Should I Watch..? 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

Updated on June 26, 2018
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin has been reviewing films for over ten years and has seen more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Promotional poster for the film
Promotional poster for the film | Source

What's the big deal?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi) is an epic sci-fi adventure film released in 2017 and is the eighth instalment of the Star Wars franchise. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, the film is the second in the sequel trilogy and follows The Force Awakens. Returning cast members include Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher in her final screen appearance, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Andy Serkis while newcomers Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro and Kelly Marie Tran join the cast. The film follows force-sensitive Rey as she tries to persuade Luke Skywalker to join the Resistance against the First Order, which is targeting the dwindling Resistance forces with no mercy shown. The film was a smash at the box office with global earnings in excess of $1.33 billion and was also a hit with critics with some claiming the film was the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. It will, of course, be followed by another film - Episode IX - due for release in December 2019.

Watchable

3 stars for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

What's it about?

In the aftermath of the Resistance victory at Starkiller Base, the First Order begins pursuing the remaining Resistance fleet. After emerging from hyperspace, General Leia Organa is astonished to find that the First Order fleet - led by General Hux and her son Kylo Ren - have somehow tracked them through hyperspace and after a costly battle, is critically injured. As Vice Admiral Holdo takes command, X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron disapproves of her strategy and sends Finn and maintenance worker Rose Tico on a dangerous mission which might turn the tide in their favour.

Meanwhile, on the remote oceanic world of Ahch-To, former Jedi master Luke Skywalker has been tracked down by Rey, a Force-sensitive member of the Resistance, in the hope that he will join them. But Luke is resolute in his determination to keep out of the conflict although Rey's natural aptitude alarms and worries him. With the First Order bearing down on the remains of the Resistance, can Skywalker save the day one last time or will it fall to another to take his place?

Trailer

Main Cast

Actor
Role
Mark Hamill
Luke Skywalker / Dobbu Scay (voice)
Carrie Fisher
General Leia Organa
Daisy Ridley
Rey
Adam Driver
Kylo Ren
John Boyega
Finn
Oscar Isaacs
Poe Dameron
Andy Serkis
Supreme Leader Snoke *
Domhnall Gleeson
General Hux
Anthony Daniels
C-3PO
Kelly Marie Trans
Rose Tico
Laura Dern
Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo
Joonas Suotamo
Chewbacca
*motion capture and voice

Technical Info

Director
Rian Johnson
Screenplay
Rian Johnson *
Running Time
152 minutes
Release Date (UK)
14th December, 2017
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Academy Award Nominations
Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
* based on characters created by George Lucas
Rey finally meets her Jedi mentor Luke Skywalker.
Rey finally meets her Jedi mentor Luke Skywalker. | Source

What's to like?

Given the rabid expectation surrounding this film (and all Star Wars releases, it seems), you'd be forgiven for thinking that director Johnson (who isn't the most experienced guy to helm such a project) would cock things up. Thankfully, he hasn't - the film is a more cerebral outing than anything we've seen so far, full of mystery and intrigue instead of endless space battles and CG creatures. Of course, the film still has plenty of those but the narrative here is more important than sparking up a light-saber. The characters are given centre stage, much like they were in Empire Strikes Back, and the film feels deeper and more meaningful as a result.

Despite the obvious difference in experience, the cast all perform well. Veterans like Hamill and Fisher are ably supported by the likes of Ridley and Boyega but for me, the star is Driver as Kylo Ren. He has become a proper villain in this film, ditching his silly helmet and twisting into a very dark character indeed. I also enjoyed Tran's appearance as the spunky Rose, a character full of gumption and grip despite her small stature. Naturally, the film wouldn't be a Star Wars film if it didn't take us to a bunch of new planets we haven't seen before and Johnson has created an even more believable setting, aided by some breath-taking visuals and powerful action scenes. There aren't many in The Last Jedi but it really is a question of quality over quantity.

Fun Facts

  • Among the many people appearing in a cameo are Billie Lourd (Fisher's daughter), Adrian Edmundson, Justin Theroux, Lily Cole, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Warwick Davis, Gary Barlow, Princes William & Harry and Tom Hardy - although his scene was cut.
  • Hamill asked Johnson to play a CG character so he appears as Dobbu Scay, named after the film's editor Bob Ducsay. Dobbu is the creature who mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine at the casino.
  • When shooting in Ireland, Ridley took her dad along to the set and introduced him to Hamill. He apparently asked Hamill which character he played and Ridley still isn't sure if he was joking or not!
  • This is the first film not to feature Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Baker having passed the role onto Jimmy Vee after his death in 2016. This leaves Anthony Daniels as the only actor to appear in all eight feature films.

What's not to like?

Much like The Force Awakens, the film's problems only really hit after I'd sat down and given it some thought. While The Last Jedi isn't a straight-forward remake of A New Hope like its predecessor, the film does feel somewhat clinical and cold. It doesn't involve you as much as previous films - remember feeling like you were flying into the trench on the surface of the Death Star or speeding through the deserts of Tattooine as a pod racer? For all of the film's crisp, high-definition visuals, there is a sense of detachment and I didn't really care that much for them.

While the narrative offers plenty of twists and turns (which is quite unusual for a Star Wars film), there is also a lot that doesn't make sense. Take the pursuit of Resistance ships by the First Order - why can they not speed up to catch them and why can they shoot at tiny escape pods but not much larger support ships? The character motivations felt muddled and confused - I didn't recognise the character of Skywalker at all, who feels like he's being an ass for the sake of it. I enjoyed the spectacle of the film but considering how much effort Johnson puts into making the film more character driven, I didn't feel like that had paid off. It's too talky and lacking in original ideas, not to mention the aspects true fans expect to see - elaborate light-saber duels, thrilling space battles and cataclysmic explosions. I felt somewhat short-changed.

Rose (left) is one of the new characters introduced in the film, one I suspect will be around for Episode IX.
Rose (left) is one of the new characters introduced in the film, one I suspect will be around for Episode IX. | Source

Should I watch it?

The Last Jedi is a curious film, certainly different enough from the rest of the series to stand out. It turns its back on what fans wanted to see and instead gives us a deeper and more philosophical piece about the futility of war, the nature of destiny and the timeless good-vs-evil conflict. With exceptional visual elements and interesting new characters (or improved ones), this could have been a nailed on classic but there's too much going on, no real conclusion and the odd sensation that this was a Star Wars film made by someone who doesn't like Star Wars.

Great For: fans of the saga (who, frankly, will watch it anyway), philosophers, merchandise sellers

Not So Great For: long-term fans of the series, action lovers, Irish viewers

What else should I watch?

Annoyingly, neither this or The Force Awakens has convinced me that the sequel trilogy was an endeavour worth pursuing. Granted, very little Star Wars since Return Of The Jedi is worthy of standing up to the original trilogy but these new films seem to be a triumph of style over substance. What I did enjoy was the revivalist spin-off Rogue One which fills in some of the gaps between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope. Recreating the look of the original trilogy, the film tells a gripping, original and ultimately tragic tale about those pesky Rebels getting their hands on the plans to the Death Star.

Anyone who can't stand all this talk about a galaxy far, far away have always been able to turn to the more old-school sci-fi of Star Trek which places a greater emphasis on exploration of the human condition as well as alien worlds. Unfortunately, the rebooted series of films stemming from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek seems to place a greater amount of their running time to action scenes and shoot-outs. Like these new Star Wars films, they seem to be placing newer visuals on old ideas and I'm afraid that people like me can see straight through such shenanigans.

© 2018 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Benjamin Cox profile imageAUTHOR

      Benjamin Cox 

      3 months ago from Hampshire, UK

      Fisher's untimely demise certainly gives her scenes an added pathos and it's a shame that the story was leading to her finally taking centre stage. I'm sure that her absence will be greatly felt in the next film but also that the film-makers can utilise some digital wizardry to allow her to feature in some capacity.

      As for Rey's reveal about her parents, I'm not sure what to make of it. After all, if it's true then why is she so naturally gifted with the Force? Missed opportunity, I think.

    • thedinasoaur profile image

      Dina 

      3 months ago from California

      I love this film so much because it gave Adam Driver a chance to really sell us on Kylo Ren's complexity. A lot of people misinterpret this conflict within him and take it as a sign of being "whiny." To me, though, a conflicted villain is much more compelling than a purely evil one. I read somewhere this quote about villains not thinking of themselves as villains. They view themselves as heroes of their own stories.

      I think we are getting a nice amount of contact between Rey and Kylo Ren in this film (and hopefully the next one) to highlight their similarities. Their hesitation to face-off is refreshing.

      What did you think of the reveal of Rey's parents' identity? I thought it was a brilliant way of anchoring this sequel trilogy in its own mythology/history.

      But, man, did it hurt to see General Leia and not know if the filmmakers will be able to create a decent send-off to her character in the next film.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Interesting, I didn't know Gary Barlow had a cameo in this.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)