[This Review Contains No Spoilers. You’re Safe Here!!]
Hey everyone- my sincerest apologies for not posting more often. I’ve been insanely busy recently, but will have much more time to post from now on.
So Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out. I’ve seen it twice, and I have some strong opinions about it. This review will contain absolutely no spoilers and will be as vague as I can possibly make it. You will not read this review and know anything that would hurt your moviegoing experience. Everything that I mention has been in the two trailers or has been released by Lucasfilm.
Let me preface the review with some backstory about myself as a Star Wars fan. I am a GIGANTIC Star Wars fan. The amount that I think about Star Wars in any given day is honestly kinda ridiculous and a bit sad. But I don’t care! It’s Star Wars! I was SO HYPED for The Last Jedi, but not just because it’s a Star Wars film; Force Awakens set up excellent characters and got me back into this universe in the first place. If you haven’t read my review for that movie, it’s still on this site (although it’s pretty poorly written considering the fact that I made it two years ago). But to sum it up, I am still in love with that movie and consider it to be one of the best in the franchise so far. However, I don’t just go into every Star Wars movie ready to blindly love it. That’s never been me, and it never will be me. I love good Star Wars movies. Just because it has the label Star Wars slapped onto it doesn’t mean I will automatically say it’s the best thing ever. In fact, I didn’t really even like Rogue One, which, prior to Last Jedi, was the most recent Star Wars film. Even if it’s from a franchise that is so near and dear to my heart, I am going to admit when a Star Wars movie is not up to snuff, even if it will absolutely crush me to do so. On the other hand, when a movie from this franchise rocks like Force Awakens did, it’ll make it that much more special.
I went into this movie with an open mind, ready to be blown away. I didn’t read or watch a single review, only taking a look at the Rotten Tomatoes score every now and then. My first viewing was this past Thursday, which was before the fan reactions came out. All I saw was that giant “94%” plastered like a badge of honor on the official page. That being said, I think Last Jedi was a major, major letdown for many different reasons. It has some absolutely incredible moments and at the same time disappoints narratively. Let’s break this thing down.
Let’s start with the positives. First of all, the direction is hands-down the best in the entire franchise. To say that this film looks gorgeous is a MAJOR understatement. There are so many memorable shots as well as incredible creative elements, like its sound editing. When you see the movie, I think you’ll notice this within just the opening scene alone. By the way, not that this really matters that much, but the opening crawl was great. Just saying.
The performances were also generally great, especially the ones from the actors playing the main characters: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver were the standouts for me. The passing of Carrie Fisher hit all of us hard, but I can definitively say that she is wonderful in this movie. Mark Hamill is also fantastic as Luke Skywalker, who is not quite the same person as he was in the original trilogy. The soundtrack is also really good; I thought it was probably on-par with Force Awakens, if not a bit better. The special effects, CGI, and action sequences are all completely gorgeous. The fight choreography is off-the-charts great, and I have a particular sequence in mind that will be sure to wow audiences. Snoke in particular looks much better in this movie; the CGI is actually not that noticeable. The practical creatures and puppets all look stellar as well. The creatures on Canto Bight really gave that location personality and I was happy to yet again see Disney’s devotion to making the films feel dirty, practical, and real. The movie also never has a dull moment; it’s thoroughly entertaining all the way through.
This movie has a ton of problems though. It’s hard to talk about these without spoilers, but I’ll still work around them and stay vague. Firstly, there is something that I fully expected to be in the movie that wasn’t, and its absence made the movie very narratively unsound. It made the accomplishments for certain characters seem nullified. Yeah, I know that’s insanely vague. But I’ll be releasing a spoiler-filled review for a reason. Also, there is a plotline in this movie that literally goes nowhere and feels like filler. It’s fun and entertaining filler, but filler nonetheless. During this plotline, there is humor that also doesn’t land and it bothered me. In fact, there’s a lot of humor in this movie that feels out-of-place. There’s also a peculiar scene in the first act that, upon first watch, I liked. But after seeing it again, I thought it was a bit goofy, even if it was well-intentioned. I like the idea of the scene, but it should have happened in a different location and in a different way. Also, I didn’t think Finn had enough character development at all.
Overall, I (kinda) like The Last Jedi. It takes a ton of risks, some of which REALLY work, and some of which don’t. I’ll go further-in-depth in my spoiler-filled review, which I will be releasing soon. I know that the fan reactions have been negative so far, but this is one of those movies that you just have to see for yourself before you can make a judgement. It’s certainly never a downright bad movie, but some of the choices made were questionable, I needed more character depth from Finn, and the story overall needed to be reworked a bit in order for it to have been a truly great movie.