Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been kept under wraps for months, as well as keeping a close eye on what has been seen in trailers. This past Friday, Disney and Lucasfilm released the ninth film in the Star Wars saga, and it is nothing short of divisive. Rian Johnson released his vision of the next step in the Star Wars saga, a vision that was unchanged by Disney (i.e. via another director). It would seem that The Last Jedi is the move to separate the lore from the Skywalker Saga that we have been exploring since 1977.
Visually, the film is stunning. It is daring in its desire to take chances with characters, lore, and even new progressions in established characters. After the death of Han Solo in The Force Awakens, it was setting up the idea that anything can happen in this universe. Unfortunately, many of the questions and theories set-up in the previous film were dashed or blatantly dismissed with a quick one-liner. It is important to note that this film will be setting up the last of the Skywalker Saga, but establishing the audience for the adventures to come.
There are some plot holes, motivations, actions that are taken by the characters that seem confusing. The whole dynamic of the plot is the idea that the rebellion ships are just out of cannon fire of the First Order. Logic is thrown out the window in the effect that they could have called in more ships to cut off their escape route and end the film within the first thirty minutes. However, Johnson uses the James Bond villain trope that they have no means of escape. Not only that, but the plan to end the chase with Finn and Poe’s plan ends in a Raiders of the Lost Ark fashion. The concept that if Indiana Jones hadn’t dug up the Ark, the Nazi would never have found it. Thus, preventing the rest of the movie from happening.
Many of the new characters were empty and used as plot devices, which was sad. Having such recognizable names in the film only to service the plot and nothing more. Captain Phasma is, again, used for show. Heavily promoted in the previous film, but went nowhere quickly.
With all of this being said, the movie was fun. The choice of Luke turning away from the Jedi Order was a bold move. One of the highlights of the film was the choice of expanding the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey. This led to a surprising and comforting new direction for Kylo, something that Vader never achieved.
The film was a combination of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but with enough original (to the series) ideas that expands the universe. The answer to Rey’s parentage is a nice twist that she is not preordained by some ancient scripture, but ordinary people can achieve good. Finn’s endeavor to do good and beat the First Order was encouraging. Given a bit of growth in the film, it is curious to see where he ends up in the final film.
It is possible that much of the fan hate toward the film is due to the speculation that had drowned the internet over the last two years. Fan theories never satisfy the fans, but it does grow hatred due to the vision you created was not achieved. Films are made by filmmakers. They are the ones that take risks. Some may fail but many will succeed. The film was humorous, provided interesting new questions, and enough twists that proved satisfying. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was worth the wait and look forward to seeing how J.J. Abrams attempts to end the saga.