I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, it was the first film I saw at the Pictures in 1977 when I was just 3.5 years old. I loved it then and I love it now. You can see my old review for Star Wars : The Force Awakens and also another on some of my favourite Star Wars moments.
Having so enjoyed the previous film in the new trilogy and possible enjoyed Rogue One even more, I have managed to avoid all knowledge of The Last Jedi until the very moment I went to the cinema this morning at 9.30am.
I was aware of lots of 5 star reviews and I was happy to say that I enjoyed this film a great deal. It has great cinematography and vision and a gripping soundtrack too. I also appreciate that the film is it’s own being and isn’t a retread of earlier films, though there are obvious nods and influences. However I don’t think it is a 5-star film.
The film is something of a long burner and though pretty enough on-screen, not that much happens for the first hour or 90 minutes. It reminds me a little of some Rick Berman era Star Treks when you kind of wonder if this is as boldly as we’re going to go then whya re we bothering.
There are some spectacular special effects, space battles and chase scenes as well as various combats between armies and individuals. There is even the odd twist but nothing quite asdaring as what might have been.
Probably the word I am looking for is lacklustre, without taking anything away from the positives (and I am already happily committed to seeing it twice more with various friends…. I’m sorry for cheating on you if you’re reading this).
Some of the shortcomings of The Force Awakened we were promised to be filled in or expanded upon in the next film but it doesn’t really happen. We don’t learn anything about anyone that we didn’t all ready know, except a small point with Kylo Ren which many of us guessed all ready.
Yes we get to meet Snoke in person at last but we find out nothing about him. All the PR about the Gwendoline Christie playing Captain Phantasm in the previous film and yet she was on screen for a few seconds. In this film she is on screen for 3 or 4 minutes and obviously in such a time, we again find nothing about her.
Adam Driver was less anoying than in the previous film and Domhnall Gleeson was actually allowed to make General Hux something of a believable military figure compared to the cartoonish character he was before. He could still do so much more, see my review of Goodbye Christopher Robin.
John Boyega was good again but I felt was a little underused and spent much of the film with a new character called Rose. Sadly I found the actress so annoying I spent much of the film hoping Rose would die… I won’t say if she did or not but she bought out feelings in me not felt since wooden Anakin and the even more annoying Jar Jar Binks.
I also found that Daisy Ridley as Rey wasn’t quite as gripping or exhilerating as she was in the first film. I remember thinking how incredible she was and yet in this film I found her quite boring.
Mark Hamill was great as an aged Luke Skywalker and his unexpected scene with an old friend was for me the best part of the film but he was fun all the way through the actually quite fantastic finale.
Like the previous film Carrie Fisher didn’t have that much to do. You can see how she would have a great deal more in the final film but sadly it isn’t to be. Also, even more so than the first film, maybe because of various health problems but her inability to annunciate anything clearly was detrimental to the film. Maybe that’s just me, I only have one good eye but the most fantastic hearing so these things are important to me. Though again not her fault, her character was also in one of the most unreal segements of all Star Wars. I haven’t seen Mary Poppins but I certainly get the Mary Poppins in space gag I heard about this morning.
The locations were great again, the island that Luke was on seemed to be something like the Tardis on Dr Who and got seemingly bigger with more lcoations as time went on and when you see why he was there, it doesn’t seem the smartest place to hide out on if you’re a Jedi. It was also neat to see Dubrovnik again, a city I love so much.
I would rate the film about 3.5 out of 5 or 7 out of 10, enjoyable and as a Star Wars fan, doubly so. Maybe it is the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of this trilogy but as it stands, I struggle to rate it above the previous 2 recent films and it perhaps wouldn’t rate that highly without the sentimentality of a not so young master Luke.
I am looking forward to the final instalment but not so totally excited as I was last time and there are few if any intriguing fan mysteries to think about.
If you’ve seen it, let me know if you think it is the best thing since sliced bread or like me you’re just glad it’s not one of the prequels.
At 152 minutes long, if I can give you one piece of advice, don’t drink all your diet coke too early otherwise the protracted endings can be a bit painful, I’m sure on my second viewing I will enjoy the end showdowns even more.
“The greatest teacher, failure is.”