Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Non Spoiler Review

Release Date: December 15, 2017
Running Time: 2 hours 32 minutes

“Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.”

This is a movie that has been extremely hyped up since everyone saw The Force Awakens two years ago. A lot of people have loved that movie or thought it was a complete rehash of A New Hope, and I go over that in my review of Episode VII which can be found here.

The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley as Rey – Source: Lucasfilm

By the time this review has been released, I’ll have seen this movie twice, once on the 14th, and the other earlier this morning on the 15th. There’s a reason why I wanted to see this movie multiple times, and I’ll go over it briefly in this review in a non spoiler type fashion.

I’ve decided that for the first time ever, and because it’s Star Wars, I will be writing two version of my review on The Last Jedi. The one released on the 15th will feature no spoilers, as to get people excited, and give my first and second impressions on the film, while the review that will feature spoilers HEAVILY will be released on Monday December 18, as a way for me to be able to talk about the movie itself. 

Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Trailer – Source: Lucasfilm Ltd.


Cast and Crew

Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who directed 4 short films, a few episodes of television, and 3 feature length movies prior to moving on to The Last Jedi. The list of movies that he’s directed includes ‘Brick’ in 2005, ‘The Brothers Bloom’ in 2008 and ‘Looper’ in 2012. As mentioned, Johnson also wrote this film, and he also wrote the three other films mentioned in this paragraph. Lucasfilm and Disney must have loved what he was able to do with The Last Jedi, because they recently announced that he will write and direct a new trilogy of Star Wars films that are not part of the anthology films or the Episodic movies revolving around the Skywalker bloodline.

The Last Jedi

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren / Ben Solo – Source: Lucasfilm

Cast includes Mark HamillCarrie FisherAdam DriverDaisy RidleyJohn BoyegaOscar IsaacAndy SerkisDomhnall GleesonAnthony DanielsPeter MayhewGwendoline ChristieJoonas SuotamoBillie LourdBenicio Del ToroLaura DernLupita Nyong’oKelly Marie TranVeronica NgoJimmy VeeTim Rose and Mike Quinn.


Review

This movie can possibly be one of the first movies where I’m unsure of how I feel about it after my first viewing. My first thoughts on Episode VIII was what? and wow! I don’t really know how I feel about it all. There was a ton of amazing and perfect moments in the film, while also having moments where it didn’t work. In my opinion it was a little too long, or the time wasn’t used properly. After watching it for the first time, I had no idea what my final score would be. If you can, stay away from spoilers as it could spoil your experience.

After watching it a second time, I’ve got to say that my score went up a bit, and that’s because I got to notice more stuff and appreciate the details in the story more. I will still include my original score at the bottom, along with the adjusted score after watching it a second time.

The Last Jedi

Luke Skywalker and Jimmy Vee as R2-D2 watching Luke’s school burn – Source: Lucasfilm

The Last Jedi introduced a few new characters in Rose Tico that was played by Kelly Marie Tran & Vice Admiral Holdo that was played by Laura Dern. The two new characters that are part of the resistance were both were acted, and had a good backstory (for more on Rose, the new book came out on December 15, that explains more about her and her sister) (for more on Holdo, you can read the ‘Leia’ book, explaining a bit more about their early relationship in their respective youths). I don’t think that you need to read those books to know who they are, but they add more information which can never hurt.

The character of DJ, who was played by Benicio Del Toro did not work for me in this film. I can sort of see the reasoning behind the character while I enjoyed the performance, I didn’t like the story that brought that character into the movie, or the character itself. We got to see a lot more of Supreme Leader Snoke who was played by Andy Serkis in this movie. I feel like there’s still a lot more to learn about the character that wasn’t divulged in this movie, and I hope that we will eventually learn more either through books or future films.

The Last Jedi

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker – Source: Lucasfilm

The character of Rey was amazing in this movie, and while a lot of people might have complained about her “mary sue” status in the last film, they will not be saying that about Daisy Ridley’s character in this one. I really enjoyed where they went with her character and the potential for learning more about her character and her origins.

Adam Driver’s portrayal of Kylo Ren / Ben Solo was perhaps the 2nd best performance of the movie for me. He did a magnificent job as the murderous son, and I absolutely love the direction that they took with his character, and Driver was able to excel tremendously in that role.

The Last Jedi

Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico and John Boyega as Finn in Canto Bight – Source: Lucasfilm

The overpowered Poe Dameron played by Oscar Isaac learned a lot more in this movie that he can’t solve all of his problems by himself. I really enjoyed the character arc for his character, and I can’t say any more without giving away plot points.

Finn was played by John Boyega, and unfortunately for us, his little story line in this film with Rose Tico was perhaps the part of the movie that for me sticks out as a sore thumb. Boyega once again did a good job, and I understand that his story really drives home his character arc, and growth from the first movie, however I feel like it slowed the movie, and it was one of the only parts of the movie where I was actively wondering when we would change scenes.

The Last Jedi

Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and a Porg – Source: Lucasfilm

In the Last Jedi, we are introduced to a new race of creatures called the Porgs, and you will either love them or hate them. I don’t think there’s any in between for these characters. Myself, I loved the cute and annoying little pests, however I can 100% understand why some people will hate them with a passion. BB-8 gets up to a bunch of new adventures in this movie, and they are all fun, surprising and unexpected, and I love that little ball so much, that I, personally didn’t see any flaws in him this movie.

Carrie Fisher’s last performance, and probably the last time that we will see the Princess that we all knew growing up or knowing later in life. Her portrayal in this film as Leia was really great, and is a bigger role than what we saw in The Force Awakens. There’s one scene that I really loved of hers, while some people didn’t like it at all, when you will see, you will know exactly what scene I’m talking about. We will all miss Carrie Fisher and our Princess Leia.

The Last Jedi

Rey and Luke on Ahch-To – Source: Lucasfilm

Domhnall Gleeson reprised his role as General Hux, the leader of the Stormtrooper army that didn’t like Kylo Ren one iota. I enjoyed the way that his character was handled, and I would love to know more about the character and his rise to power. I hope that when all is said and done, that we find out more about these characters. While I was really happy when I heard that Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma would be returning in this movie, I feel like the character didn’t need to be in this movie, and I feel like it was wasted potential and screen time unfortunately.

Mark Hamill’s performance as the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was the best part of this movie. The hero that I saw when I was extremely young, was back on the screen, and did his best on screen performance that I have ever seen. I still think his Joker is better than this version of Skywalker, but that’s just me. Luke Skywalker is completely what you wouldn’t expect, or exactly how you would expect him to be. I loved the personality that he still had, and I love the lessons that he learned in his years since Return of the Jedi. Mark Hamill will always be Luke Skywalker, I can’t wait to see and learn more about the character as we move forward.

The Last Jedi

Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma – Source: Lucasfilm

I absolutely loved the Jedi training and every single scene on Ahch-To. I really enjoyed the interactions between Ridley and Hamill in this movie, and while the movie answers some questions and give us some information, it also leaves a lot on the table as unanswered. I will divulge one little spoiler, and that is that Luke does not go on Rey’s back to teach her how to flip.

The biggest problem for me in this movie was Canto Bight. I understand the message that this scene was supposed to articulate, I know that it helps in the character development of Finn, however I don’t think it was needed, and wasted a good 10-15 minutes of screen time that could have either been recut, replaced by something else, or taken out entirely. A lot of people will disagree with me, however, I didn’t find that it worked in this film.

The Last Jedi

Finn vs Captain Phasma – Source: Lucasfilm

The action scenes in this movie were exciting and featured some amazing battles in space and on the ground. Hopefully you will not be disappointed, as I certainly was not with the action and fight sequences throughout the movie. There is at least one lightsaber battle that is absolutely amazing, which I really loved and hoping in my seat while it was happening both times that I saw it.

The second biggest flaw with this movie was that it I don’t feel the length of this film was used effectively. There was some things that were stretched too much, as well as some that were simply glossed over. It’s not something that I expected from this movie, and I wish that the time was better used, as I don’t think that the movie and story that they were telling in this movie needed to be 2 hours and 32 minutes.

The Last Jedi

Carrie Fisher as Leia – Source: Lucasfilm

The music was once again done by John Williams, and he didn’t disappoint. While I think that this is not his best work in the series, I feel like it fit the tone of the movie and was really well done. The emotions that his score makes you feel throughout the movie was something that was really effective. There were real moments in this movie where the music, along with what was going on screen actually gave me chills, and very emotional.

The cinematography that was done by director of photography Steve Yedlin, was in my opinion the best looking Star Wars film so far. The visuals in this movie was simply beautiful. I can’t really say too much, but I was impressed with what I saw in this film.

The Last Jedi

Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo – Source: Lucasfilm

Overall, I feel like this movie was a movie that had some really fantastic moments, and was probably the most beautiful looking film in the franchise. The characters all got a proper story arc in this film, and a lot happened in it. I will need to see this movie a couple of more times to fully digest it. There significant moments in this movie that were 10/10 moments, but the fact that there was more than 1 moment that was about a 3 or 4 out of 10 hurt this movie for me.

The was a whole portion of the film that I didn’t fully get the point of story wise, but it served in some development for some characters. I wish there was more development with certain questions, or if the time was used more effectively. Originally I was thinking of giving this movie an 8/10 as my final score, but after rewatching the movie, and dissecting and evaluating it a bit more, I would give this movie a final score of 8.5/10.

What did you think of the latest movie in the beloved franchise? Do you agree with my score, if not what would you give it? Let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear your opinions! Please keep the comment section spoiler free please, I will keep an eye out for spoilers and remove or edit those comments. Spoilers will be available on the Monday spoiler review.

Thank you for understanding and for reading,

Alex Martens

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