Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

At one point, Luke Skywalker tells Rey, “This is not going to go the way you think” and that’s the perfect way to describe Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Without giving too much away  (yes there are big spoilers), the story picks up right where The Force Awakens ends – The galaxy is in a bit of chaos. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is seeking help from Luke (Mark Hamill), while The Resistance is trying to evade The First Order.

Director/writer Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) puts his talent for storytelling and eye for action on full display. The Last Jedi is a Star Wars movie that isn’t full of fan service or a million callbacks to previous films. It’s an original story that asks questions and shows audiences they don’t know everything about The Force or characters (both old and new).

Mark Hamill gives his best performance as Luke. He’s not the lightsaber wielding hero people are used to seeing, but he’s the Luke this story needs. Luke’s path in this story is an unexpected one that feels true to the character and provides some epic Star Wars moments.
Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, Domnhall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran are all fantastic. Seeing Carrie Fisher onscreen was touching and Leia has a lot more to do and is an essential part of the story.

Each main character has a moment of growth and conflict that lead to some very satisfying moments. The use of the force is explored in an imaginative way, similar to the way Johnson explored time travel loops in Looper.

Back to Luke’s quote to Rey – an ongoing theme throughout the movie is “This is not going to go the way you think”. This is true for the audience and characters onscreen. Johnson challenges what audiences know and what they think they know about these characters and their motivations – it leads to some interesting character turns and one of the best lightsaber fight scenes Star Wars has ever had.

There’s a point in the story where all the different storylines start to merge and it’s one of the most enjoyable stretches in any Star Wars film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a lot of fun. It respects the previous films without losing any of the uniqueness that makes this a great standalone story. There are some incredible jaw-dropping action sequences and a few emotional moments that keep the film grounded. Much like The Force Awakens there’s a bit of comedy that reminds audiences the Star Wars Universe is also fun and full of laughs.

Rian Johnson did an incredible job making one of the most unique Star Wars movies. His vision and love for Star Wars blend together and make a film that fits perfectly into one of the best film sagas ever made. Star Wars has always been a message of hope and that’s exactly what the world needs right now.

Grade: A