General Thoughts

There was never a doubt that ‘Star Wars: The last Jedi’ will probably be the biggest film of the year. In the USA, it had the second largest opening weekend in history, only behind ‘The Force Awakens’ (Go figure).

In ‘The Last Jedi’, many events occur with multiple storylines and multiple characters (not unlike ‘The Empire Strikes Back’) that makes it difficult to process everything after just one viewing. I had to see the film twice before I can get a proper grasp on what happened.

There are several jaw-dropping moments that film that will make you hold your breath. Ryan Johnson, the director, was able to surprise audiences throughout the film. Additionally, there are scenes which are so emotional and thought provoking that they, in my opinion, expand what a Star Wars experience can give to the fans.

In one of the trailers (hence not a spoiler) Luke Skywalker says the line “This isn’t going to end the way you think”. And this is probably the best description of the film. Unlike ‘The Force Awakens’, which played it safe, ‘The Last Jedi’ takes risk in terms of its story and characters, and expands on what we know about the Star Wars universe. Whether the film was successful or not in those risks depends really on your experience. I, personally, had a wonderful time at the cinema.

The characters in this movie experience a certain kind of development that, I believe, we have not seen before in a Star Wars film. Which goes back to the theme of ‘not what you expect’. Some fans will disagree with the direction Johnson took in developing those characters. I, personally, think that what he did was great.

Obviously, this is not a perfect film. And if you have been looking for online reviews, you would know that the film is a bit polarizing, with some calling it “The worst Star Wars movie ever” (an exaggeration, I do hope). Some did not like the risks that Ryan Johnson took. Others did not like how certain storylines were followed up from ‘The Force Awakens’, or how certain question were, or were not, answered. Also, depending on how you look at it, certain plot holes were noticed by the audience (discussed in the cons section below). I have to say that I disagree with many, but not all, issues taken with the film, and I do believe I can argue my points quite well. However, I cannot take the subjective experience away from anyone, which, ultimately, is what matters.

And finally, having seen the film twice by now, I can safely say that I cannot wait for Ryan Johnson’s own trilogy that Disney said he would be developing. I believe it’s going to be very different form what we’re used to in the main Star Wars saga, and I have a feeling that Johnson will expand the Star Wars universe with aspects that we didn’t know we wanted, yet we will end up appreciating very much.

 

What I like

The performances were fantastic across the board. And Mark Hammill, as Luke Skywalker, gives his best Star Wars performance yet, and probably his best ever on screen. I loved every second he was on screen.

The storylines that involved Luke, Rey, and Kylo Ren were the best thing about the film. I love character development that they experienced, and the journey they went on. Not that other characters do not experience any development, but these tare the ones who experience it the most.

The film takes a lot of risks to ensure that the story is fresh and is not repeating any beats from previous films. Which is what we want Star Wars to do. I can safely say I like most of what the film did, with couple of exceptions that I’m still not sure about.

Visual effects were fantastic in the film. I don’t think anyone expected anything else.

There are some who did not like much of the humour that was in the film. I, on the other hand, ate it all up. The humour was smart and was used just enough. Even when I thought a certain joke or funny action shouldn’t work, it did. But in the end, comedy is subjective.

 

What I dislike

There are a number of narrative elements that only make sense if you are familiar with the broader cannon (including art books that accompany the film, and novels). However, most audiences only follow the films, and will perceive those narrative elements as plot holes, which is completely understandable. Ultimately, it ends up being weak storytelling on part of the film, instead of taking the time to explain certain point while shortening some not-so-interesting scenes or sequences from the film.

Just like ‘The Force Awakens’, the character of Phasma (played by the wonderful Gwendoline Christie) was completely underused. At this point I really don’t know what they were thinking when developing that character. Why get a great actress like Christie to play a character with so much potential if you’re not going to use her much (for two full films?!?!). My thoughts were that they were teasing the character in the first film, and they were planning on unleashing her in the second. Alas, that’s not the case.

The Fin and Rose storyline (played by John Boyega & Kelly Marie Tran) was not very interesting. It dragged a bit and had some, just some, cartoonish moments that felt more like Disney moments than Star Wars moments.

On first viewing, I did not like the character of DJ, played by Benicio Del Torro. On the second viewing, I was just OK with it. I see what they were trying to do with it, but it just didn’t work for me.

 

Score: 7.5/10

 

My Scoring System

0/10: Cannot get worse than this (unrealistic)

5/10:

I do not have an opinion whether you should watch it or not.

6/10: It has redeeming qualities. You might like.
1/10: Absolute rubbish. 7/10: A good film that I enjoyed. Recommended.
2/10: Just a bad film. 8/10: A brilliant film that is a must watch for everyone.
3/10: So many problems with the film. 9/10: Masterpiece. Godfather level.
4/10: Wouldn’t recommend watching. 10/10: Cannot get better than this (unrealistic)

Scoring system inspired by John Campea (online film critic, YouTube content creator).