Movie Review: The Force is with The Last Jedi

Movie Review: The Force is with The Last Jedi
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins has been a reporter with Oakville News since 2016. Covering local news and live events, he specializes in film, theatre, and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. Tyler is a proud graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi had a monumental challenge for fans of the cultural juggernaut. The hardworking team at Lucasfilm and Disney needed to create a seamless new story, effectively transforming the galactic universe into something new.

I’m pleased to report they haven’t just succeeded. They’ve thrived. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the best blockbuster of 2017. And it’s the must-see cinematic masterpiece of the holiday season.

Following in the footsteps of 2015’s The Force Awakens would be no easy task. Two years ago it satisfied the hunger for a dramatically strong and emotionally complex space opera with style and ease. The Last Jedi is strongest when it builds on the foundations from its predecessor and finds organic ways to increase the stakes.

Director Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad) is known for action and picturesque adventure stories that develop their intelligence. When he pulls a twist on the audience, it’s done with such love and intelligence it’s overwhelmingly peaceful.

This episode is a staggering 152 minutes – a long film by any standard, and the longest in franchise history. While some short edits would be effective, the time is worth it just for the cathartic payoff in the climactic fight. The first half is good, but the final hour continues to surprise again and again.

It’s indescribably awesome.

Episode VIII sees the war continue between the wicked First Order and the now-desperate Resistance, clinging to any sign of hope for justice and peace. Resistance fighter Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and must now convince him to aide her in stopping the powerful Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures.

There’s a heckuva lot more that goes on than that. Though it’s nearly impossible to describe the white-knuckle plot anymore without confusing readers or giving away the multitude of possible spoilers.

What is worth mentioning is the enormous ensemble cast. They land every sensational moment to the next. Beyond those listed as starring below, some names must be especially shared. Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, Anthony Daniels and Andy Serkis are all dynamite actors here.

Of all the surrounding action, the foreshadowed finale in Episode IX is most intriguing. Warrior Kylo Ren wisely councils to “Let the past die. It’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

True, there are some similarities (as some fans feared) to 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. There’s a Jedi who meets an old master and finishes training. There’s a desperate rebellion fight on an icy planet. And there’s an unwelcome betrayal that turns on itself.

More importantly, Johnson and the producing team have found what makes this new trilogy different. The Last Jedi is about how belief dies and how destinies are forged, even when we don’t understand. We see how people change and enemies are made. The completely original story is more important than ever.

The movie’s ultimate moral is best described in a critical question that comes from a distraught Rey: “How is a rebellion born from this?”

In a desperate world, that’s a familiar question audiences may ask themselves of the real world outside the cinema. Tumultuous politics and the fear of powers stronger than us may demand audiences to look at the parallels between art and present history.

The Last Jedi is here to remind us there’s always hope against the darkest enemies. Maybe Star Wars isn’t the first answer to resolving our divided society, but the presence of a balanced forced is undeniable. And Episode VIII is certainly a start.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
4 out of 4 stars

PG, 2hrs 32mins. Action Fantasy Epic.
Directed by Rian Johnson.
Starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX 3D.


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