The newest installment in the “Star Wars” saga is the most audiences have had to digest since their heaping mound of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. “The Last Jedi” has the depth that the prequels wanted to have, while maintaining the essence of the original trilogy. It’s a rendezvous of stunning visuals and masterful storytelling that provides moral guidance within the context of a renewed sense of spirituality and transcendence.
George Lucas’ prequel trilogy delved into these ideas similarly. From a political scope, Lucas’ movies tried to expound ideas of the varying perspectives of good and evil but failed because of poor script-writing and an overdose of CGI.
“The Last Jedi,” on the other hand, masterfully pulls off Lucas’ original goal with characters Rey and Kylo Ren, both torn by conflict and trying to escape their past. Under the command of Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeks to fulfill his training by wiping out the Resistance, but struggles with the pull to the light and the task of erasing his ties to the Resistance.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) searches for her place in the galaxy as she meddles with raw, untamed power under the instruction of the hesitant Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
With the passing of cinematic icon Carrie Fisher, who plays General Leia Organa, it was in question as to how director Rian Johnson would choose to present her character in the movie. She is properly honored with the film; you can expect an emotional ride, as it is one of the most emotionally investing Star Wars movies. For the first time, fans feel conflicted in their view of the dark side vs the light.
Visually stunning as always, and with a score that is as can be expected from musical genius John Williams, Episode VIII doesn’t disappoint when it comes to what we know Star Wars to be. The movie is rich in character and story development, throwing a lot at you in a way that could overwhelm some viewers who are used to going into a Star Wars movie and being handed everything they need. Most Star Wars movies have been predictable and easily understood, but the Last Jedi is a complex, spiritual, political and emotional endeavor.
One of the more interesting characters in the movie illustrates the idea of “picking sides.” Benicio del Toro is an imprisoned, financially motivated code-breaker, named DJ, whose quote here represents the idea of fighting on the side of both the light and the dark: “Good guys, bad guys. Made up words.” While the storyline following Finn (John Boyega) and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) provides the movie with valuable insights on the bigger motif of the film, their time on screen drags on and feels somewhat unnecessary to the plot. Audiences want to return to the Rey/Kylo Ren/Luke storyline.
Every aspect of the movie is poetic and meaningful. It questions the meaning of the binary of good and evil, of where heroes come from, of what it means to look off to the horizon and try to control the future.
It opened with 45 million dollars in revenue and a Rotten Tomato score of 93 percent.
From a growing First Order threat and a budding love-triangle, to the absence of Han Solo and a fresh perspective of the force, “The Last Jedi” is a worthy installment to the Star Wars saga.