Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Bumbray)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Bumbray)
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PLOT: With the Rebellion in tatters, Rey (Daisy Ridley) travels to a remote planet to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. In the meantime, a brutal battle with The First Order threatens to do away with the Resistance once and for all.

REVIEW: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is easily the best STAR WARS movie since RETURN OF THE JEDI - everyone will agree with that. Controversially though, it may also be the best since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and maybe even the best directed film in the saga as a whole. While a bit bogged down by wisecracks (a leftover from THE FORCE AWAKENS), on the whole this is an epic, stirring installment in the series, and one that’s so good you can see why Kathleen Kennedy is betting so heavily on writer-director Rian Johnson by giving him his own trilogy once this one is complete.

That Johnson’s the real deal is something well-known to fans. BRICK was a stunning debut, THE BROTHERS BLOOM was horribly underrated, and LOOPER was kick-ass. He handles the mega-budget scope of THE LAST JEDI with aplomb, both crafting a film that works as part of the canon, but also packed with enough of his own idiosyncrasies to make it a distinct work.

It also marks the long-awaited return of Mark Hamill to the fold, with his presence in THE FORCE AWAKENS having been limited to the last scene. He hasn’t lost a beat as Luke, playing him as more cantankerous with age, and still prone to the occasional burst of impetuousness. It’s a well-thought out performance, and one that Hamill brings a lot of gravitas too, similar to how Harrison Ford aced his return in THE FORCE AWAKENS. Carrie Fisher, in her last film, is also much more prominent this time as Leia. She’s a major part of the plot, with a nice relationship established between her and her number-one hotshot (and occasional thorn in her side) Poe Dameron (as cooler-than-cool Oscar Isaac) as well as her second in command, Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo.

Everyone from THE FORCE AWAKENS is given plenty to do, with this continuing to be mainly about the tug-of-war between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), with their relationship the anchor that grounds the trilogy. Both really add extra layers of nuance to their parts, particularly Driver, who comes more into focus here now that he’s dealing with the fallout from him murdering his father in the last film.

Probably my favorite part of THE LAST JEDI though comes from the b-plot, which sends Finn (John Boyega) and new addition to the franchise Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to a planet that’s kind of like the Monte Carlo of outer space. Here Johnson’s love of film history really runs wild in the best possible way, with a great homage to the silent classic WINGS, and a gem of a part for Benicio Del Toro, who steals scenes as a character that struck me as something of a tribute to both Peter Lorre and Tomas Millian’s Monnezza character from seventies Italian gangster movies. It’s wonderful.

Easily the longest film in the franchise, the 152 minute running time is well-earned, with them telling an epic story that needed room to breathe, although there’s maybe a few too many throwaway gags, with the beloved BB-8 and those new Porg guys getting loads of screen time (a gag with them and Chewie is especially good).

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is likely as good as it’s ever gonna get for a new era STAR WARS movie unless Lucasfilm really lets one of their directors go wild. Johnson has crafted a terrific addition to the franchise working within those confines, and it’s big, four-quadrant tent pole filmmaking done just right. Even those fans who were disappointed by THE FORCE AWAKENS may find themselves won over by this infectious installment. It’s a blast from start-to-finish.

Source: JoBlo.com



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