Verdict - The Last Jedi, so fulfilling yet leaves so much to be desired
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the 8th installment in the immensely popular space opera franchise that has satiated the fanboys’ hunger since the 70s. No one would have ever imagined back then how popular these films and the characters associated with them would become. J.J. Abrams started a new sequel trilogy with The Force Awakens in 2015 and there were some doubts whether adding more films to the iconic saga is a good idea as the prequels were vastly divisive. But they quickly disappeared once everyone saw the film and loved it.
The 8th episode had a lot of things to address to, most prominently how to give Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia a proper sendoff and Rian Johnson manages to do that. The film’s story primarily focuses on the Resistance gearing up for one last fight against the First Order after their support ships and fighter planes are destroyed and they look for help from all the corners of the universe. Everyone has their hopes pinned on Luke Skywalker who is still reluctant to join the Resistance and teach Rey how to control the Force.
Supreme Leader Snoke uses his powers to connect the minds of Rey and Kylo Ren in order to get to Skywalker, The Last Jedi. Kylo Ren is still having difficulties as to where exactly his heart lies and the character’s conflict is impressively portrayed by Adam Driver. At the same time, Rey’s parentage, which was teased for a long time yields somewhat mixed results. By the end of the film, the audiences may realize why it is done but it is something that is going to be discussed a lot in the years to come and not everyone may be satisfied by it.
Finn has his own adventure with Rose, a maintenance worker for the Resistance. During their search for a master code-breaker, they come across a number of downtrodden people who are oppressed by the masters benefiting out of the war between the resistance and First Order. Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron waits for Finn and Rose to come back with the codebreaker so they can disable the tracking device of Snoke’s ship and the Resistance has a chance to escape.
The film is very different from its predecessors and deals with different philosophies at once. The dying and decaying of the old ways giving birth to something new and fresh and defining the definition of a hero. You don’t need to have a prophecy telling you what to do or be someone from royal bloodline to achieve greatness or your role in the universe, all it takes is the confidence and faith in your abilities to do the right thing and standing up for yourself. The characters of Luke, Leia, Kylo, Finn, and Rey are looking for their calling in The Last Jedi and each one finds their path.
Even though the film is fulfilling in many ways and manages to tick all the boxes in terms of entertainment quotient, it still leaves a lot of plot holes and underdeveloped characters that could have been worked upon. Most importantly Supreme Leader Snoke comes off as a one-dimensional character with no substantial arc. As the main villain of the film, he is quite underwhelming. Same is the case with the new powers and ways of the Force which no one ever saw before and how effortlessly Rey learns how to use the Force in a short span of time while it took Luke 2 films to learn that.
The film honors the legacy of Carrie Fisher and it’s at once heartbreaking and heartwarming to see when Leia stops midway, “May the Force…” and lets Vice Admiral Holdo say the iconic line saying, “I’ve said it enough”. Mark Hamill shines as the reluctant Jedi who is still haunted by the past but must overcome his fears and complexities in order to bring hope to the resistance. He becomes Obi-Wan to Rey’s Luke and slowly realizes that. Rian Johnson ends the film with a scene that brings back a rush of emotions to anyone familiar with the events of a New Hope and that is the film’s underlying message, hope.