Star Wars – The Last Jedi: Spoiler-Free Review

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Star Wars – The Last Jedi is a sprawling, character-driven second act to the latest trilogy of the saga that takes the story into uncharted waters. Casual fans will like it; true fans will love it.

Different storylines take us on several journeys and adventures, mixing in the nostalgia of favorite characters while developing others. And we’re introduced to a few new ones along the way. Perhaps the best is Rose Tico, a Resistance maintenance worker who is a hero at heart. She’s strong, fun and full of hope. Benicio Del Toro’s codebreaker character is a quirky fun guy with a MacGuyver edge to him.

The movie picks up where we left off in The Force Awakens, with a rather pissed-off First Order targeting the Resistance’s base, and Rey tracking down Luke Skywalker. The action picks right up for Poe Dameron and General Leia Organa and off we go.

The comedic writing in this episode is more evident than any other Star Wars movie, both with witty lines and physical action. The comedy is good and not juvenile. It adds a lot of extra personality to the overall feel of the film.

The Last Jedi does a good job of balancing the sentimental side of Star Wars with a new direction and storylines not seen before. The action sequences are choreographed well, from light sabers to First Order walkers to our favorite X-wings and TIE Fighters.

Of course we all enter the film wanting to know more about Rey’s background, who the heck is Supreme Leader Snoke and what has Luke been doing on that darn island? Some questions are answered, some may be answered later, and new questions emerge. Like Empire – it is a solid second act.

And just what does that title mean? Who is the last jedi? Why would there only be one left? Or is there more to it? I’ll just say this – the meaning behind the film’s title is answered.

Baddie favorites are even better in The Last Jedi. Of course Kylo Ren’s character continues to evolve, but General Hux is one of the underrated parts of the film. He’s smart and doesn’t want to be shown up in any way.

One of my favorite parts of The Last Jedi were little musical callbacks of John Williams’ score to the original trilogy that director Rian Johnson specifically asked for, appreciated greatly by a Star Wars nerd like me. One of the best was the simple repeat use of a flute at the same spot as the original in 1977 at the end of the opening crawl and the pan down to the planet. Another was the use of the score from the Return of the Jedi Death Star run for a Millenium Falcon chase scene. All in all, the score once again was magnificent.

It’s long at a solid two-and-a-half hours, but it’s probably needed. It didn’t seem too long to me. Plus you get to learn what a porg is (they’re great).

So where does The Last Jedi rank among the eight episodes thus far? I’m going to have to give that some more thought but my initial ranking would be third, right behind Empire and a New Hope and just edging out The Force Awakens.

I ended up seeing it again over the weekend. It’s what us Star Wars nerds do. It was better the second time for me. I noticed some new stuff and became more aware of how well this chapter is fantastically written. In the meantime, enjoy your first viewing. Then we can start talking spoilers and what lies ahead for Episode IX. Good luck J.J. Abrams. Johnson’s bridge between your two movies sets you up with a lot of pressure and expectation.

 

 

 

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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