Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Review

(NO SPOILERS, because I’m not an awful human being)

Look, no one needs extra reasons to by hyped up about a new Star Wars film, but The Last Jedi certainly provides them anyway. Not only is it a follow up for interesting new characters but it features the return of everyone’s favorite Jedi hero, Luke Skywalker. With a new director in the chair in Rian Johnson, with a new vision and path for the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi looks to be unlike any Star Wars film that came before.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

That brief summary is all you should know going into this film. Stay away from spoilers or details as much as you can and go in clean. Because Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn’t rest on its laurels, it makes bold choices. Where The Force Awakens was a reintroduction into the good that Star Wars can be by mirroring the original, The Last Jedi shows how bold and exceptional the franchise can still be. The film manages to build on the old while absolutely thriving on the new, establishing just where the trilogy is headed.

What The Last Jedi does with its characters, however, is the true highlight of the entire, admittedly long, runtime. The journeys from Rey and Kylo Ren, played by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver respectively, are fascinating to see progress. The performances and arcs behind the two young force users shine and really provide a solid center for this new story. Mark Hamill may just be at his best as Luke though, showing more doubt than anything despite being this legendary beacon of hope. Carrie Fisher gets a few beautiful moments as Leia that make it really hard to not get a little misty every time she is on screen. Kelly Marie Tran as Rose is a welcome new addition to the universe, bringing a new heart to the trilogy. John Boyega as Finn unfortunately feels like the odd man out in the large cast, while Oscar Isaacs steps into a bigger role with ease.

The Last Jedi really feels unlike any film in the franchise that came before. It feels like a Rian Johnson film, from the aesthetic to the themes. The look of the film, in production design and visual effects, is tremendous. From the opening space battle to the final conflict, every bit of action has stakes and spectacle to satisfy everyone, including one of the best lightsaber sequences of the whole saga. The film is more emotional and deeper, a reflection on Rian Johnson’s grasp on the whole process, and the it shows in the big, show-stopping action scenes as well. But The Last Jedi never ventures too far away from hope, the ever-lasting through line that makes Star Wars what it is.

Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a very different, thoughtful, and bold film in the franchise. The characters get fleshed out further, the storyline gets deeper and more complex, and the emotions are elevated. The film has all the elements that you want from a Star Wars film, with space battles, lightsabers, good vs evil, a sweeping score from John Williams that constantly gives you chills, but then it also takes risks and paths that you wouldn’t expect. Hardcore fans will absolutely love it, casual fans will be enthralled and the entire world will undoubtedly love what the latest trip to a galaxy far, far away brings.  

So what did you think of Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Have you seen it? Where does it rank amongst the other films? Share, subscribe, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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