Star Wars: The Last Jedi; thoughts

As the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker nears, so does the end of the third trilogy in the Star Wars saga. Thus, it is an ideal time to look back on each film that came before it, in chronological order, starting with the prequels. This is The Last Jedi, the most divisive (and honestly, the best) one.

The film pick up just moments after The Force Awakens, with the exposed Resistance evacuating their base in search of the new one, while the forces of the First Order led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his master Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) are close behind, with the intent to destroy them once and for all. Kylo holds a grudge against Rey and no longer wants to destroy her, but rather make her join him and rule the galaxy together. For most of the runtime the Resistance is stuck in a race against time, as their enemy is pressing from behind and they are running dangerously low on fuel. In a desperate attempt, Finn (John Boyega) and newcomer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) sneak onto the Dreadnought, the main ship of the First Order fleet, in order to sabotage it.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy Rey (Daisy Ridley) starts training her newfound powers under the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). He’s reluctant and unsettled, as he feels the same raw energy in Rey he once felt in young Ben Solo, before he turned to the dark side. 

The Last Jedi completely deconstruct Luke, in the most dramatic character shift ever in the franchise. He’s no longer the legend the galaxy sees him as, rather he’s a man broken down by his failures and the deaths that his life as a Jedi led to. No longer caring about the galaxy or restoring peace to it, he essentially lost everything that makes a Jedi. Mark Hamill gives an incredible and nuanced performance, one of the best we’ve seen from him, communicating so much with just his eyes. The performances are better all around, especially Rey and Kylo, as most of the time is spend with them while Finn with Poe are unfortunately pushed to the side. Their exclusion is one of my least favourite aspects of the film, as they are severely underused, even if both of them get their five minutes of fame.

Adam Driver comes into his own and elevates the entire thing thanks to his alluring screen presence. Kylo is more conflicted than ever, between his loyalty to the dark side and a possibility of an alliance with Rey and turning back to the light. Driver communicates this conflict perfectly, making him the best character by far.

Steve Yedlin (Looper), a long-time collaborator of director Rian Johnson shot one of the most beautifully looking Star Wars movies to date. Each location is wonderfully realised, thanks to the many bright colours, red especially. 

The best thing that Johnson did with this film, and the undoubtable cause for the divide it created, is that it’s the first one since The Empire Strikes Back to do something different. The film dares to expand the mythology of this universe every step of the way and that risk most definitely pays off. Rian Johnson made a blockbuster film that keeps throwing curveballs at the viewer and puts them in that rare feeling, where you genuinely don’t know what’s about to happen. Something that we see far too less of in today’s mainstream cinema. 

The Last Jedi is the most daring, original instalment on account of holding nothing sacred and pushing every truth about this universe to the limit, it’s not afraid to expand on what we thought we knew. Visually striking and powered by three fantastic performances at its center, The Last Jedi is the definitive Star Wars movie for this generation and the best of all of them. I can’t call it anything but my favourite.

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