December 15, 2017

R: December 15th, 2017 | R: 151 minutes | R: PG-13

There has never been a Star Wars like this. Rian Johnson's entry to the most popular movie franchise in the world is distinctive, able to stand its own ground against many predecessors. THE LAST JEDI is an explosive, emotional spectacle, replete with awe and the inspiring moments that kickstarted Luke Skywalker's adventure 40 years ago. This is a unique take on the epic space opera commanded by the likes of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Every single character gets their time to shine, even as we're introduced to fun new characters like Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). Characters at the forefront and a strong, unpredictable storyline is Johnson's filmmaking signature, and he accomplishes his goal.

Johnson's script is entirely organic, weaving from plot point to another, creating new threads of subtext that fit the Star Wars mythos perfectly. THE LAST JEDI puts all of the weight on Rey's shoulder, picking up where THE FORCE AWAKENS left off. Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi alive, is tasked with training Rey and her force-sensitive gifts. Meanwhile, in the Resistance, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) plans an escape from the First Order alongside Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega). The First Order's General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) directs the attack that will lead them to the mineral planet of Crait, all while reporting to a Sith Lord, the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Along the way, we discover new qualities of the Force, remarkable allies and enemies, and fancy planets that will ultimately make this Star Wars movie one of the most memorable.

There are many shocking and incredible moments in THE LAST JEDI. Without going into details, Kylo's training is finally completed, Rey's past is uncovered, Luke reencounters an old friend, and Leia gives us one of the most epic moments in Star Wars history. In this film, the light and dark sides of the Force are more intertwined than ever. The gray area is fully explored in most of the main characters and becomes the bigger theme of the movie itself as well as in some subplots. In the end, the line between "good guys" and "bad guys" will shift and transform as we discover the secrets that lie in the Skywalker universe. Rian Johnson frantically turns at every possible corner, pulling the rug out from under you, creating twists out of potential plot holes. His excellent writing excels in the world of Star Wars, bringing new elements as well as respectfully nodding at the original trilogy.

After THE FORCE AWAKENS blew our minds with its impeccable visual effects, THE LAST JEDI is here with yet more Oscar-worthy looking visuals. A good part of the film is spent on space battles, and the technical mastery achieved in many shots is nothing to scoff at. The lightsaber battles, while losing the prestige they had gained by having so few in the last film, are some of the most amazing in all of Star Wars, an enormous feat that will be unparalleled for years to come. Some of the CGI is affected negatively due to an unfortunate amount of humor that simply falls flat. Porgs are a prime example, who are not fully taken advantage of by reducing them to comedic props (for Chewbacca, most of the time). But the visuals are a big part of why THE LAST JEDI is so effective, and the soon-to-be-iconic Red Room scene is breathtakingly staggering. Considering what leads up to that particular scene, and how it is resolved, that stunning moment will live on in Star Wars forever.

Perhaps it is impossible to discuss or even try to open the Pandora's box of thematic richness that Rian Johnson lays on the eighth Star Wars film without spoiling the whole movie. There are many essential plot points that must be glossed over in order to not reveal critical information, but if and when it happens, the discourse that kicks off anticipation for J.J. Abrams's ninth Star Wars will be exhilarating, to say the least. For now, let us rejoice in the fact that the most unique epic space opera we've seen since 1980 is here to stay.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Gerardo Gerardo (Contributor) is a film student living in Philadelphia. He usually prefers independent and classic films, but he will watch anything in theaters.
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After the events of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” The Resistance is running from The First Order. While they are being chased by Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver), Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) is trying to recruit Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) to stop The First Order and being her training as “The Last Jedi”.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is written and directed by Rian Johnson (who has previously directed “Looper” and “Brick”) and stars Daisy Ridley (previously seen in “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Mark Hamill (previously seen in “Brigsby Bear” and “Star Wars: A New Hope”), Adam Driver (previously seen in “Peterson” and “Silence”), John Boyega (previously seen in “Attack the Block” and “Detroit”) and Oscar Isaac (previously seen in “A Most Violent Year” and “Ex-Machina”). With so much anticipation after the releases of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” I was honestly very disappointed by the first half of this film. The biggest problems I had with it was the tone and how it felt like a filler movie. The tone was extremely humorous and did not feel like Star Wars film. While the other films in the saga have had humor, it is far too much for this film. There was also quite a bit of expanding on the universe in this film, but it honestly felt like a reason for Disney to sell more Star Wars toys. I also felt that the writing was weak for this film, at points I was wondering why I was watching particular scenes. And the final criticism I have for this film was the acting by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux. They were acting far too over the top. They seemed like they were just playing parodies of their characters.

Now I do not hate this film, and during the second half of the film it gets a lot better. I really liked how this film was on a smaller scale due to the events of TFA, and did not feel like it needed to one up the last film. I also really enjoyed Poe, Rey and Finn. And the action scenes as well as the CGI was amazing. It just felt like the rest of the story itself was filler for this trilogy as opposed to The Empire Strikes Back, which actually felt like its own stand alone film.

Overall, this film is okay. It was definitely a let down for me, and I am really worried about the new Star Wars Trilogy being overlooked by Rian Johnson. Like I did mention before, the second half of the film does pick up. This film is not a bad film and I think everyone who is invested in this universe should check it out. But if you are just a casual Star Wars fan, I would recommend just waiting till the Blu-Ray release.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Cabell Cabell (Contributor) is a filmmaker from Tampa, Florida. He will watch just about any film but when he's not reviewing the latest hits he spends time directing films of his own.
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It’s Star Wars. The End.

Heehee j/k.

The Last Jedi takes place after The force awakens. It follows our young heroine, Rey as she tries to get Luke to come help the Resistance.

Leia (Carrie Fisher) is in the movie quite a lot. It’s bitter sweet to see her but also she’s just amazing and of course we all love her!!!

The costumes were on point, if there’s one thing that is good about ALL the Star Wars movies it’s the costumes. They take it back to speaking about Jedis as a religion, none of that midi chlorian stuff. I loved all the creatures too and have huge respect that Lucas Films continues to use actual animatronics and not just cgi. Porgs were cute, they look like my cat. I’m all about the Vulptex tho - copy Pok√©mon much...

I feel like a lot of movies lately have this almost slap-stick humor, in a way just trying too hard to be funny. It’s apparent in ALL the Marvel movies and has unfortunately found its way into Star Wars.

There are a few surprises in the film, overall it was great but not Force Awakens great. It’s hard to compare because Force Awakens had that excitement factor of seeing all our favorite characters on screen again, but alas - I still like Force Awakens more.

I know you’ll see this movie - comment below and let us know what you thought! Was the Force strong with this film?

Rating: 4 out of 5

AshleyK Ashley K. (Contributor) is a frequent traveler currently living in San Diego. She's a super nerd who enjoys all kinds of movies and doesn't always think the book was better.
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