Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues from Star Wars: The Force Awakens following our heroes Rey, Finn and Poe as they continue to assist General/Princess Leia and the Resistance to help fight against The First Order.
Unlike The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi appears to have multiple subplots in the film following Rey and Luke Skywalker, Finn and Rose, Poe and The Resistance, all interlinking towards the end. While the storylines are not hard to follow, I was frustrated as some subplots seemed to have more screen time than others.
My frustration was heightened the most with Poe Dameron’s storyline. Nobody was communicating with him what was happening which enraged Poe the point that he decided to revolt. Had they all communicated with Poe in the first place, there would have been no mutiny. It all seemed like an exhausting waste of time. I guess common sense doesn’t exist when you’re part of a democracy?
Finn isn’t as vital to the storyline in The Last Jedi as he was in The Force Awakens, where he played a bigger role and had amazing chemistry with Rey. Instead, John Boyega’s character has been shifted into his own subplot where he meets Rose Tico, a resistance fighter. New character Rose played by Kelly Marie Tran joins Finn with their timeline mainly consisting of running around the galaxy on a casino planet, and finding an unlikely alliance in ‘master codebreaker’ Benicio Del Toro’s character, DJ. While Benicio Del Toro did an amazing job as a shifty, mysterious hacker, we still don’t know much about him, his purpose in the series, or even if he will return. There were a lot of unknown variables regarding his character’s future and well, the necessity of the character’s existence in the first place. However, who knew that you could stay neutral and not join either the Dark or Light? Obviously, this guy.
I found Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose to be extremely annoying. Her acting seemed to be very over the top compared to the other actors in the film. I’m unsure if this was due to editing, direction, the script or the actor in general. While I’m super happy that there’s finally an Asian chick in space, I can’t say that I’m fond of Rose’s character at all as she just seemed to be only written in to get in the way and distract Finn from Rey. I really loved Rey and Finn’s chemistry in The Force Awakens and to get none of that in The Last Jedi was extremely disappointing.
The fight scene between Finn and Phasma was really entertaining. I’ve always enjoyed their natural chemistry and tension, especially when Finn is throwing creative insults at Phasma. But after it all was over, it made me wonder what was the point of Phasma in the first place. Who was she? What was her story? How did she come to be part of The First Order? We’ll never know now, unless she is forced awake back from dead.
Rey and Luke Skywalker’s storyline follows Daisy Ridley’s character Rey after finding Luke, his reluctance for training her and conversing in general. While Luke’s dislike for company is obvious, his relationship with Rey is not. I found that their chemistry was lacking and that she had more chemistry with Kylo Ren through their magical random Force ‘Facetime’ sessions. As the film progresses, Rey and Luke go their separate ways with each character having their own mind-blowing conclusions.
Both characters were better when they were not together. Daisy Ridley shines with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren in an amazing choreographed fight sequence. And Mark Hamill showed us why Luke Skywalker is one of the best Star Wars characters of all time during the film finale. It is rather odd that both characters seemed to be suffocating each other and that their storylines were better when they both weren’t in each other’s way. I’m really sure of that was the film’s intentions as Rey wasn’t really in Luke‘s way in the first place. I still believe it would have been nice for Rey and Luke to have more a relationship. All I saw was some grumpy old man grunting on an island, catching fish, drinking green milk and avoiding a young keen lady who kept chasing him and asking him questions.
Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi isn’t much of a villain, but more of a lost lonely boy. In the film it appears he is going through an eternal struggle between Light and Dark. But after killing his own father in the previous film, you would think that the struggle would be over, considering there’s no going back once you’ve killed someone that you love, right?
I thought the appearance of Yoda was a great nod to the 40th anniversary of the film series. Can you believe that the very first Star Wars was released 40 years ago? It made me reminisce on how much I enjoyed the original trilogy.
I also loved Chewbacca’s character development. He used to be Han Solo’s sidekick, but now that Han is gone, it was nice to have seen a vulnerable side to him with the scene when he wants to eat roast Porg and ends up feeling guilty after seeing the pouting Porgs around him and decides not to. We then next see him with his own little Porg buddy in the cockpit. BB-8 also had some great on-screen time following Finn and Rose on their journey, but like Finn, BB-8 wasn’t as vital to the storyline compared to his role in the first film.
I also want to mention that I love Domhnall Gleeson who plays General Hux. His relationship with Kylo Ren is odd. Like rivals or work colleagues, they need to cooperate together to survive, but they don’t necessarily like each other. Seeing him in a lot of other films this year, I’ve come to admire his versatility and I hope that in the next film we see more of him.
Last but not least, Carrie Fisher as General Lea was so enchanting every moment that she was on-screen. Even though she doesn’t use the title of ‘Princess’ anymore, she still had a regal aura about her and it was nice to see her use the Force. It was always in her blood, but we’ve never seen her full potential until this film. I don’t really know what they’re going to do, now that two of the original trio; Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are dead, but the actors are not. Yet her character is alive, and she is not. I’m hoping the next film they fix all this and figure it out without it disrupting the storyline.
In conclusion, while I did enjoy seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I found it to be quite long and very slow. While watching, my hype bubble began to burst. To quote Rey, “I thought I’d find answers here. I was wrong.” As the film progressed, my restlessness turned into overstimulation. While there were some great moments and incredible scenes accompanied by impressive costumes and great special effects, the humour was very forced to the point of being cheesy, and not in a good way. It certainly wasn’t the best in the franchise, but The Last Jedi is original and has its own identity among the film series. Director Rian Johnson has created something completely different, which is everything that the fans did not expect nor necessarily wanted. At the very least, I love Porgs now. So that’s a plus, I guess?