Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Movie with Abe: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Directed by Rian Johnson
Released December 15, 2017

Star Wars is something that’s going to be popular forever, and after a full decade off, we’re going to be getting movies every year, with standalone entries aplenty and multiple new trilogies announced recently. While, for reasons unknown to the eager eleven-year-old who saw “The Phantom Menace” in theaters when it was first released, the prequels have been lambasted for their poor quality, the newer films have been subject to considerably higher praise and have also made an incredible amount of money for theaters and studios over the past few years. Fortunately, all that is made worthwhile by the latest fantastic entry in the saga.

Picking up where the last official episode of the series left off, the Resistance, led by Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), struggles to survive as their numbers diminish and they are pursued relentlessly by the First Order, led by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in service of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Determined to see success, Poe (Oscar Isaac) dispatches Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) on a mission to fell the First Order’s ships. Rey (Daisy Ridley) tries to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to train her in the ways of the Jedi while she experiences an unexpected connection with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) that makes her believe that she can turn him back to the good side of the Force.

What’s most exciting here is that these characters, most of whom were introduced in the previous film, feel established and worthwhile, capable of carrying many more movies to come. There’s a superb energy that drives this film, which multitasks between its three main settings, keeping the action going simultaneously on all fronts. There are still flashes of nostalgia to be found, but this episode proves that this series is headed in a new direction for a new generation, not set on staying in the past but instead capable of creating a fresh and enduring mythology with younger actors carrying on – and often defying and redefining – their predecessors’ legacy.

This film isn’t about the acting, but it’s worth noting that all of these stars are more than capable of returning for as many franchise entries as they’re kept alive, with Ridley, Driver, Boyega, and Isaac serving as a particularly fantastic foursome. Hamill and Fisher, in her final film performance, serve their roles well enough, effectively passing the torch for what’s sure to be an enthralling final installment of this trilogy to the new crew. The visual effects and technical elements are strong as always, and this particular entry, which clocks in at around two and a half hours, is a thrill ride from start to finish, proving once again that this saga is worthy of many more visits.


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