Here’s what we thought of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, spoiler-free!
We’ve been waiting a long time to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The final shot of The Force Awakens left us with so many questions, and this film answers most of them. This is a hard review to write, because, much like Blade Runner 2049, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I promise to do a full discussion when the Legion of Leia podcast is back, but for now, I will tell you this, before I begin; please don’t read anything before you go. Trust me, going in blind is the best way to watch this film. With that said, here is my spoiler-free review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
This film feels like chapter 2, like the middle of the story. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. I remember sitting in the theater for The Empire Strikes Back a thousand years ago in my footie pajamas, confused about the film. It was the center of the story. It was the heart, and yet, it felt unfinished. (They left it on a cliffhanger, and I was very, very little. I didn’t get it.) All these years later, I know what’s going on. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. It’s part two. The Last Jedi feels like we’re really in the story now. Where The Force Awakens feels derivative — as it had to be to bring back fans, post-prequel — this feels very much like it’s own thing. Director Rian Johnson really knocks it out of the park in terms of heart and action and humor and character development. I will say, the first time I saw it at the premiere this past weekend, I was a bit weirded out by the humorous tone The Last Jedi started off with. Though I loved the humor, I wasn’t sure where it was going. I wondered if it was all going to be a bit of silliness. Then I was blown away by the turn it took. Seeing it a second time, it all made complete sense. It was exactly how it was supposed to be, how it was supposed to go at this point in the saga. I definitely recommend a second viewing.
So here we are, with a pretty damn funny start. I laughed, and I fell in love with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) right away. I promise, you will as well. I’ll have so much more to say about her character and the choices she makes once I can fully discuss the film, but I believe I can safely say that she’s a favorite. In fact, all of the performances were on point. Finn (John Boyega) goes places you don’t expect, and Rey (Daisy Ridley) … let’s just say, she’s not only no Mary Sue (as some fans complained she was in the first film), she’s a powerhouse, both in character and in Ridley’s performance. Mark Hamill, however, steals the show. This is Luke’s movie as the last one was Han’s. That’s all I can say, but it reminds me why I love this franchise so very much. Laura Dern is another new favorite, even beyond the amazing things she said at the press conference. (You can read that right here.)
I have to say this, and maybe everyone won’t notice it, but this film is full of women! I teared up every time I saw another female pilot or a female officer of the First Order, or a female Rebellion leader. They are everywhere, much like the actual world. I hate that this is shocking, but it is. I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled for every little girl and boy who now has so many, many options when they play Star Wars after this film. This is not a spoiler, but the line, “Where’s Rey?” is in the film and even that did my heart good after the #WheresRey campaign. I don’t know if it was deliberate or not, but I appreciated it on another level.
And now, Carrie Fisher. Friends, I am telling you right now, bring tissues. There is a moment in this film that is so pure and so lovely with General Leia that it will break your heart at the same time that it fills it up with joy. That is absolutely not a spoiler. I’ll go far deeper into my thoughts on our General once I can, but I am content.
I have to talk about the action (before I cry once again) in The Last Jedi because it’s absolutely astounding. The battles, lightsaber, blaster, mental and physical, ship and person to person…it had the audience yelling out and cheering. There is one battle in particular, well, two, actually, that will have you talking all night about things going far from where you expect them to.
There was definitely a section of the film that I wasn’t completely on board with when I saw it the first time and it involved Rose. The second time through, I changed my mind. You’ll understand when you watch, but once I realized that this was really a separate adventure (and it is mid-film), despite how relevant it is to the main plot, it worked perfectly. In fact, it felt very Harry Potter to me. The music even reminded me of Harry Potter (and considering who did both scores, it makes sense). I’d love to hear if you feel the same way.
While I’m sitting here writing this, I’m finding myself full of frustration, not being able to discuss plot points with you all. I promise, I will once it’s out, but until then, I will tell you this; I loved this film. I loved it with all my heart. I’m seeing it again opening night and I’m sure I’ll have even more to say, as I picked up things I missed the first time around on this viewing. I’m so thrilled that I’m able to say that Star Wars: The Last Jedi made my heart soar and filled me with happiness. I’m heartened to say that it did our Carrie proud.
May the Force be with you, always.
Also, I love Porgs. Sue me.