“Star Wars The Last Jedi” Review


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Dylan Giacobbe, Editor-in-Chief

The “Star Wars” franchise makes its return to the silver-screened trilogy with the long awaited episode eight, “The Last Jedi,” three years after the series return, “The Force Awakens.” The movie however, while having an astounding opening weekend at the box office second only to its predecessor, has proven to be possibly the most decisive “Star Wars” film to date with critics and many fans completely split on whether the movie is a worthy sequel or even good movie at all.

Following the events of “The Force Awakens,” the movie begins with pilot Poe Damaron leading a fleet of resistance forces in a hit-and-run space battle to destroy one of the First Order’s star destroyer ships. The plan goes awry when the resistance realizes they are being tracked and cannot escape the First Order’s armada after suffering heavy losses in Poe’s ambush.

The resistance fleet then must try to outrun the First Order which sets in motion the plot for returning character’s Leia, Finn, and Poe as they try to devise a plan to escape what seems to be inevitable death. With Poe’s help, Finn and new character, Rose, wind up escaping to a nearby planet in search of someone who can help the resistance fleet escape the First Order before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, far away from the cosmic chase, Rey finds herself on a remote planet face-to-face with the legend and hero of the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker. Unlike his presence in movies past, Luke has significantly changed with age and has rejected the legendary status placed upon him as well as the Jedi as Rey presses him to train her to be one. The two reluctantly train together all the while allowing both of their pasts to be uncovered.

Kylo Ren, the new trilogy’s main villain, is also heavily present in the film, talking to Rey from across the galaxy using the force as the two start to gain a better understanding of each other’s pasts and motivations.

As the plot unfolds, each character’s narrative arcs intertwine while the idea of the resistance, the last force fighting back against the First Order, comes under attack both literally and figuratively.

Although there was immense hype behind the new movie, the release has been met with wildly varying reactions. Critics and many fans are split on the success of the film with critics praising the movies outstanding visual effects and risky plot elements while many fans are disappointed by character plotlines and misplaced humor.

Never before has there been such an outrage from the community over a new installment of the series, leaving many fans either loving or hating the divisive new movie. However there is certainly a basis for many of the criticisms but many are angry simply over the new directions in which director Rian Johnson has led “Star Wars” with his new movie.

One of the most important things Johnson did with “The Last Jedi” was playing with what people expect from a “Star Wars” film. The traditional themes of good versus evil, of the chosen one to save the galaxy, and even how people expect characters from the old films are all turned on their head in this movie.

The movie looks into these themes further showing that good and evil are not so clear cut through Rey and Kylo’s plot lines. It shows many times that one’s parentage does not matter, that having a famous name like Skywalker or Kenobi is not necessary to be a hero.

All of this has led to enormous backlash from many in the dedicated fanbase claiming the movie’s more unorthodox handling of themes and characters has nearly if not completely ruined the series for them. And yet others hail the movie’s experimental nature as refreshing and something to be valued.

And yet between both one can fall in the middle of both ends of the ongoing debate. While from a pure film perspective there are some obvious editing and screenwriting flaws, it is hard to judge this film, regardless of its status as a “Star Wars” sequel, as an intrinsically bad movie — a statement which many series fans are claiming.

Though one may feel it is not a true “Star Wars’ movie, there is nothing wrong with taking risks which, for the most part, paid off in a particularly formulaic film series. And while there is certainly legitimate criticism to be faced, “The Last Jedi” stands not only as an important step into playing with the generic albeit beloved “Star Wars” formula, but also as a genuinely stunning and undoubtedly entertaining winter blockbuster on its own.

It is a movie that is entirely worth the price of a ticket for fans of the series both casual and hardcore if not for the exciting experience it provides then for the opportunity to formulate your own opinions about the film and join the conversation that will surely rage on until the next movie’s release.