What makes a film inside of a larger franchise not only stand apart as its own film while at the same time fit within that larger universe?
This is a question that The Last Jedi works with beautifully. Forging its own story while using throwbacks and homages to past films.
John Williams’ score uses musical keys from the original trilogy and it makes this film feel like its part of the larger whole. They also used some shots that physically mirror some of the previous films. The one scene that springs to mind is Kylo Ren leading troops into battle that mirrors a scene from Revenge of the Sith.
The Main Players
I would be amiss if I did not mention the actor’s portrayals. Mark Hamill puts in his best performance as Luke Skywalker. It has been 34 years since this character has been front and center in a film, and to see how the time changes him is logical.
Daisy Ridley put in a performance that mixes hope with confidence and expands on her character.
Carrie Fisher’s last performance as Princess Leia was touching and put in all the nuances of a leader that feels the loss and responsibility of war.
Andy Serkis shows once again just how good of performance capture artist he is. He made Snoke feel like the super-powerful-menace that the Supreme Leader needed to portray.
Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is still conflicted with who he is on the inside and what he is meant to be.
The movie hits those notes that are inside me that are completely fanboy. There was one storyline that makes the movie drag a little bit in the middle.
The Finn side story, while important for that character, does not hit in every way. John Boyega’s portrayal stayed true to the character and at the same time allowed him to grow into the role.
Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose has a character arc that truly shows the devastation of war.
I can see where this film can divide fans of Star Wars. Some choices within the film will be considered bold, but to me, they worked.
Rian Johnson crafted a film that I enjoyed greatly and can’t wait to discuss it with others. This is definitely a film that I recommend watching without knowing anything.