Movie review (100% spoiler-free): Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Continued my now three-years old tradition of taking in a morning screening of the new Star Wars movie with my buddy John. Here are five very quick (spoiler-free!) thoughts about The Last Jedi. (There are spoilers for The Force Awakens though!)

It’s really good…

Yep, the reviews are all correct: It’s a very good movie. It’s long, but it’s well-paced. It’s surprising, but not in any way that takes you “out” of the Star Wars mindset—it’s very much a Star Wars movie. It’s very nicely shot, nothing feel like too much of a callback to the original movies that it takes you out of the film. There’s not nearly as much “fan service” as The Force Awakens or even Rogue One. The movie stands on its own very well. And the music and sound design are also excellent; I definitely recommend seeing it in the theatre. (We saw it in IMAX 3D, and although I typically loathe 3D, it is done quite well.)

…and yeah, I’d say The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back

It’s obviously better than any of the prequels, and I would place it above Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens as well. Rogue One feels like the closest comparison, but the addition of the heroes we know and love, The Last Jedi definitely has the edge. But I wouldn’t place it above The Empire Strikes Back or Star Wars.

It is so wonderful to have Mark Hamill back on screen as Luke

I can’t even tell you the number of times I have popped in The Force Awakens DVD and just watched the last two minutes. That final scene still gives me chills! And his role in this film pays it off beautifully. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of anything spoilery, but every scene he’s in is great, and there are several in the film that gave me those same chills. I have been waiting for more Luke since I was six years old, and The Last Jedi doesn’t disappoint.

The performances were excellent

Sounds a bit odd to say about a Star Wars film, right? But everyone is really good, including Mark Hamill (although maybe let’s cool it a bit with the “best actor” talk, yeah? He’s still Mark Hamill!). Adam Driver is the highlight, I think; he shows wonderful range throughout the movie and you can really feel his emotions coming through. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega knock it out of the park again (as does BB-8, of course). The new cast additions all fit in nicely. And it was great to see Carrie Fisher again, one last time.

It’s not a perfect film

There are some goofy jokes that are too slap-sticky and fall flat. A couple of characters deserve more screen time and development. As wonderful as all the creature effects are—so much better than anything in the prequels—they may have overdone it a tiny bit (I could have used more BB-8 instead! Love that little droid).

And as much as understand it from a story perspective, I will always feel a little robbed that Han Solo was killed before we got a Luke-Han reunion.

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I don’t think I have to tell anyone to go see this movie; you’re going to see it if you’re into this stuff, you’re gonna avoid it if you’re not. But even if you’re not into it and you find yourself dragged out to see it, I don’t think you’ll walk away disappointed. The Last Jedi is extremely entertaining, and it’s a damn good time in a theatre. And if you are into it? I think you’ll be satisfied.

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