*VERY MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
“Amazing. Every Word Of What You Just Said Was Wrong” – Luke Skywalker
2015’s The Force Awakens not only established a new trilogy in the Star Wars saga, the film also paved the way for many more exciting adventures and characters to come to us. While the last film was merely the stepping stones to the sequel trilogy, The Last Jedi shows the full potential of a Star Wars movie in this millennium and gives us the best entry since The Empire Strikes Back.
Beginning very shortly after the last film, the rebels are trying to escape the advances of The First Order in one of the greatest cinematic space battles I have ever seen. At the same time, we finally get to see what happens as Rey meets Luke Skywalker (yes, he does get to speak in this one). Rey needs Luke to help with both her own understanding of the force and help the resistance in their fight against the darkness.
Early in the film, we catch up with Finn, Poe, Leia, Chewie and well…everyone! We also get to see just how much of an impact the destruction of Starkiller Base has had on The First Order. The war is at its high point in this movie and the stakes have never been higher. The shocks are there and the action is breathless throughout, whether it was in space or amongst allies.
One thing we needed in this film was an answer to some of the big mysteries. We get a few answers and there is maybe one or two times in the movie where we have to accept we aren’t gonna be given everything! We also get to physically see Snoke, who inspires much evil and fear in his prominent appearance. Then we have Luke, we get to see what kept him away for all this time and we see just exactly how he feels about the war and his feelings about his nephew, Kylo!
Same as The Force Awakens before it and the spin-off hit Rogue One, The Last Jedi is a spectacle beyond my mere skills of explanation. The blend of practical effects and the best CGI that money can buy presents us with a depiction of the Star Wars universe that is impossible to hate. While a certain appearance will please the fans of old, one seen of a ship going into lightspeed presents possibly the greatest jaw-drop of the whole film.
Where as Episode VII was the first step back into this world, the new movie embraces what has come before it and ensures us that Star Wars is not afraid to break the cycle. Too many fans were possibly expecting a 2017 edition of The Empire Strikes Back, but that is not the case! Rian Johnson has created a piece which not only slots in perfectly to the established narrative, the film gives a sense of closure to some highly debated questions while keeping our excitement for Episode IX.
If I could pick my favourite character, I would only change my mind 5 minutes later. Mark Hamill does in this film what Harrison Ford did in The Force Awakens, this is a LUKE SKYWALKER film where as the last part was a HAN SOLO film. Without too much of a spoiler, we get to see a complete story for Luke and the pay-off is incredible.
Daisy Ridley is indeed the heart of the film, Rey is the character we are on the journey with and we do feel her need to learn and embrace the emotions she experiences on this story. Rey and Luke have a dynamic which is reminiscent to Luke and Yoda, but a lot more conflicted. Also, if you had any doubt about Kylo Ren as a villain, Adam Driver shows you in this movie that he is the most dangerous person (if still conflicted within himself) in this universe and someone you do not want to mess with.
We also get some other characters who shine in the extra screen time. Oscar Isaac’s Poe is fun and inspiring, Anthony Daniel’s C3PO gets a few decent laughs and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran gets to have a lot of fun with John Boyega’s Finn! We also sadly say goodbye to our Princess in this entry. Carrie Fisher has had a lot of attention on her in the last few years and it was her passing which really hit the fans hard. We all knew The Last Jedi was her last filmed appearance in this universe, but I can honestly say that Leia will be going out on such a great note. Nobody could ever replace Carrie Fisher and all I can say is that I wish we had maybe just a bit more from Carrie in this film.
The few gripes I have are just that, almost not worth the hassle. The film is a spectacle throughout and embraces the emotional and intimate beats perfectly. The action scenes remain fantastic and breathless as before. The only main issue I would have would be in the lightsaber battles, you need to watch the film to fully understand why. I just want to say I do like them, but there is nothing that compares to that fight in The Force Awakens!
With great character progression on multiple fronts, a real push in the story and a great set-up that will probably help for an easier wait for the fans wanting to see Episode IX, this film delivers all it needed to. Sure a few people may not like some of the choices, but you will indeed be surprised by this film and I for one can not wait to see what happens when J.J. Abrams comes back to conclude the trilogy.
Final rating: 9.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove