Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rating: 3.5 of 5 ★★★½☆ 

I sort of wish I’d rewatched The Force Awakens before going to see The Last Jedi.

In part because it would have been fun. But also because I kept getting Rey’s childhood mixed up with Jyn’s from Rogue One. Every time they said she didn’t know who her parents were I thought, “Yes, she does they made her run away when she was little but she knew who they were.” About half way through the movie, I remembered that was Jyn and not Rey.

In the end, though, I really liked what they did with her parents.

spoilers dead ahead »
I kept thinking, “It’s going to be Luke” and then “it’s going to be Han and Leia” back and forth and until she and Kylo Ren are face to face and I thought, “she and Ben are siblings!” But no matter what answer they gave, it would have felt incestuous – this same clan always at the center of this story, the only ones worthy of propelling it along. I sort of love that when Kylo Ren says she has no significance to the story because it opens up this vista of possibility. She creates her own significance, not because of where she comes from but because of who she is. It’s rather beautiful.
And anyone can step out of the shadows and matter in the story.

Someone like Rose. Though Poe and Kylo Ren had more obvious character arcs, she had a subtle and interesting arc from fan to hero. She possessed such beautiful strength and conviction. She also got the best line in the movie. “That’s how we’ll win. Not by destroying what we hate but by saving what we love.”

I think Rian Johnson did a better job of directing than JJ Abrams. The humor wasn’t elegant but the story was. The story transitioned seamlessly and the pace felt much smoother than The Force Awakens. Also, the parallels drawn from the first trilogy were more subtle. And I think in that, they were more effective

parallel spoilers »
Rey leaving Luke the way he left Yoda. Her seeing the conflict in Kylo the way he saw it in Vader. And I loved seeing Yoda again. Seeing his lightheartedness and a different sort of humor compared to when he was training Luke”

They also took some of the perceptions of the story and subverted them and in doing so gave them new meaning – like lifting rocks. They were effective moments and a way of reinvigorating the franchise – really letting it be something new. Except the moment in the beginning that almost felt like Spaceballs. I had forgotten, though, that it was very much in keeping with Poe’s character and his sense of humor. And I appreciate Rian Johnson’s perspective. I’ll give him some leeway for pushing at the boundaries.

“And the humor and the slight goofiness of [Return of the Jedi] also, and kind of the slight free-wheeling feel of it, and how it’s unafraid to have fun, that to me is essential.”

Poe’s story overall was a little too on the nose for my taste but it was good to see him grow in the way he needed and for Leia to pass the baton to him. Especially knowing. That she won’t be in the next one. Not really. It lent even more gravitas to her moments in this film.

Maybe the thing I liked the most was the sci-fi of it all. Don’t get me wrong, there ar parts I don’t like – like a lot of the aliens and the sillier elements. But I like the spaceships and blasters and androids and fun stuff. Also, it felt like such a broad universe even than earlier films and fabulous sci-fi that navigated both raw and polished set pieces. The world felt so much more comfortable and lived in. Perhaps because I read a few Star Wars books between this film and the last and so bring that perspective to it. Either way, I enjoy really good sci-fi.

Writing:★★★¾☆ 
Characters:★★★¼☆ 
Performances:★★★¼☆ 
Directing:★★★½☆ 
Production:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Posted December 23, 2017 : Review / , , ,