“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – the second movie in the newest trilogy and eighth episodically – opened in theatres last week much to the joy of fans who have been waiting two years since “The Force Awakens” continued the Star Wars saga.
While many fans took issue with “The Force Awakens” and how similar it felt to “A New Hope,” The Last Jedi (from now on referenced as TLJ) definitely feels more like an original story and not just a carbon copy of one of its predecessors.
While by no means perfect, TLJ should definitely keep Star Wars fans – both die-hard and casual – happy and entertained.
Firstly, the film is paced brilliantly from a story standpoint, at least for the most part.
TLJ follows two major plot lines which surround Luke and Rey and Finn, Leia, Finn and the rest of Resistance. Both story arcs remain mostly separate from each other until intertwining at the very end. Think of the pacing almost like Empire Strikes back, where Luke follows his own storyline until meeting up with the crew of the Millennium Falcon on Bespin at the very end.
That being said, there is a decent chunk of the movie that feels like busy work for two specific characters.
Without spoiling too much, Finn and newcomer Rose spend a fair amount of time on a new planet. While the prospect of anything new to add to the Star Wars universe may be initially intriguing, this entire subplot feels a bit convenient for the sake of the story; a means to get from point A to point B that feels more like filler than actual substance.
TLJ also hits and misses on its character progression, not just individually in itself but as a whole in the trilogy as well.
There is definitely a changing of the guard at hand, as moviegoers will see old favorites seemingly step aside so that Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren can take center stage and establish themselves as the faces of this generation.
Several old characters make their expected returns in TLJ, yet don’t particularly play a major role in the stories progression or plot; and it’s not a bad thing.
While Star Wars wouldn’t be the same without R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca, or Leia, it’s refreshing to know that the series can still be entertaining and retain the same charm without them heading the charge.
However, the passing of the torch might have been more enjoyable a movie earlier than right now.
While this really has nothing to do with TLJ itself and is more of a critique on the current trilogy as a whole, the story might have been even more satisfying if it hadn’t started off so reliant on original Star Wars material. While it’s great to see Rey and company ready to lead the charge without relying on old characters as they head into episode 9, it’s a shame that it took so long for the film to let go of the past.
TLJ also didn’t do justice to some of its villain characters.
Unfortunately, there is really no way to delve into this subject without spoiling something, so this will sound rather shallow and unsupported. Simply put, characters that fans have discussed since the Force Awakens have rather unsatisfying payoffs in TLJ, and it leaves the trilogy’s villain arc a hot mess heading into its finale.
TLJ is a good movie and a worthy installment into the franchise. However, it definitely suffers from some questionable plot choices and a bit of a rushed progression for some characters. This keeps TLJ from being the “great” movie that most were hoping for.
While imperfect, the story holds together well enough and there is the right amount of fan-service, shocker, and action to keep moviegoers happy.