SYNOPSIS: In Lucasfilm’s STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of THE FORCE AWAKENS join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
Disclaimer #1: There are no spoilers in this review.
Disclaimer #2: I am not a “STAR WARS guy (SWG).”
However, just because I’m not a “SWG,” that doesn’t mean that I do not like STAR WARS because I do. I’ve seen all the movies (I actually saw the original in the theater back in 1977 when I was 12!) and I’ve always looked forward to seeing a new STAR WARS film when one is released. But, I’ll readily admit that I am not a STAR WARS fanatic and possess only a layman’s knowledge of SW mythology. Therefore, please keep that in mind while reading this review of THE LAST JEDI. (If you desire a detailed examination of the film from someone who is steeped in SW lore, you might want to read Rick Shew’s upcoming TLJ review, follow FJD on Twitter, or listen to BOF’s upcoming TLJ podcast. BOF’s SW podcasts are pretty damn good, FYI.)
First of all, if you haven’t seen THE FORCE AWAKENS, then you’ll be clueless in this film (though I’m sure if you’re reading this here on BOF, I’m quite sure you’ve seen it). Why? Because TLJ literally picks up right after the ending of its predecessor.
At the end of TFA, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has traveled to a remote island on a remote planet (which we find out is the ancient home of the Jedi Knights) on behalf of General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) to seek out the help of the exiled Jedi Master himself, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Why do they need his help? Well, that would be due to the fact that the Resistance is on its last leg and faces total inhalation by the First Order.
While there, Rey tries to not only convince Luke to help the Resistance, but also to help her with her, well, Force issues, if you will. Luke however, does not want to do either – especially with the latter. Why? Well, you’ve heard of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) – AKA “Darth Vader II” – right? Yeah, Luke’s last go at training young Jedi didn’t work out all that well (ahem, um Ben Solo becoming Kylo Ren).
In addition to the Rey/Luck deal, we’ve got two other subplots going on as well. There’s the whole First Order/bad guys led by this Snoke character (voiced by Andy Serkis) – who is the evil Supreme Leader – chasing after the last of the Resistance. It’s up to Finn (John Boyega), fellow rebel Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), BB8, and thief/computer hacker D.J. (Benicio Del Toro) to break through the First Order’s firewall and disable one of their major weapons.
Then there’s the whole Kylo/Rey “thing.” Rey sees a little good in Kylo, while Kylo sees a little evil in Rey. Which one will “switch teams.” if you will? I’ll leave it to you all to find out on your own. BUT, I will say that you’ll be surprised by the answer and it’s both what I expected and did not expect at the same time. Yeah, that sounds crazy, but you’ll understand when you see it.
The best part of the movie is the finale – though it plays out a little longer than needed – as all the little stories and subplots come together for a fantastic climax. In fact, It’s hard to top the Luke vs. Darth Vader/“I…am your father!” showdown from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but this one gives it a run. You’ll see!
While issues from THE FORCE AWAKENS – and from this film as well – are resolved, many things are not. Of course, this film is the middle part of a trilogy, thus, we’re going to have to wait for EPISODE IX in two years (December of 2019) to get answers.
Despite some minor nitpicks (some of the “comedy relief” parts are eye-rolling ridiculous), I liked THE LAST JEDI a lot. Compelling storylines, well-done CGI, awesome action scenes, and solid performances by the cast make for a more-than-solid STAR WARS installment. – Bill “Jett” Ramey