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Movie Review: Star Wars (The Last Jedi)

Shalene Hixon, Staff Writer

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Warning! The following article contains major spoilers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

If you have not yet watched the movie, I do not suggest reading any further. You have been warned.

I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember, so I was pretty excited to see the eighth installment in the sci-fi franchise.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

Director Rian Johnson was not afraid to take risks with the film, and for the most part they paid off. He strayed away from the typical “Star Wars formula” some were expecting to see.

This was not a copy-and-paste The Empire Strikes Back, rather it stands alone as one of the better films in the franchise. In my opinion, it was the most intense and surprising one of them all.

Before I get into the good stuff, let’s start off with what I didn’t like.

First, it seemed to be drawn out and choppy at times. Transitioning between the two storylines was a little rough, and it felt as if the movie could have ended at a few specific points before the actual ending.

With a running time of two hours and 30 minutes, it’s the longest Star Wars film. Regardless, I’d rather have a longer movie so I can understand everything instead of one where I felt rushed.

Next was the way they treated Supreme Leader Snoke. Once he made his debut in The Force Awakens, many started to speculate about his origins and true identity. Fans didn’t get those answers in The Last Jedi, as he was killed off by Kylo Ren halfway through.

I felt as if his character deserved better story-wise, since he was treated almost like an afterthought.

My final critique is a few of the newer characters. While Rose Tico was the best one, I didn’t feel the same about Vice Admiral Haldo and DJ.

I couldn’t connect with Haldo until she sacrificed herself to save the Resistance, but she was much better than DJ. He had this odd stutter that made his “tough and rugged” character less intimidating by the second.

Now onto why I loved the movie, with the first reason being the constant surprises. It kept me guessing the entire time, beginning with General Leia Organa’s near death early on. I went from being in tears to breathing a sigh of relief when she was saved.

However, it did surprise me that she was not killed at some point afterwards. The main character who met their end was actually Luke Skywalker, who died after helping the Resistance escape the First Order at the end of the movie. Absolutely no one saw his death coming, at all.

One thing that came as a surprise to many was the reveal of Rey’s parents. They weren’t Skywalkers, Kenobis, or even Palpatines. Instead they were just “nobodies” who abandoned her on Jakku.

While this angered some, I was fine with it. Rey didn’t need to be labeled as someone else’s daughter, she’s her own person.

Another positive was the excellent character development, especially Skywalker and Ren.

Gone was the hopeful Jedi master from the original trilogy, replaced by a cynical and pessimistic hermit. It added many more layers to the already iconic character.

Ren went from being labeled as “angsty” in The Force Awakens, to a much more complex individual in The Last Jedi. He made you sympathize with him one second, then hate him the next.

Rey, Leia, Finn, Poe Dameron and others also grew as a result of their triumphs and tribulations throughout the film.

Johnson does an excellent job of exploring the grey area between the light and dark side of the force. In some way, most of the main characters experience conflict between what is right and wrong. I feel as if this struggle helped contribute to the unexpected atmosphere of the film.

I also loved how Johnson and his crew were able to hit the audience right in the feels. From humor (Numerous one-liners and BB-8’s antics) to nostalgia (Leia’s message from A New Hope and Yoda’s cameo) and everything in between, it was a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish.

But I also can’t forget one of my favorite things: the porgs. They were adorable and have some pretty funny moments in the film. I must buy more porg merchandise — and you should too!

Overall, this movie is a must see for any Star Wars fan. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver give exceptional performances as Skywalker, Leia and Ren. The rest of the cast did a fantastic job as well, with their characters coming into their own since The Force Awakens.

It is visually stunning, with some of the scenes so breathtaking you’ll find yourself staring in awe. The action sequences were fun and intense to watch, with the space battles, Rey and Ren vs. The Praetorian Guards and the battle on Crait being the highlights.

The positives from this film greatly outweigh the negatives, with the ending opening the door for numerous possibilities moving forward. As a result, Johnson has made Star Wars fresh and new.

I’ll be excited to see what happens with Episode IX, but for now I can’t wait to go see The Last Jedi again!

 

Final Score: 9 out of 10

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Movie Review: Star Wars (The Last Jedi)