Star Wars: The Last Jedi Delivers on Empire and ROTJ Promises
December 15, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film ever made. Rian Johnson's penultimate Skywalker Opus is fun, surprising, smart, and exciting. The emotional rollercoaster is unparalleled as the film delivers on decades of nostalgia, but also establishes an entirely new status quo to a galaxy far, far away.
While fans have been staring at the pieces for the past two years, no one knew how the chess game Rian Johnson was orchestrating would play out. The director has crafted a movie that immediately drops you into the action and doesn't relent. The Rebel fleet is in a desperate position with the First Order now in control of the galaxy. From its first battle where Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaacs) leads a WWII inspired bomber raid on a First Order megaweapon to its final scenes where Poe Dameron leads a fighter raid on a First Order megaweapon, the movie serves as Star Wars first siege movie.
While many will be thankful for the sophomore setups of Empire, Johnson also delivers on several parities from Return of the Jedi. He also takes several cues from Battlestar Galactica, itself a Star Wars inspired space opera of the late '70's complete with Ralph McQuarrie designs, and Mad Max fury Road, Episode 8 is the first Star Wars film that truly has the rebellion on its heels and completely outgunned. Being the first Star Wars film to pick up immediately after the events of its predecessor is a choice that pays off in droves in this movie.
Just as it is happening in the modern world, and as it has throughout the series, The Last Jedi puts a focus on the female leaders of the Resistance and how their decision making is vastly different from their male counterparts. Carrie Fisher is powerful in her continued performance of General Leia, but its how her leadership binds the rebellion that comes to the fore of the film.
Mark Hamill's return to Luke Skywalker delivers the best live action performance of his career. He is unexpected, off balance and perfect as a hermit force master. Rey's training is nothing like what we've seen in any iteration of Star Wars, and it's a fascinating perspective that deserved exploration.
Everything from economic disparity and slavery to multiculturalism and ageism are at least touched on in this all to relatable parable with audiences finally getting a picture of how the average galactic inhabitant may live versus the elite of the universe.
The Last Jedi doesn't try to be everything to everyone, but it does try to acknowledge as many different viewpoints as is possible in a two and a half hour space chase. This is the most satisfying installment of the Star Wars franchise yet, with a resonant message that you will still be trying to digest days, if not weeks later.