Why You Should and Shouldn’t See Star Wars


Patrick Conway, Contributing Author

Making a competent sequel is hard. It’s one of the hardest things to do as filmmaker. Due to all of the high expectations that fans will have after the first movie, it’s almost impossible for a director to make a movie that lives up to the hype. This task is made that much more daunting when we’re talking about a franchise such as Star Wars. Director of the Last Jedi, Rian Johnson was given an almost impossible task. He had to make a Star Wars movie that felt fresh and new but at the same time make a movie that feels like Star Wars. Plus all the mounting hype surrounding any Star Wars movie it would be impossible to please everybody, so how did he do?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes place immediately after its predecessor the Force Awakens. It follows the same general group of characters, with the edition of some new and familiar faces. It’s hard to summarize the plot without delving into spoiler territory so I will be pretty general in my summation. In the previous movie the First Order deals a crippling blow to the Galactic Republic by destroying the Planet in which the republic was based. With no Galactic government to maintain order the Galaxy is plunged into chaos, the First Order takes advantage and begins expanding their power and influence. Now our heroes and the other members of the Galactic Resistance are all that stands between peace and the rising tide of Galactic tyranny.

Right off the bat I want to say that I have a lot of positive takeaways from the movies. The performances across the board are fantastic. Carrie Fisher gives a brilliant final performance as Princess Leia. Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver both truly shine as Rey and Kylo Ren respectively. However my favorite performance and my favorite part of the movie is Mark Hamill reprising his role as Luke Skywalker. This is undoubtedly a Luke that’s different from how he was in the previous movies. He’s old, grizzled, and deeply affected by the events of his past, but he always still feels like Luke Skywalker and I must give Mark Hamill serious props for that. This is arguably Hamill’s best performance in any Star Wars movie, he’s come a long way from A New Hope. The movie also looks fantastic from the space battles to those with lightsabers the action never ceased to take my breath away. After one moment in the movie there were audible gasps by everyone in the audience (you’ll know it when you see it). Though it does boast great performances and brilliant action the movie is not without flaws.

First of all the movie has some serious pacing problems. It’s just quite frankly way too long, the runtime is two hours and thirty minutes which just feels woefully unnecessary. There’s one storyline on this casino planet which just isn’t interesting and could be totally cut out of the movie. That’d shave off about a half an hour right there. This highlights another issue not all of the storylines are created equal. There are about four main storylines the Resistance ship, the First Order, Rey and Luke, and the casino planet. The First Order and Rey and Luke are both very well done Rey and Luke’s storyline is my favorite part of the movie. However the storyline on the Resistance ship doesn’t really ramp up until the end, but once it gets going it’s really good. The casino planet story however is just a bit of a slog. Another issue is that of Snoke, he was built up a lot in The Force Awakens and in this he just isn’t given a whole lot to do and is overall disappointing. This last point is more of a minor gripe, the whole movie looks really good in regards to the CGI and practical effects but there is one moment where they opt for practical effects rather than CGI and I’ll just say that I think they made the wrong choice.

I started this by talking about sequels and what makes them so difficult, so do I think that this movie succeeds as a sequel? Overall I would say that it does because it does build on and improve many of the elements in The Force Awakens. Although it does exacerbate some of the issues from The Force Awakens. In the end though I did enjoy it much more than its predecessor. However I’d say for me at least this movie did not quite live up to the hype, though it still manages to be an immensely satisfying ride all the same.