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Review: “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”

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Getting into a showing of Star Wars on opening day was about as easy as finding Luke Skywalker, but somehow we managed it.

My friend Olivia and I left school on Friday, ecstatic for a 3:30 showing of The Last Jedi, but weren’t allowed into the theatre because I’m not 18. So, we quickly rushed to Town Center and somehow caught a 4:30 showing. We settled into our seats, just as excited as we had been just after school – if not a little more exhausted.

And, okay, I’m just going to say it – I really liked this movie.

From the very beginning, it was different than other Star Wars films. Some things were the same: the film opens, of course, with “long ago, in a galaxy far, far away” and a text sequence. Quickly we transition into a battle between the Rebels and the First Order. The battle scene heavily features pilot and commander Poe Dameron, portrayed by Oscar Isaac, an original character introduced in the last film, The Force Awakens. Something many fans noted is the “Marvel-esque” humorous moments, most specifically a conversation between Poe and General Hux of the First Order during the first scene. In the scene, Poe messes with Hux in a sarcastic, borderline-Robert Downey Jr. style, making the enemy general flustered and angry,intentionally ruining the tense moment. As Star Wars is owned by Disney, who also owns Marvel, the use of this lighthearted tone is somewhat unsurprising, and not something I really minded; I personally love Dameron’s character, and am a fan of “Marvel humour”. However, I do empathise with the objection that this doesn’t fit very naturally with what we’ve come to expect from Star Wars.

Most of the objections towards this film came from classic fans who felt that it, in general, did not fit with the other films. Some even went as far as to say they disliked it more than the Phantom Menace, which, to a Star Wars fan, means a lot.
Mark Hamill himself disagreed with certain aspects of Luke’s character in the script. I won’t be discussing these things and other specific plot points as this is a spoiler-free review, but I do agree with Hamill – some of the things we learn throughout the film that Luke did in the past weren’t very “Luke”.

In truth, aside from the fact that we were witnessing wars in space, this just really didn’t feel like your classic Star Wars film – an uncomfortable truth that I’m reconciling with the fact that I still liked the movie. It lacked the classic scene transitions (that swipe-across-screen effect) and the film was generally much more fast-paced. The best way I can describe it is that it really did feel like a Marvel film a lot of the time.

However, I think that aside from the fact that this film might not fit quite as cohesively as the others, it was a good film. Battle scenes were exciting and well-paced, the acting and casting was incredible, and the score by John Williams was fantastic. Additionally, contrary to some fans, I think there was strong character development in this film, even if it didn’t dramatically change every character. Major character aspects introduced in the last film – Kylo Ren’s struggle between the Dark and Light Side, Finn’s propensity to run at the first sight of trouble, Poe’s impulsiveness and desire for glory, and Rey’s personal background and her own struggle with the Dark Side – are all addressed and furthered in this film. The relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey throughout the film gives deep psychological insight into both characters and their contrast in terms of how they view their dark sides is a significant point of interest. On a lesser level, the contrast between Poe’s general strategy of “fight” and Finn’s strategy of “flight” is also significant. I think the psychological aspect of this film was really interesting, and made me feel I knew the characters better. I am excited to see character arcs completed in the next film.

So, yes, I think The Last Jedi was a good movie, and I’d see it again. Nothing can live up to the original Star Wars trilogy, and what I liked about this film is that it didn’t try to. This is a new era of Star Wars: a Star Wars that’s owned by Disney, and a Star Wars that stars a cast of phenomenal actors that will continue to do great things with these characters regardless of where the script decides to go, and I, for one, trust them.

Also, pro-tip: the Ward Parkway policy is not, in fact, that you can get into a movie if you’re with an 18-year-old. If all members of the group are not 18 you have to be accompanied by a 21-year-old. I won’t make that mistake again.

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