BY RYAN MACKETT
IF YOU’VE been reading my reviews with any regularity, you might remember that I’m a bit of a Star Wars fanatic. With that being said, you should take my review of The Last Jedi not as a Star Wars fanboy’s inability to dislike anything Star Wars; rather, as a Star Wars super-fan’s contentment with this film being one of the best in the series.
Rian Johnson (Looper) takes over directing duties from J.J. Abrams for this eighth episode in the Skywalker Saga, which follows 2015’s The Force Awakens. Johnson has remarkably created something that feels different from the rest of the franchise. It also goes in some unexpected directions. Different and unexpected most definitely do not translate to disappointing or terrible, however. After two years of speculation and fan theorizing though, there will most definitely be people whose personal expectations may not be met.
The film showcases all of the visual creativity, epic action and unique alien life that the Star Wars franchise has come to be known for. The film features one of the most visually stimulating sequences of the entire franchise, and some additional action beats that put a unique twist on the familiar.
New characters introduced in The Force Awakens return alongside some familiar faces and a few new additions. While the plot of the film might seem thin at first glance, or even pointless at times, everything that happens in the film serves the further development of these characters as well as the greater story that this new trilogy is telling. Everything that happens circles back to some pretty interesting themes of sacrifice, identity, failure and balance. The whole “point” of the plot is essentially an exercise in “lessons learned”. The payoff is epic and it sets the stage for what is sure to be a mind-blowing Episode IX.
Along with being the highest-rated (at time of this writing) film in the franchise, the movie is on-pace to set box office records. Interestingly, Disney was so impressed with what Johnson did on this film that they are giving him the opportunity to develop an entire new trilogy of Star Wars films not related to the Skywalker Saga. J.J. Abrams will be returning to direct Episode IX in 2019.
It should also be noted that The Last Jedi acts as a perfect tribute to the late Carrie Fisher. All of her scenes were finished before her untimely passing, and apparently none of her scenes were cut or reshot after the fact. The character of Leia plays an important and poignant role in this film, and Fisher’s charismatic grace elevates the film.
Overall The Last Jedi is a worthy entry to the series, and is a remarkably fun, surprisingly humorous and ultimately epic filmgoing experience. Highly recommended.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.