The Last Jedi: Review

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

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  1. Barbra
    Feb 14, 2018 - 11:29 PM

    The only thing that’s more split than the Union and Confederate is the reviews for Star Wars: the Last Jedi. Some very much enjoyed the second instalment to the new trilogy, calling it the best of them all, while others thought it should be removed from the Star Wars franchise. Since everyone feels the need to share their feelings about this movie, I’ll also be throwing my opinion into the cluttered Tupperware container of opinions. While watching in the theater, I couldn’t see very well, but that’s besides the point. I remember sitting there while watching, wondering when the movie will start. This was already well into the movie and it felt like nothing had happened yet, like plot points were still being introduced. And that, from my own only slightly biased opinion, was the biggest problem; the plot. Their ship was stuck, and so Rose and Finn go off to find a decoder while Rey is learning the ways of the Jedi. Admiral Holdo has a plan but won’t tell anybody about it, and they escape to a nearby planet which could’ve been done all along. On the planet a projection of Luke fights Kylo Ren then spontaneously dies, and Snoke is killed even though he was just introduced. Near the end, why did Admiral Holdo wait so long to crash into the star destroyer? She watched the resistance ships getting blown to ashes for a good two minutes before she followed through with her plan. The entire movie didn’t feel right. What with Finn and Rose going on a wild goose chase, there being a lot of slapstick jokes, new characters added on top of the characters that were just introduced in the previous film, all of it felt very off. I can’t really put it into words why, and vigorous hand motions don’t convey much emotion either. In the last scene of the movie, a little boy picks up a broom, and holds it as a lightsaber. It was supposed to represent Luke’s sacrifice restoring hope to the galaxy, with a nudge to the children of the audience. Maybe it’s the ray of impending doom that I am, because I rather hated that scene. There’s much more evidence to support this was a Pizza Hut napkin disguised as a movie, but I liked the last Jedi. Something like a gift basket full of pastries and razor blades tied up in a red bow. Maybe it’s because I wanted to enjoy it, razor blades and all. Maybe that’s why the Pizza Hut napkin that is Star Wars the Last Jedi did so well, yet so bad.

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