The 2 year wait is finally over as Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is finally released in cinemas around the globe. What did you think about it? Did it fulfill your expectations? Or did you get a bad feeling about it?
On the 14th of December Rian Johnson's take on the Star Wars universe came into fruition and surprisingly became-almost immediately-the most divisive Star Wars film ever released. However here at ASO we loved the film. It undeniably has its flaws, but it cannot be denied that it also has some of the most captivating and well directed scenes to grace the Star Wars Universe. It also has stunning imagery throughout - Holdo's death sequence and the battle of Crait to name some of the standouts.
With the introduction of some new characters, there was a lot to develop in this film. Returning characters from The Force Awakens stayed the main focus, with Poe Dameron getting considerably more screen time in this film compared to the previous installment. Rey, although still a character we still don't know much about feels like she has more of a role in this story as her relationship with Kylo Ren develops and becomes centre focus. Adam Driver's Kylo Ren is so much better than in The Force Awakens. Driver presented an even more dangerous portrayl. John Boyega's Finn isn't as prominent in this film than he was in the previous film, he takes part in the subplot of the film which made him feel particularly unecessary.
Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux also has more screen time in this film than in Episode 7 and arguably puts in a stronger performance, but has come to light that he has become the character who provides humorous levity throughout the film, which can weaken the impact of the moment- e.g. the repetition of Kylo's demands when Luke Skywalker appears on Crait. Hammil gets chance to come back to Luke Skywalker properly in this film, but its not the same Luke you will remember from the original trilogy. Given up on being a Jedi, he distances himself away from the force. This however could be one of Mark Hamill's best performances in the role.
Rose Tico is a new character that was introduced during the film, however we agreed that her character didn't need to be there and didn't add a great deal to the plot. One point which ASO didn't agree upon was Finn's saving by Rose when flying into the Battering Ram, we could have had a great end to Finn which would have been the big loss of the episode- like Han Solo in Episode 7. Carrie Fisher puts in a great performance as General Leia Organa, but her 'Mary Poppins' scene felt bizarre and couldn have been handled better. He has so many great characters to choose from - but seems to struggle to know what to do with them all.
DJ is a character portrayed by Benicio Del Toro. That's more or less all you need to know.
In The Last Jedi, Snoke appears in the flesh for the first time, as a villain, Snoke sadly lacks any sort of villainy that characters such as Emperor Palpatine had. Furthermore, to kill his character off in the centre of the trilogy was a bold and possibly wrong move by Johnson, we are now lacking any sort of main villain. Kylo is torn between Light and Dark, Captain Phasma is now (supposedly) dead and General Hux seems to weak to pull himself together and deliver any sort of villainy.
One of the largest themes throughout this film is undoubtedly the idea of Light VS Dark. With Rey and Kylo being torn between such ideologies, it allowed for some of the tensest scenes to appear in a Star Wars film. The music cuts quickly to a deafening silence whenever their interaction takes place. With Supreme Leader Snoke manipulating them from the shadows, he allowed for their unbalanced minds to work together and create some captivating moments. For example when Rey and Kylo touch hands in the hut on Ach-To you can sense their struggling minds pulling each other to one side or the other. This obviously all comes to light in the Throne Room in which the pair decides to come together and defeat the Supreme Leader. However this begs the question, who will turn? Will Kylo return to Ben? Or will Rey turn to the dark side? With the end of the film in mind, it seems the pair are back on opposite ends of the spectrum as Rey refuses Kylo’s offer. However with Episode 9 on the horizon, it’s worth asking, what will be the grand shocking moment that gets people talking? JJ Abrams has a lot to accomplish.
On the theme of directing, Rian Johnson, director previously to films such as Looper and The Brothers Bloom, had the largely publicised struggle of picking up where The Force Awakens left off- with nowhere to go. He certainly pushed the boat out when it came to being bold with his ideas for this episode in the saga. The imagery of red throughout the film and its respective marketing was prevalent from the planet of Crait’s salty red surface to the huge wall surrounding the Supreme Leader. It also played a large part in the ideas of the light VS the dark side. Johnson, known for his unpredictability, shocked us from scene to scene- some being more welcomed than others. Some standout scenes were the continuously mentioned throne room scene, the final battle of Crait and the training of Rey on Ach-To. However he did have his moments which fans can agree went too far, with the ‘General Leia Superman’ moment and the divisive and memed topless scene with Kylo.
The score by the always incredible, John Williams was magical, majestic and momentous. However there were moments that the music was just re-used scores from the Force Awakens, rather than original pieces. Pieces such as Rey’s theme were prominent throughout- although this is fair as she does undoubtedly play a large role within this movie. One of the standout new pieces by Williams was ‘The Spark’ which was playing throughout the scenes with the Resistance and their fight against the First Order. One of the most beautiful pieces that was particularly moving was Princess/General Leia’s gorgeous theme in light of her untimely passing in 2016.
In conclusion, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a very bold move in comparison to it's previous installment, however this should be praised. It tooks risks that on the whole paid off with some minor exceptions. The main characters still feel they need more development. By this time in the original trilogy we felt we knew Luke, Leia and Han like the back of our hand. Hopefully JJ Ambrams can follow suit and deliver and exciting and fitting conclusion to this part of the Star Wars saga. In the mean time, we have Solo. I got a bad feeling about this.
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