Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Director: Rian Johnson
The Star Wars franchise has been entertaining audiences since 40 years now. Its transition into a pop culture phenomenon was seamless and its characters became household names long before this current generation was even conceived. Today’s kids have never been able to understand the Star Wars references their dads keep making and why they were so gaga over such an old franchise.
Fast forward to 2015 when the franchise was brought back to life by Disney. The force awakens made the fan boys(Dads) happy and was also able to create a new fan following among the next generation (Kids). TFA was a great film which put the expectations of audiences with ‘The last Jedi’ to the extreme. And considering that the second movie from the original trilogy; Episode V: The Empire strikes back, was the greatest Star Wars movie ever, people ended up expecting something very similar from this one.
To put anxieties to rest, the last Jedi delivers and delivers with a punch. Fan boys can’t be satisfied completely but on the whole it is a phenomenal movie. It has all the elements of Episode V; action, drama, romance, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and also a good shock-and-awe scene.
The action is relentless and the mythology of the Jedi religion is also expanded upon in terms of their powers and the light and the dark side. The improvement that it has over TFA is the amazing character development of its main cast. Everyone that you saw in the last movie has grown considerably in this one. Especially Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son ‘Kylo Ren’ (Yes, he doesn’t respond to Ben) and the wonder woman of this universe ‘Rey’.
Kylo is among the greatest villains of this franchise (Darth Vader would be proud). In the last movie, He wore a mask to imitate his Grandfather and to intimidate his enemies because, let’s face it, he would not have made his enemies (and fellow storm troopers) tremble in fear with his boyish face. But things have changed. He is scarred (literally and figuratively) from his past battles with the rebels and has moved on from a Vader wannabe to a complex and fearful villain of his own right. He shakes of his grandfather’s image, breaks his mask and goes on to be his own man. Which results into one the most powerful and unpredictable villains to have ever been born into a franchise. He is a brooding character who is still indecisive about the path he has chosen. He hesitated to kill his father and he hesitates more to kill his mother but despite that he does admit he is a monster (or does he want to be?).
Adam Driver has played the part beautifully and convincingly to say the least and is one of the biggest reasons why this movie is such a hit.
The rest of the cast also does a great job. Daisy Ridley is very much Rey in this movie, only stronger. Carrie Fisher was genuinely very good as princess Leia, far better than her work in TFA and with also a bigger role. Mark Hamill as the Legendary Luke Skywalker is good in the movie but his role isn’t amazing.
He is definitely not the same Skywalker that we remember from the original trilogy, which is okay but they didn’t write a very convincing story for him. The story still remains what we hear in the last film – He was training a new bunch of Jedis and then his nephew went to the dark side. Luke is obviously guilty about it and vanishes, like a coward. They do not expand on that at all. There is this amazing line in the movie when Luke says “The way of the Jedi has to end”. This is a huge statement since fans grew up wanting to become Jedi’s (who still try to imitate force wielders when they walk through an automatic door at the entrance of the mall). But this movie does not dwell further. I wish they had expanded on the mythology of the force but sadly they don’t. Apart from the climax, the only great scene Luke is in is the one with Yoda.
Finn (John Boyega) is left with a side quest for most of the movie which unfortunately does not impact the storyline a lot and his only call to fame in this movie remains the fight scene with captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie, who was either given a role in this movie just for the fight scene or was written a fight scene just because she is in the movie). Poe (Oscar Isaac) also has greater screen time but isn’t blowing stuff up in every scene (sigh!). General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) who was a fantastic monologist and a quick and ruthless decision maker in the past movie, is sadly used here mostly for comic relief. An unfortunate use of a great actor for this role. Hopefully they have a more cunning use for him in the next one.
But the biggest issue fans are going to have with the movie is the fact that questions from the last movie that spiraled a lot of Star Wars theory videos on YouTube notably; ‘Who are Rey’s parents?’ And ‘who is Snoke?’, Are completely dismissed by the film.
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Apart from all that, the movie is fantastic. The visuals are top notch. The fight sequences are brilliantly choreographed and the music is, as in all Star Wars movies, amazing. The look and feel of the movie is awe-inspiring. The use of colors, especially the overall red theme, is done so wonderfully, it never ceases to impress you. There is so much happening in the movie that the flaws are easily looked over. Repeated viewing is definitely required to go through it all. This movie has a lot of heart especially because of the revered original cast in it. Luke and Leia have a very emotional reunion in the movie which would definitely have sent the fans crying.
The Last Jedi is clearly a spiritual sequel to “The Empire strikes back” even if the pacing and storylines are vastly different. A must watch for Star Wars fans. (IMAX 3-D recommend for a magnificent visual experience)