Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the eight installment of saga series and it plays just like its predecessors while standing out on its own originality. This time around The Last Jedi is written and directed by new comer to the series Rian Johnson of Looper fame. Tonality The Last Jedi is one of the darkest in the series but still has it fair share of humorous moments throughout. What I love best about this film is it’s pacing unlike The Force Awakens which plays to text book movie beats. Rian Johnson allows The Last Jedi to take its time developing the story by focusing on the characters and playing on misdirection.
At the center of The Last Jedi is Rey (Daisy Ridley) who builds on her performance from The Force Awakens and does a great job embodying a character torn between letting go of their past and embarking on the path of their future. The Last Jedi begins exactly where The Force Awakens left off with Rey handing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) his light saber on the planet Ahch-To. In my opinion Mark Hamill gives his best performance ever as Luke Skywalker. Time has seemed to aid Hamill in his acting ability because unlike the earlier installments, Hamill adds a lot of depth to the Skywalker character portraying a man with inner turmoil as with Rey unable to let go of his past and move forward.
On the other side of the galaxy we have General Leia, portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher, in one of her last roles before her untimely death last Christmas. Fisher gives us a great performance as Leia she steps her game up a lot from The Force Awakens. Unlike Mark Hamill, Fisher showed us negatively what the lack of acting in forty years does to your abilities which Fisher knowingly recognized and admitted when it came to rate her performance in the previous installment. This time around Fisher layers Leia as a woman torn between committing to conflicting duties as a mother or the leader of a rebellion. Along side Leia there is the best pilot in the galaxy Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) who screen time is upped to that of The Force Awakens. Dameron, who is the comic relief of the film, has a lot more to do in The Last Jedi, but I wish it was more meaningful; his C storyline suffered in this film. A lot of it must be blamed on time arching other characters storylines which didn’t give us much time to spend on his arch. I feel he would have been best served being woven into main characters storylines like Finn (John Boyega) and new character addition Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) than having one of his own.
At the end of The Force Awakens we last see Finn unconscious but safe and sound in care of the rebellion. Spoiler Alert: He awakes at the beginning of the film in search of Rey but meets the character Rose instead and together they go off on their own adventure on the other side of the galaxy. Tran portrays Rose a lot like Ridley portrayed Rey in The Force Awakens; as girl who’s in search of more than what the life they’ve been living has allowed them. Going into this film I was skeptical of the addition to the character, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like this character and wanted to see more of her by the end of the film. Though I like the portrayal of both Finn and Rose in the film, I feel the B storyline given to them was very weak though it is set up well the overall execution was insufficient even with the addition of Benicio Del Torro and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) woven into their B storyline which only served as cutaway points to the main story lines of Rey, Luke and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
One of my favorite character arcs in this film is that of Kylo Ren again with the ongoing motif of a character controlled by their past. Driver portrays Kylo as character torn between the light and dark looking to set his own path instead of one others want for him. Woven into Kylo’s arch is General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) who serves as another comic relief in the film with his over the top Hitler-esque performance and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Though we never see Serkis on screen in human form, he gives another stellar motion capture performance as the menacing all powerful Snoke. Serkis and the animators does such a great job you completely forget that Snoke is a CG character. Painted throughout the film is a great space battle that is up there with those of the original trilogy and epic lightsaber duals. The Last Jedi has its highs and lows and makes for a very good addition to the franchise, Johnson sprinkles in surprises of the past with new surprises you would thought you would never see. Overall, I give this film an 8.3/10