By Emma Johnson-Ferguson
Whilst I, like the rest of planet Earth, love a movie set in a galaxy far far away, I left The Last Jedi feeling vaguely unsatisfied. Talking to my friends who loved the movie, my argument remains: the central, overarching plot is almost nil. Their argument: that’s the point.
In a Star Wars movie, the fight against good and evil is as inevitable as the wielding of lightsabers and beeps of droids. So why, after over two hours of watching this struggle did I feel unfulfilled? I knew, of course, that good would conquer and evil would fall back (albeit only slightly), giving way for another, final battle in Episode IX. So, the central storyline that didn’t really see much progression in this war should be acceptable, shouldn’t it? After all, these new episodes have a lot to offer in lateral exploration. This episode in particular has been praised for its characterisation. Kylo Ren is one of the most explored villains of the 21st century’s abundance of sci-fi universes. Yet two hours in and the Resistance fails to grow and the Republic sees no sign of resurgence. Should a lack of progression in the war be the price for a deeper understanding of the characters?
Should a lack of progression in the war be the price for a deeper understanding of the characters?
I don’t (of course) think that The Last Jedi was a bad movie. I enjoyed it immensely. The spark of hope that was lit at the end has me just as excited for the next chapter as the next person. The depth to Kylo Ren also felt excitingly unusual, as did the inevitable but tantalising dance between the light and dark, performed by both Kylo Ren and Rey. A further highlight that must be praised is Carrie Fisher’s performance. Apparently responsible for a couple of her most Leia-like (and Carrie-like) lines, the Princess in this movie is as inspiring as she’s ever been. Self-aware, amusing and wise, we learn more about her in this movie than I had expected, along with her brother Luke, whose storyline in this episode is surprising. Both of the siblings prove worthy of their roles as icons in the cinematic universe (and ours), and it was wonderful to see them live up to the legends that surround them.
So, whilst I would have loved to see more advancement in the Resistance’s fight, I cannot deny how much I enjoyed this movie. We receive a couple of hours of brilliant acting, thought-provoking struggle and CGI brilliance. It may lack a huge storyline, but its lateral exploration into its characters more than makes up for it. Star Wars is a franchise that is attempting to distinguish itself by focusing not just on the fight between good and evil but that fight within ourselves. This movie chooses to focus more on the latter, and whilst this isn’t anything particularly new, it is very much welcome.
Image: Brenda Rochelle via Flickr