There’s something particularly special about seeing a midnight premiere in a theater crowded with fans. In someway, it makes the film seem better than it actually is. While watching The Last Jedi I was overcome with emotion as I watched Rey and Finn kick ass. Yet the moment I left the theater, I knew there was something missing.
Although I don’t have many complaints, one of my main issues, plain and simple, is that the new Star Wars saga felt a little too ‘Disney.’ Now I’m not trying to complain how Disney ruined a beloved saga because they didn’t; Disney created something for a new generation, with the older generation in mind. I’m also not saying they made the film too family-friendly. The way it felt too ‘Disney’ was in the humor.
Too many times would a character do or say something uncharacteristically humorous or there would be a joke planted in the middle of an action aequence. I, of course, laughed in the moment, but sometimes it just felt off. It was moments like this that felt like I was watching a Marvel movie. Other than that, the droids as comic relief were amazing as always and I’ll admit I now love Porgs. Overall, the humor was funny, but most of it just didn’t sit right.
One thing I really loved was the fight scenes. Not only are they superbly acted, they are written and staged in a way that reveal character information. Every main character has a signature fighting style that represents their character and what they’re fighting for. You are able to see development throughout characters in this specific film’s time frame, such as Rey, but also see development for characters, such as Luke Skywalker, throughout the entire saga. Even large action sequences are satisfying, as they whip through all of the action.
One other fantastic thing about this addition to the saga was the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey and how it was built upon. There are some very emotionally intense scenes shared between the two characters and these scenes are both shot, staged, and acted so well. Adam Driver (Kylo) probably stole the show for me. His stoic performance is profound. You really sense tension and connection between Kylo and Rey. To me, they are the perfect foil to each other and it really shows in Episode 8. It felt like the relationship Anakin/Vader deserved with Luke in Episode 6.
Of course, The Last Jedi is very similar to Episode 6 Return of The Jedi. Episode 8 offers the same type of conflict between good and evil, but it feels modern. The story line isn’t too groundbreaking in terms of the saga, but that doesn’t devalue the film whatsoever.
John Williams never lets us down with his scores. They swell at the perfect time and know exactly how to set a scene. One thing The Last Jedi plays with is silence. Multiple times throughout, all diegetic sounds end, centering around one main point. Thus, this silence becomes a motif. Possibly one of the best scenes in the film is completely silent. No one in the theater dare speak; everyone held their breath. It’s the little things such as this that made me really appreciate the film.
Of course, the film portrays Leia as the true bad-ass she is. The Last Jedi does a splendid job of keeping Leia and Carrie Fisher true to the plot and not diverging. Leia had some pretty kick ass scenes and a very large role overall. It didn’t feel like her part was catering to fans or as a grand farewell, especially since she wrapped the film before her death in December. I am not afraid to see what they do with Leia in the next addition.
There were so many amazing aspects to The Last Jedi. It’s not the groundbreaking cinematic masterpiece and cult classic that the original films were, but I don’t think that’s what it’s trying to be.
The Last Jedi is an enjoyable film and great addition to the saga, but it’s definitely a fan service. However, in the back of my mind I know that the films were also made to make money and sell toys to a new generation. Yet at the same time I knowingly buy into it and I am not ashamed because it’s enjoyable. I would definitely recommend seeing Star Wars The Last Jedi because it is a good film and who doesn’t love a bad-ass female protagonists.