Director: Rian Johnson
Running Time: 2h 33m
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac
Movie Score: 93%
*[0-50%-red (poor); 50-70%-yellow (average to good, better and promising); 70-90%-green (very good to great); 90-100%-blue (outstanding to perfect and a masterpiece)]
This review contains spoilers. It will be kind, that you leave it here only, if you haven’t watched the film.
But still if you want to go ahead, then, “May the force be with you.”
It’s definitely not the time for the Jedi to end! There’s something, for more to come. When the reboot trilogy began, two years back, fans had not even imagined how much better it would come out. After what J.J Abrams did with The Force Awakens, the stakes were always high for the next one to follow and with an even more great energy and ‘force’. And hell yes, its beyond anything else, with the latest Episode VIII, The Last Jedi.
The latest second film, in the third, rebooted, trilogy of the entire Star Wars saga, tries to answer some much-needed questions, from the last film.
But, does it really live up to all that was expected of it? Yes, definitely!
The force is as strong as ever, and even more triumphant this time. It’s got a literal significance, in a more heavier sense.
Rian Johnson brings the flavor of his own vision to this whole universe of darkness against lightness, and tries to show those aspects of the ‘key’ characters, which were hitherto untouched and unknown to its vast legacy of fans.
The movie continues from where The Force Awakens ended-exactly that moment of Rey (Daisy Ridley) handing the lightsaber to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). She’s on a mysterious Island, Ahch-To, to ask Skywalker for the helping the Resistance to fight against the First Order. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the galaxy the Resistance (consisting now of Finn (John Boyega), a new warrior Rose Tiko (Kelly Marie Tran), General Leia Organa (Late Carrie Fisher), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and others) prepares itself to protect the remaining Resistance members in the battle against the First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and controlled by the Supreme Leader Snoke (voiced by Andy Serkis).
Johnson has not only given the most-wanted Star Wars episode ever, but the most-wanted Luke Skywalker chapter too. Well, its not that the others are not good.
Daisy Ridley is as fresh as she feels to be in this character and perfectly justifies in the Last Jedi, that she is Rey! And Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, is Kylo Ren!
But, first of all, breaking down to each one of them, let me first come again to ‘the Luke Skywalker’.
Gosh! Mark Hamill has ‘nailed it down’, in his last appearance as the ‘penultimate’, aged Jedi who’s returned to give something to leave his legacy and a hope for the Resistance, behind. All the loyal fans of Star Wars have seen Hamill enthralling them during the early Star Wars films. But, here?
This is the Skywalker, we always (might have) imagined to witness on the screen and Mark Hamill just makes it so compelling, that it’s hard to ignore him-take any scene, whether its with Rey on the Ahch-To Island, or the one with Leia, or that with Kylo Ren himself (and that fight on the planet Crait, will blow you away, seriously). Skywalker is weary and looks tired of going through all that has happened so far around him, but a seriously torn-apart person can also be seen inside him which is restless and still wants to end something and bring everything at peace and balance.
Daisy Ridley proves to be the real force of this ongoing trilogy and shines high with giving every emotion, feeling and grit that’s needed of her Rey, in this movie. There are some breathtaking scenes with Kylo Ren, where they both connect with some kind of telepathy (or, whatever this ability is called in the fictional world of Star Wars), and another scene towards the climax where she confronts Snoke and later tries to bring some positivity in Kylo-though, it all goes into vain.
And she’s as good in the scenes with Skywalker also; the training, the lessons and the conversations regarding her birth history and about discovering Kylo Ren’s past. She makes it believable that there’s a character who’s sometimes lost due to multiple reasons. That of not knowing who were her parents and how she came to being?
The one scene where she is shown a kind of ‘mirror truth’ by the darkside, about her parents (in a dark cave), is also amazing to watch. But later on, in the end, Snoke tells her that it was his ‘mindplay’, by which he was controlling her to see what he wanted her to see and believe-including Kylo Ren too!
There was one more aspect of Rey, being attracted towards the dark side too! Yes, but hopefully, in the end, she gets right on her mind. Though, in the early arguments with Luke (talking about Kylo), she seems like she too could turn into a rebellion! But, it doesn’t happen, for the good, and she doesn’t turns!
Coming onto Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren now. This villain has personally become my most favourite antagonist in the last two years, (after watching The Force Awakens), and here too, he is just tremendous. All his conflicts going with his identity and beliefs can be clearly understood by his depiction of Kylo (whose real name is Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo).
Whatever he sees and learns of the darkside, don’t get cleared to him, until the end of the film where he understands the ultimate truth that he can be the supreme force of the First Order (after killing Snoke!).
He becomes certain of his desires and dark beliefs and compels Rey also, to move ahead with him and make a team instead, rather than fighting in a ‘darkside v lightside battle’, for years. But, Rey (obviously) refuses.
Then, there is Oscar Isaac, as Poe Dameron, and this time too, this actor just impresses with his antics and self-determined thinking that he can do it in the hardest times and can save his team members-though, he proves to be childish in the end, may be due to his over-confidence and arrogance. But he is too good in the film.
John Boyega’s Finn fills the right gaps and is also good and plays a key role, in this one too. While, Late actress Carries Fisher’s memorable role of General Leia Organa, just gives a positive spark of hope and togetherness! Fisher is commanding, not only as the leader of Resistance, but also in her role and gives a moment of peace with her wisdom, (teaching Poe some rules and regulations of planning, like a mother).
And yes, in between, an important cameo of Yoda (the legendary Jedi master), with Skywalker, is also a lighthearted moment that he shares with him. It was really a surprise appearance of Yoda’s ‘Force Ghost’ (a soul of someone who has died, and was connected to the Force), that many fans were unaware of, but will be delighted to watch.
Now, its not that The Last Jedi doesn’t have any issues, but they are just slightly ignorable (for the fans). Yet, as part of the storyline, they can’t be overshadowed, in this otherwise brilliant film.
The new member to the Resistance, in the face of Kelly Marie Tran, as Rose Tiko, is good and the scenes are also fine with Finn, but the love-angle ‘chemistry’ shown by director Johnson, during the final, third act, was out of place. It wasn’t required at all. I mean everything’s on risk and stakes are high, as there’s a battle going on. But Rose in a sudden moment kisses Finn, after saving him off the attack of a giant canon, and says a forced line just for saying it. That was not needed at all, especially when there’s a powerful scene going on like a battle of survival!
Another thing is again about Finn and Rose only, but its when they travel to a casino, named Canto Bight, on a new planet called Cantonica. This whole time they spend on that planet and in that casino, was okayish-not that impressive. Because, it halts the flow of the main story, in between-it really does. When taking the length of the film as a whole, there comes a point where you think whether this Cantonica sequence was required or not.
But yes, it plays an important part for the climax and so, somehow you have to go through it.
Still, apart from these shortcomings, Rian Johnson succeeds, in delivering a fantastic spectacle to the audience. The direction is mind-blowing, when you see the action, visuals, camera angles and of course, the performances.
The lightsaber fights are the best ones you have ever seen in a Star Wars movie-just watch that Kylo Ren and Rey’s fight with the First Order soldiers.
And there’s also a peace giving scene of Hamill’s Skywalker going away (he dies, basically), and gets liberated by the Force! Its so soothing and pleasing to the eyes, with a sunset and the Ahch-To sland.
Johnson justifies the decision of the producers to pass on the direction honors from J.J Abrams to him.
Along with the film making, the sound design is also amazing, when compared to the last film. I mean The Force Awakens had a great music, but not as good as The Last Jedi’s. John Williams creates a lasting score which you will want to put on your playlist for hours.
Overall, The Last Jedi leaves you satisfied, giving you the most-awaited Luke Skywalker storyline ever, while also strengthening the base for the Episode IX. It’s a must watch for everyone who wants to experience something new in the Star Wars universe-a new hope!