‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the eighth installment in the Star Wars franchise, takes place not long after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This franchise is like a sequel to The Force Awakens, with mostly the same characters and a few new ones. There is a clear message that the old guard is making way for the new one. We witness reunions between siblings Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher); between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega); close encounters between Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey, with lots of chemistry. There’s also a new encounter between Rey and Poe (Oscar Isaac) towards the end which is left open-ended – in typical Star Wars style.
Not A Star Wars Fan: Not A Problem
I have followed the Star Wars franchises since childhood but I don’t consider myself a die-hard fan. I’m more interested in the sci-fi genre than the individual characters. What’s interesting is how the directors and writers have sought to highlight women as strong characters throughout the franchise. There’s Princess Leia to Vice Admiral Hodo (Laura Dern) and the emerging protagonist Rey. This franchise was also dedicated to ‘Our Princess, Carrie Fisher’. The transition from the old guard to the new became all the more real after Carrie’s Fisher’s passing away in real life. We see Rey trying to persuade an old and weary Luke Skywalker to show her the Jedi way.
The movie is intelligently made, keeping in mind die-hard Star War fans as well as those who are new to the franchise. We see this in the universal themes played out in the story; with conflicts, good versus evil, trying to forge one’s identity, and carrying one’s legacy forward. We are treated to some visually powerful battle scenes between the Resistance and the First Order. The story has some unpredictable moments that yield depth to the film. The transformation of Kylo Ren has yet to happen.
Poignant On-screen Moments: The Last Jedi Has Them For You
There are two scenes that pull at one’s heart. There’s a poignant scene between the siblings Luke and Leia being reunited after so many years. It reminds us of loved ones we have lost, but who still remain within us, in some special way. There’s also an unpredictable turn of events in a tense moment between Rey, Kylo Ren and the Supreme Leader Snoke. It’s all very unexpected.
The Future Is Here: Robots And Artificial Intelligence (AI) Are Very Real
The centrality of robots and AI in our lives is another important message and reality. There is a particular scene towards the end of the movie with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, BB-8, and C- 3PO. The scene is a reflection of how fragile life is, while non-human entities will very much be a part of the landscape now and in the future.
There Are Grey Areas: In True Star Wars Style
There is much more than meets the eye in The Last Jedi. We see young Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) trying desperately to come into his own. It’s almost like watching a teenager with growing pains. One feels his torment but not enough to empathize, given his dark side. At times, he seems like a younger Marilyn Manson but not as menacing. There is a lot left to be discovered about Kylo Ren’s personality. Rey has clearly come into her own in this franchise, and towards the end, she’s becoming more comfortable in her own skin, despite not knowing her parentage – but there is a doubt hanging in the air.
Resurrection Lights The Path: A Loud And Clear Message
We see an old guard come to an end but we also see a character from the past being resurrected – Old Yoda. The message of The Last Jedi is loud and clear: the ways of the Jedi and sages is always with us in spite of death and destruction.
Our Rating for Star Wars: The Last Jedi: 3.5/ 5 Stars
The franchise has done justice to the ones before, but as a stand-alone production, I expected it to go the extra mile. For me, it JUST falls short, that tiny bit – perhaps because we expect the BEST from the BEST! The dialogue is good, and there are some unpredictable moments, but not enough. There is definitely a lot more ground to cover for the new generation in the next sequel. I can imagine the title reading: ‘Star Wars: The Once and Future Jedi.’ Despite that, for a Star Wars fan, there’s a lot going for it:
‘When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power, and beyond that something truly special.’
– The Supreme Power
To wind it up, the Star Wars sequels are so personal, to so many of us, that you may find that ‘something truly special’ in The Last Jedi. So do go watch:
The Last Jedi – For the Love of Star Wars
Till the next one – Ciao