Star Wars: The Last Jedi was directed by Rian Johnson who also directed 2012’s hit Looper. For years Star Wars has been a part of pop culture for years, the franchise garnering millions of fans across the globe. In recent years the franchise has been revived by the new head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, resulting in a huge success according to box office numbers. In December of last year, the newest addition to the Star Wars franchise was released, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film follows the characters introduced in The Force Awakens (2015) and characters from the original Star Wars trilogy.
Rian Johnson was left with a very hard job in having to follow the recording breaking Force Awakens, but managed to walk the tightrope that balanced nostalgia and fresh new takes on the franchise beautifully. The writer-director told this new story with constant twists and new ideas which made this entry a fresher one. One of the common complaints of The Force Awakens between fans was that it was very reminiscent of the first entry in the franchise, A New Hope. For The Last Jedi, fans were hoping that this entry wasn’t a repeat of any other films, and that is certainly what they got. Johnson deliberately defied expectations and story points that felt too familiar, surprising the audience and challenging them of what they think they knew about Star Wars. For some, that might be frustrating, especially to diehard fans of the saga, but it was what the franchise needed to grow and move forward to a place that we haven’t already been before.
Our characters also experience challenges that cause them to grow in places audiences might not expect. A main example of this is Adam Driver’s conflicted villain, Kylo Ren. Driver’s performance shines in a way that wasn’t seen in the previous entry, making a villain worthy of being compared to Darth Vader. When there is a villain, there has to be a hero, and Daisy Ridley’s Rey certainly gives us the hero that matches the level of Kylo Ren. Ridley’s charm and likableness is practically tangent in every scene, so whenever Rey makes a mistake, it is quick to forgive and easy to understand. The whole cast delivers what might be their best work, including Mark Hamill’s comeback performance of Luke Skywalker. Hamill plays a very different Luke since when audience’s last saw him, as he plays a Luke that is broken and harsh. Some fans may not like the fact that this isn’t the Jedi Master we know and love, but it’s the version that makes the most sense and it’s one that is immensely satisfying.
Often times fans can forget that these movies have laser swords, space wizards, and spaceships. The film acknowledges the silliness of these aspects, but still takes it very seriously. Johnson provides the fans with plentiful of space extravagance, including a fight scene with those laser swords that will surely be what everyone talks about when The Last Jedi is brought up. The film brings a more fun tone than previous entries, but without undermining the importance of events that fans care about.
Clever, funny, and visually stunning, The Last Jedi offers what audiences wanted in a sequel to The Force Awakens and improves in areas where the franchise needed to learn and grow from. With fantastic performances and amazing action sequences, this is the Star Wars sequel that you do not want to miss.
The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters.