Review: The Last Jedi

Photo Credit:

Anna Henning

Since the release of The Force Awakens in December of 2015, I have been waiting for the next film in the trilogy to come out. The wait is over for The Last Jedi, and it was worth every second of anticipation. This action-packed two and a half hour film keeps you on the edge of your seat, with plot twists and brand new characters. The force worked in ways that have never been done before, displaying new ideas in a beautiful way.

The Last Jedi is a part of the third trilogy made by Lucasfilm, episode eight in the official Star Wars saga. In every trilogy, the second movie is the one where the dark side triumphs, which The Last Jedi stayed true to as the Resistance was pushed to the very end. Along with the episodes, there have been several TV shows, books, and video games in canon with this story. In addition to this, stand alone films such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will premiere in May, add even more insight to events in the episodes.

This film had big shoes to fill, since The Empire Strikes Back was so successful. It was considered the greatest Star Wars film of all time, and it put high expectations on The Last Jedi as the second movie in the trilogy. Was it better? It’s up for fans to decide, but it certainly won’t be a disappointment to them.

As a huge Star Wars fan, I couldn’t wait for the release of The Last Jedi. I watched every trailer ever released, read theories to what was going to happen, and had high hopes for the film. I had so many theories as to what was going to happen, but the best part of waiting was the fact that I knew anything could happen – and it delivered.

The Force Awakens was criticized for being too much like A New Hope, and there were worries that The Last Jedi was going to be something predictable and already seen. However, this film went off in a million different directions; so much was happening and it went beyond anything I had imagined.

I was most looking forward to learning more about Kylo and Rey’s mysterious connection – something that is not a spoiler, because it was clear in The Force Awakens. The movie approached this in a way that was so unexpected, and different than anything in any other Star Wars film. There were so many theories about how these characters would interact moving forward, from Reylo, the idea that Kylo and Rey would form a romantic relationship, to one turning sides to join the other. No matter the opinion on these protagonists, there is something for everyone to relate to and enjoy about both of them.

A key part of this film was identity. The movie was created in such a genuine and real way that I could really relate to the characters and their struggles. During the entire movie, different characters were trying to find their place in the war. For some of the newer characters, things happened so fast they don’t really ever get a chance to really think about whose side they are on and what they are fighting for. By the end, they had a much deeper understanding of where they stood. For some of the older characters, they fought with their inner struggle, deciding what to do when all hope was lost.

The amount of creativity was unbelievable, every shot was colorful and action packed. I really enjoyed the battle on Crait, a red-soiled planet covered by a layer of salt. The color contrasts in this scene created an even better battle than if it was like any other planet; it really added another level of depth to the scene. Every aspect was visually well done, staying true to the look of a Star Wars film while adding new elements to drive it home.

This movie made me feel a lot of things. Going into the movie, I could not sit still with excitement, but going out of it I was surprised by how mellow I was. I was very overwhelmed by everything that happened, because it was a lot to take in. It took me a lot of time to think and process these events before I was finally able to write this, and I plan to watch it again in theaters to better understand this movie. It had such an unexpected emotional impact; the events the characters had to go through were relatable and genuine. Besides the deeper meanings and intense scenes, the movie had a lot of unexpected humor. I found myself laughing along with some of the playful actions of the characters, and it helped lighten the mood of this film.

The only things I was disappointed by were some of the questions that were answered. The Force Awakens left so many unanswered questions, like who Rey’s parents were, who Snoke was, and what side Luke was on. A lot of the questions I wanted answers to that had such a buildup from the first film had very anticlimactic results, but sometimes I think it is hard to address all of those questions in such a short amount of time. Although I think these questions were answered in a well-written and real way, I wish there could have been more on those subjects.

Star Wars is very important to me. I remember watching the original films when I was young, and being incredibly inspired by them. I look to movies such as these to make me feel strong, and these beautiful classics are not going away anytime soon. The Last Jedi, despite all my excitement and nerves, was a bold but good move in changing the saga. It was amazing, and I strongly recommend going to see it in theaters.