Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Spoiler-Free Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It has been two years since we last saw our friends and enemies in The Force Awakens. They are all back with new friends for the eighth installment of the Star Wars Saga, The Last Jedi. Just as in my review for The Force Awakens, this will be a spoiler-free review and I can tell you that the trailers and TV spots really give away nothing.

The Last Jedi takes the spirit and the energy of The Force Awakens and keeps right on running forward with it! The pacing is perfect and while listed as the longest running time of any Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi could have easily gone another hour and we would have never known it. Every shot is about moving the story forward. There is so much going on and so much to process but yet at the same time you do not feel overwhelmed. And while this is perhaps the most emotionally powerful of all the Star Wars films, I would even go out on a limb and say that it is the funniest as well. A perfect balance of emotion and humor keeps this movie rolling right along like BB-8.

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fischer shine here. This is easily both of their best performances in a Star Wars film.  But their performances are easily overshadowed by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. As Rey and Kylo Ren, they knock it out of the galaxy.  They take their characters to places I never thought they would go and they excel every step of the way. And new comer Kellie Marie Tran as Rose is a sensation. You will fall in love with her.

While some accuse The Force Awakens of paying too much fan service to A New Hope, The Last Jedi does pay some homage to The Empire Strikes Back but this is not a rehash of that film. The Last Jedi explores each of the characters more deeply as we learn so much more about each one of them. The characters are at the forefront, pushing themselves and the story forward. And there are some emotional payoffs that were decades in the making.

Immediately, I rank this as my third favorite Star Wars film right behind The Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope. The Last Jedi is powerful, emotional, funny and just epic. There are also some of the most spectacular action and stunning visuals of the entire saga.

Rian Johnson and his team move the saga forward in powerful and stunning ways. Never afraid to take big risks and the payoff is huge. I cannot wait to see what happens in Episode 9 and I cannot wait to see what Rian Johnson has in store for us with his own Star Wars trilogy.

My advice is to avoid spoilers at all costs!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters December 15.

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