Now that I've had a few days to let things digest, it's time to get into some spoiler talk on Star Wars The Last Jedi. With a movie like this, I'd normally like to see it a second time before I make too many judgements, but with two kids under the age of 3 I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to get back out to the theater. Hopefully soon, but I'm not sure when that will be.
This post will obviously be full of spoilers, so if you haven't seen The Last Jedi yet then now is the time to leave!
Last warning, SPOILERS BELOW!
I want to start this by saying I really enjoyed this movie! While no movie is perfect (I always use The Dark Knight as an example, it's brilliant but looking back I can nitpick at things, that doesn't mean I don't love it), this movie had a whole lot more good than it did not good. My initial feel is that I'm going to rank it just below The Force Awakens but I'll need to see it again (and probably again and again) before I make any solid decisions on that!).
Let's start with Rey. Picking up right after the end of The Force Awakens she is handing over Luke's lightsaber, and he tosses it off a cliff. Definitely not what we were all expecting, but it did set the tone for how he felt about training her. While I did like the overall sequence of her time on the island, there were moments when I felt like it dragged a little. An example would be Luke going to get milk and catch the fish. It was visually nice, and again set the mood, but I felt like some of that went on a little too long. Oh well. As a whole, that progression was great. Both Rey and Luke start to see where their place in everything is. As a side note, I loved R2-D2 playing coy with Luke and playing the "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi" video.
Another part of the movie I didn't really care for was the gambling planet that Finn and Rose travel to. I certainly loved the message that was learned (sure these guys are kind of bad, profiting off of war, but their helping both the good guys and the bad guys), but like above it seemed kind of slow. I'm not sure what it was exactly, but it was sort of a strange pace. Maybe it was Benicio Del Toro being a bit weird. Maybe it would have worked better with an unknown. I dunno, ultimately this was not a deal breaker for me.
OK, on to the good stuff. I have to start with the lightsaber battler with Rey and Kylo Ren battling Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guard. That's probably my favorite lightsaber fight in all of Star Wars. The choreography was amazing, and some of the new tricks we saw were very clever (who would have thought of dropping your weapon temporarily during a battle??).
We have to talk about Yoda. I saw a picture of Frank Oz attending the premier of The Last Jedi with a joke caption about how it must mean Yoda is back. It was obviously meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Yoda was on no one's radar. But man, he came back with a vengeance. What I loved most about that is that Luke was so hellbent on destroying the tree, but he hesitated. But we get Yoda, who we all trust as very wise, going ahead and destroying it all.
Let's talk Leia. This was one of the biggest surprises for me. I felt like it was a given that she would die, after Carrie Fisher passed in real life. So when she was blasted out of the ship, I was sad, but it wasn't unexpected. And then....holy crap. Wait, she's turning and pulling herself back to the ship? I liked that in this movie and The Force Awakens they did reveal a little of Leia's force abilities, which we all sort of knew based on her family history. If there was a complaint, then Steele Saunders at the Steele Wars Podcast nailed it:
The frustrating thing about “THAT SCENE” is that not one word is said about it ever again.— Steele Wars Podcast (@SteeleWars) December 15, 2017
It happens, but no one on the ship seems fazed at all. My best guess is that everyone knows she's Luke's sister, so it's not a shock that she has a connection to the Force that can save her.
The final battle had to be one of the most beautiful settings we've had in Star Wars. I thought it was interesting that everything was salt, even though it looked like we were going to get a cold, Hoth-like setting. The visuals of having all that white destroyed by red, especially by the end, was a literal scar left by the war.
And that battle! When Luke showed up, I was a little disturbed, he looked weird. Like, did you really spend time to cut your hair and beard. But the Force projection of himself caught me totally off guard. I loved it.
This movie was so full, and there is so much else left to say, but I'm going to end with one last little thing. That kid with the broom at the end, did he use a little Force power to pull the broom over to himself? I think that's what I saw. Hmm...
All-in-all, I really really liked this movie. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Normally I can find other little holes, but nothing is popping up that is a deal breaker for me. For now, I'm giving this an A-. Very possible that I'll go higher once I see it a few more times (but if Rey had turned to the dark side I swear I was ready to leap up and punch through the movie screen screaming "Why!? WHY!?" and I would probably sulk and give this movie a terrible grade like everyone over at Rotten Tomatoes who is mad that their theories were wrong).
Related: How We Grade Movies https://www.thefresnerd.com/how-we-rate-movies/
Anyway, what did you think? This post is obviously all spoilers, so leave whatever you want in the comments!
**Edit** I totally forgot to talk about the jokes. This definitely had the most straight up jokes out of any Star Wars movie. They didn't all land, but I was OK with it. Nothing wrong with adding some humor into a heavy story. A few of my favorites:
Luke screwing with Rey when he tells her to reach out. Sure it was silly, but this guy has spent how long living on an island alone? Of course he would do something like that.
At the beginning while Poe is screwing with General Hux, I'm pretty sure he was calling him "Hugs".