‘The Last Jedi’ promises no end to the galactic war


Courtesy of Wikimedia creative commons

Shaye Holladay McCarthy, Magazine Editor

The sequel trilogy continues with the release of a beautiful masterpiece, The Last Jedi, two years after the release of The Force Awakens. The film recasts Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), and Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), all of whom are new faces to the franchise only seen in the prior film. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are also recast as Luke Skywalker and General Leia Organa, their characters from the original trilogy.

After the battle on Starkiller Base, Rey has gone to Ahch-To to find Luke and have him join the fight against the First Order. Meanwhile, the First Order attack the Resistance as they rush to evacuate before D’Qar is destroyed. Poe Dameron launches a successful counterattack on the dreadnought, but at a high price. The Resistance attempt to flee, but are tracked by the First Order as Kylo leads the next attack taking out the support fighter ships.

As Rey tries to persuade Luke to join the fight and help her continue training in the ways of the Force, she ends up forming a connection with Kylo. Luke and Kylo both give Rey different versions of why he fell to the dark side. Rey, convinced that Kylo still has light in him, goes to confront him on her own, but he has different plans. While the Resistance manages to stay out of range of the Star Destroyer, Finn and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) head to Canto Bight to acquire the help of a hacker to disable the tracking device.

After escaping the planet, they reach the tracking device on Snoke’s ship, but are caught by Captain Phasma and her guards. Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) orders an evacuation getting as many of the Resistance members possible to the transports before making the ultimate sacrifice to let the surviving rebels escape to the mineral planet Crait. Upon arrival to the base on Crait, the Resistance seeks help from planets in the outer rim, but they receive no response.

Poe, Finn and Rose lead the attack when the First Order lands to take out the battering cannon. Rey, after escaping Kylo on the Star Destroyer, joins the fight and draws the fighters away from the leaders on their run to take out the cannon. After the unsuccessful run on the cannon, Luke joins the fight and faces his nephew one last time allowing the rebels to escape. General Leia reassures the few remaining rebels that they had all they needed to rebuild the next generation.

The Last Jedi is an elegantly directed and written film by Rian Johnson which continues the trilogy after The Force Awakens, and despite the seriousness of the situation with the rebels cornered, Johnson manages to include humor away from the fight with Luke training Rey. Johnson also scatters small bits and pieces of humor throughout the film to break the tension. Whether it’s a sarcastic remark from Gleeson’s General Hux, a moment taken too literally under Luke’s instruction by Rey, or a reference when Kylo calls the Millenium Falcon garbage, the humor adds a bright tone to the movie.

Parts of the movie answer questions raised in The Force Awakens, but all this film really does is raise more questions. In The Force Awakens, when Rey first finds Luke’s lightsaber, she sees a vision of Kylo and the Knights of Ren on the night they turned to the dark. Throughout The Last Jedi, there is no mention of the Knights of Ren or anything that hints to them even being relevant anymore to the saga.

Another issue with this film is the amount of characters in different places at various times. Rey, for the majority of the film, is on Ahch-To with Luke, so the film almost has too many transitions going back to the islands. Finn leaving with Rose to go to Canto Bight and Poe staying with the rebel ship cause many scene changes between the new planet, Snoke’s ship and the rebel ship. Then Kylo on his own working to fulfill his master’s wishes causes cuts to him at moments as well.

Some of the best shots of the film are when Rey and Kylo are both on screen, as they engage in an amazing battle. Another amazing sequence of shots is when Rey takes the attention of the fighters and leads them on a chase through the caves of Crait. However, the one outstanding shot is when Vice Admiral Holdo allows the rebels to escape, making the ultimate sacrifice by taking out a Star Destroyer.

The Last Jedi sadly marks Carrie Fisher’s last performance on screen, and the film is dedicated to her memory. With the three original trilogy characters — Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa — no longer part of the saga, Rey, Poe and Finn need to rise and take charge of the resistance.