Let’s not kid ourselves, you were always going to see this; it’s a Star War, for goodness sake. Nonetheless, the story novelty and cast chemistry, plus some truly awe inspiring moments, make this worth seeing for any level of fan. Buy the ticket.
The Good: Excellent sound design, cinematography, cast chemistry, and a courageous new story.
It’s hard to review a Star Wars movie. One of the most enduring and popular cultural franchises of all time carries with it a lot of baggage. And frankly, my enduring and eternal love for this fiction makes it nearly impossible to limit any writing about it to less than 10,000 words. But nobody wants that. So here is a severely restrained look at the newest entry:
- Cinematography: Some of, if not the best cinematography of the entire franchise. There are at least two scenes that are breathtaking to watch, and are worth it even for those who have never seen a Star War.
- Sound Design: Frankly this franchise doesn’t get enough credit for this. The sound design and editing in Star Wars has always been revolutionary and unique. The Last Jedi is no exception.
- Cast Chemistry: This cast is excellent together. The respect and love they have for each other is palpable.’
Those are all great. But the story this time around is something else all together. The Last Jedi is undoubtedly the most courageous Star Wars film yet. The result is far more than the sum of its parts. This is likely inconsequential for casual or new fans, whom won’t have many issues with the movie anyway. But for longtime fans, it is the unique qualities of the story that make this a true must see.
The Bad: A romance that feels unearned, some CGI goofiness, and some minor pacing issues.
Let me preface this by saying that a romance between two people of color in a massive tent pole blockbuster is a really great thing to see. It was a laughable idea even 5 years ago. Regardless of the execution, that is a win.
Nonetheless, the execution was flawed. It falls into unfortunate tropes regrading socially awkward women and the first man that talks to them. Another film’s worth of development for the relationship was almost certainly in order.
Beyond this small character subplot the only major critique comes in the second act. A little-too-long sequence causes some pacing issues, though it does set up the film’s thematics nicely. The splitting of the cast also causes issues with character plot resolutions; high notes are sung at different points, such that some characters disappear while the film continues with someone else.
The Ugly:There are strong women and people of color everywhere in this movie.
There is a scene in which three major characters, played by people of color, are on screen at the same time. In a Star Wars movie. That is truly incredible for nearly any film, let alone a blockbuster and a Star War.
The film is also chock full and led by strong, fully developed women characters. Carrie Fisher headlines of course, but is joined by Daisy Ridley, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, all playing very different characters. Each has their own strengths and flaws, and feel like complete people. In support areGwendoline Christie, Billie Lourd (Fisher’s daughter), and Ngo Thanh Van, complete with a cameo appearance from Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata.
You can try to find a modern blockbuster with that kind of diversity and representation for women, but you’ll fail.
“In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.”- Rotten Tomatoes