Note: This is a spoiler-free review.
Though it received critical acclaim and the adoration of the franchise’s fans, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, has left us agonizing in anticipation the past two years. So when its sequel, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, arrived in theaters this December, the reaction was equal parts relief and bliss. The newest installment exceeded the hype and ranks among the best movies to hit the big screen this year.
After finding Jedi legend Luke Skywalker, Rey (Daisy Ridley) persuades Luke to train her in the ways of the Force on the mysterious island planet of Ahch-To. At the same time, the First Order, led by the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), seeks to wipe out the fading Resistance once and for all. Other characters we met in The Force Awakens, such as Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), return to the front of the action.
The Last Jedi shines brightest as one of the most exciting films of its franchise thanks to its jaw-dropping action sequences. Each of the main characters has a ‘wow’ moment that showcases their powers, from Poe’s daring stunts to Rey’s lightsaber strikes to BB-8’s surprising arsenal, and the result is an immensely entertaining film. These characters are capable of using the Force in ways we haven’t seen in earlier films, something that has drawn the ire of Star Wars fanatics but adds freshness and novelty to the action sequences.
My greatest concern going into The Last Jedi was that it would follow the blueprint of the Empire Strikes Back, much like the Force Awakens did with the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope. Those fears were misplaced, as The Last Jedi contains unforeseen twists and turns and establishes itself as an original story. The plot is darker and more complex than previous Star Wars movies and explores deeper themes that are thought-provoking. At the same time, it was as engaging and enjoyable to watch as any of the others.
From a technical standpoint, The Last Jedi is arguably the finest of the Star Wars saga. The visuals and special effects are simply stunning, enhancing the battles and creating realistic and beautiful environments. The music is also on point. Though the score uses pieces from previous Star Wars installments, each one is played at the perfect time and adds intensity to the action scenes. This movie also toys with the complete absence of sound, which proves to be the most powerful note.
For those unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe, the Last Jedi won’t resonate much, given its frequent references to earlier movies and length. But for viewers ranging from casual moviegoer to Star Wars fanatic, The Last Jedi is a two-and-a-half-hour thrill ride, jampacked with enticing visuals, fantastic performances, and another impeccable score from composer John Williams. It is definitely one of the most enjoyable films of 2017.
The Last Jedi was well worth the wait, providing an entertaining and compelling addition to the Star Wars saga and will be remembered as an exciting film for all ages. Now, only two more long, long years until Episode IX.