Film: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson
Star Rating: 4/5
In its 40 year history, Star Wars has built a tremendous fanbase that would rival any franchise. That one man's vision created an incredible lore and launched a whole generation of filmmakers is something that just cannot be understated. One can only imagine the pressure that Rian Johnson would have had to shoulder when he took on the director's mantle, especially when it came on the back of a nostalgia inducing The Force Awakens.
But where the previous movie played it totally safe and to the book, Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi is
ultimately the movie every Star Wars fan - old and new - needed and is the much needed direction the franchise sorely craved for.The Last Jedi picks off right from the last scene of the previous film without missing a beat.
There are 5 characters who the story puts at the forefront - Rey (Daisy Ridley) wanting to bring back to the Resistance Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the legend who has shunned himself from the world because his disciple, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) got turned to the dark side ; Luke who loomed large over all the proceedings of the previous film and who is genuinely frightened at the potential that Rey shows and is unwilling to train her or to come back to the resistance ; Kylo Ren, who was bested by a novice force user in Rey and wonders if he really is the heir apparent to the throne of his grandfather Darth Vader ; Finn (John Boyega) who has woken up from unconsciousness only to want to meet up with Rey and ensure safe passage for her ; Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a "trigger-happy flyboy" who wants the best for the Resistance but goes head long into battles without thinking through the consequences.
As Star Wars has always done, The Last Jedi has one overarching conflict which has to be solved but which needs smaller side quests to be completed which hold the key to solving the larger puzzle.
The film shines the most when it concentrates itself on the character arcs of the trio of Force wielders - Rey, Kylo Ren and Luke. Their interactions show completely new facets to the Force that has not been seen in any Star Wars movies to date that you keep wondering what will happen next.
Where Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi also shines the best is in the conflict each of its three characters face when it comes to suppressing the dark side that, again, hasn't been seen before in this sprawling franchise. The film also features some of the best space battles with one particular end scene that happens in the stillness of the space just leaving you in awe.
Kylo Ren tells Rey,"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That's the only way you become what you are meant to be." Each time Rian Johnson gives you nostalgic moments that put a smile on your face, he also works bit by bit in tearing away the structure that has made up what has come to be seen as a Star Wars story.
Say when Kylo Ren smashes his face mask and accepts his scars openly or when we learn the truth of Rey's heritage, we see a director who has loved this franchise quite deeply to have understood that he has to kill the past to establish a new future but kill it gently enough that it won't hurt. The Last Jedi is a brave bold addition to the rich legacy of Star Wars but it is now in the hands of JJ Abrams to ensure this vision ends perfectly in the new trilogy.