Star Wars is back! Two years after the start of the new trilogy the saga continues with “Episode 8: The Last Jedi,” and never were there more stars, more space ships, more aliens and more epic fights.
At the end of Episode 7, Rey finally found Luke Skywalker, but he now seems unwilling to train her in the ways of the force. Meanwhile Finn and Poe fight for the resistance, a fight that seems hopeless, because Supreme Leader Snoke’s army of the First Order closes in on the rebels, which are led by General Leia. Her son, Kylo Ren tries to regain Snoke’s trust, but ever since he killed his father Han Solo he’s torn on the inside and is unsure about his future with the dark side of the force. At the same time General Hux, the former head of the Starkiller Base, tries to gain more power within the First Order.
Everything in this new episode is bigger than anything before. Coming in at 152 minutes, it’s the longest film of the saga, featuring countless characters, aliens, spaceships and weapons. It also has the most complex story and plenty of fights on land and of course in space. Director and writer Rian Johnson does a tremendous job controlling every aspect of this movie. It comes as no surprise that the executives at Disney are trusting him with creating a whole new spin-off trilogy, that will feature new characters in the same well-known universe.
Aside from veterans Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in her last role, the cast members from “The Force Awakens” reprise their roles. New on board for this episode are Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro and Kelly Marie Tran being the first Asian main character of the saga. After introducing an African American Stormtrooper in Episode 7, the Star Wars franchise continues to promote racial diversity and inclusion in its newest films.
The fantastic creature design was one of the biggest strengths of the Star Wars movies, and it finds here a temporary peak. The number of funny aliens and different languages is unprecedented, and the Star Wars franchise is in good hands at Disney. However, the next film is already in production and it will be interesting to see how they will extend this rich world even further.
“The Last Jedi” is outstanding entertainment, but it’s not the heartfelt instant classic that was the original trilogy. It is light years better than the prequels, and follows the way that Episode 7 paved for the series — it’s fan-service of the highest order, with lots of new creatures, tons of references and a timeless story of the battle between good and evil. However, the lines are getting more and more blurry. Where there was a clear distinction between the light and the dark side in the previous movies, there is more ambiguity in “The Last Jedi.”
Johnson’s film offers enough entertainment for two movies, so JJ Abrams needs to come up with something really special to top this movie with his final installment for the new trilogy in 2019. May the force be with him!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Written and directed by Rian Johnson
With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Antony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Music by John Williams
Cinematography by Steve Yedlin
Based on Characters by George Lucas
152 min, PG-13