The Stars Wars Series continued with “The Last Jedi”

“The Last Jedi” extended the original Star Wars storyline and excited audiences nationally.

Brooks Carver, Staff Writer

Recently, Disney and Lucasfilm released the eighth (or ninth including 2016’s Rogue One) installment of the Skywalker saga “In the galaxy far far away.” The Last Jedi came out December 15, and after the massive success of the The Force Awakens back in 2015, The Last Jedi was easily one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Star Wars fans around the globe were desperate to get back in the theater and learn more about the interesting characters and intriguing storylines from Episode 7. With The Last Jedi featuring returning characters from George Lucas’s original trilogy combined with the new charismatic cluster of talent, The Last Jedi directed by Rian Johnson was sure to be a truly captivating and compelling story.

I will try to get into as much detail as possible and I will include spoilers, so you have been warned. The movie picks up right where The Force Awakens left off after ending on the cliffhanger between Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley). Meanwhile, in another corner of the galaxy, the Resistance led by General (formerly princess) Leia is trying to hide from the sinister First Order commanded by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who happens to be the son of Leia and Han Solo. He is struggling with whether he belongs to the light, or the dark side of the force.

I didn’t really find the first half of the movie to be that interesting or engaging compared to the rest of of the film except for all of the powerful scenes that take place on the island of Acht-To with Luke and Rey. Rey wants Luke to teach her the ways of the force, but Luke is reluctant after he tried training a new generation of Jedi years ago, and they turned to the dark side. One of the kids who he was training was Kylo Ren

But on the other side of the galaxy, the main conflict for the resistance characters (Leia, Poe, Finn, Rose) is to flee from the First Order. To accomplish this, they have to sneak onto the First Order’s main ship to disable their hyperspace tracking device. In order to get there though, Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) have to find the “master codebreaker” on the casino planet of “Canto Bight” to sneak them in under the radar. Everything on this planet was definitely the weakest part of the movie and will probably be where I recommend taking your bathroom break because there is nothing here that really adds to the story here except for the addition of Benicio Del Toro’s character to the story.

Despite all of the great moments with Luke and Rey, my favorite part of the first chunk of the movie comes when Luke Skywalker finally reunites with Chewbacca and R2D2 on the Millenium Falcon. We finally get to see Luke back in the Millenium Falcon and chatting it up with his old friend R2D2 who then replays the famous “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, You’re my only hope” hologram message from Princess Leia in Episode 4 which basically started the whole Star Wars story, in order to finally convince Luke to train Rey in the force.

The movie gets more exciting as Rey starts to communicate with Kylo Ren through the Force, and they slowly realize that they have things in common and want the same thing for the galaxy, so Rey leaves Luke to go meet up with Kylo Ren on the same ship that Finn and Rose are trying to sneak on to. My favorite scene of the entire movie and maybe one of the best in all of Star Wars takes place when Kylo and Rey confront Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Kylo kills Snoke and then him and Rey have to team up to defeat Snoke’s loyal guards. Rey wants Kylo to come back to the light side and help the resistance, but Kylo is still committed to the First Order and has now fully gone to the dark side of the force. So after that sweet scene, Rey leaves the First Order ship on the Millenium Falcon after she realizes her and Kylo weren’t meant to be after all. Then, after a sacrifice from Laura Dern’s character, the Resistance is able to successfully retreat to the white salt planet of Crait.

Although they were able to temporarily get away, the First Order is still closely on their tail and they attack Crait using a new iteration of the classic AT-AT walkers from the Empire Strikes Back. The third part of the movie that occurs on this planet is incredible. It has everything: intensity, action, plot twists, emotion, and comedy. We also get the moment everyone was waiting for since Disney announced that they would be making more Star Wars movies: Luke Skywalker. We get to see him interact on screen with Carrie Fisher for the first time since Return of the Jedi in 1983. He confronts Kylo Ren and sacrifices himself to buy time for what’s left of the resistance to escape in the Millenium Falcon. It beautifully wraps Luke’s story up with him back on the island planet since we learn he was using the force to astrally-project his image across the galaxy. We see him drained of all his energy looking out at the horizon and we notice that it is a binary sunset just like how his story started with him on Tatooine in Episode 4, and he vanishes similar to Yoda in Return of the Jedi.  There are some other scenes after that but they are not memorable or worth mentioning, so the movie ends and leaves the audience with plenty of questions going into Episode 9 which comes out in 2019.

Overall, I disliked the movie.  But only because I set my expectations a little too high. The Last Jedi is by no means a bad movie. There were a lot of aspects of the movie that I really liked such as the fact that it was very different compared to other Star Wars movies and I think the dark tone really set it apart in a positive way. I also appreciated that Disney was willing to take risks which was something that we didn’t really see much in The Force Awakens. And I thought Adam Driver’s performance as Kylo Ren stole the movie. On top of that, it was nice to see Carrie Fisher one last time since she unfortunately passed away at the end of 2016. Seeing Mark Hamill back as Luke Skywalker was very satisfying and long overdue especially since he didn’t have any lines and left us with so many questions of Episode 7.

The movie also has many cameos and small easter eggs from other Star Wars movies and canon that leaves us with a warm and nostalgic feeling as we exit the theater. The film also introduces a heap of new characters and creatures. Including Benicio Del Toro’s DJ, Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, and Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose. Though I didn’t really think that any of the new characters really stood out, or brought anything good to the story, it didn’t completely ruin the movie

However, no movie is perfect, and I personally had many problems with The Last Jedi.

Who are Rey’s parents? Who is Snoke? How did Maz Kanata get Luke’s old Lightsaber? These are some of the biggest unanswered questions that we were left with after seeing The Force Awakens two years ago. Sadly, The Last Jedi gives no answer to any of these questions. which is a bummer and left me feeling unsatisfied while I was leaving the theater.

The comedy in this movie is unbearable. It is so cringe worthy and is used at the worst possible moments. From start to finish of this movie, maybe one joke landed with the audience. And for everything else, my theater only had a few concerned laughs whenever there was an attempted joke. The comedy in all the other movies worked for me because it was organic and natural but in this movie it felt forced and out of place. Maybe you liked the scene between General Hux and Poe at the beginning of the movie but I believe that this is a big step in the wrong direction for the franchise.

There is one character in particular who I strongly disliked in this movie. That character is Rose played by Kelly Marie Tran.

To me, her role in the story felt forced and not organic. None of the comedy worked or resonated with the audience and her chemistry with Finn was unbelievably bad. Not to mention her character seemed pretty dull and boring probably since everything going on between Kylo and Rey was so much more interesting and intriguing. She was also extremely unqualified to go on that mission to Canto Bight with Finn along with the fate of the Rebellion in her hands. Why couldn’t Poe go on that mission instead? It would have given him much more to do in that story besides fly around in an X-Wing for the first five minutes of the movie. It seemed like Disney just wanted an excuse to put another character with a diverse ethnic background in the franchise. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I really enjoyed Rey in this movie and Finn and Poe in Episode 7, because it felt natural and right. Rose just feels forced and in the story for no reason especially since we already have characters in the story who have the same talents and skills that she brings to the table. I don’t want Disney’s push for diversity to be the driving force for the new series.

Another character that I didn’t like in this movie was Snoke played by Andy Serkis. There was nothing wrong with the acting and his presence was heavily felt throughout the first half of the movie as well as being very intimidating on screen, but how they used Snoke in this movie after setting him up to be this big powerful character who was going to play this emperor-like role over the course of all three movies upset me. First of all, they expect us to just accept that he is the most powerful being in the galaxy without giving us any background on his character or how he has these powers. Then, right after forcing yourself to accept that he is this super-mighty being, they kill him off. I have no problem with the scene he dies in since it was so intense as well as action-packed and had the whole theater on the edge of their seats, but after building him up the way they did in Episode 7 and the first part of Episode 8, to have him go that fast? It just didn’t feel right.

Moving on to the next poorly developed character, we have Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo. Most of you will just remember her as the purple-haired lady who did nothing. Before anything else, why the purple hair? It isn’t mentioned once from beginning to end of the story as to why she has this ridiculous hairdo that distracts the audience from what is actually going on in the movie. Also, why didn’t she just tell Poe what the plan was in the first place? It is completely uncalled-for and unnecessary and the movie offers no explanation as to why she chooses to do this. I found her character was also rather boring and didn’t really belong in the movie but I did like her brave sacrifice towards the end of the movie to fly the ship into the Star Destroyer to buy the rebels time to escape. That scene was also visually amazing.

The comedy in this movie is unbearable. It is so cringe worthy and is used at the worst possible moments.

— Brooks Carver

Another issue that I had with this movie was the new planet Canto Bight. I get why the characters had to come here and I like the idea of seeing the “upper class” in Star Wars since all we have seen so far is the lower class in the cantinas from Episode four and seven but when we got to this planet it felt more like something from Harry Potter rather than a galaxy far far away. The CGI wasn’t really convincing and the whole point of it is what? Capitalism is bad? There is also an unnecessary subplot about animal rights which feels completely out of place since this is the same Franchise that had Han Solo cut open a tauntaun to keep Luke Skywalker warm in Episode 5. To top it all off, there is one line in particular that Rose says that really upset me and almost made me get up and leave the theater. Finn says that it was “worth it” after him and Rose freed the camel-horse creatures and destroyed the city which it definitely wasn’t since they would have been unable to complete their mission and the resistance would have been killed and the war lost. That line was bad enough by itself, but then Rose says “No” and takes the saddle off the creature and goes on to say “Now it is.” What? How does that justify anything after failing to save the resistance just to liberate one camel-horse thing that will be re-captured literally 5 minutes later? Anyways, I could go on and on about my issues with this planet but I think I’ve said enough.

Now on to a few smaller problems problems I had with the movie that weren’t too significant but still troubling. First and foremost, where was R2D2! He was notably missing for the duration of the movie and had like one scene even though he is the face of this franchise. Furthermore, I have a small problem with Luke’s death. After watching Episode 7 and the first half of eight, I thought to myself in the theater, “Man I can’t wait to see Luke Skywalker back in action and to watch him take out that classic green lightsaber and square off with the First Order!” Well we didn’t get any of that. Well, sort of. I guess you get to see him kind of fight Kylo Ren and he holds his blue lightsaber but It really isn’t the same knowing that he’s not actually there in person and it’s essentially just a hologram. How badass would it have been if he was there on Crait and had survived an artillery barrage from the AT-AT’s and just shook it off as if it were nothing? Since we didn’t get any lightsaber fights with Luke, I left the theater slightly unsatisfied because I so desperately wanted to see him go hand to hand with Snoke or Kylo Ren, but the beautiful scene with the binary sunset made up for it in the end.

To sum it all up, I believe that with this movie, there is so much potential and if they made a few different decisions, The Last Jedi could have been a masterpiece and one of, if not the best Star Wars movie. There are some great amazing scenes in this movie but there are many issues with characters and some story decisions for this movie to hold up in my opinion.