As of this writing the movie is sitting at $220M domestic and $450 million dollar global box office take. It is the second biggest U.S. launch of all time. Simply amazing … but it is Star Wars after all. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has really bucked the trending story that most other movies in 2017 have told.
So I got to see the movie in 3D on Saturday night. it was a great, recently remodeled AMC theater with nice leather reclining seats, plenty of room and a good ol’ bucket of popcorn (but not that $20 Star Wars commemorative bucket, that was too expensive if you ask me)
First off, I love, love, love Star Wars but I really do my best to hold the franchise to the same standards that I hold other movies when I review them. It’s hard though to keep that Star Wars bias at bay.
That preamble all laid out, what did I think of the movie?
I liked it. But I didn’t love it. I liked it. As so many have said, there is so much to unpack with this movie that it is almost required to see it no less than two times. The action scenes were amazing. The scenes really put you in the middle of the battle that no Star Wars franchise movie really has before. We got some of this style and in-battle flair in Rogue One but this film really picked up on that cinematography and ran with it. The parallels to Empire Strikes Back are striking but I think that by design as this last set of movies (VII, VIII, IX) was made (at least at the outset of the franchise coming back to film) to follow the original’s order. This film knows you know that parallel and begins to use it against you. When, in the previews Luke says “This is not going to go the way you think”, he is right. It’s not. And with that, it’s pretty clear that Episode IX will not parallel Return of the Jedi, at least in any way this is obvious right now. Rian Johnson does a great job of respecting what has come before but pulling out those common tropes,archetypes and ideas that were used over and over and deconstructing them, and in effect leaving the door wide open for the future of the franchise.
The Porgs were funny (and served the practical job of covering up the Puffins that covered the island of Michael Skellig) and the temple attendants that looked like little nuns actually made me laugh. I liked Rose and DJ and Admiral Holdo (wish we got more of her actually). LOVED the Praetorian Guard too. I guess DJ is the new Han/Lando (No, not really a spoiler there) I LOVED the delicate way they approached Leia EXCEPT the space part (If you saw the movie you know what I’m talking about).
The plot itself was overly simple and did not really push the overall Skywalker Saga story forward by much, in fact I suppose it effectively ground it to a halt. I mean, Episode 8 left the Federation in ruins after the destruction of so many planets and left the Rebels in tatters and on the run. This is the First Order running down the last remnants of the rebellion but who far did they run and where did they go? I feel like the overall message of the movie was “nothing really matters” and yet “anyone can be something”. With that in mind, I also like that they’re pushing the mythology and mysticism of the Je’daii in to new (old) ground although I wish they’d tempered their reliance on a certain aspect of it.
My Score: 4/5 Stars and a Graded 8.0/10
Join me and the COMICONversation Podcast panel on Tuesday 12/19 at 8:30PM EST for a full breakdown and spoiler-filled review of the movie on the JLS COMICS YouTube Channel.. There are “shout-outs”, live, chat, Q&A and more. Look for the streaming link by searching JLS Comics in the iTunes podcast store or in GooglePlay store.