Non-Spoiler review: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' has its movements, but ultimately disappoints
(image via Lucasfilm)
This one hurts.
I assure you, this isn't some of lame attempt at a contrarian review. I genuinely love Star Wars. As I glance up from my laptop I see a shelf, more a shrine, adorned with figures, lego sets, books, you name it. You're reading a man who successfully turned his partner onto Kevin J. Anderson's Young Jedi Knights book series. She's on The Lost Ones, if you're wondering.
Point is, I wanted to love Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I was overjoyed to hear indie darling Rian Johnson would be helming the project. Finally, after J.J. Abrams' uninspiring Star Wars: The Force Awakens, finally, finally we'll get something darker. I mean, my lasting memory of Johnson's 2012 film Looper is a snaggletoothed kid going to WORK on a henchman. Oh, the possibilities.
Last Jedi establishes very, very early on that you're not in for that sort of movie. You're not getting your Empire Strikes Back. The film makes many ill-timed attempts at humor, a theme throughout. This has been a very common complaint among fans and its more than warranted here.
Last Jedi is a shiny wrapper. It hits all the visuals you'd expect from a Star Wars film but beyond that, the feeling isn't there. The plot is probably the shakiest attempt we've seen in this universe. It branches from two stories into three, two of which are painstaking to push through. Johnson admittedly gives you some rewarding moments but they're too few and far between.
Character issues I had in The Force Awakens are only exacerbated here. Aside from BB-8 da gawd, I struggled to care about this ensemble. That takes the stakes right out of it. New additions like Benicio del Toro's DJ, Laura Dern's Admiral Hondo and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran's Rose are meh bordering on disappointing. Tran being the highlight of the three. If I've forgotten anyone, well, they were forgettable.
Let's talk (not really) about those BIG reveals we were promised. Who are Rey's parents? Who is Snoke? What happened between Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren? Not getting into spoilers here, but I'll say I was very uninspired with the story choices made here. I'm just bummed. I hoped for so much more, which is my own fault.
I'm going to be doing a full spoilers breakdown in the coming days where I'll get into everything, but this is where I'll stop for now. Go see The Last Jedi if you haven't already. Reviews are very mixed, which is great. I love that people loved and still love Star Wars. Even at its worst, it's still a treat to see a Star Wars movie. I just didn't connect with this one.