Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, also known as episode 8, is the next film in the Star Wars saga. It stars Mark Hamill returning as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Leia. Daisy Ridley also returns as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, and Oscar Issac as Poe Dameron. It also stars a trio of useless and unmemorable characters, as well as pointless plotlines, scenarios, and untimely jokes. Now. Where to begin?
I didn't hate it despite my sarcastic humor. I disliked it. Director Rian Johnson is known for previously writing and directing well-received projects such as Brick, Looper, and several Breaking Bad episodes. He brought a lot of interesting concepts to the table that would have made for an interesting film if he just stuck to one and flushed it out a little more. The movie is also beautifully directed, there is no denying. Johnson has a good eye for landscapes, action, and Kurosawa-style fight sequences. That is a famous Japanese director from the 50's and 60's for all you young bucks out there who don't know who Kurosawa is. Johnson introduces a lot of themes of balance, there are no good guys and bad guys in war, it is all a machine, don't choose a side, there are no leaders, only dead heroes, but heroes can come from anywhere, and you don't have to be anyone special to be a hero! Huh? Is your head spinning? Yeah, mine was too.
It seems as if Rian Johnson was trying to paint a more complex picture that was previously established by reconstructing the hero's mythology, and I'm fine with that but pick a clear and focused theme. Not to mention certain character decisions caused unnecessary plot points that never amounted to anything, or served any purpose to the overall story, it was forced just so the filmmaker could teach a specific character a lesson. If you're struggling that much to get your point across, maybe you need to take a step back and find a different route.
Now this particular character had a very interesting arch in the film, and a well-deserved lesson learned moment at the end, but the chain reaction events that it caused were beyond baffling.
Rey and Kylo Ren continue to be fascinating characters in this universe of two people trying to find their place in a world that is telling them what they should and shouldn't be. While trying to learn how to deal with a power that is beyond their understanding and control. Perfect! Stick with that, but the film doesn't. And in attempt to still keep it family friendly and to remind people that this is still "Star Wars," lead Johson to try his very hardest to squeeze in humor even in subtle moments that didn't really need it. Any time that a scene had a chance of being impactful and emotional was ruined by an untimely joke that didn't quite fit.
I'm fine with lighthearted humor especially in what is supposed to be the "darkest" chapter in a series, but too much, too quick hurts the tone you are trying to create.
I saw this film twice before writing this review because I wanted to see how I felt after a very confused first screening, and I can now sadly say it has not grown on me. This film is very divisive indeed with many either hating it or loving it. And while others hate it because it didn't meet their expectations or fan theories that plagued them for the last two years (Fan Boys/Girls), I, however, did not enjoy it from a MOVIE standpoint. An inconsistent tone, a muddled message, and overly long and bloated picture made for a very uncomfortable movie experience. J.J. Abrams now returns for episode 9, and while people complain that the Force Awakens was a carbon copy of a New Hope, it was at least coherent! It knew when to hold back for an emotional scene or when to add humor and action. Having said all of that, I am holding on to hope that Abrams can restore balance to this saga. He is OUR last Jedi, and we need him back, desperately.