(SPOILER WARNING: For those who have not seen The Last Jedi, I strongly advise that you stop reading this review. This review will contain numerous spoilers from the movie. The rating will be spoiler-free, so skip to the end if you want no spoilers. You have been warned.)
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
Have you ever been told a really good story? And then, in the middle of the story, the one telling you it suddenly stops. It may have been a bedtime story from when you were little, or one that a really good friend has told you. They start telling you the story, and then stop.
After that, for what seems like ages, they finally continue with their story. As a kid, waiting a whole day to hear the next part may seem like ages. Or your friend may have been out of town for a while. When they finally get back, they continue with the story.
You get the point. This story I’m referring to is a story of good versus evil. The light side versus the dark side of the Force. Jedi masters versus Sith lords. It started in the middle. It continued with the beginning. And now, after two years, the story finally continues. This is the wonderful and amazing story of Star Wars.
And if it’s been a while since you have seen a Star Wars movie, here’s a brief refresher. Actually, I’m not going to rehash the first six episodes plus the continuation from two years ago. If you want the refresher, click here to read it from my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that I did two years ago.
And after two years, the story continues. Rey has found the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker and is looking for answers. Hopefully Luke can provide her with them by training her to become a Jedi. Maybe then the Jedi line would continue and would spell new hope for the galaxy. This is the premise of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the next sequel released by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Walt Disney Studios.
To start things off, Star Wars is an epic space opera centered around a film series created by George Lucas. From its humble beginnings and phenomenal success, it has become an iconic franchise. In just the merchandising sector alone, the Star Wars brand is worth more than $30 billion, with $6.44 billion coming from the seven films alone. It is a cultural phenomenon that has started with the first film and has continued to this day.
But with George Lucas selling the franchise to Disney in 2012, a wave of uncertainty has come across many of the fans. I for one am curious as to what move Disney is going to make. Where is Disney going to take the franchise? Rian Johnson is the director of this next Star Wars installment. How does Johnson handle Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Is the Force strong with this movie, or has this second movie in the new trilogy turned the franchise over to the dark side? Let’s find out.
The movie begins with the Resistance fighters evacuating their base. This charge was led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Just after that, a First Order fleet arrives. After a counterattack led by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), the vessels from the Resistance go into hyperspace to escape. But their escape was cut short when the First Order pursues their whereabouts with a tracking device.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) destroys the support fighters from the Resistance, but stays his hand when he spotted the lead Resistance ship. He hesitates to fire after sensing his mother’s presence. TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing several Resistance leaders and placing General Leia in critical condition. Following this unfortunate event, Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) was placed in command to lead in place of Leia.
Poe, Finn (John Boyega), BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) expressed disapproval of Holdo’s passive strategy, and all began on a secret mission to disable the tracking device.
Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) arrives on the remote planet Ahch-To with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon to recruit Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to the Resistance. But Luke refused, having experienced the failures of the Jedi. Rey finally convinces Luke to train her. He told her that it would only be three lessons. While Rey is learning from Luke, she begins to hear Kylo Ren and they begin to have conversations with each other.
Will Rey listen to Kylo Ren or will she listen to Luke? Having seen a similar incident with Anakin Skywalker, Rey is very vulnerable.
And what about Finn and Rose’s secret plan? Will they succeed in carrying it out? What will the Resistance do with no new place to hide? Watch the movie and find out.
In looking at the length of the movie, I thought that it was pretty balanced. The typical Star Wars movie is about this length, with the pacing being just right. The plot progresses at a smooth pace, helping us to take in all the new scenery and characters. And with the ending of the movie, you know that there’s going to be another Star Wars movie. Episode IX is slated for release in 2019. The classic Star Wars score was great to hear again. After all, it is the same one that scored all the other Star Wars movies.
In looking at the characters, I loved the variety. A number of new characters made a return. I loved seeing Rey and Chewy from the last movie. Seeing Leia was again amazing, and RIP Carrie Fisher. This movie was a tribute to you and you will be missed! I loved Luke’s role and it was fun seeing more of him. There was also Finn and Poe from the last movie as well. Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) also made a cameo appearance. And the female stormtrooper Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christe) also made a return. And let’s not forget Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), the leader of the First Order.
There were also a couple of new characters that were portrayed quite well. We have Rose Tico, which complemented Finn quite nice as her companion. There is also DJ (Benicio del Toro) which had a very interesting role. Is he friend or foe? Or is he both? Who knows? The two words that come to mind is “Don’t Join”. I’ll let you figure out what that means when you see the movie. With the new characters, they’re a wonderful addition to this sequel and I liked the place that each one had in telling this wonderful story.
And what can I say about the nitpicks? Perhaps the only thing that I would’ve wanted to see was a little more closure with Luke Skywalker. We get a brief scene at the end. But maybe make it a little bit longer. Besides these nitpicks, this movie was brilliant. The next amazing new chapter in the Star Wars saga.
How did Star Wars: The Last Jedi do? Having reviewed the recent box office results, it’s doing phenomenal. While it’s not performing as high as The Force Awakens, it’s still doing pretty well. This movie grossed $104,684,491 on opening day. The second highest opening day total of all time. On top of that, it grossed $45 million for the Thursday preview. With it currently being the seventh highest grossing movie of the Star Wars series, I am confident that it will get up there. Maybe at least secure the number two spot behind The Force Awakens. In rounding up the numbers from the past trilogy, Episode I grossed a $64.8 million weekend gross. Episode II grossed $80 million and Episode III grossed $108.4 million. For The Last Jedi, the weekend domestic gross is a staggering $220 million, just behind of The Force Awakens $248 million from two years ago. The current domestic gross is $278.7 million. In adding the foreign gross of $295 million, the worldwide gross stands at $573.7 million. That pales in comparison to the $172.8 million that Revenge of the Sith made six days into its release. That’s over a $100 million difference between the two domestic totals. With a production budget of $200 million, it has made more than that in just one weekend alone. And that’s just domestically. This movie is well on it’s way to cracking the top ten, and could reach near the $1 billion mark by this weekend. Casting my few nitpicks aside, I really loved this movie. I loved the continuation of the story and how it defied my expectations. Johnson did pretty good with this movie. He nailed it. The force is strong with this movie, and it’s about to get stronger as many other others continue to see this movie. I would see it again, thus adding $7 more dollars to its total gross. Star Wars is Lucas’s baby and Disney knows this. And with the franchise in Disney’s hands, I am confident that they will successfully continue the legacy that George Lucas has started. I eagerly await the wonderful finale with Episode IX and I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a 5 out of 5.