I am a pure, die hard, devoted and hard core Star Wars fan. I have been since I was 8 and saw the original Star Wars for the first time. It captures my imagination in a unique and almost indescribable way unlike any other movie out there. I am not a prequel hater, I think there is so much to love in those three movies, even if they might not compare to the originals in other areas. They are still spectacularly fun entertainment. And I adored Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I think JJ Abrams brought every bit of that feeling of being 8 back to me and made me fall in love with the galaxy all over again. So when I heard that Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker was a big part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I don’t remember the last time my anticipation levels were so high. But how did it hold up?
After travelling across the galaxy to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley) is surprised to find the Jedi Master unwilling to join the resistance and help save the galaxy. As Rey does manage to get some guidance and training from Skywalker, General Leia (Carrie Fisher), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) face the entire First Order fleet as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeks to find a way to end the resistance and turn Rey to the dark side.
I had read in interviews before seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi that Mark Hamill completely disagreed with where director Rian Johnson took the character of Luke Skywalker. He says now he is happy with it and on board but is he really? Because that was fundamentally the main thing I had issue with in the film. I loved a lot about it. It looks stunningly beautiful. Performances were excellent including Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, but especially Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, who have created what I think are two of the strongest characters in the entire franchise. I loved the situation the rebels find themselves in, it was unique and very cool, I loved the tensions between Rey and Ren, there is a Throne Room fight that is one of the best scenes in the franchise, Andy Serkis’ Snoke was brilliant and I wished (and maybe still hope) we could see more of him, and the finale was amazing.
But I have to agree with Hamill’s first instincts that Johnson took Skywalker in a bad direction. What fans wanted to see was Skywalker fulfill everything he was built up to become over the course of our lifetimes, for him to be the ultimate force of good, for him to be the greatest Jedi ever. But Johnson made him into a neutered antihero who didn’t even seem to care what happened to his own sister. The other thing that really bothered me on the first viewing (but has less effect now) is the humor. I love humor in my Star Wars but many of the humorous moments in The Last Jedi seem ill timed or even insulting. Slight spoiler but when Luke finally receives his lightsaber from Rey he tosses it away in a silly way making the moment have less impact and people laughed in the theatre. That should have been a moment of him tossing it aside in a fashion that made audiences gasp. These moments did not seem thought through. Same goes for the unnecessary Sea Cow scene. Why that was even in there I will never know. But all in all, there is still a lot to love in The Last Jedi, especially anything involving Rey and Ren.
The new Blu-ray also has a few other reasons to pick it up even if you were not too fond of the film. First is a feature length documentary, The Director and the Jedi, that is a fascinating insight into the making of the movie and the motivations behind many of the story decisions. You also get a whopping 14 deleted scenes that are all interesting and two of which really should have remained in the film. This is one of the most controversial Star Wars movies ever, but we always have hope as JJ Abrams takes the director’s chair back to end the Skywalker Saga with Star Wars Episode IX. Still, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is highly recommended for checking out for yourself.