Star Wars: The Force Awakens ends with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finally marking it to Luke ( Mark Hamill) on his island and handing him his iconic lightsaber. In the latest installment, Rian Johnson's first act is to blow up J.J. Abrams vision having Luke toss it over his shoulder towards the cliffs. That opening act is a signal that Johnston planned to go after the secret tenants of the Star Wars universe imploring the religious followers of the films to get over themselves. At the opening the resistance is trying to evacuate a base before the First Order can wipe them out. Pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leads the charge against the enemy forces with a reckless plan to take down a Starkiller costing a huge price in personnel. As they jump to a new part of space they are followed by The First Order who have a way to track their movements. Former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) teams up with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) heading to a casino planet to find a code breaker to get them into the room on the First Order lead ship to deactivate the tracker. Meanwhile back on his island Luke is the reluctant teacher to Rey plus while there she develops a quizzical link to Kilo Ren( Adam Driver) underneath Luke's nose.
The writing in the film suffers from holes in the plot. It's not clear why the main resistance ship puttering along running out of fuel is able to stay out of range of the First Order's Battleships. Nor why Rose who has the ability to disarm the tracker is not able to pick the lock herself to get into the room that houses, said tracker. Considering the second part of that equation is a much large task. Meaning the mission of the casino planet is only there as a social commentary against arms dealing, animal cruelty and a general attack on the top 1 percent. Johnson does turn up the comedic moments starting with the lightsaber toss. Chewbacca's interaction with this generation loveable creatures the progs and Rey's misadventures with the architects during her time on Luke's island.
The most stunning aspect of the film is its visuals. The vistas on Luke's personal chunk of rock, weather coming in off the sea, Jedi fishing and the dark place down below where Rey goes looking for her parents to only find herself. Another attack on the tenant of lineage leading to strong The must-see sequence comes from the Salt planet where the resistance retreats.The ground is salt over a red underpad that shows through when the salt is disturbed. The blood red base cuts quite the visual as the resistance forces head out to face the First Order walkers.
Adam Driver's Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo continues to be the most difficult character to come to grips with. He's supposed to be the most powerful Sith lord since Darth Vader but doesn't seem to have the chops. He's manipulated into a mind meld with Rey and again needs to be saved by her in the main lightsaber battle in the film. But on the other hand, he matches wits with the all-powerful Snoke (Andy Serkis) and has fellow baddie General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) fearful of his next move. Laura Dern has a memorable turn as Vice Admiral Holdo. She manages to keep Poe Dameron more or less in line. teaching him along with General Leia ( the late Carrie Fisher) the painful lesson to put the long-term benefit of the rebellion ahead of short-term gain.
It must be remembered above everything else that Star Wars is a fantasy story aimed at kids. Therefore if technical aspects don't work or there are holes in the plot or a big McGuffin like Finn and Rose's mission that just doesn't matter as long as the film delivers on the action and this one does.
*** Out of 4.
Star Wars; The Last Jedi | Rian Johnson | 2017 | 152 Minutes.
Tags: Sci-Fi, Sequel, Franchise, Casino, Codebreaker, Training, the Force, Jedi, Sacrifice, Mission, Demotion, Deserter.