Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hr 32 min.
On this journey to a galaxy far, far away, I was joined by my friend Craig. We’re both well qualified geeks, and wise in the way of the movie force.
The Last Jedi literally takes the lightsaber baton from The Force Awakens, and thankfully, expands our understanding of the Jedi mythos. It reconnects with Ray (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac), et al, and blasts its way through another high action space adventure. It also, thank goodness, was NOT a remake of The Empire Strikes Back—I’m looking at you, A New Force Awakens Hope!
When The Last Jedi hits, it hits hard and there are some truly jaw-dropping moments to enjoy. It’s true many of these elements in the film only work if you’re emotionally connected to the franchise and know why any of this is important, but at this point in the series, that shouldn’t be a problem. I doubt this is going to be anyone’s first Star Wars film.
Those big and often beautiful moments, however, can’t totally mask some of the film’s less interesting segments. As the story tries to explore several subplots, it often starts to drag and spread itself thin during act two. One plot in particular with Finn and newbie character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) feels clumsily assembled and mostly designed to visit characters and themes from The Force Awakens. It also sets up new elements to exploit further down the series line. Granted, this is what franchise stories do, but here it didn’t feel like a totally natural byproduct of the larger story. Another subplot involving the woefully underdeveloped character, Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern – seriously, it’s pretty much a cameo appearance) also feels awkwardly used as a Poe Dameron life lesson vignette.
All in all, The Last Jedi is a solid entry in the series. I liked it a lot more than The Force Awakens, and all the prequels, but it didn’t impress me as much as Rogue One. Fanatical fans of the series should enjoy it, and it’ll inspire plenty of story speculation over the next couple of years.