Movie Review: Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Directed by Rian Johnson, and picking up almost immediately after the previous film, The Last Jedi is the seventh numbered entry in the Star Wars series, and the second of the sequel trilogy, following 2015’s The Force Awakens. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has made contact with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and is eager to being her Jedi training, while the Resistance, led by Admiral Leia (Carrie Fisher), seeks to overthrow the First Order, headed by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and former Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn (John Boyega) joins with Poe Damaron (Oscar Isaac) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to further the Resistance goals.

+ there are some stunning visuals, mostly in terms of establishing shots of planets or locations. Spaceships have never been my thing, but I’d guess almost anyone, myself included, gets a bit awestruck seeing the size of some of these behemoths on screen
+ General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and DJ (Benecio Del Toro) were the only good actors in the movie. Gleeson, in particular, is an underappreciated favourite of mine every time he shows up, and Del Toro’s charming, perhaps constantly drunken rogue was a joy to watch

I felt a bit like the astronaut from The Lego Movie.

– nearly every single character was immensely unlikable. Rey was a borderline arrogant, overly-entitled, jack-of-all-trades; Kylo Ren was a whiny, equally pathetic and boring, one note villain (and just because it’s lampshaded in the film doesn’t excuse it); Poe was stupidly and dangerously reckless, and Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) was nothing but unnecessarily antagonistic towards him; Finn and Rose went off on their own adventure and were mostly irrelevant all film; Supreme Leader Snoke (motion-captured and voiced by the great Andy Serkis) was a basic PS2-tier skeleton who never feels like a threat; and if there was anyone else, then I can’t even remember enough to include them
– the entire plot was just ridiculous, and could have been avoided had Holdo just not been such an incompetent leader. Whether she had rank or not is irrelevant if she causes all of her subordinates to question her leadership. It just made me mad more than anything
– the film goes on for almost half an hour more than it needs to, all in order to throw in another homage to something from the original trilogy
– the fight choreography was messy and often times didn’t make sense; situations where lightsabres should slice instead just made sparks, and at least twice a duel-wielding enemy had one weapon just disappear mid-fight
– there was some of the most out of place comedy and one-liners you’ll see, creating a worse tonal dissonance than Age of Ultron

> Imagine casting someone like Gwendoline Christie as a badass, female soldier and doing nothing with her. Imagine the shame. Imagine.

Should you see this film: It’s no secret I don’t much care for Star Wars, and neither Episode VII nor Rogue One did anything to abate that feeling. And neither has this.


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