Entertainment Movie review: ‘The Last Jedi’ a different kind of ‘Star Wars’ movie | The Cullman Tribune


Movie review: ‘The Last Jedi’ a different kind of ‘Star Wars’ movie

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi," written and directed by Rian Johnson, is the sequel to "“Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and is the eighth entry into the episodic “Star Wars” films. Most of the leads from “The Force Awakens” return including Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and the late Carrie Fisher as Leia. Mark Hamill made a brief appearance in the previous film but takes center stage here in the sequel as Luke Skywalker

Hamill plays a run-down version of Luke who is reluctant to help Rey when she arrives, and the film uses this conflict to teach us more about the Force. The Force has always been very vaguely defined but “The Last Jedi” takes some time to explain some things that we didn't know and flesh out some things that have been hinted at in the past. The scenes between Luke and Rey give us something different than what we have seen in “Star Wars” movies before. That is one of the things that “The Last Jedi” does really well, introduces some new abilities with the Force that we haven't seen before.

It's impossible not to pay extra attention to Leia considering Fisher's death last December. Fisher gives a great performance as the leader of the Resistance and has a few stand-out moments of her own that may or may not please everyone, but she has a powerful presence throughout the film. She plays a big part in the character arc of Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Issac, and as a result Poe gets much more screen time in this film than he did in “The Force Awakens,” his character taking some big steps forward.

Driver is still great as Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. His character development is the one that I find the most interesting, and he brings a lot of the emotional punch to this movie. His relationships with Rey, Luke and Supreme Leader Snoke all get a lot of attention which makes him a much more interesting character.

“The Last Jedi” has some of the best action sequences and effects that we've seen in the franchise as well. All of the space battles, land battles, lightsaber battles and chases give us something new to see and obviously the effects are top-notch.

As far as flaws that stood out, part of the second act can really start to drag as some of the characters are seemingly stuck in place waiting on other characters to return to the action. There are also some side characters introduced whose motivations are made intentionally unclear to buy time for other characters to catch up with the plot. There are enough great character moments and action sequences to make up for that, but it definitely makes the movie feel like it's probably a little too long.

Introducing new ideas, locations, creatures, weapons and character motivations make “The Last Jedi” unique among the rest of the franchise. Johnson takes advantage of our prior knowledge about certain characters to send them in directions that we don't expect. Because of that, this is a movie that is very hard to predict and has several twists and reveals that keep you guessing as it plays out. Some of the twists and shocking moments may not sit well with everyone, but they also answer the biggest criticism of “The Force Awakens,” which is that it was too similar to other “Star Wars” movies. Some of our questions are answered and some of them are left open. Some of the answers we get aren't what you'd expect, but it's clear that it was intentional. This is a different kind of “Star Wars” movie that will open the doors for some new ideas for the franchise going forward.

Griffin’s score: 4/5 stars

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