REVIEW: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

“This is not going to go the way you think”

 

Another year, another Star Wars movie. As a die-hard fan it should be all sunshine and rainbows, but being a lover of film, I know how easy it is for franchises to become oversaturated and the movies in the franchise to become similar and old after a while. This is my biggest concern with the Star Wars reboot. Disney have taken a franchised so close to my heart and the hearts of millions, and have tried to breathe new life back into it. The Force Awakens did this somewhat successfully two years ago, as despite having a lot of similarities to A New Hope, it was still fresh enough for fans. Last years spin-off Rogue One was received very well amongst fans and critics, but obviously had those that opposed the film for being too conventional and not lending enough time to characters.

 

Now we have the second instalment in the new trilogy from director Rian Johnson. The hype and pressure has never been higher for the series, and I for one was very wary and of course excited going into this one. It’s always difficult just talking about Star Wars without spoiling anything, let alone writing a review. For this purpose, I’m merely going to tell you my thoughts on the film, rather than delve deeper into why I liked this and didn’t like that. To make myself completely sure, I saw this film twice in theatres, and my short answer is this: The Last Jedi is incredible, but it is not without it’s flaws.

 

 

For me, it’s a much better movie than its predecessor The Force Awakens, however that movie is slightly better paced. There’s a sequence in this movie where I feel it causes the pacing to slow down significantly, whereas the rest of the movie is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, but when the action gets going again you won’t even realise that the pace slowed down so much. The flaws in the film are so minor and subjective that they really don’t take all that much away from the full experience. The visuals in this film are absolutely magnificent and definitely the series’ best. There are many visual delights to be had, but one will stand out on its own (trust me, you’ll know).

 

Now that I’ve given my thoughts, lets talk about what everyone else is saying. This is hands down the most divisive Star Wars movie ever. The fandom has been split almost down the middle, and I think I have the answer. This is the first film in the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back that feels like it was made by a director with a specific vision. Johnson had full creative freedom on this production, and it shows in what he has created. He wasn’t afraid to defy fan expectations and try new things, and in this Hollywood age of reboot after reboot, it’s nice to see a director taking risks in a much loved franchise.  The visuals and especially the fight scenes are the most unique in the franchise, with the fight scenes borrowing heavily from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

 

 

End of the day not everyone likes new things, and I think that is why the film is so divisive. It completely defies expectations in almost every way. This is a new era of Star Wars, and I for one couldn’t be more impressed with what Rian Johnson has brought to the series. Attentive character development, incredible visuals and action sequences, and some incredible surprises make The Last Jedi the Empire Strikes Back of the new trilogy.

 


Verdict: 9.5/10

Joe Paolella

LUX Film Prize and 28 Times Cinema Ambassador, aspiring filmmaker, and lover of all things cinema. Joe specializes in writing film reviews, as well as spreading the good word about the importance of European cinema, and cinema as a whole.

Joe Paolella

LUX Film Prize and 28 Times Cinema Ambassador, aspiring filmmaker, and lover of all things cinema. Joe specializes in writing film reviews, as well as spreading the good word about the importance of European cinema, and cinema as a whole.