To say that audiences are divided over “The Last Jedi” would be an understatement.
Both sides have extreme views on the film, posting reviews at the highest or lowest scores possible in order to sway an average rating. Some claim “The Last Jedi” is the worst Star Wars movie to date, while others state the opposite. With all the yelling and arguing, I hope that I can provide an objective review, one that is written by both a fan of Star Wars and someone who looks at film critically.
The film follows the Resistance as they flee from the merciless military force of the First Order, who are attempting to annihilate them from the galaxy. At the same time, Rey (Daisy Ridley, “Murder on the Orient Express”) finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, “Kingsman: The Secret Service”) and struggles to convince him to teach her the ways of the Force.
The story overall is surprisingly simple, to the benefit of “The Last Jedi.” For a franchise that has always relied on a large variety of locations and plots, it’s undeniably wonderful to see a Star Wars movie as concise as this. That is, when it’s focused. The film does have a habit of getting distracted, and when it meanders, the cracks in the quality begin to show more and more.
With me attempting to avoid spoiling anything from this film, I’ll just say this. There’s a subplot that follows certain characters that have to go to a place to get a guy to do a thing. This drawn out sequence is by far the worst part of “The Last Jedi.” The tone is radically different than the rest of the movie and it, by far, contains the most abysmal part of the screenplay. In reality, this unnecessary segment should have been cut from the overall film. It would have made the movie significantly shorter, less bloated, and more focused.
However, when the focus remains on the central plot, “The Last Jedi” flows impressively well. This is especially true when it comes to the scenes that surround Rey and Luke. They are captivating moments that bring to life their characters more than ever before. Luke Skywalker’s arc specifically is the most gripping aspect of the film. The direction his character was taken is an undeniable surprise and a beautiful, yet heartbreaking change of pace to behold. Fortunately, it’s done with class and respect for the character.
If only the screenplay had been approached with the same care. The other obvious problem with the movie is the writing isn’t nearly as clever or tight as it should have been. Riding of the coattails of “The Force Awakens,” a film with considerably well-written dialogue, it’s disappointing to see “The Last Jedi” lack the fun and consistency its predecessor graciously showed off. There are some bizarre lines that not only don’t suit the film well, but feel annoyingly out of place in the Star Wars saga.
However, for every line that made me cringe, there were just as many moments that really stuck with me. Some are cool and creative while others are respectful and remarkable. These events, no matter how great or small, are greatly appreciated. They help this film stand as its own movie, devoid of relying on its predecessors as a crutch. There are quite a few callbacks but they are used to immortalize what came before it.
Finally, there are the porgs, furry little creatures that honestly had me worried. Fortunately, like BB-8 in “The Force Awakens,” these aliens are a cute and hilarious addition to the franchise. To my surprise, I adored every second they were on screen and quickly discovered that they were one of my favorite parts of the entire film.
All and all, “The Last Jedi” is good. That’s it. There are some impressive moments that will take your breath away, but there are also scenes and subplots that drag down the overall quality. Qualm your expectations and put aside where you think the story should go because that is where the majority of hate people have for this film stems from. However, be careful that you’re not blinded by nostalgia, preventing you to see the moments that truly are problematic. It’s a good film, nothing more, nothing less.