Continuing right after where the previous instalment left us (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Rey finally discovers Luke Skywalker and begins to question him about her unknown abilities. Meanwhile, the Resistance (which includes Leia, Finn, Poe etc) are under heavy attack as the First Order closes on the Resistance once and for all.
As many fans are aware, the pacing and story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been said to be very similar to Star Wars: A New Hope. Interesting enough, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has a much more unpredictable approach in regards to its plot and characters. During the entire duration of The Last Jedi, I felt this change was respectful to all previous instalments, and didn’t just copy or emulate another Star Wars film.
The Last Jedi is directed by Rian Johnson (Best known for directing films such as Looper and Brick) and this is actually Rian’s first time directing a Star Wars film. Rian does bring many positive things to the film. One major strong point was to see the existing characters we loved from The Force Awakens return and grow to the next level. Another strong point is the action sequences, which are also rather enjoyable and stunning to see. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about seeing the ships in the air or witnessing the amazing and fun light sabre battles that occur throughout the film. The film’s action, effects and soundtrack are also top notch (which I would personally demand from any Star Wars film!).
As the Star Wars universe grows bigger, The Last Jedi thankfully gives fans some answers as well as some more questions and new characters. And it is within some of these areas that some issues brew and where long time fans around the world (including myself) can be disappointed. As new supporting characters are introduced, I found it very hard for most of them (or perhaps all of them) to be likeable. Other than the main cast and crew, I found any new characters pointless to the film’s main plot. These new characters also take up space on the film’s runtime and create side plots that could have been enjoyed more if some editing was done the final cut. For me personally, this was my biggest issue with the film. The Last Jedi has a great story to tell but it suffers due to these small issues.
While the previous film, The Force Awakens, has been claimed to feel like a copy of A New Hope, its pacing was fast and the film always felt like something exciting was just around the corner. The ending also left viewers wanting to have more. The Last Jedi’s pacing does differ from the previous film and scenes are slowed right down. The film also becomes sidetracked with side plots just when the main plot was picking up.
Overall The Last Jedi has many positive things to speak about. The director has made many brave choices in regards to plot. The film looks and sound amazing, as well as staying true to the galaxy we all love. We can talk about the overall plot and minor elements within the film’s story, but in the end I can truly respect what director Rian Jonhson has made here. He has made some bold choices in order to keep the Star Wars franchise feeling different and fresh. Certain minor plot details can be questionable, but in the end, as Star Wars fans we did demand something different and not just what could have been a copy of “The Empire Strikes Back”. Even with all these benefits, I’m proud to admit that I enjoyed the previous instalment “The Force Awakens” more.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden