Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The lights dim as the familiar words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” appear. Everyone waits in anxious anticipation, wondering what this movie will mean for a franchise that has lasted over 40 years.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, is the eighth main installment in the popular Star Wars franchise. Directed by Rian Johnson, this Star Wars movie lives up to its high expectations and maintains the charm of the original movies, while providing new elements.
The Last Jedi starts where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off, with our main heroine Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, finding the legendary jedi, Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. Rey tries to convince Luke to join the Resistance in their fight against the First Order, an evil group trying to control the galaxy. Instead, he ends up becoming a mentor to Rey and teaching her how to use the force.
Meanwhile, rebels Finn, played by John Boyega, and Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran, travel across the galaxy to get resources to defeat the First Order. Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, and Princess Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher, are left to protect the rest of the rebel fleet in space.
One of the best things to come out of The Last Jedi is the intriguing storyline between Rey, Luke and Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. Similar to the bond between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, this film introduces a unique connection between Kylo Ren and Rey. Instead of one being superior to the other, Kylo and Rey are depicted as equals, learning how they fit into their respective worlds.
This movie also shows a new side of Luke, taking on the role of a teacher rather than a student. The relationship between Luke and Rey is similar to the one between Yoda and Luke, creating a sense of nostalgia while presenting new material. As he mentors Rey, Luke Skywalker learns lessons about being a good jedi and teacher.
Unfortunately, the same praise cannot be given to the storyline about our rebel scum, Finn, Poe and Rose. Though these characters learn important lessons, rebels sneaking into the villain’s base is a bland and overused plot. Compared to the magnitude of Rey and Luke’s challenges, the rebels’ mission feels insignificant, and characters like Finn and Poe had more potential.
That being said, The Last Jedi does give us refreshing material. While its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was almost an exact replica of A New Hope, this movie strays away from its source material and makes new challenges for the characters. It uses what made the originals so likeable while clearing way for a new generation of heroes.
Much of the acting in this movie was very impressive. Ridley’s performance emphasizes Rey’s internal and external strength as well as her ability to face the enemy head on. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren gives us the insight into the motives of his villainy and Driver’s performance accomplishes what the prequels (episodes I, II and III) failed to do, sympathize with the villian.
Hamill’s acting in this film is arguably better than before. The role of wise mentor is well-suited for him and he increases the complexity of Luke’s character. Though Luke is the main topic of this movie, Fisher’s performance stood out as well, making her last appearance as Princess Leia bittersweet. She reminded the audience of Leia’s quick wit and ability to make tough calls while showing compassion for her fellow rebels, and brought the characters together, reminding them of their true goals.
In the end, this Star Wars movie is about each of the characters finding their identities in the midst of rebellion and discovering how they fit into their respective roles. Rey is out to embrace becoming a Jedi and learn from the mistakes of previous jedis, while Kylo Ren tries to discover what kind of villain he is, or if he is a villain at all. Overall, The Last Jedi goes much deeper into the characters than other Star Wars movies have, making it an intriguing addition to the franchise and a perfect set-up for future films.