Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is The Best Star Wars Movie By Default

Star-Wars-The-Last-Jedi (1)

Star Wars The Last Jedi came in with some really high expectations. Star Wars The Force Awakens evoked a lot of questions and the Last Jedi trailer stirred up even more questions.  As a matter of fact, we came up with the top 5 burning questions for Star Wars The Last Jedi for your viewing pleasure. After viewing The Last Jedi, I think it’s fair to say that the film exceeded and circumvented my expectations all at the same time. Now just so you know, Star Wars The Last Jedi has a ton of surprises and twists. With that in mind, as I have always tried to provide spoiler-free reviews, I’ll try to be even more spoiler-free as possible. I understand some people still want to get a taste of what’s to come. Worry not because in just a few days, you can tune back in to this post to watch/listen to my spoiler discussion of the film.

(Video) Star Wars The Last Jedi Spoiler-Free review

(Video) Star Wars The Last Jedi Spoiler Talk

The Good

When the opening credits roll, it almost feels like you’re being transported back into time with the classic Star Wars music blasting, and the intro opening text. That sets the tone for the nice amount of nostalgia the film creates. Fortunately, the movie doesn’t entirely rely on the nostalgia factor as much as The Force Awakens. While there are obvious callbacks to previous characters and such, the Last Jedi does not become a modern day version of The Empire Strikes Back. Not only that, but there are so many climatic moments that will leave on you on the edge of your seat. There’s a nice balance of suspense, action, drama, and humor.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
Director/writer  Rian Johnson deserves so much credit and praise for this film. (I can see why Disney has entrusted him to take on the new spinoff Star Wars trilogy.) One of my hopes with this movie was that it would really start to create its own original path in the Star Wars movie franchise. Johnson successfully does that by avoiding almost all expectations Star Wars fans may have had going into the film.  With the way the movie ends, the field is now wide open with where the next Star Wars movie can go. Johnson did stay true to some classic Star Wars elements. One of those elements was to ensure that The Last Jedi was full of those “Star Wars Life Lessons”. I thought it was brilliant how the film brings about a number of different lessons and themes through each of the experiences of the individual characters.

The overall cinematography of this movie must be praised as well. The amazing visuals were simply captivating in this film. Maybe I’m being a prisoner of the moment, but I can’t recall a more visually stimulating spaceship battle. The usage of the environment and terrain was stunning in some scenes. And without question, there’s one particular scene with a spaceship that can only be described as epic! That scene is so jaw dropping,  that the sound is masterfully muted to match the level of suspense that the audience is feeling at that time. you’ll know it when you see it, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen a spaceship do what was done in that iconic sequence. Beyond even that, The Last Jedi will challenge what we thought we knew about the Force. I thoroughly enjoyed the radical new ways that the Force could be used in the film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
As previously mentioned, Johnson included the infusion of so much more humor compared to other Star Wars films. For a moment, I almost thought I was watching Spaceballs (1987).  I don’t want to say that the movie was comedic, but it did have some funny moments sprinkled throughout. I think the reason why this worked was because the humor made sense within the story. The humor was not shoe-horned in nor did it completely really distract or disrupt the tonality of the movie.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
Now, let’s talk about some of these great characters! In my opinion, the supporting characters seemed to have outshined the main leading characters. I absolutely loved Kelly Marie Tran’s performance as “Rose”. She was a very unexpected character in a supporting role that simply delivers to the very end of the film. The most touching performance that will hit you right in the feels will be Carrie Fisher’s role. Given her unfortunate passing, it was wonderful to see her in the role of Princess Leia as she displayed a beautiful blend of strength, leadership and love through her character. When it came to Snoke, I first of all liked the fact that the CGI was handled very well. We absolutely got to see more of Snoke and, even better, we got to see his power on display. I thought his demonstration of power was extremely effective at showing just how much of a threat he can be. Probably one of my absolute favorite characters had to be that of “Poe Dameron” played by Oscar Isaac. Poe probably displayed the most character development of all the other characters. Last but not least, BB-8 is just a ton of fun and awesome! 

Star Wars The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
As for the heavy hitter characters, I think the one that stood out the most was Mark Hamill as “Luke Skywalker”. As you could see from the trailers, Luke Skywalker isn’t the happy go-lucky, optimistic Jedi that we knew from the original Star Wars films. Without going into spoiler territory, I really appreciated how his character had to go through his own journey in this film. Another kudos to Rian Johnson has to be mentioned here. Yet again, we have probably the most epic moment in Star Wars cinematic history unfold with Luke’s character. In the last couple of scenes of the film, Luke shines so brightly that I’m sure it’ll have the internet buzzing for years to come.

The Bad

Disclaimer: Before any die hard Star Wars fans want to come for my head, let me just say that these “Bad” critiques are incredibly mild. They do not kill the film or anything, but they still have to be noted.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
First off, this movie feels every bit as long as the 2hrs and 32min run time states. Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t really any slow or dragging moments in the film that make the pacing feel too lengthy. Rather, there are a number of moments where it would appear as though the film could’ve/should’ve ended. We have a few big climactic scenes where you really think the movie is going to stop, but it only continues into another side story. Then that happens again, and again. Fortunately, every time you think the movie is about to end, they still give you another set of scenes that keep you entertained and intrigued to see more. However, you still will notice, at the very least, the prolonged time you’ve been sitting in that theater chair.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
Okay, I feel kinda bad for going here, but I’ve got mention that I was not a fan of a particular scene with “Leia”. I’ll just say that the scene is a bit of a “reach” and doesn’t have a good enough contextual basis for the audience to connect with. In order for this very particular and standout scene to make sense, you have to jump through some mental hoops. First you have to  recall the previous original Star Wars films, and then you’ll have to make a huge assumption just for it to make sense. To me, it just needed a smoother transition for her actions to be a bit more believable. (If you listen to my spoiler-discussion, I dig a bit deeper into this.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
Another issue I have is in the decision making of Kylo Ren. Now I’ll fully admit that maybe this is just me missing something, or even misunderstanding Kylo’s intention. (Feel free to let me know in the comments below if you want to discuss it.) As we know from the previous film, Kylo has been conflicted with his decision making. At a point in the film he makes a particular decision, and to me, it came off to be a bit hypocritical. Furthermore, I don’t believe that his decision is a good setup for whatever direction his character later adopts.  (Again, more of this in the spoiler-discussion)

I think one of the bigger issues that happens in this film is what appears to be the stagnant character development with the two leading characters of Rey and Kylo Ren. Compared to the other side characters who have some major challenges and internal battles to overcome, it didn’t appear as though Rey nor Kylo Ren actually progressed very much as characters. Let me be clear about this. I’m not saying that nothing happens to them, or that they don’t make certain decisions along their personal journeys. What I’m saying is that each character seems relatively the same as they were compared to The Force Awakens. You can’t say that for a character like Poe or even Luke, for example.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]

The Verdict

Star Wars The Last Jedi is probably the best Star Wars film that we have to date! Hold on, pick up your jaw, and put your eyeballs back in their sockets. I should say, that Star Wars the Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film we have to date by default. This film is a natural progression of the Star Wars films because it incorporates all the good things we loved about the previous Star Wars films. Even better, this film drizzled a lot of originality by dismantling the Star Wars cinematic formula.  Going against the grain of what Star Wars fans may expect makes this film such a surprising and refreshing viewing experience. If you couldn’t tell by now, I absolutely believe that this was better than The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Motion Pictures]
If you’re considering to watch this film in 3D, feel free to do so. The movie is visually stunning and there are a number of intentional visuals to keep the 3D popping in various scenes. Personally, I’d recommend seeing this film in Dolby Atmos if your local theater provides that. The sound effects and musical score are something to experience in a theater setting. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an absolute must watch in theaters. Go see it and may the Force be with you! (You know I had to slip that in somewhere.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be in theaters December 15th.  Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman’s Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]