A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
If you’re a Star Wars geek like me, just seeing those words up on the big screen gives you a thrill. It was my biggest complaint about Rogue One, actually, the omission of the now classic screen crawl. But they put that, and the music, back for The Last Jedi.
I will do my best to stay spoiler-free in this review, in deference to those who haven’t seen it yet. My overall impression was that I liked it a lot. I didn’t quite love it, but I liked it a lot. It was fun to watch, it had the Star Wars feel, and we got to see some characters, new and old, back in action. Including one I really wasn’t expecting, as well as a show of power from another that was a surprise.
There was a lot of action. Fighting at every scale: personal, starfighter, and capital ship. There was a lot of desperation, as characters struggled through a decisive battle. And we got to see a master teaching a student, although not the way you’d expect. That’s a recurring theme in the movie: they do a great job of building up expectations and then throwing a major curve ball. None of it was gratuitous, every twist and surprise made sense.
They didn’t repeat things too closely, which was a complaint I heard about The Force Awakens. We weren’t back on a huge superweapon, for example. The Rebels, now the Resistance, were massively outgunned and on the run, which you’d expect. I will say that there are some overall thematic similarities to Empire Strikes Back, the second of the original trilogy.
This was a darker film than The Force Awakens, or any of the first three. There were a LOT of character deaths. At times, I was wondering if Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) brought some of that over with her from Game of Thrones. I didn’t see them all coming (although I was happily wrong about one I thought was about to happen), nor did I see all the betrayals and counter-plots.
It ended in a place of hope. Things were bad throughout the movie, but there’s a chance for the future. And, depending on how you saw the very last scene, there’s some interesting potential for what may come.
I’m an old school Star Wars fan. I’m always going to prefer the Expanded Universe, with its decades of character development and the progression of that universe. But this was good. It’s definitely worth seeing, and it’s a hell of a ride.
I’m skipping what I liked and what I didn’t, which I usually do in my reviews, so I don’t slip any spoilers. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5, and say if you’re a Star Wars fan at all, go see it.