The Last Jedi is a fantastic movie that pushed characters in new directions beyond expectations. It is the most beautiful and visually pleasing Star Wars film yet. However, it is about a half hour too long. It also included several moments that were a bit odd and didn’t quite work. Overall, I give The Last Jedi a solid B+.
As a spoiler free review, I won’t mention anything you don’t already know from the multiple trailers and TV spots. Rey wants Luke to train her and Luke is not on board with the idea. Across the galaxy, the Resistance is in major trouble, forcing Finn and the adorable and energetic new character, Rose, to embark on a journey of their own. Kylo Ren is still reeling from his battle with Rey and is trying to find his true place in all this mess.
I understand why many fans did not like Episode VIII. The Last Jedi is a good movie. Don’t get me wrong. My mind is still processing everything as I write this review 15 hours after leaving the theater. I will say this about Rian Johnson’s installment: enter with no expectations or preconceived notions. Luke’s line “This is not going to go the way you think” perfectly sums up the film.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I will tread lightly in my review. There is massive character development, on all sides. Our favorite heroes from the Original Trilogy go through much more than expected, and the leading crew of this new generation of films is pushed to their limits. It is refreshing to see a Star Wars movie that does the totally unexpected.
Another major positive is the visuals this time around. The CGI was flawless, as were the locations they used. The battles scenes were detailed and believable and edge of your seat, especially the first space battle.
While I loved what Johnson achieved, I didn’t initially appreciate it. I walked out of the movie not exactly satisfied. And here’s why. There were things that were rushed. A myriad of new characters were introduced, but the film doesn’t exactly succeed in endearing them to us. The only new character I enjoyed was Rose, and that is because she was portrayed with enthusiasm and energy by Kelly Marie Tran. Another complaint I have is that the movie is too long. By at least 30 minutes. Plot lines were occasionally stretched too thin and an unnecessary amount of dead time was present.
Keeping these more objective faults in mind, I think I know why it took me some time to appreciate The Last Jedi. I made the critical error of spending too much time making a big deal out of the questions Episode VII asked. I watched and read too many theories and analyzed things too much. In reality, the movie answers what it wants to and how it wants to, whether or not you are satisfied is up to you. I bought into the hype and created a movie in my mind that never came to fruition. But something better did. And now I need to see it again to fully appreciate what it is on it’s own, without my ideas about what a Star Wars movie is or my list of possible answers to those burning questions.
I encourage you to go see The Last Jedi. Just look at it for what it is, not what you want it to be. Ignore the hype. Clear your mind must be when watching Episode VIII. It is a fun ride; there are a lot (maybe too many?) gasp moments, numerous laughs, and a sweet, tear jerking moment.