Details: Released in 2017. Directed by Rian Johnson. Stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill. Around two and a half hours long.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an okay movie. It’s not bad, but suffers from a fragmented story with too many characters and too many ideas. It’s a film with a lot of great individual moments, but lacking the buildup necessary to make those moments really payoff. No spoilers ahead.
The Last Jedi picks up exactly where the The Force Awakens left off. If you don’t remember, Rey had just found Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion had just won a decisive battle against The First Order.
I had a lot of problems with the film so let’s start with the good. The special effects were great. There is one scene in particular that kind of blew my mind. If you see the film, you’ll know which scene it is when you see it.
John Williams delivers another great soundtrack with a lot of nostalgic references to the prior films.
There’s a few great action sequences. Some involving vehicles and space, others involving hand to hand combat or with weapons.
The acting was generally pretty good.
Now for the bad.
The plot has way too much going on, to the point where the story didn’t feel very cohesive and a lot of the story beats felt pointless and unnecessary. This is not a tight script. It felt like they needed a couple more rewrites and to focus on a few themes and plot lines instead of fifty of them.
Many of the characters felt like they were treated with zero respect and were really just throwaway characters. It’s clear based on how these characters were treated that some big changes of opinion occurred and decisions were made to take the series in a different direction.
A lot of the comedy was unnecessary and broke the believability of the world at times.
I also hated that a lot of moments were so self referential, taking me out of the world of the movie and breaking the fourth wall. Yes, I know about all those cool moments in the prior movies, but when you clobber me over the head with them you force me to view this movie less as a film that can stand on its own and more like fan service or an homage to the prior Star Wars movies.
Overall, I enjoyed the film, but it’s got a lot of problems. There were too many ideas without a primary purpose in sight. Some moments felt jarringly out of place and were just ass-pulls that ignored the lore and history established by the prior films. Star Wars is a tough property to handle. Legions of people have placed their own interpretations onto the films and anything that doesn’t fit into that mold will likely disappoint them. Unfortunately, trying to satisfy them all may be as bad as ignoring them as you can end up with a cluttered mess of a movie. The Last Jedi does about as decent a job as anyone can with a franchise like Star Wars, dancing the line between throwing ideas out and leaving ideas in.