Movie Review Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Before I start, let me just clarify that I am not a Star Wars fanboy. I watched the first 6 movies when I was in college, much later than most fans would have. Except for The Empire Strikes Back, I found all other films to be childish and full of weird things like schlocky robots, ugly space aliens and laser swords. However, for people whose childhood is inextricably linked with this franchise, I understand the passion. So, please know that I have no dog in this fight between Disney and the fandom.
FYI: I will be calling lightsabers as laser swords throughout this post. Deal with it.
Previously in Star Wars Land, we ended Episode VII with Rey coming face to face with Luke Skywalker on an island. This film starts on the island where Rey meets Luke to receive Jedi training in order to defeat the First Order and Kylo Ren. On the other side, the Resistance force is depleted and is trying to survive an attack from the First Order.
Let's get these out of the way because there aren't many.
- Visually, this film is possibly the best Star Wars film ever made. The special effects, be it in space or on the planets, all of them look very realistic. The colors are really bright and punchy and it looks really pretty.
- The part of the movie where Rey and Kylo Ren come together and team up for a laser sword battle is probably the only high point of the film.
Now comes the juicy stuff. However, this will contain spoilers so please go down to the Recommendation section if you don't want this film spoilt.
This whole film was made just for the sake of Subverting Expectations. The whole focus was to do the opposite of what was expected and write a story around that. Hence, it ends up being a mess.
- Kylo Ren, the villainous man-child with daddy issues, the incompetent Darth Vader fanboy who was defeated by some girl who just picked up a laser sword 10 seconds ago, isn't scary at all as a villain. Even though they try to portray him as this evil guy who wants to kill his parents, I didn't buy it.
- Rian Johnson wrote a new character called Luke Skywalker for this film and he's definitely not the guy from the original trilogy. Luke Skywalker in this film has turned into a cranky old man who hates everything in the world. That would have been fine with me if there was some depth to Luke's character. All of the changes in his character could've been explained but all of that is just played for jokes. Also, Yoda shows up for like 10 seconds (don't ask why).
- Snoke, the supposed big bad guy, the Supreme leader of First Order, by far the most powerful master of force in this new trilogy, gets killed by Kylo Ren just like that. We don't get a back story of who he was, how did he gain his powers and why was he doing this?
- The dumbest character in this film is definitely Rose. She is like an idealistic and pretentious high school teenager. There's a storyline where Finn and Rose go to a Las Vegas like planet. The whole storyline has nothing to do with the movie other than allowing Rose to educate the viewers about capitalism and animal rights. Towards the end, there's a scene where Finn is trying to save the fleeing Resistance members by running his vehicle into the enemy and sacrificing himself. However, Rose runs her vehicle into his, stops him in the middle of the battlefield and then give a speech about how Love will save them all.
- As far as other characters are concerned: Rey learns everything about the force on a weekend like she learned how to use that laser sword in episode VII, Leia gets blown away into space by Kylo Ren but she becomes superman and flies back into the ship using The Force, Laura Dern appears with purple hair, Captain Phasma gets killed by former stormtrooper Finn and Poe does some useful things.
- At 2 and a half hours this film is unnecessarily long. Removing the whole Las Vegas sequence could have saved everyone about 20 minutes.
- Something that really ruins this film is the constant humorless comedy. Scenes that should have been really serious and deep are just played for gags. That's where the character of Luke Skywalker fails. In an early scene when Rey presents Luke his laser sword, he just throws it away over his back in a comedic fashion. He doesn't return it to Rey or refuses to take it because of his dissatisfaction with the Jedi order, rather he goes for a joke. Another instance is when Luke milks a giant sea cow to drink it's green milk. It is for this reason that Luke's character change can't be taken seriously. He has way too many forced humor moments in this movie.
- The film has minor inconsistencies like the very first scene shows a Resistance spaceship carrying bombs to drop onto a First Order spaceship. Somehow gravity works in space and all the bombs just go down from the bomber ship. However, the captain of that ship who is lying next to the bombs, isn't sucked out into space.
- The Star Wars world is very simplistic, it's just good vs bad. After watching this movie I don't know where can they go now with these characters, where it becomes interesting and not just Light side vs Dark side fights. Reason being, nothing is set up in this movie and the new characters aren't interesting enough for me to care about them.
If you're a Star Wars fan, you've already seen this movie multiple times. However, if you're someone who's new to this world and want to know if it's worth continuing watching this saga, I'd say no.