His work on Looper is all the proof you need. It’s a highly original, emotionally investing and delightfully twisted sci-fi with a whole lot of great ideas and an even better execution. It should surprise nobody that Johnson brings his unmatched sci-fi vision to The Last Jedi, where he’s given full creative control and makes the exact movie he wanted to make, taking audiences on a sweeping adventure that will challenge, delight and shock them through and through. This is a Star Wars movie unlike any other. Nothing can prepare you for what’s about to come.
It’s a journey of discovery for our heroes, where character is put in the forefront and our heroes are tested in the most unexpected and shattering of ways. Rey is forced to prove her might, seeking aid from a worn down retiree who wants nothing to do with her. The Force Awakens saw her taking her first steps into a larger world. The Last Jedi sees her finding her place, and it’s a place audiences aren’t going to expect. Her personal narrative is fresh and unexpected. At times it feels as though her expectations parallel that of the audience, but expectations can’t be met, and what we get is far from what we expect, yet everything about it just feels right.
There’s so much happening in The Last Jedi, and consequently so much to spoil. It’s all about character. They’re each confronted with the one thing they so desperately don’t want to confront, and it leads to a number of shocking reveals and unexpected twists, yet at the end of the day, the ones that surprise the most are the ones that don’t always matter. We don’t have a massive reveal with the same gravitas as ‘I am your father,’ but instead the ones that are there are executed in smaller, shocking deliveries that aren’t what audiences are going to expect. A lot happens here that we’ve never seen before, and it’s bloody brilliant. It’s a payoff in the unusual sense.
And that’s one of the things I love most about The Last Jedi. It delves into the force in new and brilliant ways, uncovering what it is and what it’s all about. The line between good and evil becomes blurred and bigger questions are asked. This is a story of failure, the bigger picture, leadership and who really wins when it comes to war. It’s nice to see 2017 going to extra mile to make thematically resonate and emotionally fulfilling blockbusters, with the likes of Logan, Blade Runner 2049 and now this, amongst others. Star Wars is an iconic franchise. It’s about time it started taking as big of a risk as this film does.
The Last Jedi requires these actors to take their performances up a notch and delve into the bigger picture at hand. We’re not just trying to take down a space station here. It’s so much bigger than that. Mark Hamill has never been better as Luke, whose motives and mindset are a far but justifiable evolution from what we’ve already seen from his character. This is a very different Luke, but he fits right in, excluding an initial out of place moment of humour. Carrie Fisher is also tremendous in her final role, and it’s a shame to see this be her final performance, for the way things are set up, Episode IX was looking to give her a much juicer role than we’ve previously seen in this new trilogy.
Also returning in the baddie department is Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma, who was falsely advertised into having a much more prominent role this time around, when in reality her appearance is more of an extended cameo that’s fun, but just as worthless as her role in The Force Awakens. There’s subtle hints towards a much more fleshed out character, but she doesn’t end up doing much, and her role feels like a waste of time. Then again, this might just be a case of expectation vs. reality, for her minimal role in The Force Awakens no longer irritates me. Given time, I can see her minimal role here no longer irritating me either.
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