Rian Johnson takes us on a whirlwind adventure worthy of the original trilogy…
The excitement for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is at an all-time high, and the fans cannot wait to take their seats in cinemas around the world in just a few short days. But, is the film truly worthy of our adulation?
In a word…definitely.
The weight of expectation surrounding The Last Jedi has been incredible, heaping an enormous amount of pressure on the broad shoulders of writer/director Rian Johnson. Producing a sequel to the immensely popular, The Force Awakens was by no means an easy task but Johnson, found himself free to play in the Star Wars sandbox generated by J.J Abrams’ 2015 blockbuster.
And from the movies’ opening sequences, we know we’re in for a fun ride. A Star Wars ride, the kind that reverts you to your childhood when you screamed “Now this is a Star Wars movie” during those exciting moments in Return of the Jedi. The opening sequence sets the tone for what will be an exciting thrill ride, and reveals the struggles the Resistance will face throughout the entire movie. It’s fast paced, fun and extremely comical for a Star Wars movie, which is unexpected, but it works perfectly here and only helps to lighten the direst of circumstances.
Luke Skywalker’s long-awaited return is fantastic. The finale to The Force Awakens, opened a Pandora’s box, with millions of possible alternatives to how Luke would react, what he would say…and I am pleased that Rian Johnson turned this moment completely on its head. The sequence is truly remarkable, and once again serves to lighten the dark narratives at play in The Last Jedi.
The mighty Wookiee, Chewbacca has a fun time on the island of Ahch-To whilst Daisy Ridley’s, Rey finds herself at odds with her would be Jedi Master, who is reluctant to be involved in the conflict raging across the galaxy. But the deepest connection, comes between her and her arch nemesis, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The sinister leader of the First Order, finds himself struggling to come to terms with his inner turmoil, a turmoil that Supreme Leader Snoke chastises him for.
This sets Kylo Ren/Ben Solo off on a journey of self-discovery, one the facilitates a Force connection with his would-be foe, Rey and they embark on the journey together, seeing the balance of the Force through each other’s eyes.
John Boyega’s Finn, awakens to find the Resistance facing extermination, but his sole thought is Rey. His eagerness to reunite with her sets him off on an exciting journey that finds him bumping into saga newcomer, Rose. After hatching a daring plan with ace pilot Poe Dameron, the duo set of to Canto Bight to secure a package that will help them infiltrate the ranks of the First Order.
But the core of The Last Jedi, is focussed on the relationship between Kylo Ren, Rey and Luke Skywalker. Luke’s reluctance to train Rey, propagates a deeper connection to her opponent and the duo find common ground whilst unravelling the mystery of Luke’s exile. Supreme Leader Snoke arrives to deliver upon the legacy teased in The Force Awakens, and serves to remind us of the true power of the dark side.
The Canto Bight sequence, although fun and lined with a deeper message reflective of our own world, is a little unnecessary and slows things down just when the tension is reaching its crescendo. But, this is a minor detraction from what is a stunning movie.
The plot twists are unexpected and have deeper repercussions for Episode XI, leaving you gasping for air, whilst the action-packed set pieces, combined with John Williams’ sublime score resonate the vibe of punching the air with spinetingling glory.
And then, the finale.
Rian Johnson, delivers what will go on to be regarded as one of the finest final acts of the Star Wars saga. It is, by no means a challenger to the original trilogy, but it delivers a perfectly apt conclusion that reminds us of hope in the darkest of hours when all seems lost.
John Williams’ score soundtrack is sublime. The combination of The Force Awakens symphonies blended with his new material, works in harmony and offers us many “old friends” themes from the original trilogy. This adds to a pulse pounding soundtrack that offers us a deep and meaningful tone to what is an amazing Episode VIII.
To sum The Last Jedi up in a nutshell, it is best described as Revenge of the Sith meets The Force Awakens, with a heavy influence from the original trilogy. These factors combine to deliver Star Wars movie worthy of taking its place in the annals of the greatest space saga of all time. Its fun, thought provoking, heart wrenching, heart-warming, pulse-pounding and action packed, and is littered with moments of pure brilliance that will have every fan cheering with delight. The only detraction, is that many of the great characters of the saga are reduced to glorified cameos. But, this takes nothing away from the story, which is incredibly well written and executed by Rian Johnson.
For me, the stand out character of The Last Jedi, is Poe Dameron. His role as an ace pilot facilitates his understanding of the Resistance hierarchy and propels him into one of the most important characters in the sequel saga. His perspective, finds him defending the principles of the Rebellion against certain defeat and broadens his horizons in the process, leading to a greater role in the Resistance.
The Force is truly strong with The Last Jedi, and with Rian Johnson fronting a whole new trilogy of Star Wars movies in the future, the saga has found the perfect custodian. His understanding of the Star Wars saga has brought us the perfect sequel, one far better suited to follow Return of the Jedi, than The Force Awakens.
The Force is strong with The Last Jedi, and its Jedi Master director.