Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) ***1/2

I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) a lot, loved a lot about it, in fact. But I can't say that I got goosebumps at any particular moment like I did with The Force Awakens (2015). Maybe it's because, in the case of TFA, it had been much longer between SW films and the prequels didn't age well at all. Maybe I expected too much from TLJ. I do know that I am looking forward to a second viewing, and as I did with TFA, I will likely see TLJ again in the theater. I do really appreciate that Rian Johnson tried some new things. I wouldn't call it a sea change though - he stuck to the look and the lore and still largely succeeded in making a film with his own stamp.

The good: 
The battle sequences were excellent - largely coherent and well staged. The film felt strongest to me when it the focused on the link between Rey and Ren, and also the scenes between Luke and Rey. Luke had a particularly strong scene where he got to show off his Force skills. The design was great and series appropriate all around - familiar, but with some new flourishes - like Snoke's lair, which was a menacing, minimalist, crimson delight. The Porgs were kept to a minimum and weren't integral to the plot, which I was thankful for, as too much cute CGI creature screen time grates on me.

The not so good:
The comedy - some of it worked really well, but a good portion of it was just silly/self aware/modern/millennial/'tude type stuff that doesn't really do it for me. It seemed like there was more humor in TLJ than any other SW film and a lot of it didn't land with me. By the same token, I'm glad that Johnson didn't opt to go 100% dark/dreary/po-faced. Some of the dialogue was pretty weak. A lot of the action felt tangential and nonsensical. Attempts at political statements (the 1%, guns being sold to both sides, etc.) were a bit heavy-handed and on the nose. The film could have used some trimming - if it was even 15 mins shorter I feel like it would flow a bit better. And then there was a Leia moment that I won't spoil but was super WTFy.

I'm not one to look to Star Wars films for deep philosophical discussion though I don't fault people who do seek that from this series. For me, as long as the films are entertaining and not too dumbed down, I'm satisfied. And the first three of the new breed of SW films have definitely been entertaining, in spades. They're some of the best blockbusters with brains out there.


  1. I agree that the comedy was 'Forced'(pun intended) and often out of place. The thing with Leia was whacked out too. Curious to see how the next one is and also looking forward to the Han Solo side project.

    1. I'm interested in how a revisit of TLJ will play out. I can't say I'm "looking forward to" SOLO per say, but I will see it.


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