(Image Credit: Youtube) Daisy Ridley as Rey Mid-fight in Star Wars The Last Jedi.
A new Star Wars film has arrived bringing with it more blaster fire, extravagant lightsaber fights, and the good old-fashioned good vs. evil seen across the board since the inception of storytelling. This go-round Rian Johnson writes and directs the newfound band of heroes. Having earned his Hollywood credibility with sleeper indie hits such as Brickand the lengthy time-travel-yet-down-to-earth Looper.The Last Jedipromises originality but instead delivers a blatant retelling of Empire Strikes Backwith an adrenaline-fueled injection of Return Of The Jedi.
If JJ Abrams reignited the essence of Star Wars with The Force Awakens; a reimagining of A New Hopewith enough refinery to keep it interesting. Rian Johnson has certainly perfected the formula that Abrams and Disney set out to create. The Last Jediis laden with quick jokes of character and doesn’t hesitate to hold back on exposition running a solid two and half hours. All of which could be told within ninety-minutes or less, had Johnson cut the excess baggage. Nevertheless, Johnson manages to that mid-ground that will resonates well with both adults and children alike. Disney, having paved the way with superhero films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe well beforehand. Thus, everyone appreciates a good joke or two, but Johnson let the dog off the leash and never seemed to chase after it. Potentially wiping out iconic moments for future generations.
Alas, The Last Jedipicks up amidst that memorable cliffhanger at the end of The Force Awakens. Rey (Daisy Ridley) handing Luke (Mark Hamill) his father’s Lightsaber. However, what happens next is not quite what you’d expect. As Luke gives it a solid hard look and amiably tosses it aside. Meaning that Rey, has been provided with yet another uneasy task, as she must convince the curmudgeon Jedi his job isn’t done yet. Granted, Luke saved the Galaxy three and a half decades ago from the Empire, but Rey’s prowess could use some fine-tuning from a learned master.
Meanwhile, General Leia (The Late Carrie Fisher) is picking up shop on D’Quar and headed out as The First Order has discovered their base. Attempting to outrun the First Order in the process, which fails as they are tracked through Hyperspace leaving General Leia out for the count. What follows is a space race to nowhere as Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) fight for control of the ship. Finn (John Boyega) feels the need to take off again, that is until he is stopped by the emotionally torn Rose Tico (Kelly Marie-Tran). Although, in an attempt to stop the First Order from further tracking the Resistance, Finn and Rose lead a trek to Canto Bight to find a code breaker (Benicio Del-Toro).
Rian Johnson makes a valiant attempt at recreating that dark atmosphere in Empire Strikes Back, but in the end, delivers a missed opportunity at best. As set pieces like Canto Bight and the mutiny aboard the freighter could’ve been saved for another story. An original storyline could’ve been the result as well, instead Johnson delivered an upside down and introverted version of a classic film known worlds over. Which leaves scene structure and editing up for question, as suspense takes far longer to build than past entries in the franchise have.
Daisy Ridley proves once more she has the mantle to carry the Star Wars saga onward. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren does have some growth in the villain department and does provide weird and unexpected sexual tension with Ridley; its just not what one may be expecting. Oscar Issac, John Boyega, Benicio Del Toro and Kelly Mare-Tran are given next to nothing to do in their respective roles. Leaving the door wide open for future plotlines without meaning in episode nine. Not exactly providing a wholesome experience for the Star Wars fan new or old.
Not all questions posed in Force Awakensare given answers either; in fact they are more or less ambiguous now then when originally asked. The Last Jediis anything but a classic Star Wars Film, but it is a mildly entertaining fanfare for those looking to kill an afternoon.