A long time ago, in living rooms all over the world…We were Jedis, smugglers, and princesses. Of course now we are grown men and women and we know that the plural for Jedi is Jedi. And someone else who pretended h lived in the ‘Star Wars’ universe as kid was “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson, he played in that world that sparked imagination in so many . That is something that is made abundantly clear by the end of this 2nd part of the third trilogy of films set in that galaxy far far away…
When we last left our heroes, both old and young they were coming together, as Rey (Dasiy Ridley), a scavenger from the junk planet Jakku, had discovered the location of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on an island in the first Jedi temple. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and his fellow X-Wing pilots helped destroy the Starkiller base with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) calling the shots. And Finn (John Boyega) is healing from the injury he received at the hands of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who himself is nursing both physical and mental wounds from murdering his father, Han Solo and losing a lightsaber duel to Rey who is just discovering her powers.
What makes “The Last Jedi” the most interesting Star Wars movie to date is its ability to satisfy (and possibly anger) fans and do something no other previous film has done since “A New Hope” in 1977, and thats expand the universe in unexpected ways. There is still the familiar storytelling, we follow three parallel stories: Rey and Luke, Poe and Leia along with headstrong Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and Finn with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) a clever maintenance worker with a plan. Peppered in is Kylo Ren’s struggle towards the darkside led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his mysterious connection with Rey. There is new glimpses into what the Force is, how it’s used, what it means, and still manages to be the funniest of all the films for sure. Another thing we never saw in a Star Wars film were flashbacks, and they more than made up with it here with not only a flashback, but done in a “Rashomon” style.
There were moments that infuriated me as a fan, and there were times where I gazed in child-like wonder as events unfolded in the most non-conventional ways. It seemed as though Johnson did his best to stay within the confines of what Kathleen Kennedy and the Lucasfilm/Disney trust want for this series of films, but still managed to blend it with his sensibilities and humor. The only real draw back to “Last Jedi” is that even at 2 hours and 32 minutes it is overstuffed with characters, and because they all need attention, arcs, and in some cases final arcs, some are given the truncated treatment.
What is certain even more so now than after “The Force Awakens” is the desire to know where the story will go from here. The word ‘legend’ is tossed around a bit in “The Last Jedi”. And what these films, yes even the prequels, have been building up is a modern myth that before was confined to the Skywalker family. Now, and without a doubt considering the final shot of this film, it will become a much farther reaching journey into a saga that is becoming as vast as the galaxy it inhabits.