Star Wars: The Last Jedi may or may not be the best film in the franchise but writer-director Rian Johnson delivers the goods in the eighth installment.
What follows below the asterisks is the bulk of my original review–first published in 2017. My feelings on this film have not changed in two years. In fact, the film only improves with time. Rian Johnson would turn out to be the perfect filmmaker to take on the middle film. It’s a film that draws upon both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is not the Obi-Wan Kenobi of this film. Nor is he the Master Yoda of this film. Luke is very much his own character and we’re better off for it.
Rian Johnson takes what we love about this franchise and turns it on his head. We see this by way of Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) dialogue with Rey (Daisy Ridley). Kylo wants to move away from the old ways. In many ways, his views aren’t so far removed from Luke. Ironic, much?
One thing about The Last Jedi is we finally see Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) use of the Force. Well, outside of the ability to communicate with Luke and Kylo Ren. Of course, the moment comes at what one could believe to be a cheap shot. Thankfully, it’s not. It would have been the worst way to go.
Nothing about this film is deserving of toxic fandom. None of it. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the best films in this franchise. There’s no reason to take out one’s displeasure on the actors in this film. They are just doing a job. Don’t like it? Tough. To take a line from Ashley Eckstein, “Star Wars is for everyone.” It’s true.
I’m looking forward to seeing how J.J. Abrams finishes the job. The Rise of Skywalker will mark the ultimate conclusion to the Skywalker saga. I’m not sure that I’ll ever emotionally be ready but the Force will be with us, always.
It goes without saying that one should enter a Star Wars film knowing as little as possible. There are those people who read everything they can about the films going in and those who decide to enter as blindly as possible. Aim for the latter because these new Star Wars films are a treat and Johnson doesn’t let us down.
When The Force Awakens concluded, Rey had just met Luke Skywalker and reached out to hand him the lightsaber lost following the battle with Darth Vader in Cloud City. Appropriately enough, Luke Skywalker takes on a larger role in The Last Jedi as Rey seeks to learn the ways of the Force. Whereas The Force Awakens was Han Solo’s film, The Last Jedi is Luke Skywalker’s film. The ninth film, to be helmed by J.J. Abrams, was to be Leia Organa’s film if not for her tragic and untimely passing.
Filmmakers were wise to not reveal so much in the trailers and TV spots–nobody wants to see the film be completely spoiled. Seeing Skywalker deliver the “it’s time for the Jedi to end” line is understood further in context on the big screen. This is the thing with not revealing much in trailers — it leaves a lot left to be uncovered and fans are able to truly experience a film.
In watching The Last Jedi, there’s a lot of sadness in knowing it’s the final on-screen appearance of Carrie Fisher in one of the most iconic roles for women. The film serves as a proper goodbye for General Organa with both new and old characters getting to say a goodbye to her in that respect. Fisher has served the role well and will truly be missed. […]
When all is said and done, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the greatest Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. Without having to worry about so many character introductions, the film goes right into the action and 2.5 hours later, fans will be clamoring for more.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Rian Johnson
CAST: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, with Frank Oz and Benicio Del Toro