The Rundown: 3.5 out of 5 Stars – Continuing a grand saga of forcible people swinging lightsabers at each other, The Last Jedi fails to live up to expectations. With the lightest world-building in a series known for its ‘world’, this film fails to build upon its predecessor, only touching on the previous film lightly. Still, we get some advancement towards a finale, and Star Wars is cool. SPOILER ALERT! SPOLER ALERT! Star Wars. We all know Star Wars, it’s that story of the moisture farmer from the desert planet who reawakened old powers and saved the galaxy. While The Force Awakens treaded that very same ground, it almost feels like the newest installment in the Star Wars saga is trying desperately to tell you that it wouldn’t dare do anything George Lucas or JJ Abrams had done before. In following the character of Rey from the first film, it was expected that she would come into contact with the legendary Luke Skywalker and perhaps some sort of Jedi training would take place. Perhaps new revelations about Rey’s past would come to light, fitting her piece into the grand puzzle that is Star Wars. Maybe this film would be the one to deepen our understanding of the Force, and show us what the universe is like post-Empire. Instead we got to see our favorite characters on screen flailing helplessly for some meaning, or some semblance of purpose within this misshapen plot. I feel the biggest failing of The Last Jedi is to appropriately acknowledge its mythology. Feel how you want about the JJ Abrams re-hashing that was The Force Awakens, it did set up very important events and questions that should have been able to carry two whole movies. We have a mysterious new power in Supreme Leader Snoke, who has somehow corrupted the most promising of Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi. Who is Snoke? The first film shrouds this in mystery. How is the First Order related to the Empire? Why are they able to use Star Destroyers, and Tie Fighters, when the old Empire had fallen? Kylo Ren, head of the knights of Ren, somehow connected to Luke Skywalker’s disappearance years ago, what’s his deal? Rey can mysteriously use very advanced Force powers, and there seems to be some psychic shenanigans going on with her, perhaps some mystery parents? The Force Awakens set up some very compelling stuff, and while some of it is touched on in The Last Jedi, some of the bigger ones end before they had a chance to germinate. Snoke is dead after proving he’s real good at the Force, and apparently that’s all we’ll get to know. The story of Kylo Ren they show through flashback doesn’t match up with the Force visions we saw in the first movie, the Knights of Ren aren’t even mentioned. Rey’s parents don’t seem to be significant (thought that could be a lie), and Rey is STILL magically good at the Force despite receiving no training, since Luke never gets around to doing that part. As far as expanding the mythology and world of Star Wars, Last Jedi falls short here too. We get to see a casino planet, but because our heroes are apparently really inept, we never get a chance to fully explore it because they’re arrested five minutes after they arrive. The reason for their mission, and what eventually dooms many Rebels, could have been solved with some half-decent management. We spend so much time on useless side missions that it never gets around to showing us that ‘Galaxy far, far away’. There is something to be said for tight, tension-filled stories, but when you are telling a saga of intergalactic war you should really save those for side-stories. Because of this, the whole scope of the movie feels small, a real downgrade from the large-scale, universe defining stakes of the first one. Though overall a disappointment, Last Jedi is not without its moments. The humor injected into the story is well placed, and the scenes revolving around Rey and Kylo’s conflict are extremely engaging, though this is also because this is the strongest thread that connects to the narrative set up by the previous movie. Luke is a pleasure to watch on-screen, and even without Rey, Adam Driver’s performance as Kylo Ren steals every scene he’s in. While not the strongest link in the pop-culture powerhouse chain that is Star Wars, Last Jedi delivers many memorable moments. Despite its failure to deliver on previous expectations, it’s an exciting and beautiful film to watch. While I can appreciate what it does well, I can’t help but feel that this series will need a fourth movie to really deliver on all the promise set up in the first film. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.