Well the event of the year happened last night, one that has occurred for the last two years in a row and will continue to do so for as long as they keep pumping out these films; the midnight screening of the new Star Wars movies. I love the midnight screening as it feels like a special event, we take the kids and I hope when they get older, they will have fond memories of knowing that they saw Star Wars films the moments they were out, and being one of the first people to see it (of us normal common folk that is anyway).
Now I know that people are really intense about spoilers of new Star Wars movies, some of whom go out of their way to avoid even the trailers! Which for me is a bit silly as these really do build up the films and get your geared up for the adventure in a galaxy far far away, so I know that those people will not even click on this review to read it, however, I will try and accommodate them, so I will do my best to not give away anything.
Having said that… Rey is Luke Skywalker’s father!… No, not really.
So following on from 2015’s; The Force Awakens, this year’s entry into the brand new trilogy, set after the original ones and to right the wrongs done by the prequels, came The Last Jedi!
And while IGN gave the movie a 9.7 out of 10, calling it “amazing” and “the best film since Empire”, I merely thought that it was just good. If I had to go out of ten, I would have given it a 7.5 or an 8 at a push, purely because I am a bit of a Star Wars fan boy (which I would have to be in order to go to the midnight screening of the film).
On that note, let’s get some of the shit out of the way first then.
There is a huge section in the middle of the film that personally I thought they could have cut out. I found myself thinking that the film was dragging a bit at this point, mainly with the misadventures of John Boyega’s; Finn. These moments, other than introducing a well known actor’s secretive role in the film (which again turned out to be a bit of a waste of time), felt a little unnecessary, and an easier, less complex solution to their problem could have maybe been created in order to to not make the film feel as long as it did.
There is a big moment, which I thought was the climax of the movie, where certain characters are facing one another and everything was coming together. It could have easily been the big finale, but I suddenly realised that the battle from the trailers had not yet occurred. I thought to myself “surely that battle isn’t going to go on that long!”, which shows how much I was clock watching.
Having said that, the end section of the film, pretty much from the beginning of that battle in the salt planet from the trailers (you know the one with the red dust clouds), was fucking awesome. The final showdown was amazingly done.
Come to think of it, I believe that the above is my ONLY issue with the film; the sections of Finn felt like a bit of a waste of time shoe horned in mainly to expand the Star Wars universe (as if it needed expanding) and show off lots of new random aliens and creatures in a unique setting. And while it was not crap, it did make the film longer than it needed to be. I really wanted to get back to the other stories that were occurring at the same time.
One thing that I did really like about this film is that most of the twists/revelations, or otherwise general events that transpired, I didn’t see coming. Questions that we have had since the previous film in this trilogy were answered, but maybe not in the way you were expending. I saw fan theories, which had been discussed for the last 2 years now, crumble and fall apart as the film continued. Even my own hypothesis dissolved into nothing.
There were even a few moments that caught me completely by surprise. Two that I can think of off the top of my head, but I know there was a couple more.
The film did not hold back either with regards to cleaning house and killing off characters from all over the Star Wars eras. One character, who is more of a fan favourite rather than a pivotal character to the story, is killed without you even realising and is only briefly mentioned to die in a passing comment. I was a little cut by this.
I didn’t mind the other characters’ fates as they served help the story along, but I will say that The Last Jedi did not hold back.
A few characters really shine in this film. Luke Skywalker was brilliant and Mark Hamill played the character perfectly. The film follows on from where we last saw him at the end of The Force Awakens and turns him into a Yoda-esc character, but in a completely different way. Hamill plays Luke a lot darker than we have seen him in previous years, showing us that the events of Kylo falling to the Dark Side and the destruction of his Jedi temple have really taken a toll on his mind frame and his feelings about the Jedi Order as well as the Force itself.
Luke himself is a fucking badass and, at times, shows off just how powerful in the ways of the Force he truly is. It is a fantastic pay off and one that makes Mark Hamill’s performance masterful.
While The Force Awakens was Han Solo focused, The Last jedi is made out to be primarily Luke focused, however General Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher (RIP), gets a lot of screen time, and while Carrie herself is quite different from the Princess Leia we once knew, she is still an interesting character to watch and uncover things about over the course of the film.
There is a fantastic moment between her and Luke, which is just brilliantly done and very moving.
Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron is really good as well. For a character who was suppose to die in the first movie, the writers have found the perfect place to insert the character and give him a good storyline. This is kind of the opposite to Finn’s, which feel a little like they were not 100% on what they should do with him.
Poe Dameron is quite possibly the best person to ever board an X-Wing. Having rewatched The Force Awakens to get myself prepared for this movie, I already knew just how good he was, but in this film he outdoes himself in terms of bringing the heat to the First Order.
Supreme Leader Snoke; played by Andy Serkis, is a formidable foe. This time we actually see him in person and, I must say, that Serkis plays him brilliantly. He is a good true baddie for the heroes to face against.
I was disappointed that, in this movie, we do not learn much more about Snoke (such as who he is and how he seduced Ben Solo to the Dark Side), so maybe that will feature in episode 9, but what we do see of him in the present time is great. I really wanted to see more scenes with this character, especially when it comes to the film showing us just how almighty the Supreme Leader can be.
There are a few new additions to the film as well. Rose is one of them, but she is involved heavily in Finn’s storyline and so I didn’t really connect much with the character, and Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo was okay, if not a little irrelevant when everything is said and done.
And of course the new creatures featured in the film, such as the Porgs, are great and bring a lot of humour into the movie.
Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a good addition to the new trilogy that The Force Awakens begins. I will say that it is better than the previous film, but still maybe not completely the Star Wars film that the fans truly wanted. Don’t get me wrong, the film is still good and very enjoyable, but there were moments throughout that made me question if I was truly enjoying it or just liking it because it is Star Wars related and brand new.
The middle of the film, mainly Finn’s story, did feel like a massive drag that brought the film almost to a halt (despite the fact that there is quite a bit of action that takes place), and feels a little irrelevant for the most part, taking us away from the main things that we want to see, aka, more of Mark Hamill!
I do think The Last Jedi was a good film, and maybe another watch, knowing what I know now, would do great things for the film in my eyes. Such as knowing before hand that the showdown towards the end of the film is NOT the movie’s climax, as there is still about another half hour afterwards, but fear not, as an even better showdown is still to come.
I am really interested in seeing where the final episode this new trilogy will take us, following on from the events of this film, but it looks like we will have to wait until 2019 until we find out more.
Until then, go and check out this film at the cinema… and may the force be with you… always.