Let me start by saying that The Last Jedi is nothing like The Empire Strikes Back. There was a lot of criticism with The Force Awakens that the story was too similar to A New Hope. So with that, Disney fixed a problem, but in my opinion they created a lot of others.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi tries to do too much and in all honesty this was my fear as well as my defense against The Force Awakens. JJ Abrams made a movie that was safe and that brought fans back into the Star Wars universe. He kept it simple and familiar. I feel like this latest installment tried to buck that criticism and purposefully made a movie that would not feel like The Empire Strikes Back.
I fully admit I am a huge Star Wars fan with high expectations and probably am judging this movie harshly. I also reserve the right to change my mind upon rewatching the movie on Thursday. Finally in my defense, I believe a truly amazing follow up trilogy already exists. The Thrawn Trilogy accomplished a great many things, including continuing the Skywalker storyline. This saga no longer exists within the Star Wars canon, and I have no illusions that it could ever have been made. I only mention the trilogy’s existence to show my expectations. They are extremely high.
That being said, I was disappointed in the story, or more exactly, the holes in the story. There was a major side story that did not make much sense. Not to mention several characters that did not seem to provide a reason for existence. They were cool, some even played by famous actors, but at the end of the day they didn’t prove to be essential to the story. I realize everyone wants to be in a Star Wars movie, but this gets a little ridiculous. At two and half hours, I’m surprised they didn’t trim some of these extraneous scenes. I can’t fault Rian Johnson for playing in the Star Wars sandbox as much as possible (at the time he thought this was his only chance to do so), I would have done the same thing if I were given the keys to that universe. But I found myself not caring about some of the things going on in the movie. Dare I say, it skirted awfully close to prequel feelings of cutesy follies in some instances.
I was also disappointed with many of the questions that were presented in The Force Awakens but go unanswered in The Last Jedi. Or were not answered to my satisfaction. At times those resolutions come off as cop outs to developing the story. I can’t say for sure, but I got the sense that one writer loved the idea, handed it off to another who didn’t care so he just wrapped up loose ends as quickly and easily as possible.
That’s not to say there weren’t some amazing moments. We obviously see the return of Luke Skywalker. We see great character development with Rey and Kylo Ren. There is also great moments of humor, which to be honest, I didn’t expect. Finally, and unfortunately I can’t get into specifics due to spoilers, but the story does take a huge turn and we are presented with scenarios that I did not see coming. I enjoyed that. It showed me that we must stay on our toes because the conventions of Star Wars that we have known previously won’t necessarily follow from here on out.
And Princess Leia. God how I miss Carrie Fisher. If the world ever needed her strong, wise, sarcastic voice, now would be the time. But we can’t. So we are instead treated to one of her last films. Seeing her on screen again brought a tear to my eye. It’s not the acting or her dialogue. It’s just knowing that our Princess Leia is no longer with us in real life. And as lame as that sounds, it truly saddens me. I have no clue how they will finish this trilogy without her and I hope some day we get to know what could have been with her, but this film ends with a simple but poignant tribute to my favorite Disney princess.
I’m hoping as Lucasfilm continues to make Star Wars movies they will hit their stride and produce consistently great films. I’m not saying this is a terrible movie. It was most definitely entertaining. I’m saying it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. But it had the bones to be everything I wanted. When Disney first bought Star Wars and they made it known we’d get a new one every year, I was elated. One of the main reasons being that sure we’d get some bad, but hopefully many great films in my favorite universe. Hopefully I will only have to wait until next year to get another great one.
I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi three out of five Nerdskulls.
Check out my video reviews here.
Full of Spoilers
Check out the trailer below:
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