The second installment in the new Star Wars trilogy is unconventional, unexpected, and unapologetically takes bold risks that, for the most part, work. The film takes place right after the first installment of the new trilogy with Rey (Daisy Ridley) turning to recluse Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) for guidance in her newfound force abilities while the Resistance engages in a tense battle that will decide the fate of the galaxy.
While too much cannot be said about the plot for fear of giving away spoilers, a lot can be said about the fantastic work from the characters and director to the meticulously crafted new worlds and battle sequences.
Director Rian Johnson’s take on this installment is purely unconventional and bold. Johnson’s script and direction of the plot and its characters throughout the film make this installment a fresh story in the Star Wars Universe.
Rey solidifies herself as one of the titular characters in this trilogy, showing her uncertainty, confidence, and fierceness in both her dialogue and action scenes. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is another titular character in this installment and mirrors the majority of Rey’s characteristics, except you are able to simultaneously despise and sympathize with his character. Mark Hamill’s return as a tired and damaged Luke Skywalker is a bold risk for the character but it’s a risk that works. Luke’s arc is unexpected but is integral to the direction of the plot.
Another integral piece is the side story of John Boyega’s Finn and Rose, portrayed by excellent newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Their story shows how their characters have a good development in their friendship and their vitality in the direction of the plot. Boyega’s energetic and caring portrayal of Finn is still present. Rose’s humor and determination is a great new addition to this installment and shows how the underdogs can sometimes pull off the best accomplishments.
Late Carrie Fisher’s return as General Leia is steadfast, determined, and hopeful. One of her parts is so shocking and essential that is needs to be seen on screen. Her increased screen time on this film was never wasted and without a doubt, her emotion in every scene was meaningful and palpable. Another character with more screen time is Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), who reveals to viewers that his heart and conviction makes him more than another Resistance pilot but an iconic leader in this installment. In addition, while Laura Dern’s role as Vice Admiral Holdo seemed small, Dern really makes you see the thoughts to Holdo’s actions, making her small but intriguing to the plot.
Although, characters that were not more developed were Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma, Domhall Gleeson’s General Hux, and Andy Serkis’s Supreme Leader Snoke. While Christie did an absolutely wonderful job at highlighting Phasma’s ferocity, maliciousness, and strength, there was no true development in her character. From the last film, it felt that Phasma deserved more of an arc that was not apparent in this film.
Also, Gleeson’s General Hux is despicable, cowardly, and malevolent but is irritating personality remained the same without any real transformation. Serkis’ Snoke is monstrous and manipulative but his backstory is still kept under wraps with little development in the knowledge of his anger towards the main protagonists.
What was more developed was the perfect combination of detailed space battles and face-offs with the masterful compositions of John Williams made each sequence feel intensified and connected. Each world in this film felt connected as well with each scene feeling immersed in the diverse environment of the planets and its cute and meticulous creatures. After this film, there even might be an abundant need to buy a porg stuffed animal.
The costumes of each character only meld with the characters unique personalities and their intentions. Costume designer Michael Kaplan knows how to put even more of a story with each character’s specific costume.
This film is truly special with its great characters, new and focused plot, intensive battles, developed world and costume designs making this penultimate installment in the new trilogy feel memorable. That is why Star Wars: The Last Jedi deserves an A-.
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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review: An Unexpected Take On A Beloved Franchise: Featured image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures