The Last Jedi

thelastjediposterThe most anticipated movie of the year has finally arrived!  I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been to watch this movie.  This year has certainly been jammed packed with good films, such as Spiderman: Homecoming, Wonder Woman and Justice League, but none of them have given me the level of excitement the way waiting for The Last Jedi has.

You may be surprised by me saying I was excited for this film.  Why, you ask?  Well, two years ago this year, I went and saw The Force Awakens, and I was less than pleased.  You can watch my full review here.  I thought the plot was too simplistic, there wasn’t enough depth to the new characters, and Luke Skywalker, one of the most iconic characters in the series, only appeared for 30 seconds, and said nothing.  The movie has since grown on me, but I stick to my criticisms.

I’ll get into why I was so harsh on the new trilogy, but first, let’s talk about The Last Jedi.  I’m not going to spoil anything, so you’re free to scroll on down.

Let’s start by talking about how beautiful the film was.  I’m talking about how visually stunning it was.  No expense was spared in this area, and it looked real.  You could close your eyes and imagine you were there.  It starts off in a fast pace, and you can immediately tell you’re in for a wild ride.  For the first 45 minutes to an hour, I was hooked.

Like so many reviewers before me, I agree that the middle dragged on too long.  I’d even go as far as to say that the third act never recovered from it.  But still, there were some moments throughout the whole thing where I had to clutch the seat rests, because it was intense.

I was impressed by several things.  First, Carrie Fisher.  Oh my gosh.  She exceeded my expectations in this film, and she’s finally playing a post Return-Of-The-Jedi-Leia I can get on board with.  I can’t quite point out what they did to her in this film, but I want to say they made her more wiser, but also more vulnerable.  Kinda like the Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond.  If anyone deserves an Oscar for this film, it’s her.  She did have a scene that was a little bit of a stretch for me, but hey, as long as she was in it, I wasn’t judging it much.  J.J. Abrams has a challenge on his hands, trying to finish this trilogy without her.  She would have been front and center in IX, and it’s clear that’s what VIII was leading up to.  Oh, Carrie, why did you have to die?!?

Another stand out is someone you probably wasn’t expecting.  I was very impressed with the character Laura Dern played, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.  In fact, I’d even argue that she had the best scene in the whole movie.  She was a woman who demanded respect, and got it willingly…a quality I try to portray in my novels.  I just can’t tell you how much of a surprise it was to enjoy the scenes with Holdo in them.

Now hold on.  With my compliments come some criticisms.  I admit, it was way better than The Force Awakens, but this movie is still flawed, and I still cannot understand the direction this new trilogy is going.  They say they want to take this galaxy in new directions, but yet they continue to resort to taking bits of the original films that worked and incorporate them into these.  I have no problem with reusing what works, as long as it helps.  In Star Wars VII and VIII, it doesn’t.

While Luke was in this movie, and actually spoke, his role was much smaller than I hoped.  And to be truthful, I wasn’t satisfied with the role he played in this movie.  The retelling of the issues between Luke and Kylo Ren were just as vague as TFA and even made me distrust what I saw.  I understand why Mark Hamill is not happy with the direction Lucasfilm took his character, but at the same time, he’s the one who agreed to return.  Had he not, who knows where we’d be.  I may be a lot more happier right now.

Overall, I walked out of the theater entertained, but still not satisfied.  I left with more questions than answers, and the answers I did get…they turned out to be nonessential.  Some of the highly promoted, new characters continued to lack the depth I hoped this movie would provide.  Maybe Johnson will elaborate on them more in the next trilogy he’s got planned for us.  The fight scenes were weaker than TFA, surprisingly.  Finally, some of the iconic weapons and vehicles we’ve come to love were changed in this film just for the sake of changing it.

Many of you may agree with me on some, if not all of these things, but despite what we believe, this movie will be a smash hit, maybe even better than TFA, and we’ll move on.  I’ll grow into this film the same way I grew into the other one.

fojlgRegardless of how I feel about both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I still have a bias towards the Expanded Universe that LucasFilm now considers “non-canon”.  Those stories worked in so many ways.  Sure, maybe some of the big themes were repeated, but that’s inevitable because “history repeats itself.”  I really with Disney, Lucasfilm, Del Rey, or whoever it may be at this point, considers continuing the “Legends” stories.  That’d satisfy a lot of die hard fans, and it’d complete two things, journeying out into unknown territory in the films, and preserving the classic in literature.

What did you think about The Last Jedi?  Did you like it, or did you have the same issues as I did?  Post your comments below.  And remember, no spoilers!

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