REVIEW – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas, STAR WARS! Tickets at the ready, lightsabers in hand, here we go…

After The Force Awakens proved such a success back in 2015, and Rogue One was widely appreciated as another Star Wars hit last year, the pressure was on. When the name of the second instalment in the current Star Wars trilogy was revealed, fans were less than impressed. Compared to previous titles such as The Empire Strikes Back and The Phantom Menace, The Last Jedi just doesn’t have that same pizzazz – but, it wasn’t enough to stop the cinemas from booking up weeks in advance.

There’s been fan fiction revolving around a relationship brewing between Kylo Ren and Rey for years now. While there’s certainly some truth to this, the two characters are thrust together with a connection that neither of them fully understand. However, all is not as it seems, and the overdone storyline of a heroine falling in love with the bad boy isn’t so simple after all.

Adam Driver’s portrayal of Kylo, however, is one of the stand out performances of the film. He encompasses everything a young and confused Darth Vader wannabe should. His hatred towards Luke Skywalker is explained, and while it isn’t particularly justified, Driver shows his anger in the most believable way. He’s a baddy and that will never change – he killed his dad for goodness sake. What’s different this time is that he’s conflicted. He shows a softer side to himself when he’s given the opportunity to kill his mother. For the first time, he seems almost human.

Meanwhile, the true heroes of the film are Finn (played by John Boyega) and the new character, Rose (played by Kelly Marie Tran). Finn was introduced to us during the first film, when he converted from storm trooper to resistance fighter. He’s an unlikely hero. He instinctively tries to find the easy way out, and this time is no different. However, he’s stopped by maintenance worker, Rose. They grow an unlikely friendship and risk their lives multiple times for a resistance that’s losing fighters daily. Although it must be said, BB8 transforms from cute droid to badass saviour very swiftly, and it too deserves a tick in the ‘hero’ box.

“The true heroes of the film are Finn (played by John Boyega) and the new character, Rose (played by Kelly Marie Tran).”

Rey and Luke Skywalker are far away from the action for the most part. Luke has become a recluse, he’s very happy living by himself on his own island. We also find out he’s shut himself off from the force. Rey and Chewbacca refuse to leave until he agrees to train Rey to become a Jedi. These scenes may not be as action packed as what’s happening up in space, but they’re by no means boring. The connection between the two characters, and seeing the progression in Rey’s character is truly endearing. The creatures we’re introduced to on this island and other planets are also some of the best the Star Wars universe has created.

Porgs in particular are superb. They’re cute, they’re annoying, and one even gains an unlikely friendship with Chewbacca. We’re also introduced to fathiers, who are exploited and abused for their speed – sound familiar? A little like horse racing perhaps? Well luckily in this story, these beautiful creatures have a happy ending. Vulptices don’t appear in the film until towards the end. But although they aren’t in it for long, they make a lasting impact. The creatures that resemble crystal foxes not only look incredible, but they help the resistance.

It must be said that seeing Carrie Fisher in all her Leia glory again was wonderful. How the film crew are planning to keep her in the final film is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, she will forever go down as one of the best characters that has been created in any sci-fi film, or to be honest, any film at all.

It isn’t the best Star Wars film, that’s for sure. But it certainly isn’t the worst, far from it. The new creatures and characters we’re introduced to proves the franchise is nowhere close to running out of ideas. The greater racial diversity should be used as an example to the rest of Hollywood on how to be truly representative. The end point of the film already has you anticipating 2019’s instalment. Simply put, it may not be ground-breaking, but it’s still bloody brilliant.

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