STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI: A Flawed Addition To The Saga
If you are looking for the best film of the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is not the film you are looking for.
With the overwhelming critic praise surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi, my expectations and excitement grew more and more each passing day leading up to opening night. I was literally a bouncing ball around my office waiting for the work day to end so I could delve into the next chapter of the Skywalker saga. Unfortunately, the hype that had been built up throughout the week did not match the film I would see that evening.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a really good Star Wars film, rating it number four out of all the previous films( behind A New Hope, Empire and The Force Awakens) but it definitely does not in my mind surpass The Empire Strikes Back and it is definitely not the best film in the entire saga. Leaving the theater, I felt as though maybe I missed something. I couldn’t stop thinking about the film when I got home, unable to drift off to sleep – so I know it was good. I couldn’t understand what other critics saw in the film that I had not. It wasn’t until Rotten Tomatoes released the fan score that I finally understood, that I wasn’t alone.
With a critic score of 94% at the time of this article but a fan score of 57%, there was something amiss in The Last Jedi. I understood my disconnect was because I saw the move as a fan and not a critic – and I expected more. Now don’t get me wrong. See.This.Film. It is not to be missed. And do not let anyone spoil it for you.
But if you are looking for the best Star Wars film ever made, this is not the film you are looking for.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi picks up where J.J. Abrams had left us two years earlier. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the lush green island in her mind with the hopes of beginning her training and returning the old Jedi Master to the front lines of The Resistance. Yet, moving forward from the past becomes more difficult than she could possibly have imagined – the eternal fight between the light and the dark burning from within.
While Rey attempts to complete her mission, The Resistance carries on the battle against the New Order. With Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and their obedient army hot on their trail, General Leia (Carrie Fisher) leads the fight for their survival and the survival of hope throughout the galaxy.
Honestly, after watching The Last Jedi, I was even more overjoyed that J.J. Abrams would be returning to complete the saga. Almost immediately, you can sense that there is a lack of heart put into the characters and the plot versus The Force Awakens. Where The Force Awakens felt like it was a film made by a truly devoted fan, The Last Jedi feels as though it was at times thrown together as director/ writer Rian Johnson went along. When a director has to explain the film to its fans, there is some serious disconnect and a ponderance on whether the fan was actually considered.
Many have complained or commented on the length of The Last Jedi. It did start to feel long towards the end, yet I don’t think it was due to the actual time stamp of the film. Instead, I believe it is because of the drawn out plots within the film itself. Many parts of the story are over showcased destroying the strength and believability in the plot. Though some of the storylines and character development really worked in the film, there were others that made me feel cheated as an audience member and a fan.
As Luke Skywalker states in the trailer “This is not going to go the way you think!”
Regarding the various characters within The Last Jedi, there were highs and there were lows. Some characters seemed unnecessary and out of place – their purpose in the film and for the plot was confusing. In all honesty, it seemed as though these characters were added only for the possibility of setting up Rian Johnson’s new trilogy that would continue outside of the Skywalker line.
Porgs for one, while undeniably adorable, had no purpose in this film. Yes, they do add some comedic relief, but are unnecessary. The Force Awakens brought back the traditional, savvy and clever humor of the original films, using the characters and a small white and orange droid to bring humor to the film. In The Last Jedi, Porgs are the equivalent to the use of Jar-Jar Binks in the prequels to bring the humor – yet thankfully less annoying.
Characters introduced in The Force Awakens were underutilized in The Last Jedi and there importance seemed severely altered, becoming only a means to move the plot forward and not the saga. They are not apart of the story as they once were. Now this is not to say this applies to every character introduced in the previous film, but there is a shocking abandonment of characters that could have played a larger role.
Though, it wasn’t all bad. It was amazing to see Mark Hamill once again reprise the role of Luke Skywalker, the intense fire behind his eyes untainted in the years since the final film. This was one of the best parts of the film for me, an icon of my childhood that I would mimic brought back to life. Needless to say my inner child was beside itself.
Yet, where my inner child was bursting at the seems, it was also heartbroken. Carrie Fisher’s final performance on screen was sad yet satisfying. Her final film as Princess Leia was fitting and properly handled. There is a moment when fans will find her performance truly reminiscent and truly satisfying – I know I did and will probably never for get it.
While there is only so much about The Last Jedi you can actually say before running the risk of spoilers, there is one element of the film I continue to praise and use as a selling point to see it. The battle sequences are phenomenal, some of the shots and framing are top notch and permanently etched in my mind. They are beautifully choreographed and are epic representations of good vs. evil, light vs. dark. For this reason, I highly regretting choosing recliner seating at my local theater over the IMAX.
One technical complaint, however, was with the use of the music at one point in the film. It can be said that many of the films John Williams has composed carry a similar sound. John Williams sounds like John Williams, his music encompassing classic after classic and his “sound” recognized by many.
He has managed though to maintain a “sound” while still assembling an identity to each film he scores. Yet, this is the first time I have honestly recognized another film score within a film. At one point in The Last Jedi, the score of Jurassic Park can be heard inlayed with the score for a particular scene involving a casino ridden planet. This to me was the most annoying part of the film. Nit picking I know, but music has the ability to draw you into a film and mesmerize, but it also has the ability to rip you out just as quickly. In a moment of tension, I was ripped out of The Last Jedi and thrown, for a moment, into a completely different film.
While a good Star Wars film, this was not the best. With issues across the board (technical, character and plot), The Last Jedi does leave much to be desired.
Have you seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in the United States and the United Kingdom on December 14, 2017. For all international release dates, see here.
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