Warning: This is a review about the newest Star Wars movie that is currently in cinemas. If you haven’t watched it but plan to do so, this review contains spoilers that will influence your movie experience.
Actually, I wanted to write a blog post about a comparison between the two modern Star Wars movies The Force Awakens (TFA) and Rogue One (RO). I really enjoyed RO and its unconventional approach to the franchise, whereas I disliked TFA for being too repetitive and stale. In my opinion, TFA was a poor copy of Episode IV with new (but underdeveloped) characters. While wouldn’t consider it the worst Star Wars movie ever, it left me unsatisfied and killed my hype for the upcoming episodes. RO did a way better job in expanding the universe and delivering a good story with believable characters. And the last scene was pure beauty.
Even though I wasn’t particular hyped for The Last Jedi (TLJ), at the end, I was watching the newest movie. While most of the critics praise it, some even considering it the best Star Wars ever made, the fan base is basically split in half. On the one side, a lot of people seem to hate the film, refusing to call it a Star Wars themed movie and accusing Disney of ruining the franchise. On the other side, many people love the movie, arguing that it live up to its expectations in delivering an innovative story with many surprises. After watching the movie, I neither agree with the people praising the movie to the skies, nor with the haters. I enjoyed watching the movie, think that it was one of the better modern titles (including the prequel trilogy) and it left me hyped for the final episode. Therefore, it did was it was supposed to do, serving as a bridge title between the trilogy introduction and its final.
The movie has a decent story overall which got me hooked most of the time. The Resistance Fleet tries to escape from the much stronger The First Order one, which has a new technology to trace ships even after hyperspace travel (this technology was first mentioned in RO). Thus, the Resistance, running out of fool and getting heavily attacked by several star destroyers, is in a desperate situation. In the meantime, Rey found Luke Skywalker living as a hermit far from the civilization. After losing his former student Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) to the dark side, he became lethargic and cut himself off the force. At first, he refuses to train Rey in the Jedi way, but later gave her some training lessons. Especially the space scenes reminded me somewhat of the famous Battlestar Galactica series, which I really liked. You can emphasize with the dire situation the rebels are in, especially after no allies answered their call for help on the ice planet Crait. Finally, we got an epic space battle (after an absence in TFA). Overall, the fighting scenes are superb, but a real lightsaber duel is missing. Explicitly, I loved the character development. In my opinion, Kylo Ren changed from an Emo Darth Vader to a believable villain. I can understand his motive to destroy everything in existence, after being (in his opinion) betrayed by the light side and abused by the dark one. Further, him getting choleric after being poked by the presence of the Millennium Falcon and Luke Skywalker on Crait is an awesome performance by actor Adam Driver. Besides Ren, Rey and Poe grew a lot in the movie. Rey now seemed to grow into her role as a Jedi, while Poe is becoming a true leader (possibly after Leia’s death in the next movie) of the Resistance.
But it is also necessary to talk about the things that went wrong in the movie. No film is flawless (not even the original Star Wars trilogy) and TLJ is no exception to the rule. While some humor is necessary in non-horror/thriller movies, TLJ went surely over the top. I definitely don’t want to see bad slapstick humor every 2 minutes. Specifically not in serious moments. Consider the situation when Luke and Leia met for the first time after decades. What was Luke’s first comment? That Leia changed her hair. Not really a funny joke in such an emotional moment. I really hope that there will be less of this marvel-inspired slapstick humor in the final movie. The next negative point is resolving around some shocking, but highly unrealistic scenes. Two that immediately came to my mind are the sudden death of Snoke and Leia using the force to survive death. I’m really disappointed with the character of Snoke and hope that the last episode will shed more light on his character (backstory/motivation etc.). The only reliable fact about him so far (and this is from an official book accompanying the movie) is that he wasn’t a Sith. But then, how did he become so powerful and was able to train Kylo Ren? And since when has Leia access to Force Powers? There were some unsatisfying plot holes that Episode IX will hopefully explain. A last point of criticism is regarding the middle part of the movie which dragged on for a while. The whole subplot which took place on the casino planet was underwhelming. They maybe wanted to do a good chase scene, but the escape on back of the weird looking animals was really boring and uninspired.
Those were my main points of praise and criticism. While there might be many more (positive and negative) points to talk about, the aforementioned ones influenced my judgment the most. I enjoyed watching the movie and felt entertained for most of its 155 minutes. The film serves as a bridge between TFA and Episode IX. While TFA killed my hype for the upcoming episodes, after watching TLJ, I really want to know how the trilogy ends and hope for more background information on characters like Snoke. If I had to score the movie, I would give it a solid 8/10 with reservation depending on the performance of the last episode. One point deduction because of poor slapstick humor and one point because of plot holes and the plot on the casino planet. Thus, Star Wars The Last Jedi is better than The Force Awakens and on a level with Rogue One or slightly below. But it’s definitely not the worst Star Wars ever made.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Rogue One (2016), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), directed by J.J. Abrams (TFA), Gareth Edwards (RO), Rian Johnson (TLJ) and produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC.