On The Best Last Jedi…

Some of you might remember my review of The Force Awakens.  If you don’t, that’s okay.  I had to look it up myself to remember I said this:

The problem, for me, is that I don’t think Star Wars movies are really my thing anymore.

I was wrong.  Good Lord alive, was I wrong, and I’ve not been happier to admit that.

The Last Jedi (and I say this without hyperbole) challenges the throne that The Empire Strikes Back currently holds in my line of succession to the best Star Wars film.  It was damn near everything I wanted to see, which is remarkable considering is also contained everything I thought I didn’t like about what had become the Star Wars formula.

Picture taking one of those Millenium Falcon LEGO sets, but instead built something that looked like something from the Star Wars universe, but wasn’t like anything built before.  That’s what The Last Jedi felt like to me; Rian Johnson took all the parts of the Star Wars formula, then rearranged them, twisted them about, and somehow built a marvelously coherent film out of all those pieces that shouldn’t have been able to fit together.  The way he managed to take many of the universe’s tropes, invert them, then in some cases turn ’em around straight at the end were brilliant.

In fact, the only criticism I really have for the film was that some of the callbacks to earlier films kinda felt wedged in and forced, as if Johnson was trying to keep in the good graces of people who liked the way Star Wars has traditionally been done.

And I also thought the sort of meta-theme that played through the film resonated with me.  The fandom has deified the original trilogy in many ways; the series we remember isn’t so much what it actually was as much as what we want it to be.  How easily you accept that will likely determine just how much you enjoy this film.

If you had been waiting for the movie to shake up the formula and dare to deviate from what Star Wars is supposed to be, you’re going to love this film.  If you prefer that traditional formula, you’re probably not going to enjoy it as much.

For me?  I couldn’t recommend it enough.  The Last Jedi isn’t just a great Star Wars movie.  It’s an excellent film completely on its own merits.

 

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