I originally was supposed to do Road To Star Wars post in anticipation for this review, but I was so overwhelmed by finals that I didn’t get the chance to do it. Question: what was your first experience with Star Wars? Let me tell you mine: I got into this franchise late. I was aware of Star Wars, but I didn’t get into it until I was in middle school. One day, SpikeTV had a marathon where they aired the entirety of both the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy. I decided to watch all six of the movies, starting with A New Hope, and I became a fan ever since. So here are my quick thoughts on every Star Wars movie that’s been released.
A NEW HOPE: The movie that started it all. A bit hokey and cheesy, but still a really good movie that gets us invested in the universe and want to see where the story goes. 8/10
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Not just the best Star Wars movie, but one of the best sci-fi movies of all time and one of the best sequels of all time. It takes Star Wars to a darker, bolder direction with shocking twists and our heroes being beaten down. 10/10
RETURN OF THE JEDI: Not as strong as the previous films, but it’s a damn good satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. 8/10
THE PHANTOM MENANCE: The start of the prequel trilogy, it’s as bad as people made it out to be. A few cool moments can’t save it from bad CGI, boring plot, and annoying characters. 3/10
ATTACK OF THE CLONES: The worst of the prequel trilogy. It’s slow, boring, and is a chore to sit through. I can’t watch this movie in its entirety without being distracted. 2/10
REVENGE OF THE SITH: The only good movie out of the prequel trilogy. A lot of improvements have been made over the prequels, though it still has its bad and cringey moments. 7/10
THE CLONE WARS: Haven’t seen it. People told me it was bad. I’ll take their word for it.
THE FORCE AWAKENS: The start of a new trilogy. Love how it combines the old with the new, love the new characters. It’s kind of a rehash of A New Hope, but I still enjoy it a lot. 8/10
ROGUE ONE: See here.
On a related note, this was my most anticipated movie of the year, even more so than anything from Marvel or DC. I loved The Force Awakens and was excited to see where this story of the new generation was gonna go. Now, the movie is out and while critics loved it, audiences were more mixed. The harshest criticisms of the movie came from hardcore fanatics who didn’t like what this film does. Did it deserve any scorn? Well, let’s find out. This is Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The Resistance is now on the run as the First Order are going full force on them. They must find a way to escape the First Order’s fleet and get help from allies across the galaxy. Meanwhile, Rey arrives on the deserted planet that Luke Skywalker has exiled himself to in the hopes to get him to train her on the ways of the Force. Some expected The Last Jedi to take a lot from Empire Strikes Back, especially since The Force Awakens took a lot from A New Hope. And while this movie does have elements of Empire Strikes Back (the villains are beating down on our heroes, the heroes are on the run and suffering heavy casualties, the main hero goes to an isolated planet to train with an old master, they learn a shocking truth about their parentage, there’s a betrayal, and there’s a battle involving AT-ATs) and even Return Of The Jedi, its story is a lot more original than the previous Star Wars. It has a lot of twists that throw off your expectations and it doesn’t feed into any fan theories that popped up after The Force Awakens. Maybe that explains some of the negative fan reaction.
First, our heroes. I love the new heroes of this sequel trilogy. They’re not just carbon copies of the previous heroes, but characters in their own right. Daisy Ridley returns as Rey as she’s still searching for her origins while learning about the Force. Any comments about her being a Mary Sue should be dead by now since these movies clearly show she isn’t. She does struggle and doesn’t always win. We also find out more of Rey’s origin, that her parents were nobodies who sold her off. I’m glad to see more of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). He’s brash and cocky and is willing to do what it takes to beat the First Order. Helping him is John Boyega’s Finn, who must find a hacker who can disable the First Order’s tracking device. Many have said that the subplot involving Finn and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) going to a casino planet to find this hacker was weak and I kinda agree that it does drag, but it has a reason to exist. Certain things in that scene makes the final scene of the movie even more powerful. Plus, I find Rose to be adorable. Not a fan of shipping her with Finn because they work better as friends. Sadly, this film is the last performance of Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. And it’s one hell of a performance, too, as she’s leading what remains of the Resistance away from the First Order. She’s put in a coma through most of the second act, but she wakes up when shit starts going down. I’m interested in seeing what Lucasfilm plans to do with Leia now that Carrie Fisher is no longer with us.
And of course, there’s Luke Skywalker, played by the legendary Mark Hamill. This is a very different Luke from the original trilogy and some fans weren’t happy about this. They expected a wise OP God-level Jedi Master, but what we got instead is a tired, jaded old man who disconnected himself from the rest of the galaxy because of his own failures. In his first scene, when Rey gives him his lightsaber, he just chucks it over a cliff. He’s hesitant to teach Rey anything because the last time he tried to teach a new generation of Jedi, Kylo Ren happened. Speaking of…
Onto the villains. Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, is one of the best characters in the new trilogy and one of the most complex villains in modern cinema. He’s Anakin Skywalker done right. He’s conflicted about himself even when he gave himself to the dark side. He’s still licking his wounds after being beaten by Rey in The Force Awakens. We find out why Kylo turned to the dark side, not just because he was convinced by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), but because Luke, his own uncle and former master, tried to kill him. Somehow, he and Rey are connected through the force and both try to convince each other to join the other side. This culminates in one scene similar to Return Of The Jedi, where Kylo brings Rey to Snoke. When ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and we get this badass scene where Rey and Kylo are fighting against Snoke’s bodyguards. It’s awesome. As for the rest of the villains? Well, Kylo is the only interesting villain in this movie. Snoke was just The Emperor, General Hux is just Tarkin, and Phasma is once again a waste of a character. She shows up, fights Finn, and dies. That’s it.
Rian Johnson gave us one gorgeous-looking film. This is some top-notch cinematography. There’s one scene where a character rams a ship into the First Order’s fleet using hyper-speed and it’s breathtaking. The action is great, too, especially in the third act where there’s this huge battle on this planet that has red sand covered by salt. Two quotes perfectly sum up this movie and its theme, “let the past die” and “this is not going to go the way you think.” There is a lot of subversions of expectations in this movie. You think Leia was gonna die, but she doesn’t. You think either Rey will turn to the dark side or Kylo Ren would turn to the light and neither of those happen. And then you get the final confrontation between Luke and Kylo and it goes in a different direction. After having his head set straight by the ghost of Yoda (who’s a puppet instead of CGI), Luke distracts the First Order with a Force projection so that the Resistance can escape. In doing so, he becomes one with the Force just like Obi-Wan and Yoda before him. Not being too attached to the past is a big theme of the movie, one that doesn’t just apply to the characters and story, but in terms of its own fanbase who takes this franchise way too seriously. There’s nothing wrong with embracing the past, but the best way to grow and be better is to continue moving forward.
I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi an 8/10. It’s got great performances, gorgeous cinematography, exciting action, and lessons that stick with you after viewing it. It took some heavy risks that pay off well for the most part and shifts the Star Wars universe to a new direction. Anyone who says The Last Jedi is bad, while they’re entitled to that opinion, they’re over-exaggerating. Is it perfect? No. But it’s still an entertaining that’s worth your money. I can’t wait for Episode IX. Here’s how I’d rank all the Star Wars movies so far from best to worst.
- EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
- A NEW HOPE
- THE FORCE AWAKENS
- RETURN OF THE JEDI
- THE LAST JEDI
- ROGUE ONE
- REVENGE OF THE SITH
- THE PHANTOM MENACE
- ATTACK OF THE CLONES