Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 4/5 – From the sense of wonder, you experience things when you go the theaters.  No matter the kind of story being told, there is innate reason to why things are happening.  From the fantastical to the down-to-earth, you want a film to capture the truth in storytelling and evolve within itself.  This gives you things that change with meaningful stature.  With the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, it is an experience of action, suspense, character drama and revelations.  Even for some minor quibbles in the risk of choice, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great Sci-Fi opera, another amazing chapter to the Star Wars saga.

Premise: The next chapter in the Star Wars Saga; we are brought into battle between The Resistance and The First Order.  With everything on the line, will the new band of rebels find a way to live on for another day.

Being the second in this new trilogy, the main cast returns from the first.  That includes all the new characters introduced (Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and Poe) along with the old guards (Luke and Leia).  The whole main ensemble does a wonderful job in pushing their characters to the limits, showing new facades to the meaning of progression.  You feel the power, veracity and confliction that compounds all of them to feeling like real people.  Within the mounting situations each faces in this chapter, the layers to their personalities create endearing aspects to the ideas of purpose and choice.  Each character’s strengths compliment their flaws while they face harden truths.  By bringing a mirror upon the ‘person’, you feel conviction in their mannerisms, obscurity in confrontations, and raw emotion through their dialogue.  Aside from the subplots each of them get entangled with, there is a sense of vigor that pulls out their humanistic elements, pushing a ‘reflection’ of who they are for the audience.  From Luke’s unrelenting struggle to stay hidden from the world to the conflicting relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey, it is that personal touch that makes each of them firm.  The rest of the cast (new and old returning characters) are a hit and miss.  For all the new inclusions, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  From the endearing aspects to the one-dimensional clichés, the secondary cast only add background to the worlds and places explored.  There are some forced relationship dynamics, but it never hurts the progression of the story.

The direction takes on the classic episodic structure that is common with the Star Wars saga.  You are given the intro title screen, prologue in the iconic scroll that introduces the new situations and plot points that will move this next story along.  From the onset, the familiarity is keen on gripping you to the dire nature of The Resistance’s fight with the First Order. Creating a sense of dire circumstances lays the framework to the themes, characters and ideas that surround the ongoing events. Creating a war like situation puts the impact at the forefront, but you realize that there is an underlining change happening with the characters.  As the movie progresses through the first act, new spins with themes brings twist to the characterization, creating something unexpected for what is to come.  With this being the second of the new trilogy, an evolution must take place to create a dynamic between the current and unknown.  By doing this, every plot thread (no matter how deep or cheesy they become) has an importance to each other. Once we move into the second act, the direction continues in a linear fashion.  With an emphasis on the common ‘passing the torch’ theme, you watch as the old guards (Luke/Leia) slowly plays up the mentor role for the new group (Rey/Finn/Poe). This also becomes apparent with the main players of the First Order, with Supreme Leader Snoke a ‘pseudo’ mentor to General Hux and Kylo Ren.  As the film continues, the depth of the lore and characters grow, putting a unique spin to the situations involved with both sides.  It is enriching on the surface, but it is the subtlety of mannerisms and interactions between characters that truly give life to the battle for the galaxy.  As the movie builds, it begins to waver between the tension of war and the odd appeals of some exotic locales. There is a big part of the second act that fractures the overall tone.  You see a lot exposition and convenient plot devices being forced to create purpose to some side elements. Even so, you aren’t completely taken out of the story and quickly returned to the struggle of the Resistance against the First Order.  This is when we have some strong dramatic turns that will have you on the edge of you seat.  This leads into a third act that becomes a ‘roller coaster’ ride.  From the action set pieces, individual moments and ominous sense of hope, you feel the aura of the characters come to the forefront.  There is a dynamism of the heroes’ tale mantra that reveals the struggle that each character faces when given choices towards what is right and wrong.  Once the climax comes, all threads are brought together in a poignant fashion. The revelations combine meaningful statures with gorgeous visuals.  You are left with a sense of wanting to know how it all will end.  Once the epilogue rolls, you are left with a smile knowing that there is one more chapter left to see.

The cinematography is simply breathtaking.  From the visual intensity of the space battles between The Resistance and The First Order to the down-to-earth appeal of certain planets and island locales, you get a sense of awe, wonder and realism.  There is a delicacy to how the window of wide scopes are capture, leveling everything within a genuine scope to capture the emotional overtones that come with every character, location and situation.  By putting power within the naked eye, you are truly enraptured when things happen in the film.  The one blind spot is a sequence that happens in a strange part of the galaxy.  With no spoilers, it feels completely out of place with the rest of the film.  The score is (as always) an amazing piece of orchestra work.  The resounding instruments propel you into a galaxy far, far away; capturing what it means to be part of this Sci-Fi Opera.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is another welcome addition to this growing universe.  Even with some interesting takes on characters and story, there is enough here to create an entertaining ride.  If you’re a fan or just want to escape this world, this is one for you.  It is worth the full price, a wonderful time at the theaters.

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