Before I get on with the business of reviewing one of the most anticipated films of 2017, I’ll go on and acknowledge that, yes, I’m well aware that this is the kind of film that is critic proof. And, yes, I’m also well aware that anything I have to say about this latest Star Wars entry isn’t going to make much of a difference in terms of whether anyone chooses to see it or not. Still, it’s a critic’s duty to be fair and state the case for or against a film as honestly as possible, so here goes. Despite a mid section that threatens to collapse under its own weight at times, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe and one that will be certain to please longtime fans of the series. And as far as pleasing longtime fans of the series, would one expect anything less? I think the answer is a resounding no.
In the interest of trying to remain as free of spoilers as possible, it’s best to simply note that, unsurprisingly, the film picks up exactly where the box office behemoth, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, left off two years ago. It was at the conclusion of that film that the Jedi heroine in training, Rey (Daisy Ridley), was dispatched to the isolated island where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) currently resides. Rey’s hope, of course, is to get the legendary Jedi to join the rebellion lead by his sister, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and to impart some of the Jedi wisdom he’s accumulated. Luke wants no part of it and wishes only to put the past behind him.
The film crosscuts between various subplots much in the same vein as its predecessors did as the rebels try to defeat the first order, mostly represented by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the supreme leader, Snoke (Andy Serkis). Resistance fighter Poe Dameron, the character played by Oscar Issac and barely given anything to do in the first film, gets a chance to shine, as does John Boyega as Finn. The inner conflict that Kylo Ren feels after having killed his father, Han Solo, in the last film is also a major story thread. Among the new characters the one that leaves the strongest impression is underling resistance fighter, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who teams up with Finn to give the First Order a run for their money, so to speak.
The problem with this Star Wars entry, like so many other films these days, is found in its overlength. This is a good one and three quarter hour movie stretched very thin into two and one half hours and you can easily feel it. Also the film insists on ham fisted jokes and a preponderance of CGI creations that are simply put into place to sell merchandise as they do nothing to advance the film’s plot. Writer-director Rian Johnson does a capable job and the results are good. I was just hoping for a little more.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens this week all around this area.
Questions or comments? Write Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.