STAR WARS: The Last Jedi – My Impression (Obviously Spoilers)
Welcome to my impression of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, where I give my sort-of-not-really review of the movie. I had to wait a few days to finally write this because I needed to process all the moments and elements of this film, and there is a lot of major events that go on in this. I hope you all enjoy!
Spoiler Warning!!!: Very prevalent spoilers in this impression, it is almost impossible to talk about this film without spoilers so do not read unless you’ve seen the film for yourself!!! You have been warned!!!
Previous Saga Overview:
So it would be a bit proper, in my opinion, if I went through my initial thoughts on the previous films leading up to this recent release. I will start by explaining my thoughts on the original trilogy since they were, well, the original films that started it all.
I watched the original trilogy when I was young but I didn’t really get into the franchise til around the age of nine or ten, which was easily later than I would’ve preferred. The technical first film, technical fourth in the saga known as a New Hope, was quite an entertaining film at the time but it certainly wasn’t the one to get me hooked. I’m sure if I was alive around the time that the film originally debuted it would’ve meant more to me but as far as it compares to episodes five and six I find it to be the most boring of the original trilogy (not entirely though, that Obi Wan vs Vader sequence and the Death Star space battle was a highlight in my youth). Not only is Empire Strikes Back the best, in my opinion, out of the original trilogy but it is also my favorite out of all of star wars! Anyone who is a friend of mine knows that I love the AT-AT’s and that whole Hoth sequence was amazing to me. And of course that family inheritance reveal is among one of the best things in cinema history. Not much else to say except that it’s good and the best. Return of the Jedi was better than a New Hope, again my opinion, but it certainly couldn’t beat the Empire Strikes Back. I enjoy the puppetry of characters in Jabba’s palace but the whole Jabba scene felt too long and almost pointless if it wasn’t for saving Han Solo. And bits of the Endor scenes felt a bit boring at times. So overall I think the original trilogy was fun and among the best trilogies out there.
Before I head right into the prequel trilogy I will first and foremost start by saying that I am not a prequel hater, in actuality I like the prequels quite a bit and feel that other fans are too harsh and mean spirited still to this day, again my opinion and I will respect yours. The prequels were the films of my era growing up, so there is kind of an almost nostalgic and innocent appeal to them, and they also helped in getting me to watch the original trilogy and loving those films so I respect these films for a number of things. However despite what I just said, I will start out by saying the Phantom Menace is the weakest film in the entire saga! I enjoyed it as a kid but my opinions quickly changed upon maturity. There were only two things I really liked in that film which came in the form of two characters, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul, the rest is just meh and Jar Jar Binks truly is the worst. Attack of the Clones was certainly a step up from Phantom Menace (I know some consider this one to actually be the worst but in my opinion it is not). I find some of the beginning stuff to be pretty fun and the ending involving the clones is entertaining to me, but yeah the whole middle is very boring to me even though I think the romance stuff isn’t that tedious. Revenge of the Sith is definitely my favorite of the prequels, and personally among my favorite of Star Wars films. Is it perfect? No, but what movie truly is? I enjoy the beginning space battle, which was a unique opening to a star wars films (well, at the time it was exclusive *wink wink), the whole Clone Wars thing is still one of my favorite things ever in star wars, and the infamous opera scene involving the story of Darth Plagueis is among one of the best star wars moments ever. So in conclusion for the prequels, I generally like them with really only one out of three films actually being considered bad by me. They are not better than the original films but I consider them part of the canon and timeline and think they add more than they take away.
I will quickly say my opinion of Rogue One by saying that it is easily one of the best films in star wars with some of the most iconic scenes ever, even if it may not be the absolute best. It kind of falls into a similar trap as the prequels where they introduce many cool and unique characters but don’t give us a lot of time to learn and know them fully (similar to the short introductions of villain characters like Maul, Count Dooku or Grievous). But the film makes up for it by giving us possibly the best final battle we will, maybe, ever see in a star wars film. Again, I would’ve loved to learn more about characters such as K-2SO or those two guardians of the Whills, but that ending and especially that Vader scene is too good to be true!
And lastly I will give my opinion on the Force Awakens, the very film that re-sparked this franchise once again. First off I think that fans, yet again, are too harsh on this film. While the arguments against it are certainly validated I don’t think they automatically make the film the worst thing ever, why can’t people just have fun with these films??? Why is that so hard??? Anyways, I quite enjoyed the film and don’t think indifferently towards the comparisons to a New Hope (if anything, it’s just a more enjoyable episode four to me and if anyone thinks saying that is sin than oh well haters be hating). I really enjoy these new characters and I liked seeing the nostalgic references and callbacks to the original trilogy, even if it is a little too fan service-y a bit. The only gripe I do have with this film is that it didn’t feel too much like its own thing, that it felt too much like it wanted to just be original trilogy again which while I see it as a better update it certainly shouldn’t be one. What I like about star wars is that each film introduced new worlds, new aliens, new droids and new characters in general to add more to the universe it’s creating. This film, while again I like it, only introduced some new aliens and droids, new planets that are too similar to previous planets, and characters that I like but also kind of feel like stand ins for original trilogy characters. Fortunately these worries will fade away with the next film in the sequel trilogy, but my overall opinion is that Force Awakens is a good one.
So overall if I were to rank these films (from worst to best) before I include the Last Jedi in the mix, it would be:
7. The Phantom Menace (Episode I)
6. Attack Of The Clones (Episode II)
5. A New Hope (Episode IV)
4. Return Of The Jedi / Revenge Of The Sith (Episodes VI and III)
3. The Force Awakens (Episode VII)
2. Rogue One
1. The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)
Ideally I would’ve made a triple tie for episodes three, six and seven making the list shortened to six spots, but Force Awakens gets its own spot, until opinions change later, because I am a bit more entertained by it which may possibly be just because it is a newer film. I have Return and Revenge tied because they are both bookends to two different trilogies with two very different outcomes from one another, where both heroes in each story a given a choice which results in one turning bad while the other remains true to the light side. Empire is definitely my favorite though, but how will this new film stack up?
Well let us get into the actual impression:
The Last Jedi did the smart move of starting immediately after the Force Awakens and tells the story of why Luke went to that planet, on that island, and let me tell you it is certainly for an unexpected reason. It also continues the aftermath of the resistance still trying to survive the onslaught of the First Order as well as the internal struggles that both Kylo Ren and Rey feel, evolving into unexpected conclusions and even unexpected territories.
To go into spoilers, we find out the truth that Luke meddled with the thought of killing his nephew Ben Solo after peering inside his mind and seeing the dark side growing within him. Of course he decides not to do it but it’s too late as he managed to terrify his nephew and essentially assure his path to the Dark Side. At first I thought it was odd for him to even attempt this idea, especially for both his character and what his character has gone through with the original trilogy, but then I had a thought which made it make sense. Luke knew one of the failures of Obi Wan Kenobi was not addressing to developing hatred, anger and fear within Anakin Skywalker, which ended up turning Anakin into Darth Vader and leading Obi Wan to fail as a master to a student. So it makes sense that Luke would attempt such an idea in order to not let the past repeat itself. The other big spoiler was and shocking event was having Kylo Ren kill off his master Supreme Leader Snoke, a huge and mysterious character who now almost seems no longer important to the story further on. I sure everyone expected this character to live until the ninth film but this film certainly subverted expectations while still leaving us asking basically the same questions we had. And the reveal of Rey’s parents was certainly unexpected but also possibly misleading to us as an audience, I’m willing to believe that there is way more there than expected and that Kylo Ren was certainly misleading her. However, if she is from nothing as the film says then I’m absolutely fine with that as well since it would make it pretty similar to how Anakin Skywalker was born from basically nothing to a nobody slave woman. And lastly, Luke’s death and becoming one with the force (and possibly appearing as a force ghost in the next one), this scene is certainly split among the fandom but I’m here to say I enjoyed it quite a lot. I always saw this sequel trilogy as a new character story instead of a returning cast trilogy, it is a nice passing of the torch to let Luke die and have Rey continue on as the future legacy of the Jedi.
These new star wars films certainly have the look down to a perfect degree. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of effects both practical and digital throughout these films. We’ve gone from an era of puppetry and make up, to an era where digital effects sort of ruled for a bit, to where we are now with the line between practical and digital almost blurred. There will always be moments where one thing is obviously a digital or puppet made creation, but this most recent way of creating effects is the most dominant. When it comes to this film, I was surprised at how much CGI was actually there given that the Force Awakens was so stressed about bringing back the practical effects, but again it made the film both beautiful and thankfully unique enough from the other trilogies.
While I think the “space Vegas” sequence was a little too close to home in style, seeming more like a James Bond film during that part, I certainly didn’t hateit and thought those horse things were really cool. The space ships and scenes in space are certainly a highlight here, giving us finally a answer of what it looks like to light speed right at a ship!
Instead of a presentation bit like with my other Impression posts, I decided to just talk about my favorite parts in general, and there are certainly favorites to be had here! I will bring up what I consider to be the big three moments:
My first favorite part was seeing Luke toss the lightsaber at the beginning, which was both funny and telling of where this story was going to go. The very Lightsaber that once belonged to Anakin, that Once belonged to Luke himself, the pretty huge mcguffin from the Force Awakens that somehow got into the hands of Maz Kanata, all of these questions and yet Luke doesn’t seem to care. This is a great example of how this new film is going to subvert your expectations throughout.
My second favorite was seeing Grand Master Yoda again. As someone who actually didn’t mind and liked seeing CGI Yoda (which made sense in the prequels given that he fought with a Lightsaber more than once), It was such an amazing moment to see puppet version of Yoda appear once again, and it strongly fit into the “feels” category. I still wish we could’ve seen the return of another character like Obi Wan (who is actually my favorite star wars character of all time) but this Yoda moment was certainly all you needed.
My last favorite, and certainly not least, was the death of Snoke and the battle against his Praetorian guards. While the film and the sequel trilogy still need to add more flavor to their Lightsaber battles, this was basically the saving grace moment and easily one of the best fight scenes in all of star wars! The guards each have unique weapons and were definitely taught to combat Jedi or similar thereof. It’s so great to see these random guard characters finally do crap in these films, the closest we ever got was the Magna guards in episode three which is even then we saw little of. It’s also great to see both Kylo and Rey go all out with their skills.
Like I said previously, I had to take time to ponder over this film and think about what I did like and decide where I place it on my ranking list, but I knew straight away that it was going to be pretty dang high on my list. This film suceeds in both subverting expectations and also, finally, giving us some new content instead of trying to return to stuff we’ve seen before. It gives us more questions than answers but it does so in a very satisfying way. Am I a little unceratin of the answers given? certainly. But I am in no way upset or let down. This film will definitely be divided among fans for a long time (or at least til episode nine comes out), but luckily I am on the side that favors it’s risks and decisions.
So where does it rank on my list of star wars films? Here’s where it is now until future films/opinions change it or whatever:
8. The Phantom Menace (Episode I)
7. Attack Of The Clones (Episode II)
6. A New Hope (Episode IV)
5. Return Of The Jedi / Revenge Of The Sith (Episodes VI and III)
4. The Force Awakens (Episode VII)
3. Rogue One
2. The Last Jedi (Episode VIII)
1. The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)
So yeah it’s pretty high on my list, but again this can change later on. It’s still possible that I’ll include that triple tie after a while but honestly I’m fine with these opinions here at the point of this post being written. What is your ranking of the star wars films? Please feel free to share it with us in the comments! Again, if we can respect the opinions of other people we will perhaps see some interesting lists!
Thanks for reading my impression…