“This isn’t going to go the way you think.” Wow. You can definitely say that again Luke Skywalker. STAR WARS EPISODE VIII THE LAST JEDI absolutely did not go the way I thought it was going to, and thwarting my expectations might be the greatest thing to happen to me at the movies all year. The Last Jedi is a masterpiece, plain and simple. Yes, it is better than Rogue One. Way better. And yes, it is better than The Force Awakens, which was number one on my top 15 list two years ago. And I’m going to try to sneak this one past you but I can’t because I am going to list it at the bottom, it is better than A New Hope. The Empire Strikes Back is still my #1 Star Wars film, and probably always will be. But The Last Jedi will be the closest ever to try and almost topple its lead. The Last Jedi is the best film of 2017 for me, but that probably doesn’t surprise you.
But I 150% guarantee this movie will. Especially if you are smart enough to avoid spoilers. There WILL BE ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS AT ALL in this review. In fact, I am going to write a separate no holds barred in depth review sometime Sunday, describing to you what I thought of certain events, plot threads, character choices, battles, twists, turns, etc. But for right here and right now, this review is just going to hark on the fact that you need to see this in a theater as soon as you can. With the best picture quality and the best sound you can possibly find. The film has the best space battles/action of the entire saga, and seeing all those ships, stars, proton torpedoes, bombs, lasers…you need to see the entire shot and hear the enormous sounds with crystal clear quality.
Have you seen the trailers to The Last Jedi and have a certain movie playing itself out in your head? Of course you do. Now I suggest you get rid of it. Because that movie is not going to happen. The trailers, tv spots, minor clips you have seen do not even begin to describe how the marketing of the film has misled you. It’s like if they made a trailer to James Cameron’s Titanic and got you to think it would be a horror movie. Within the first 20 minutes the film slaps you on your ass and tells you to get into your corner, and to only come out when all of your expectations are put aside.
But I can tell you one thing that will make you breathe a sigh of relief. Remember when anyone can argue that The Force Awakens is a soft reboot/remake of A New Hope? This is NOT a soft reboot/remake of The Empire Strikes Back. Not even the battle on the white/red planet Crait that you’ve seen in the trailers made me think of Hoth, at all. Because even that battle does not go the way you think it will. Sure, the movie has a couple of callbacks to the original trilogy, mainly Empire and Return of the Jedi, but this film is its own. It is a true, true, sequel. Rian Johnson knew that he couldn’t just bring us more of the same. So he successfully did what George Lucas failed miserably at in the prequels. Bringing us something completely different while still feeling like a Star Wars movie. The problem with the prequels wasn’t that George Lucas wasn’t trying to give us something different, he was, it was just bogged down with lazy politics, bad acting, too many pointless over long choreographed lightsaber battles, and fucking Jar Jar Binks.
Just like in the Force Awakens and the original trilogy, the lightsaber battles here are not over long, feel real, and are extremely dangerous and deadly. The acting here is still top notch as well, with Mark Hamill giving his best performance not only as Luke Skywalker, but his best performance ever. Carrie Fisher also gives a commanding powerful performance. And all the new comers from the last movie, like Poe, Finn, and Rey, all still continue to give powerful performances, especially Oscar Isaac who got something to do in this movie and really upped his game here. But the new comers are where it is at. I really loved Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, she was one of the best parts of the movie. I really liked Benicio Del Toro’s mystery character named DJ. And Laura Dern kind of floored me as Vice Admiral Amelia Holdo. Her arc here was powerful and Dern did a mesmerizing job, especially in the latter half of the film. Oh, and Gleeson as General Hux is still viciously grand.
And you’ve seen this in the preview, but yes, you get to see Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke in the flesh, and the CGI on him is amazing, and probably one of the best fully CGI characters I have seen in the past decade, along with Caesar, which coincidentally Serkis also plays. The special effects all around here are top notch, especially the grand use of practical effects as well. BB-8 proves that as much as he is a cool practical effect, he has now become my favorite droid. The Porgs, thankfully, weren’t that annoying and actually kind of cute during some parts. Chewbacca, C-3P0, and R2-D2 weren’t overused and I appreciated that. You could tell that writer/director Rian Johnson took his time with the screenplay, it really shows.
If I had to complain about one thing, just one major thing about the film is that there is a little too much humor. Not to say that I wanted a completely dark and non humorous film like Empire Strikes Back, but Star Wars humor has usually always been pretty subtle. The humor here kind of winks at the camera a couple of two many times. Wasn’t enough to be completely jarring, but it might’ve taken me out of the movie for a second or two. And surprisingly, that humor doesn’t involve the Porgs. I also need to say that the last 45 minutes of this movie are near perfect. The editing, pacing, action, everything was just top notch and didn’t skip a beat. It’s the best uninterrupted 45 minutes in a Star Wars movie. While the middle slogs just a tiny, tiny bit, especially on Canto Bight, the last 45 minutes is just so good to overlook the tiny stretch of what came before.
Well, that is about all I can say before I start getting into spoilers, and I promise a 200% spoiler free review. I didn’t even get into plot mechanics here. Even describing some of the plot ruins the surprises and I cannot and will not do that to you. Like I said, a no holds barred review will come Sunday, but I will post spoiler warnings all over that motherfucker, don’t you worry. In conclusion, The Last Jedi is a masterpiece. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, the time just flew by, it didn’t even feel like it was close to that long. If you are a Star Wars fan at all, or even kind of remotely like the movies, you need to see this in a grand theater. Immediately. This weekend. Don’t wait too long or spoilers will eventually find their way to you. This is a movie where every surprise with make you gasp, scream, or squeal with delight. The Force was definitely with this movie. And may the Force be with you as well.
Rank of Star Wars Films For Me:
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Last Jedi
- A New Hope
- The Force Awakens
- Return of the Jedi
- Revenge of the Sith
- Rogue One
- The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
And if you count this I would put that shitty animated Clone Wars movie #10.