Release date: 14/12/18
Dir: Rian Johnson
Writing a review that doesn’t have any spoilers in it, just in case you’re one of the three people who hasn’t been to see The Last Jedi since its release on Thursday, is quite hard. But we’re going to give it our best shot – because if you haven’t seen Episode VIII? You really, really should.
The Star Wars franchise is back with its eight instalment. When The Force Awakens returned in 2015, 32 years after the original trilogy (we won’t talk about the prequels), it felt really special. Even if you weren’t a Star Wars fan, sitting in a cinema hall to see what all the fuss was about, there was a thrill in the air. Even though it’s only been two years, that same buzz was there.
And rightly so. Lat time around, we’d left our hero Rey, face to face with Luke Skywalker, on her mission to get him to come join the Resistance. And after an epic space battle, that’s where we head back to. We don’t want to give anything away, so all we’ll say is that this time around, the First Order are hell-bent on destroying the Rebels. And Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) wants rid of Luke Skywalker – the last Jedi – to stamp out the remaining light and let the darkness take over.
And that’s really all we’re going to say because we don’t want to ruin it. But what we can say is that this movie has got heaps of incredible battled scenes – the sort where you forget to breathe a bit. While The Force Awakens spent a lot of time introducing characters and setting things up, The Last Jedi really just gets on with things – and it’s fantastic. It’s features all your old favourites, and it’s got lots of laughs too.
This final trilogy was always going to be Leia’s moment. And in this film, the late Carrie Fisher gives an excellent performance. The film wrapped in June 2016, and Carrie sadly passed away last December, so this was her last work. It’s her final outing as General Leia Organa, and it’s a triumph. She’s wise and strong, and everything you’d want from a female lead.
Daisy Ridley’s Rey too is on top form, with newcomers like Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Admiral Amilyn Hodo (Laura Dern) also showing us how film roles should be done for women.
Mark Hamill’s return as a grumpy Luke Skywalker, years on and really not interested in saving the galaxy all over again, is also wonderful. His performance is just brilliant – and his scenes with Fisher left this reviewer with a lump in her throat.
What’s lovely about The Last Jedi is that director Rian Johnson grew up with the films. And in some ways, it feels like fan fiction come to life. Likes something he maybe dreamt up as a starry-eyed kid, racing through space with his toys. And that’s not meant as a criticism – it’s a glorious, glorious thing. It’s a story that’s got heart, and depth, and lots of lovely nods to the original movies, but not in a forced way. All we’ll say is we can’t wait for Episode IX.
You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy the latest revival of the franchise – but you’ll definitely leave one.