Upon its release, this film garnered the most divisive opinions I’ve ever witnessed. It was either a return to form, as good as the originals if not better, or it was the death of the franchise and didn’t deserve to be shown to future generations. When it comes to visual media, this should not be the case, and it certainly should not become so bad that lives are ruined because of it. Films exist primarily to entertain its audience, if your opinion varies from someone else’s it should be debated in a respectful manner. Personally, though I will acknowledge The Last Jedi has faults, I find it to be a better film than The Force Awakens.
Our story continues where the last film left off, following each of our 3 main characters on their respective missions. Rey, having made it to an emotionally damaged Luke Skywalker, pleads for him to train her in the ways of the Jedi and to help The Resistance. As her training advances, her Force Connection to Kylo Ren grows stronger due to the influence of Supreme Leader Snoke. This culminates in Kylo, Rey, and Snoke in confrontation, leading to Snoke’s death and a battle sequence that may be one of the finest ever put to film. Kylo, though turning his back on the First Order, refuses to join the Jedi and wishes for Rey to join him. This third of the story works well, showing Rey growing in power whilst Kylo grows in rage. Many people, including Mark Hamill, hated Lukes character in The Last Jedi, though Hamill would go on to retract his statement. From this film’s standpoint I can understand why it was decided to treat Luke’s character this way. He is a bitter old man, jaded by the legacy of the Jedi Order and scared of Rey’s unlimited power. He has grown tired of being Luke Skywalker The Legend, which eventually leads him to dishearten Rey and in turn leads to one last lesson from Master Yoda. Returning as a Force Ghost through the use of practical effects, Master Yoda reminds Luke that the greatest lesson is failure, in a cameo that made my heart soar.
Meanwhile the 400 Resistance members who have managed to survive find themselves in close pursuit from The First order, without their leaders who have been blasted into space by a TIE Fighter. This includes General Leia Organa who, in the first canonical example of her Force powers, pulls herself back aboard the brig to safety. This scene may look silly, and it does, but it finally portrays Leia using The Force so quite frankly I don’t care how silly it looks. With the highest commanders unavailable, responsibility for the fleet falls to Admiral Holdo much to the disgust of Poe Dameron. He spends his entire plotline complaining, not doing as he’s ordered and eventually mounting a mutiny. This is cocky and arrogant, yet Poe has this boyish charm and passion to do the right thing that somehow continues to make him likeable. This third of the story also works well, showing that The Resistance isn’t just losing, but that they’ve basically already lost. They are not fighting back, they are simply trying to survive. It is a poignant display of, not only the power held by The First Order, but also that sacrifices that are made during war.
In our third plotline, Finn and new charcter Rose are attempting to hunt down a codebreaker on a casino planet who may be able to assist them in breaking into the First Orders flagship. Any issues that I have with The Last Jedi are found here, starting with our heroes escape on Fathiers (horse stand-ins). The CGI is impressive and it blends well with the sets but it fails to hold the excitement that I think it should. Though it seems to be trying its hardest, its no Podrace. Eventually, having made it onto the flagship and very nearly to the mainframe itself, the codebreaker betrays them for money, rendering this entire plotline essentially pointless. In its defense, Finn and Rose do learn a valuable lesson in that it doesn’t matter whether good or evil prevails, the true winner is always capitalism. In an ironic turns of events The Last Jedi is brought to you by Disney, who are the kings of capitalism, so draw whatever conclusions you want from that.
The final battle on Crait is glorious to behold and I feel like my words will not do it justice. The planet is red, but is covered in white salt which leads to some of the most beautiful cinematography to come out of this saga. It is the perfect ending to this film and I simply cannot say a bad word about it, so instead let’s talk about Rose. I initially thought that I hated this character but upon further analysis I realised that she’s actually a wonderful character with a lot of heart and soul. What I hate is the way in which she is used. She adds nothing to the story, and so is completely wasted. On top of that, she stops Finn from sacrificing himself to destroy the Cannon, in what would have been a highly tactical move. This could have been one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the entire franchise, but is instead ripped from us for a potential romance. Please Disney, nobody wants that.
Despite the moments I have mentioned, I think The Last Jedi is one of the best Star Wars films. It’s a good progression of its story and a perfect set-up for Rise of Skywalker. I’m highly aware that I have only touched upon the cinematography and that the score hasn’t been mentioned and that I haven’t talked about the effects. I haven’t, because I could go on at length about them, in fact I could probably dedicate entire articles to them. All 3 aspects were superb. They always are. There are wideshots in all 8 Star Wars films that could be framed and I simply cannot wait to see where Rise of Skywalker takes us.
Until Next Time…