Review: Star Wars 3D: The Last Jedi
The Force is strong with this one!NO SPOILERS Film Review: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
This is the sequel we’ve been waiting for…
I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan ever since, a long, long time ago in a cinema far away, I saw the first movie. But then, being a fan, only means I’m easier to disappoint with each new iteration of my favourite space soap.
Yet (despite another destroy-the-Death-Star third-act hokum), The Force Awakens restored my belief in the franchise and now The Last Jedi has cemented my renewed love affair with the sci-fi saga that still has potential to be running light years from now.
Kicking off right where J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens ended, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi plunges us right back in, re-introducing Luke Skywalker, this time in the Obi Wan role as Rey’s reluctant Jedi mentor.
When Johnson was announced as director, I immediately knew we’d be in safe hands, judging by the excellence of his Brick script, and the superb lived-in aesthetic of his sci-fi Looper, Johnson was ideally placed to continue the new trilogy.
Together with his go-to cinematographer, Steve Yedlin, Johnson creates a vivid universe with a colour palette emphasising blacks, whites and reds, as coding for the light, dark and passion / danger sides of the Force.
The plot twists and turns, character development, effects, adventure and aesthetic are superbly realised in a film that’s by turns rewarding, fun, dizzying, spectacular and outright darn funny.
If there’s a major criticism, it’s the humour overload, (occasionally bordering on sly, fourth-wall breaking nods and winks), but hey it’s a family film, and it’s good to see it not be too po-(Dameron)-faced.
There’s still politics, philosophy and portentous revelations, but that doesn’t stop Johnson delivering on the huge spectacle, battle action and fun.
The longest Star Wars yet (at 150-minutes), it only sags slightly in the second act, and with so many characters, not all are as fleshed out or important to the story as you may wish. DJ, Benicio Del Toro’s character, is given little of import, but at least Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) get loads more to do, even if Hux is now more comic relief than cosmic rat.
John Boyega is great as Finn, but the focus here is on Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s bitter Kylo Ren. Reaching Hamlet proportions of introspection, Ren is here established as one of the saga’s best villains.
Heck, he may not be as ugly as CGI-Snoke (a motion-capture Andy Serkis), but he’s turning into a great, conflicted heir to Darth Vader’s bad guy throne.
Laura Dern provides a new strong (if underwritten) female character as Vice Admiral Holdo, and Kelly Marie Tran is a welcome new addition as Resistance soldier, Rose Tico.
Best of all is welcoming back Mark Hamill, who plays Luke as an older, wiser, introspective Luke, and the opportunity for a fitting farewell to the late Carrie Fisher (as General Leia), to whom the film is dedicated.
The Last Jedi sets out to answer many of the questions posed in The Force Awakens, whilst continuing the saga in a way that should delight old and new fans, and provide some genuinely surprising new takes on old lore.
As a sci-fi blockbuster action movie, it’s a blast. As a Star Wars sequel, it’s a hugely delightful character-focused epic that’s wondrous to behold on the big screen in 3D with pulsating surround sound.
Yup - the Force is strong with this one.