WARNING: This review contains spoilers – read at your own risk!
It has only been two years since The Force Awakens, and fans are again gearing up with Star Wars memorabilia, costumes, and of course, anticipation. The newest installation, The Last Jedi, has shocked and delighted many and I am not an exception to this. The Last Jedi continues the saga in surprising ways, and keep fans on their toes about Rey, Poe, Finn, and the fate of the galaxy.
Of course, the newest installation of the sequel trilogy is a visual wonder. It is studded with imposing spaceships, brilliant colors, and new planets. The entire film places a wider lens on the whole galaxy, exposing the viewer to worlds that have never been seen before. The action sequences are also quick, fast, and suspenseful. Shots of red and blue rain across the screen as the Rebellion fights the First Order, and it is quite a spectacle to behold. New aliens, namely the adorable Porgs, add a touch of humor to the drama of the entire tale. Furthermore, the music that accompanies these scenes is no joke either. Hauntingly familiar, it mirrors the original trilogy in fascinating ways while adding its own spin to the mix. While audiences may not hear the iconic Imperial March, they do hear Rey’s own motif winding throughout the movie and in climatic scenes. It is quiet and grand, and tells a tale of its own throughout the entire film.
One of the most anticipated parts of the film was arguably the reveal of Luke Skywalker twenty or so years after the original trilogy. In The Last Jedi, we are met with an old, tired Jedi master who has made mistakes that he could not take back. Guilt constantly prevents him from properly teaching Rey about the Force. Our young protagonist fervently seeks his guidance, but it only reveals the extent of her own power, which makes her a target for Supreme Leader Snoke. She is defiant, but no less unaware of who she is and what she holds inside of her. Though Rey was explored more in this film, it seems to have left audiences with more questions than answers. Finn and Poe are given their own separate adventures to branch off of. Finn gains a new friend, Rose, who accompanies him on a journey that hopefully can breach First Order starships. He does not interact much with Poe or Rey, having just recovered, but it is interesting to see how he develops more as a fighter for the Resistance rather than just a rogue stormtrooper.
Then we have Kylo Ren, formerly Ben Solo, with a fresh new scar and the conflict of Light and Dark still tearing him apart. We see Luke recount his spiral into the darkness, but he is arguably more powerful. He and Rey have a strange dynamic in these films that trumps the other trilogies in its ambiguity. It is not clear whether Ren or Rey will turn to the other side, as it tiptoes throughout the film. This is both muddling and clarifying: it offers a freshness to the sequel trilogy, but again opens another can of questions.
Poe Dameron still maintains his impulsive, driven nature, and embodies the spirit of the Resistance throughout the film. He shows new leadership and depth that was not explored in the previous films, and we get a taste of his relationship with Leia. She treats him as almost a son: admonishing, yet trusting to the highest degree. He is earnest throughout the film, which gives hope to the seemingly dismal circumstances that occur time and time again. The First Order is still after them, and seems to be one step ahead, but Poe insists that they are “the spark.” Contrast is clear, and it really cuts through the somewhat dark tones of the film. Of course, Poe’s companion BB-8 still continues to be funny, and his increased interaction with Finn and Rose certainly add to his character.
The Last Jedi, in all, is a film based on suspense. It asks “will they?” and “won’t they?” so many times, which can either confuse or drive you to the edge of your seat. But even with its harrowing and gripping scenes, it creates so many more questions. It seems almost unfinished in a sense, as you are left with the question of “how?” by the very end. The film’s subplots can seem a bit rocky at times, and Rey is still not quite as a developed character as one would like. This film, however, is the middleman to the beginning and end. It isn’t supposed to introduce grandly or conclude satisfyingly. It is just supposed to explain and connect, and The Last Jedi does a good job. It’s unfinished, but guides the viewer to understand how and why.