Nothing can prepare you for what STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI delivers. Absolutely nothing- and that’s exactly what makes so damn near perfect.
Star Wars fans can relax, what director Rian Johnson gives life to in this installation of the Skywalker Saga is fresh and new, but remains true to what made Star Wars the franchise juggernaut that it is: a hero’s journey through a galaxy far far away. We meet heroes of old, and introduce heroes of new. Everyone has a story, no one is left to wonder what their purpose was in the film. There are a few moments that, in my opinion, could have easily been skipped without being missed, but it doesn’t detract or pull away from the story that unfolds. Story wise? What Johnson created is a way to catapult other characters into their own journeys, while paying a beautiful and heartfelt homage to those original characters that created the universe for us. Your 70 year old dad will love it just as much as your 10 year old daughter, even if the reasons they love it are vastly different.
Starting off right where JJ Abrams’ THE FORCE AWAKENS leaves off, The First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and a conflicted Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), are ready to wipe out The Resistance, led by General Leia (Carrie Fisher). With Finn (John Boyega) in a medical chamber, and Rey (Daisy Ridley) away trying to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to come back, The Resistance is in danger, and Captain Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) decides to launch a daring, but successful counter attack. But, The Resistance is in trouble, as The First Order has a trick up their sleeve, which leaves everyone on Resistance fleet in danger with only hours to figure out how to save the fleet.
If you’re wanting more of the story, you won’t be getting it here. THE LAST JEDI is best enjoyed going in with as little as possible knowledge of the storyline. It unfolds like a blooming flower, each layer so beautiful (hands down, some of the best art direction I have ever seen in this franchise), yet so different from the next… each with other stories to tell beneath. I have to stress, a one time viewing will be a disservice to yourself. There is just SO MUCH packed in, that you might miss sub stories, canon nuances and cameos. This is one you will not only want to watch repeatedly, but you need to.
For a film that is just over 2.5 hours, the pacing was actually pretty good. I had to use the restroom about 30 mins in, but didn’t go, and while my bladder hated me for it, it was worth it. There really is no potty break worthy moment (but, if you must, the beginning of the casino scene may work- but you might miss some fun cameos). And yes, this is the funniest Star Wars yet, but at times, the humor felt a little forced. I’d liken it to a dad joke, where you know they’re trying, but best to just move on and go about the fun day they planned for you anyway.
As a woman of color, the inclusion of people of all genders and ethnicities was a beautiful thing to behold. Seeing women in positions of power, like General Leia and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), and women of color like Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), not only be part of the main story, but also have their own spotlights made me extremely happy that we bought our tickets to see it this weekend. Though, there are a couple of moments that I took small issues with (one dealing with my beloved Poe), I’m still counting this film as a win for feminism. My daughter will get to see what true feminism is- women of all colors, the feminine, the soldiers and more, simply just be- without question or comment. It’s the Star Wars I’ve dreamt of since I was a child.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15th.