you’ll know what I’m talking about when it comes like the most awesome use of hyperdrive ever left the room speechless, deserving of a sports play-by-play.

The cinematography is spectacular; there are so many shots that would be put as art in a gallery. There are strong images that tell a story without saying a single world.

Luke sitting at a twin sunset, or Rey looking out at sea during a storm is simply beautiful.

The threat of the New Order is felt throughout the story, it’s not just said how dangerous they are they show it. Stormtroopers may miss all their shots but their numbers, cunning and weapons make it hard to see a happy ending.

There is a rich depth of characters utilized here that the last film didn’t. We get to know Poe for more than just a few slick lines. Poe grows through an arc more than any other person in learning to be a leader.

Plenty of cool characters are introduced like Benicio del Toro’s unnamed character, who appears just enough to leave me wanting more. Not good or bad but merely awesome.

Del Toro describes him perfectly “if you grab him by the blade, he’ll cut you. If you grab him by the handle, he can be very, very useful.”

Captain Phasma  Gwendoline Christie) returns to be a really cool looking Star Wars toy and nothing more. It’s apparent at this point her shiny armor is meant to blind viewers from how she’s being wasted.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the type of dude to send “rawr” texts and scream at his parents to get out his room like he pays the bills. He never seems like a big threat, which the film excels at showing except when it comes to him, we’re just told he’s strong.

The movie is quite long; you might have to use your vacation days just to finish this. While never boring, there were some scenes that could have been shortened.

Filler episode sections like Finn’s mission take up time. While it has great importance, the journey didn’t feel exciting for the most part.  Seeing the rebels clinging to life made his made depended on it, yet

“The Last Jedi” utilizes every character to its own detriment, trying to fit too much like some date that overall, I’m left thinking about scenes days later, a lasting impression, which is more than most films achieve. Yes, it has a lot of problems but it still a well-made experience that could be seen again… if you have a week to give.

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