On the day that Disney announced the historic acquisition of the entertainment assets of Twenty-First Century Fox, the eighth chapter of Star Wars opened. Much like Vader said, this is a day that will be long remembered, since not only did Disney simultaneously assert their dominance in the entertainment industry they also released one of the most anticipated movies of the last 2 years. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is everything we’ve wanted in The Force Awakens and much more.
The story hits you from the beginning, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that it resembled The Empire Strikes Back in premise with the Resistance on the run. Unlike that movie however, the stakes are not easily resolved and raises the tension when The Resistance cannot get away. The movie puts all of the primary characters in a desperate struggle for survival. This theme keeps up throughout the film and helps carry things along and has the heroes dancing on a thread.
Finn, Rey and Poe all have great character development in the film. Finn grows quite a bit and starts to shed his fight or flight response to nearly all situations. His journey gets him a new love interest, Rose Tico (played by Kelly Marie Tran) who accompanies him on the pivotal mission to help save the Resistance. Rose brings the perspective of the downtrodden people who are the perpetual victims of both sides of the war. Slowly, Finn gathers the courage inside to become exactly what Rose envisioned of him: A heroic symbol of the Resistance.
Poe Dameron, the Resistance’s ace pilot is put into uncomfortable position of not being able to be an active participant in the fight. His hot-blooded temperament runs afoul of Leia and her new subordinate, Vice Admiral Holdo. He is forced to learn new ways to be effective while valuing the lives of those under his command. The relationship with Finn had some fans clamoring to have the two pair up romantically, however that never materializes and cements the two being as good of friends as Han and Luke became. Sensing a theme here? You should.
Rey takes the lions’ share of character development however. We follow her to Ach-to as she attempts to connect with the legendary Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master. She learns the ways of The Force, yet its not in the fashion we speculated it would be. Her travels in learning about the Force ties her to Kylo Ren, the person she hates more than anyone. It leads us down a really surprising path, and an even more shocking revelation that led Luke to flee from everything and go into hiding.
The film flows effortlessly through three acts, despite the 152 minute runtime. If you’re a fan of BB-8, this movie puts him squarely in the role as the most badass droid ever. There are some truly awesome moments in the film, yet none more awesome than Luke’s showstopping scene in the third act. With the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, the film acts as a passing of the torch. The themes of “old vs. new” permeates the film, yet breaks the shackles and opens the door for a vibrant new future, while honoring the past.
The eighth installment of the Star Wars franchise has plenty of action, funny moments, along with a few surprises. Excellent character development throughout helps establish the series to move forward in a brave new direction, while also paying wonderful homage to the rich history of the series.
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