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Review: Stars Wars: The Last Jedi reclaims the magic without recycling it

The Force Is With This

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a classic.

thelastjediposterThat needs to be said first because everything else that comes after this is simple analysis.

While this is a spoiler free zone, it must declared that some deductions can be made from the following information so proceed with caution.

In 2017, the best thing that we can hope for in a sequential Star Wars film that involves the primary characters is a new outlook on things.

The Last Jedi wins because it did not underperform creatively as expected. After The Force Awakens rode through as a tribute film to A New Hope, this movie was set up to serve as this generation’s The Empire Strikes Back.

While it does serve up its fair share of swerves, they do not connect dots as much as they deflate the expectation that everyone has to be connected somehow to be given V.I.P. access to the force.

That within itself provided a shift in the core thought process of how these characters are presented.

Key themes of vulnerability and mysterious manipulation run rampant throughout as does a secondary storyline that is sure to set up an off-shoot flick later on down the road.

Mark Hamill has shaken off the boyish charm that quite frankly made Luke Skywalker somewhat annoying.

Skywalker was a cookies and milk character that was brought to life at a different time. He represented everything that was good and just. He was the ultimate hero for all intents and purposes.

Now, he has aged in a way that is not bitter as much as it is jaded and quite frankly at times sad. As he works with his padawan Rey, he both directly and indirectly displays his knowledge of the cycle of this thing.

He knows how this story will play out and Hamill’s portrayal is by far his most open because regardless of what he sees and feels, he tries anyway.

Again a lot of these keys are shared via various expressions that are seasoned with dialogue.  When things wrap themselves up, Skywalker leaves room for the franchise to continue with or without him albeit if it’s with him in a very creative way.

The Last Jedi manages to take on the wages of sin in the subplot and the power of darkness on the primary level.

It’s not a military secret that Kylo Ren continues the struggle within and Adam Driver submits another wonderfully tortured performance.

Less campy than his turn in The Force Awakens, Driver settles into Ren quite nicely here.  The various layers in this kid are unbelievable and despite the fact that he’s capable of some disturbing acts, it is easy to get swept into the undertow of rooting for him to do the right thing.

The storytelling at play is some of the best that this series has ever seen.  For all of its heaviness, runs a current of humor that arrives right on time.

In her final performance, it is fitting that Carrie Fisher finally as afforded the opportunity to let Princess Leia take her powers for a spin. As Luke’s twin sister, we’ve waited a long time for what takes place and its tragic that this was the end.

It’s a gorgeous film that knows where it comes from without relying on the past. By embracing the future, director/writer Rian Johnson delivered the goods.

The Last Jedi may easily be the most human of the Star Wars films and that is coming from an old head that saw the original trilogy in the theaters.

All the resolution in the world in the next film won’t make this any easier to top.


Rating: 5/5

Watch: Daisy Ridley on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Watch: Director Rian Johnson on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Watch Mark Hamill Discuss Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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