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I normally save these "off topic" posts for the weekend, but as it is Friday afternoon and I'm literally unable to think of anything productive to do in my last hour of work, I figured I'd write up some quick thoughts on the latest Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi." As always, I remind people that I'm not even close to being a professional reviewer and I'm unashamedly biased towards loving anything in the franchise. With that out of the way, let's get started. I'm going to clearly mark the end of the review with a spoiler warning. Anything below that spoiler warning will be - err - well - spoilers. Also you should consider the comment section as spoiler-filled as well. You have been warned...
I enjoyed the heck out of "The Force Awakens", but I know some folks felt it played a bit too much too nostalgia. I get that and see their point, but it didn't diminish my appreciation for the movie. Especially after the disappointment of the prequels (which I do not hate per se, but that's another post), TFA was fun and I loved it.
But then I saw "Rogue One", and my God, what a surprise. A new story, new characters (for the most part), and best of all, a new "feel". Rogue One was like no other Star Wars film and that made me truly appreciate it.
"The Last Jedi" has a good deal of that. While I think JJ played it safe with TFA, and delivered, TLJ feels much more unique and stands out much more. At times, it is shocking. I can remember at one point feeling like I needed to throw up my hands because I simply had no idea what was going to happen next. I don't say that as a complaint - but truly things really, really did not go as I expected. In fact, I can't honestly say I have a clue as to where the third and final movie will go. I mean I think it's obvious we know it will be a happy ending, but as to how it's actually going to come about, I'm not so sure.
In their second movie, it is really great to see Rey, Poe, and Finn develop. I think Finn had the least growth in this movie, but over all, the new heroes are really coming into their own. In the first movie, Kylo was well done, kind of balancing the line between petulant ass hat and menacing Sith lord. That sounds a bit like a contradiction, but for me, it worked. He continues to be amazing in TLJ, and makes me wish again that we had gotten a decent Anakin story.
And Luke... I was worried. Not because of his acting skills, but... Luke is important. And damn... they did a great job with him. All I could ask for to be honest.
As expected, the visuals were amazing, and there was one scene in particular that was easily one of the coolest things I've seen on film - ever. (I'll detail it in the spoiler section, but I'm willing to bet folks who've seen it already know which scene I'm talking about.)
The story was... good. Really good. But I'm seeing quite a few people talk about the need for editing, and I have to agree. A good 30 minutes of material could have been trimmed and I think the film would have been better for it. To be clear, it wasn't necessarily anything bad, just... not really necessary. I'm sad to say that I could have done without Benicio del Toro. He tried... but honestly his entire part of the movie is what I'd cut. I don't know - I want to watch the movie again and really think about him. I can say (and maybe this is a tiny spoiler), it was nice to hear "slicing" mentioned for the first time in a Star Wars film.
A lot of folks are talking about the diversity of this film, and the most recent films in general, and I can definitely agree that this is a great change as well. While most folks are focused on Rose Tico (who I thought was great), I want to know who the Asian First Order officer was. (And I hope they make an action figure out of him!) And I just found him - Orion Lee. I honestly didn't expect it to be that easy to find him on IMDB.
So... yeah. I enjoyed the hell out of it. I appreciated how different it felt. And despite it needing to lose some weight there in the middle, I'm want to see it again - like really soon. Oh - and how do I rank it? I don't necessarily like to "rankings" as it's so subjective and my feelings will change over time, but in general, I'd consider it my third favorite Star Wars movie, after Empire and Rogue One.
Ok, so random spoilers in no particular order.
The humor was, again, funny as hell. The opening bit with Poe and Hux... oh my god. I'm smiling now thinking about it.
What happened between Rey and Kylo was incredible. As I said, I really didn't know what was going to happen. Heck, for a while I was convinced they would both change sides and we'd get a good Kylo and evil Rey.
Snoke was great. I loved his attitude. His power. Everything. I'm disappointed we won't see more of them. And again - I did not expect that at all. I honestly thought he was on to what Kylo was doing. Oh, and what was the "electric slap down" move I saw? It was pretty quick. Again, I need to watch this movie again.
The "hyperspace ram" scene. My God. You could hear people gasp. To be clear, they weren't gasping at the move - we knew what she was doing. But the freaking visual was breathtaking. The use of silence there really worked amazingly well.
Oh, and during the battle on Crait, there is a scene where the soldiers line up in the trench. But not one guy. No no - this one guy stands up and has a look like, "I'm not afraid of anything." That guy. I want to be as cool as that guy. I asked who it was on Reddit but haven't gotten any replies yet. It felt so obvious - like an Easter Egg - but I'm not getting the reference.
The final scene - did you notice the boy used the Force? I did not. So I completely missed the point. But... what an incredible scene to end in. Here's the thing. While I may think more about Star Trek, I feel a lot more for Star Wars. Star Wars has always been an emotional thing for me. And that young boy at the end really captured that for me. Now that I know he was using the force - it is an even better ending I think.
Alright, have at it in the comments below!