“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is latest chapter in the Star Wars saga. The film opens with the Resistance trying to escape from the First Order who are trying to destroy the last of the rebel forces. Poe (Oscar Isaac) tries to help the alliance escape while Finn ( John Boyega) and a new character, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), go off on their own excursion. The main story follows Rey (Daisy Ridley), her training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and her conflict with her Darkside counterpart Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
This film initially left me feeling very weird. “The Last Jedi” has elements of Star Wars, but it at times felt like it was totally different than other films in the saga. Director Rian Johnson had expanded on the world we had seen in “The Force Awakens” but changed it to fit his own vision. That took some getting used to because this film does things that are unexpected from a “Star Wars” film, but I do think it does a great job in doing this.
The biggest reason this film works so well are the performances. Mark Hamill is back as Luke Skywalker and knocks it out of the park. A lot of negativity has surrounded the characterization of Luke in this film, but I think there is no need. His character is not the same Luke; he has evolved in between films. He is different, and that is why his character works so well. The relationship he develops with Daisy Ridley’s Rey is a strong spot in this film.
Ridley does a terrific job in her role and really begins to develop this strong character that I cannot wait to see more of. Adam Driver is even better in his role as Kylo Ren. I found his character was continuing to evolve in a great way. Seeing how his relationship with Rey will develop in the next film is something I look forward to. The weaker aspects are when the film focuses on the journey of Finn and Rose. They aren’t uninteresting characters, but their subplot ends up feeling like a detour.
Rian Johnson has created a fantastic film. “The Force Awakens” feels like a carbon copy of “A New Hope” and does not do anything unexpected. Rian Johnson does almost the exact opposite and does everything we don’t expect. The film is all the better for it. There are some misplaced moments of comedy, but the overall theming in this film is so well done that it will stay with me long after the theater.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is the kind of film that took a lot of thought before I had a full understanding of my own feelings about it. It evolves the world of “Star Wars” into something that is not only new but surprisingly refreshing. It has plenty of moments for those who love the saga like myself, but it also brings a lot of new things for those same fans. I loved this film. It isn’t perfect, but I highly recommend that every “Star Wars” fan sees it.
This article first appeared in the Friday, January 19, 2018, Edition of The Echo.