CONSENSUS: ‘The Last Jedi’ is filled with great moments and direction, making it better than both ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’, but it never reaches the greatness of the original trilogy due to a weak storyline and an underwhelming ending.
It was only two years ago when Star Wars came back to life in amazing fashion with the JJ Abrams’ helmed ‘The Force Awakens’, which not only was a critical darling (at least around the time of release), but it managed to be only the third film in history after James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ and ‘Titanic’ to join the rare 2-billion dollar club, becoming one of the most successful films of the 21st century. So how, exactly, would Disney and Lucasfilm try to replicate or even boost the success of that film with this one?
Taking risks. The first of which being, hiring indie director Rian Johnson, of ‘Looper’ fame, to write and direct, and making several bold choices with the characters and their journeys. So, did it pay-off? For the most part, yes.
For starters, Rian Johnson as a director, packs the film with amazing visuals, making it the most visually-stunning film in the franchise yet, no doubt about it. But it’s perhaps in the script that he shines the most: ‘The Last Jedi’ deals with much darker themes than other Star Wars films before it, and somehow Rian makes this film one of the funniest too, without it feeling jarring to the audience. The tone is something incredibly difficult for a screenwriter to dominate, and Rian Johnson makes it very balanced.
This film sees the return of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, something briefly teased at the end of the last one. And I’m happy to say that Hamill has never been better, doing the performance of his career. As for Carrie Fisher, while brief, her performance is very good too, and the movie provides her with many cool moments fans will go nuts for.
Rey and Kylo Ren, the main characters of this new trilogy, have a great storyline this time around. In my opinion, both characters have improved a lot from the first time we saw them, thanks in part to Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s amazing performances. Oscar Isaac’s Poe gets a much larger role in this installment, which is great.
However, ‘The Last Jedi’ isn’t without its flaws. Without getting into spoilers, a storyline involving Finn (John Boyega) and newcomer Rose (Kelly-Marie Tran) is where the film lost me. While I understood the ideas they were going for, it never really worked out for me, especially when Benicio Del Toro’s character got involved. One can only wonder how an Academy Award winner like him would agree to do such an annoying and truly awful character. At the end, it just felt unnecessary, and made the movie drag. The only redeeming quality about it would be getting to meet Rose, which is a very delightful character and is perfectly portrayed. Finn remains very meh to me.
‘The Last Jedi’ is jam-packed with amazing moments that will get everyone talking, combined with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. I would say the ending is a bit underwhelming, but it’s still a great time and a lot of fun.