For the past three years, I’ve been to the cinema at midnight, on a cold December evening to see the new Star Wars film. I go with the same friend every year, it’s become a little pre-Christmas tradition for us, we spend months pawing over every trailer and screenshot until the fateful day where we sit in a cinema, with hundreds of other sad individuals just like us, so we can see it as soon as possible.
In 2015, it was The Force Awakens, it felt like a true return to a pinnacle Star Wars hasn’t reached since, arguably, The Empire Strikes Back, in short, it made me so happy to be a Star Wars fan. Then, the following year, the first spin-off arrived, Rogue One, which was something completely different, yet added something to the overarching series.
Both times I came out of the cinema enthralled and starry eyed, eager to see it again, this year however, I left the cinema with more questions, and wanting to see it again to make sure I got everything, still wanting to see it again, must be good right? In fact, I’ll go so far as to say, it’s been the one where I’ve most wanted a second viewing. so let’s see what I gleamed from two showings of the latest offering shall we?
Straight after the events of Force Awakens, Rey must persuade Jedi Master Luke Skywalker to train her, and help the Resistance defeat the sinister First Order. Meanwhile, the influence of the First Order grows by the day and the Resistance must struggle to survive.
Oh, boy, this is a fun movie to try and review without spoilers.
The Last Jedi isn’t the follow-up to The Force Awakens I expected. A lot of things I saw happening went in a completely different direction, some for the better and some for the worse.
The first thing I can say is it’s an incredibly long film, around 2hrs 45mins I’d say, if not pushing 3 hours, it is however, filled to the brim with events and ideas that sometime struggle to contain themselves neatly within the narrative, also there are some problems with inconsistencies that often comes with a bulky run-time such as this.
At times it feels like Rian Johnson had a completely different vision for the series than JJ Abrams, which would be okay normally, but since JJ is directing Episode 9 now, it’ll be interesting to see where he takes the story. The reason I say this is the tone taken by Johnson is different in feel to Abrams’ whereas Abrams favours a clean, almost colourful aesthetic, Johnson favours a darker, grittier one, with an abundance of the colour red.
This, in itself, is not a bad thing, and The Last Jedi is not a bad film. In fact it’s a very good film, it is in fact, a very different film, therein lies the reason for the fan backlash in some quarters. Fans of series like Star Wars get invested in the series to a point where they make up their own narratives, when these narratives aren’t played out on screen, they lash out.
This happens wherever there is fandom, it is unavoidable. There is surely a corner of the internet that despises the Disney Star Wars films, like there is one that despises new Star Trek and new Doctor Who, the list goes on.
Objectively, as a film and as a Star Wars film, The Last Jedi is very good, there are a few moments that stand out as some of the best Star Wars has to offer, it’s space battles for instance are top notch. Equally there are some things I don’t like about the film, things I won’t detail because of spoilers but there one in particular one thing that almost took me out of the movie completely. Something that objectively might make sense the more you think about it but still doesn’t fit in with what the movie teaches us.
It may help if I do a spoiler-y post soon to help properly explain my grievances, but please don’t go away from this thinking I disliked TLJ, because I didn’t, I found it’s narrative (for the most part) enthralling and it’s new and returning characters engaging, I don’t agree with the sectors of fans who have ridiculed the movie, I’m sure if you looked hard enough you’d find someone who doesn’t like the most critically acclaimed of movies.
My advice is, ignore what you may hear, as always go in to these objectively, oh and take plenty of snacks because it’s a long one.