Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 2017
Signed up the 30/03/2017
“A long time ago in a galaxy far far away …”
The Last Jedi is the latest instalment within the grand Star wars mythology which has been capturing the hearts & captivating the minds of people across all walks of life for over four decades. The film is directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, The Brothers Bloom, and Brick) & boasts an ambitious cast that includes Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Issac, Kelly Marie Tran & Domhall Gleeson to name a few. The musical score was handled by composer John Williams with Steve Yedlin in charge of cinematography.
The Last Jedi takes place directly after the events of The Force Awakens where the tyrannical First Order overthrew the New Republic by destroying the capital with the explosive power of the Star Destroyer. Even though the Resistance managed to deal a huge blow against their enemies by destroying their prized weapon (The Star Destroyer) they find themselves in a desperate situation as the First Order has made it their priority to find & snuff out any form of rebellion as they seek to assert complete dominance throughout the galaxy. After a desperate battle to escape a surprise attack from the First Order, our heroes find themselves on the run with no hope in sight as their enemies relentlessly pursue them across the endless sea of space. Their only hope of surviving their perilous situation lies in a risky plan devised by the hotshot pilot Poe Dameron, the storm trooper defector Finn & resistance mechanic Rose. Meanwhile Rey finally finds Luke Skywalker on the ancient Jedi world of Ahch-To & hopes that she can persuade him to not only rejoin the fight against the First Order but also teach her how to master the ways of the Jedi so she can control the massive power that has awakened within her.
As a massive Star wars fan who’s been in love with the franchise since watching the Phantom Menace I had a lot of expectations coming into this film. Honestly on my initial first watch I extremely conflicted about how I felt about it because of all the numerous plot twists & turns that went against everything I had expected prior to watching this movie. It was only when I realized that I needed to analyze the Last Jedi for what it was & not what I wanted to be that I came to the conclusion that this was a brilliant film . The Last Jedi’s primary theme is about breaking away from the past in order to create a new future & there are many references to this including one very powerful line from Kylo Ren where he says “Let the past die…kill it if you have to”. Rian Johnson understood that he had to create something that would propel the future of the Star wars franchise forward in an attempt to keep it relevant & give a chance for its new protagonists to get out of the shadow of the original pillars of the Star wars universe (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back & the Return of the Jedi). The film also had to avoid the pitfalls of the Force awakens which was heavily criticized for being a simple “rehash” of a New Hope. With that in mind we finally realize that every plot twist within the film is a purposeful attempt to ensure that The Last Jedi creates an identity of its own without borrowing from previous Star wars films e.g. The Empire Strikes Back.
The Last Jedi is definitely more character focused than its predecessor doing an excellent job of furthering the character arcs of the new protagonists (Kylo, Rey, Finn, Poe). Rey’s character arc involves her going on a journey of soul searching trying to find out where she comes from & what her purpose is by delving deeper into her past. She also struggles with trying to master the ways of the Jedi from a reluctant Luke Skywalker who is jaded & tormented by regret. Kylo Ren’s character arc involves him trying the utmost to resolve the inner conflict within himself as grapples with trying to prove that he can be as strong with the dark side of the Force as his grandfather Darth Vader. Adam Drivers emotional portrayal of this tormented character really adds another layer of dimension to Kylo Ren making him impossible not to feel empathy for him further proving that he is truly the heart & soul of this new Star wars trilogy. The other protagonists Finn, Poe & Rose also get their time to shine in the Last Jedi with each of these loveable characters playing a pivotal role in ensuring the Resistance survives the endless onslaught of the First Order.
Without revealing too much I just want to say that the Last Jedi is the most visually stunning of all the Star wars films. I was absolutely blown away by the cinematography in this film which really captured the grandiosity of this massive universe. The film has great a beautiful musical score, courtesy of John Williams, which amplifies the impact that each scene will have on the audience and is sure to bring you to tears or fill you with awe. The action scenes do not disappoint from the vast scale of the space fighter plane skirmishes to iconic light saber duels which lets face are always the thing we look forward to the most when it comes to Star wars. However it’s the characters on both sides of the Force, Light & Dark, who really drive this story & bring it to life. A few negative aspects of the film where the overall pacing of the story as I felt that at some point it felt like certain scenes where too prolonged and unnecessary to the plot.
The Last Jedi is an excellent film which does a great job of keeping Rian Johnsons vision to propel the Star wars mythos into the future whilst at the same time pays homage to the iconic predecessors that paved the way before it. If you’re a die hard Star wars fan that goes into this movie with your own expectations of what you want from a Star wars film then you will probably hate it but if you are open to change then you will love the bold steps that this film takes in an attempt to create a standalone film that should be respected for its originality & sincerity.
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