Movie Review – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Watch the trailer to Star Wars: The Last Jedi here:

 

The eighth in the chronological order of the Star Wars universe, The Last Jedi, finally released last Friday. It was for this reason that I began watching the movies, because I wanted to catch up to the madness that the fandom emanated. And at this point, I’m proud to say I’m catching up quite remarkably. 😀

Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes off a little after where The Force Awakens ends. At the beginning of the movie, the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher’s last role before her sudden demise last year), is evacuating their base, thanks to the First Order’s relentless pursuit of them, even through hyperspace. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is still conflicted as to which side is more powerful within him. Rey (Daisy Ridley), along with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), after reaching the island on which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, of course) has taken abode, asks him to teach her, while Luke flat out refuses. There’s a history to why he does so and it is satisfying to Star Wars fans.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), along with droid BB-8, are up to something, trying to save the Resistance. Whether what they are doing is right or wrong is another matter altogether.

Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is confident that Rey can be turned over to the dark side. Will he be proven right? If yes, who will do so? And if not, again, who will prove him wrong? Will General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson – oh, Bill Weasley! What have they done to you?) be the one to carry out Snoke’s orders?

At two and a half hours, The Last Jedi is the longest movie in the Star Wars franchise so far. The first half of the movie is dragging, and it made me wonder why the movie is so long. The second half, with its stunning visuals and compelling action, more than makes up for what the first half has done to the movie. Episode 8 has given me more confidence in Daisy Ridley’s acting chops. She has shown more of the natural acting talent than what we saw in The Force Awakens. In Episode 7, she reminded me of Tamannaah Bhatia from Baahubali. [Inward cringe.]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has more depth and meaning than The Force Awakens. While Episode 7 had a freshness, thanks to new characters carrying old values that were painfully nostalgic, The Last Jedi has exciting elements with the underlying Star Wars theme of light versus dark that blend in well and make for a compelling watch. The Force Awakens began the story afresh – it was light, it was laying the baseline for how the latest trilogy would hold up, and it brought out a new angle from where to watch the characters while retaining their personalities.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi maintains the fresh angle, but it is much, much bigger. You can feel the stakes soaring with each passing minute; in your bones, if you think you are a Star Wars fan. I could feel it, and I am fairly new to the fandom. The conflict is bigger than it has ever been before, but there are similarities in how we see the characters fighting with this conflict. This leads to a desperation on both sides of the battle. While the Resistance is desperate to free the galaxy of the dark side, the First Order is equally desperate to bring it within the clutches.

Some characters, however, are underused in the entirety of the film. Finn and Rose, along with codebreaker DJ, are all trying their best, along with Poe to save what they know is dwindling by the day. In all of their adventures (if you can call it that), it feels like they could have been doing so much more. It’s a tad bit disappointing to see that John Boyega’s humor has not developed, but instead stayed there, if not deteriorated. If this happens in the next instalment, too, it could result in a staling of the character, and that’s not a very good thing to think of, let alone let happen.

But if you look at the movie in the bigger picture (oh, wow!), it is everything a Star Wars movie should be. The scale is grand, many characters now have arcs that are developing wonderfully, and we now have a better insight into what the characters think plus how the storyline is going to go forward.

On the whole, I loved Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. So much that I can claim, despite a limited popular opinion, that The Last Jedi is better than Star Wars: The Force Awakens because of reasons discussed before.

May the Force be with you!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: StarWars.com!

P.S. My chronology of reviews of the movies (as explained in my review of the original trilogy) will look something like this, based on timeline:

  1. Star Wars – The Original Trilogy (1977-1983) – Because it all started from there.
  2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Because it is the chronological sequel to the original trilogy.
  3. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – (This post) Because it is the sequel to episode 7.
  4. Star Wars – The Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005) – It is here that the series jumps back before the events of A New Hope.
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Because it is the chronological sequel to the prequel trilogy.

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