Why Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) is the Worst Star Wars Entry Made so Far
Directed by Rian Johnson
The first sequel of any property is the ultimate test. For the new trilogy of Star Wars this is the first sequel but for the franchise it's the 8th installment. It should be a slam dunk in the hole. It's not.
Picking up immediately after The Force Awakens we see the Rebels evacuating their base as they're set upon by the First Order. After a costly counter-attack the Rebels start to escape. The First Order can track them so Finn and Poe launch a discrete mission to disable their tracking system. Meanwhile, Rey has met Luke and tries desperately to convince him to return to the cause and help fight the First Order. Instead, and despite his immediate wish to remain distanced from everything, he decides to train her as a Jedi.
The Last Jedi occupies this incredibly strange space as having some of the most amazing highs as well as some of the lowest lows. The visual aspect of certain scenes is unbelievably beautiful combined with sound design and soundtracking that is at once haunting, nostalgic, and adrenaline-inducing. As such, quite a few specific scenes are among the best and most effective I've ever seen. On the exact opposite side is some of the most redundant, unspectactular writing I've ever witnessed.
Oddly enough, while some movies fail because they have too much exposition, The Last Jedi fails moreso because so much of the story is utterly bereft of any expositional acknowledgement: entire subplots that serve no purpose and don't affect the story. The entire second act is like a sad, sagging mess desperate to connect the powerful first act to the powerful third act. It's an unfortunate, damn shame because the story connecting Rey to Kylo Ren is staggering and momentous in the same way as Anakin and Obi-Wan's eventual falling-out. It maybe the only redeeming factor so far in the new trilogy. Luke is a definite player but his character acts like a mirror to acknowledge the new underdog force-master: Rey. It almost feels like a very literal passing of the torch from the original cadre to the new one as Han Solo's death wasn't literal enough.
Adam Driver carries The Last Jedi on his strong, muscular shoulders, with a hand from Oscar Isaac. The pair make the horridly written story at all watchable. Kylo Ren is the perfect villain, both vulnerable, understandable, pained, torn, but dangerous. Oscar Isaac is charismatically hot-headed but good to his core and desperately fighting.
On the other hand, Rey is unbelievable. Her sudden rise as a natural force-wielder feels oddly unnatural. Her character shows no growth or progression despite Daisy Ridley's fantastic efforts to bring the badly-written character to life. On the one hand, not even Anakin was so immediately advanced in the ways of the force, but on the other hand Ridley makes Rey so likable that I desperately want her to vanquish the First Order. Let me rephrase: Ridley plays Rey very well but she, as a character, is boringly developed.
In fact, the whole movie feels boringly developed, which is unbalanced by the uncomfortable fact that The Last Jedi was clearly created to have as many pulse-pounding, memorable, dramatic moments as possible. Slow-motion, silenced music... it hits time and again, not just in the climax, but repeatedly. It actually becomes increasingly clear throughout the movie that it was written without any care for the world of Star Wars.
TL;DR: Should you see The Last Jedi? Yes. Is it as good as The Force Awakens? No. It's a solid, entertaining entry but as a story it stands among the prequels. From a visual and action standpoint it's stunning. The story is disappointing, but the themes feel fresh enough to make the movie interesting and memorable. But it's the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren that's truly electrifying and makes the new movie so overwhelming and emotive. I feel conflicted about them and their connection. And I think that says a lot.
- Acting – 17 / 20
- Story – 5 / 20
- Cinematography – 14 / 20
- Soundtrack – 8 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 6 / 10
- Sci-Fi/Fantasy – 6 / 10
- Other – 5 / 10