Review: Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi [2017]

a review curated by the Azure-Winged Magpie and written by the Swan(!).

Here’s our epic banner image for these posts. Thanks, Crow!

THIS IS THE SPOILER REVIEW

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

WE WAITED LONG ENOUGH

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Opening Crawl

Hullo, Swan(!) here. So, The Last Jedi hit the cinemas last week and as a dutiful Star Wars fan, I took the opportunity to see it as early as I could with a good friend of mine. Whereas the Magpie gave a fairly spoiler-free review (with some minor spoilers at the end), I’ve had to rack my brains around how I’d give my two cents about Episode 8. And… I decided that I can’t really talk that much about the movie, without giving away some moderate spoilers, so if you do decide to read this, that’s on you.

With that in mind, let’s jump to hyperspace for the eighth time. Or is it the ninth due to Rogue One? Goddammit, Disney!

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The Battle of Crait

WARNING: This section contains MODERATE spoilers.

So after we see the heart-warming, standard opening crawl, we pick up right after where The Force Awakens left off. Sadly, not with the final scene from the last movie (that would be hilarious, yet awkward). No, we see the First Order attacking the Resistance base and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and his buddies fighting them off. We start off with some light-hearted humour between Dameron and General Armitage Hux of the First Order (Domhnall Gleeson), before some standard Star Wars dog-fighting shite in space. Still fun to watch, though. Tragically, Poe and the Resistance barely escape with their lives and one of the Resistance members (linked to a major character in the story) is killed, while attempting to destroy one of the First Order ships. Despite the Resistance’s escape, the First Order gives pursuit via a tracking device.

Meanwhile, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is rather cheesed off with Hux’s failure and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) due to his defeat in the last movie. It seems Kylo has finally become a new person in this movie, as he smashes his helmet into a wall, thus symbolising that he no longer wishes to be like his grandfather, Darth Vader. Kylo, seemingly pissed from his conversation with Snoke, leads the space assault on the Resistance. Many Resistance members (including an old favourite are killed). General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) manages to survive via what the Magpie referred to as a “Mary Poppins” moment. I mean, Jesus titting Christ. I know Leia’s Force Sensitive and that it’s a Star Wars movie, but for fuck’s sake. I think myself and a few other people earned those audible groans in the cinema. Or was it just me? Anyways… mewwving on!

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We then cut to the planet Ahch-To, where the last scene of the Force Awakens took place. Our heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley – who I think is the most stunning thing on two legs) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) try to convince an uncharacteristically Luke Skywalker (hey kids – it’s Mark Hamill) to return to the fight. Actually, the character development thing here works, as Luke feels responsible for the destruction of his Jedi temple and the downfall of Kylo Ren (who we all know now is the son of Han Solo and Leia). We get some more funny scenes on Ach-To, featuring some strange aliens called the Caretakers and these cute looking bird creatures called the Porgs before our favourite droid R2-D2 convinces Luke to train Rey. And train her, he does, which kind of reminded me of Yoda’s training from The Empire Strikes Back. During Rey’s training, she taps into a dark place which frightens Luke, as he saw the exact same thing in Kylo Ren. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to some other Resistance characters such as maintenance worker Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern). Rose is somehow involved in the story because her sister died in the opening battle (where’s my violin?) She bumps into Finn and together they travel to a casino planet called Canto Bight to find a codebreaker who get them on Snoke’s ship and destroy the First Order’s tracking device. The casino scenes are meh and the codebreaker in question, DJ (Benicio Del Toro) isn’t that interesting. But, I’ll get to him later. Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) on the other hand. Well, she’s introduced as a character that doesn’t like Poe very much (since he’s a rookie pilot) and is the one who takes command of the Resistance in Leia’s absence. Holdo plans to evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports, which again puts her at odds with Poe, who starts some sort of mutiny. I don’t know how I feel about this. It feels very Star Trek, more than Star Wars (don’t kill me, Crow!)

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We then cut back to the planet Ach-To, where Rey and Kylo talk to each other via some new power called the Force Bond. I suppose that’s quite interesting, as I actually wanted them to hook up at somepoint (Sidenote: I had a discussion about this with the Magpie and she disagrees vehemently). We also find out some other news concerning Luke and Kylo. Again, it’s very compelling, but shits on what the Luke Skywalker character is supposed to represent.  But, I’ll let you watch the movie to find out. Eventually, through some touching moments, Rey “gets close” to Kylo and believes that he can be saved from the dark side. It’s all very Return of The Jedi, eh? The rest of the film shakes up the Star Wars with some twists and turns, including a showdown in Snoke’s throne room (yeah…that still reminds me of Return of the Jedi) and a somewhat interesting battle on the planet Crait between the Resistance and the First Order.


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The Resistance

Rey (Daisy Ridley): 7/10 – Aww, Daisy Ridley. How I love thee. Yeah, I always liked Rey since the last movie and in this one….she’s alright. It’s cool that her parentage is tied up in a way that isn’t predictable and cringey. This sort of trope (which I won’t reveal too much) also connects to the ending and is likely to occur within Rian Johnson’s new Star Wars Trilogy. Well, I think so.

Finn (John Boyega): 7/10 – Finn’s not a bad character. At least in this movie, he’s stopped chasing after a girl who doesn’t fancy him and focuses on the fight in hand. As per usual, he does have some funny moments, which I like.

Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo): 5/10 – This dude isn’t around much in the movie. He does have some funny moments with the Porg creatures.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac): 7/10 – Isaac provides a compelling performance as Dameron. Like the other characters in this movie, he has some funny moments. Especially in the opening scenes with Hux.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill): 7/10 – Now, as for Luke. Hmm, I suppose I like the character development as this isn’t the Luke Skywalker we’re used to from the original three movies. When we first see Luke, he’s extremely grumpy and rude to his uninvited guests – not really the Jedi way is it? Then again, having your entire lifeswork destroyed by your nephew is bound to do that to you. And yes…Luke has some funny scenes too, as well as some bad-ass moments in the movie. However, there is one scene in the movie which I think tests the audience’s faith in the character. Like I said, it’s compelling, but it’s not something I’m used to Luke doing. Sure, he’s made some bad decisions in the original three movies, but nothing THIS extreme. Mark Hamill’s allegedly complained about the direction of Luke and I don’t exactly blame him.

General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher): 8/10 – RIP Carrie Fisher. Fisher plays the role of Leia well and I suppose the film is a good send off for her. Although, that “Mary Poppins” scene… Ugh!

Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran): 5/10 – I suppose Rose is relevant to the story as her sister was killed by the First Order. And I suppose she serves as a companion/love interest to Finn, which is nice for him. Then again, I don’t care much for the character.

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern): 5/10 – I don’t much care for this character either. It seems like she’s better placed in Star Trek than in Star Wars, as she seems to play the “good guy in authority who takes a dislike to the main character” sort of trope.


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The First Order

Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis): 3/10 – There I was. Filled with illusion that in this film, we would finally get to know more about the mysterious Snoke. I really liked him in The Force Awakens and I thought we’d get something similar to Darth Sidious in this movie. But, no. Snoke is only in a few scenes and is actually just a weak character with not much else about him. Fuck this guy!

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver): 5/10 – Five out of ten is me being nice. Kylo Ren was slowly beginning to become one of my favourite characters in the Star Wars franchise, as this was someone who was conflicted. In the previous movie, Driver played this role of a confused, angry young man so much better and it was much more interesting than Hayden Christensen’s Anakin in the Star Wars prequels. In this movie, Kylo’s decisions make him nothing more than a power crazed tyrant or a standard comic book villain. Disappointing.

Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie): 2/10 – Just a wasted character. This was played by the woman who is Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. They could have given this character something more to work with. But fuck the fans who want their wishes granted, eh?

General Armitage Hux (Domnhall Gleeson): 4/10 – Hux is nothing more than a laughing stock in this movie. Again, like some of the other characters, he has some hilarious moments. But, meh. He’s not that compelling.

DJ (Benicio Del Toro): 5/10 – Heh. This guy also played a henchman in the Bond movie Licence To Kill. But, I digress. DJ’s a shifty character. He has some quirks which I like, but he’s hardly in this movie. Hopefully, he reappears in Episode IX with a lot more to do.


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Closing Thoughts

Overall, The Last Jedi isn’t a bad movie. In fact, I’d rank it 4th on my list of favourite Star Wars movies.  It’s watchable and the funny scenes never fail to put a smile on my face. Some scenes also remind me of Empire and Jedi, which is a nice touch, as they are the movies I’d watch the most when it comes to Star Wars. Rian Johnson shook up the Star Wars franchise and put certain characters in the worst case scenarios. Bare in mind, this guy directed a few episodes of Breaking Bad (which is one of my favourite programmes). However, would I say that The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars movie? No, absolutely not. It’s not without its flaws. The lightsaber duels (if you call them that) are a lot to be desired. Hopefully, Episode IX will clear up the unanswered questions and put the world(s) to rights in the franchise. But, like Game of Thrones, we’ll have to wait until twenty-sodding-nineteen! Although, there is the new Han Solo movie just around the corner…


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Pew! Pew! Pew-pew!

Final Ratings

THE SWAN(!): 4/10

THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 6/10


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See Also

ORIGINAL TRILOGY

SEQUEL TRILOGY

ANTHOLOGY FILMS


Here’s the official poster:

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Here’s our official banner:

The Corvid Review - The Last Jedi Spoiler

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