While it is indeed a Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi is unmistakably Rian Johnson’s work. The stakes are smaller and more tangible than in The Force Awakens – this is more about the emotional toll that war takes on the characters. The Last Jedi takes care to show the small moments of heroism and sacrifice that light the spark a rebellion like this requires.
In this sense, it shares a lot of connective thread with Looper. Both tackle structures of power, cycles of violence and its effect on different classes (yes, really), while toying with our perspective of heroes and villains that we know and love, or hate. If there had to be one criticism, it’s that the running time can feel like a stretch when you wonder where all this is going – but the pieces come together, and Johnson sticks the landing.
This is all within a film that is the most visually striking that the series has offered to date. There are weirder landscapes and locations, bold splashes of colour and new perspectives of space battles, and some of the most cheer-worthy moments put to film this year.
Speaking of which – Ridley and Driver continue to be the most compelling new characters, putting in fantastic performances as Rey and Kylo Ren move into territory previously uncharted by the other films. Mark Hamill and the late, great Carrie Fisher get more substantial roles, and we’re better off for it – both carry an air of wisdom and sadness from battles fought long ago.
It’s the one we’ve been waiting for. Refreshingly idiosyncratic, it could almost be called revisionist in the way it takes a torch to our expectations of a Star Wars movie. The Last Jedi is weird, wild, and really fucking cool. And yes, you’ll love the porgs.
CAST: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
DIRECTOR: Rian Johnson
WRITER: Rian Johnson
SYNOPSIS: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.