Action, Adam Driver, Benicio Del Toro, Carrie Fischer, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Drama, Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega, Laura Dern, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Rian Johnson, Sci-Fi, Star Wars, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is hands down the most ambitious film in the entire franchise, taking more chances and handling the property in a different way than it has ever been done before. Not all of it works for sure, but when you get to the core of the film’s emotional center, Rian Johnson understands the core themes of Star Wars and why it is such a phenomenon.
It’s safe to say that The Last Jedi is the most spiritual of the Star Wars films, combining familiar imagery with great character motivations. This is almost the Twin Peaks version of Star Wars, where plot is completely secondary to the emotional journey of the characters and the feelings evoked by their journeys. The film’s strongest dynamic is that of Rey (Daisy Ridley) convincing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to hope again, and seeing master and student learn from each other is one of the most compelling stories in Star Wars history.
It also helps that the film has the greatest Star Wars villain of all-time in Kylo Ren (Adam Driver); no villain in the series has been this complex, and Driver sells every emotion and struggle that the character goes through, and the insecurities that define why he is the way he is. He’s just as big of a character in the film as Rey is, and seeing their two relationships with Luke allows the film to delve into some of its most interesting psychological ideas.
John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are phenomenal actors who’ve crafted great characters, but they unfortunately don’t have as much to do as they did in The Force Awakens. While it’s clearly Rey and Kylo Rens’ story, I wish that the secondary plot was more compelling, and while the Po Dameron character in particular has some interesting character development, the plot line as a whole isn’t as interesting as it perhaps should have been. Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro are great actors who craft memorable characters, but they are also underutilized in the grand scheme of things.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t perfect and I won’t give it a perfect score, but the stuff it does well is some of the best things the franchise has to offer. Despite some slightly off putting political commentary, the film evokes the sense of everyday heroism and believing in the spirit of rebellion that the franchise has always been about. The Last Jedi lives in the world of Star Wars, but Rian Johnson has crafted a unique vision of what the series can be, and as a fan has recognized the core ideas that make Star Wars the greatest franchise of all-time. Grade: A