Movie Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (dir. Rian Johnson, 2017) – While Rey seeks help from Luke Skywalker who remains in hiding, General Leia leads the Resistance against the tyranny of the First Order.

Verdict

Not all risks taken pay off, but The Last Jedi deserves more credit than it received, and little of the enmity sent its way.

3/5

Review

Taking on a Star Wars sequel is a tall order for anyone. Just ask Rian Johnson, who now faces more enemies than the Resistance ever did at a single point in time:

  1. Pedantic Star Wars fans, who want a tribute that is unwaveringly faithful to the franchise’s 40-year-old history,
  2. Pedantic Star Wars fans, who want new characters and refreshing plots instead of a retread of past stories,
  3. Cinephiles who loved Brick and consequently have impossible expectations for anything that Rian Johnson touches; and
  4. Disney (to a smaller extent, oddly enough).

It is only natural that The Last Jedi would end up one of the most divisive cinematic events since that ending of Inception. No matter what Rian Johnson did, his work would have rattled the bones of any one faction. But the show must go on. And he does his version of the best, which will sadly never be enough for most.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
“I would have knocked, but…”

The Last Jedi picks up where The Force Awakens leaves off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finally meeting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in the flesh. She hands over the long-lost lightsaber to the revered Jedi Master whom she had once thought as a myth. She sees him as hope, but soon as he takes the weapon, Luke hurls it and rebuffs her efforts to recruit him to the Resistance against the First Order.

The subversion of expectations is one of many to follow, though not all risks are rewarding. Against past promises of better villains, Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Snoke (Andy Serkis) make the least of impressions before their exit. Characters who seemed up for bigger things were sidelined too. It was especially disappointing to see Finn (John Boyega), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) put on side missions that amount to little payoff.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sign me up for The Adventures of Finn and Rose.

That said, running the gauntlet opens up more possibilities for the story to go. The most controversial of which is one that I personally liked best; Rey’s origins, or lack thereof, made The Force accessible to every ordinary child with hope to rebel against the oppression. Her fighting a dark side within also made her a more layered adventure heroine than most.

Sharing a connection with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) through the Force, Rey continues to battle shadows in fear of following in the footsteps of Luke’s father. The delivery of their telepathic link lumbers, yet there remain fascinating implications in their ill-fated relationship. Bleak fates are teased, only harbouring a glimmer of light in Rey’s probity.

I have avoided writing about The Last Jedi for a long time. I did not like the film as much as I wanted to, but the last thing I wanted was to have my criticism misconstrued as hate against one of my favourite directors, who brought us Brick, Looper, and The Brothers Bloom. Besides, I did enjoy the Star Wars instalment for all its brave moves and spectacular visuals, particularly with the symbolic salt flat on Crait.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Though the visual highlight is as always (the criminally underused) Benicio del Toro.

This is not an opinion that would sit well with a big part of the fandom, which has grown increasingly hostile against anyone who liked The Last Jedi. Threats have gotten vile, with acolytes throwing racial epithets in the way of actress Kelly Marie Tran and making death threats against Rian Johnson.

There is a line to be drawn here. It seems many have forgotten that these are very real people whom they are attacking. The truth is, it is fair game to point out the flaws of The Last Jedi, just as it is fine to hail it as your favourite in the Star Wars galaxy yet. Let us not forget that Star Wars have always been meant to be entertainment that brings people together, never to set us at odds.

20 thoughts on “Movie Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi (2017)

  1. I think that’s a fair reveiw. Personally I really loved it. I just couldn’t stop grinning when I got out of the theatre. I loved the mixture of humour and serious story. I really enjoyed that some of the things the rebels tried failed to work because it made it seem more real. I thought Luke’s ending was sad, powerful and true to his character. It showed the real hero in him had finally grown up.

    I still don’t understand why so many people disliked it. Just because I really enjoyed it I was hounded if I made even a single sentence positive comment. I’ve never know fellow Star Wars fans to be so horrible. In the end I had to leave the reddit Star Wars sub.

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  2. I just watch it for the first time when it came on Netflix. My expectations were set to low and I still didn’t really care for it. It felt like scenes from Empire and Return of the Jedi out of order. And it is long. Way too long. But, it is just a movie. I don’t understand how so many can get upset over a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The film does feel too long. Some subplots like Rose and Finn’s escapade stretched on, especially given their lack of purpose. Still looking forward to the next one! Love how JJ Abrams went against those haters with outward support for Rian Johnson in his first Twitter post. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing. I went to see this movie with zero expectations, not because of the vitriol towards it but because I didn’t like Force Awakens. With zero expectations, I was entertained but still found the movie flawed on many levels. I don’t think it is a good movie at all, and I think some of the decisions made by the director were daft (you alluded to one of them – the plots of main characters amounting to little), but even with all that, I don’t think it is fair what has happened to cast or crew. Like, Dislike, Love, hate. Its all personal prerogative. But it is no excuse for crappy behaviour.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I liked the film more than you did. Still, I think the criticism is fair, especially given how much it deviated much from what the fans grew up with. And you’re right – there’s just no place for crappy behaviour towards the cast and crew either way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you didn’t love it as much as you liked but I have to give you kudos for being fair in your review, unlike the many, many ‘die hard’ fans out there simply trying to boycott the whole new trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing I do love about this whole madness, is how Rian Johnson has been responding to all those “fans” on Twitter. 😂 Thank you for reading!

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  5. Yeah, this was probably my least favourite Star Wars flick. I don’t have the hate that some folk do, cause in the end the dudes have the right to make the film they wanted. I just didn’t like much about it… and the bits I did like were sorta overwhelmed by so many issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The film is flawed, but the hate surrounding it is crazy. You’re absolutely right in that the films do belong to their creators in the end. If it was unsatisfying… Well, that’s what fan fiction is for! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I must admit I thought the Last Jedi would be a better film than it turned out to be. I don’t understand all the hate that seems to have bubbled up in fandom about the film either, its only a movie after all. While not the best Star Wars film, perhaps once Episode IX is released we will see The Last Jedi in a fresh context when we can reflect on the new trilogy in its entirety?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the SW fandom has become a plague of late. 😭 I do hope Episode IX will change things too. I love sequels that make you revisit the earlier film to see it in a new light.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Add another reader that has the same thoughts about this movie- I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

    The plus was that it had quite a bit of action but overall I just couldn’t get into it like the others. Even with the older movies they gave a sense you are submerged in their world. This one, I just felt I was watching a movie.

    Thanks for the review and I’m glad I’m not the only one that was let down somewhat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, the world didn’t feel immersive to me either. And I thought the film did too little on the antagonists’ end, which has always been one of the more interesting parts of Star Wars. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

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  8. Well…You already know my sentiments on this film. I hated it, with a passion and I still do. I gave it a second watch and really tried to give it an honest chance but this one just doesn’t connect with me. There are too many things in it that simply don’t make any sense and destroy quite a few things that I loved about Star Wars.
    That said..as I also stated in my review, that’s my opinion. I would never in any way force my own thoughts on a film on to another. In fact I think it’s awesome that there are people that loved the movie: kudos to them!. Some people take things way too seriously and to raise death threaths against people who do enjoy the movie is just completely nuts. In the end it’s just a movie. You can love it, you can hate it…but in the end it’s a form of entertainment…not the end of the world. And on that note: I for one loved Solo. So there! I have said it 😊😊
    Great post, and wonderful to read a review from you again 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly right; it’s only entertainment, not the apocalypse! We all experience stories differently, and differences in opinions are only natural. I think it’s okay to dislike or even hate a film, so long as the creators don’t bear the brunt of hurtful animosity. That said, sorry in advance for my Solo review. 😉 Thank you for giving this a read as always, truly appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “I did not like the film as much as I wanted to.”

    No matter where anyone stands on The Last Jedi, I think the above sentiment is universal. I think I liked it more than you. It’s up to JJ now to tie it up and make it…make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He has a tough job, wrapping it all up. I don’t think Rian gave enough thought to setting up the whole saga for a conclusion. And without Carrie Fisher? I really don’t know how it should be done.

        Liked by 1 person

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