Sunday, 17 December 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Movie Review)
It is no surprise that I am a huge fan of Star Wars. I mean, no other movie franchise was such an integral part of my growing up years, helping ignite my current love of movies and movie reviews. So of course, when Disney acquired the rights to the franchise and released The Force Awakens in 2015, I was right there on Day 1, grinning like a little kid. And while I was too excited to settle down and review it at the time, it still appeared on my list of favorite movies for that year.
It's been two excruciatingly long years since then, even though this was softened by last year's release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But the question remains: was it worth the wait? The short answer: hell yes! And for the benefit of the two or three people that are yet to go and see for themselves, I won't be discussing spoilers or touching on specific plot points as I expand on why I believe it is a worthy follow up, just my overall takeaway after seeing the movie.
The movie picks off right where The Force Awakens left off, with the First Order launching a retaliatory attack on the Resistance for blowing up Starkiller Base. This forces the Resistance, led by General Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), to evacuate their base, with the First Order in hot pursuit. Elsewhere, Rey (Daisy Ridley) arrives at Ahch-To to enlist the help of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil) on behalf of the Resistance. But what she finds on the secluded planet isn't the Jedi master of legend, but rather a damaged old man that has cut off all ties to the Force, following his role in the rise of the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is without a doubt one of the best Star Wars movies ever made, with many critics even considering it the best one since the highly venerated Empire Strikes Back. I won't go as far as giving it that designation, but I must say that it is the most artistically and technically impressive one till date. The movie is beautifully shot, with several jaw-dropping shots that will stick with you well after the credits roll. The actors were also more than competent in their roles, with Mark Hamil's portrayal of Luke Skywalker being the obvious standout.
The movie also boasts quite possibly the best light saber duel since The Phantom Menace, but to say anything more about that particular scene would risk spoiling one of the most shocking moments in the movie.
All that said, the movie did have some notable flaws. There were specific plot lines that felt inconsequential, as well as some CGI work that looked especially cheap and unconvincing. But here's the thing: even The Empire Strikes Back had its own flaws. But that hasn't prevented it from taking its place as one of the greatest cinema experiences of all time. The same principle applies here.
The Last Jedi was precisely the kind of sequel we needed after The Force Awakens. It takes the groundwork laid by the previous movie, and turns the whole thing on its head, shattering expectations at every given opportunity. At a runtime of two and a half hours, it is the longest Star Wars movie till date. But the fact that director Rian Johnson has been able to cram this much awesomeness into that runtime is a feat in its own right.