I watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the first time this week. I wanted to give you my thoughts on the most recent Star Wars instalment but given that it has been some time since the theatrical release, I thought I would make this a DVD review.
I love well crafted cover art and this is an example of that. The red, white and black looks great, it is something outside of the Star Wars status quo. Something that is familiar though, is that we see the main cast posing together brandishing their weapon of choice.
The darkside forces dominate one side and the light, the other. A blending of new and old features is something that can be said about the movie itself, so let’s get into it. I have to say, I took a while to warm up to this instalment.
That reaction is unusual as Star Wars is a franchise that means a lot to me. It isn’t really how it should be. When Star Wars is done right, it draws you in to that world immediately, that wasn’t the case with this one.
Initially, the space battle in the intro seemed pointless. It did not set up the storylines as well as the intro of The Force Awakens but on second thought, it did serve some purpose. On reflection, the female bombardier’s death contributed to the theme of sacrifice that runs through the film. There are strong through-lines, themes of change, sacrifice and letting go. However, it is also very messy at times.
One of the themes of the story was letting go. This was the catalyst for great drama involving the three most central characters; Luke, Rey and Kylo. The main antagonist talks about letting go of the past multiple times but it is a notion that is even accepted on the light side.
For example, one of the movie’s best scenes saw Luke Skywalker and Yoda’s Force ghost burning down a Jedi relic. They watch the sacred texts burn in a moment of catharsis and inner peace. What makes it even more poignant is that a line was repeated throughout talked about lighting the fire that will burn The First Order down.
The writers were really reaching for something here but it felt like they kept losing their way. The diversion where Finn and Rose liberated creatures from a race course felt particularly pointless.
I love the look we got into the unknown period between episode six and seven, as well as the origin of Kylo’s turn to the darkside. These were the biggest questions after The Force Awakens. The hints we got to The Knights of Ren and Skywalker’s doomed plans for a new generation of Jedi were a tantalising morsel in episode seven. These mini mysteries added to the mythos and left us craving the next episode. The resolution in this episode were pretty satisfying.
However, not all of the mysteries from episode seven had an interesting and entertaining payoff. One of the most central plot points of episode seven was who Rey’s parents were and what happened to them. The answer in this instalment, is that they were nobody. That’s it. Pretty exasperating.
I also feel that the writers dropped the ball with Snoke. His identity was also a mystery, it was implied that he was someone that we have previously known. His identity seems to have no twist. Snoke is just Snoke. Not only that, he meets an abrupt and anti-climactic end. I like the idea that Kylo inherits the throne and becomes the new emperor but Snoke was built up as the ultimate evil in episode seven, he should have had a more meaningful end.
The preceding fight scene though, was incredible. The drama that was attached to it made for a high-stakes feel that should have ran through the whole movie. That is the crux of my argument really. There was a lot to like in The last Jedi. There were some very emotional moments for fans of the franchise particularly, Luke Skywalker’s demise and more than one Leia scene.
The plot lines involving the new blood, had great potential but ultimately lacked emotional depth and stakes. Fans should watch The Last Jedi due to its impact on the canon and its enjoyable section but overall, this is a mediocre entry in the series.