The Last Jedi : Dazed and Confused
By Eish Sumra
If there’s one thing that Star Wars has never been good at it is humor. Yet in the new installment “The Last Jedi,” there never seems to be a moment free from a laugh. Rian Johnson, of Looper fame, has managed to turn this slice of the franchise into some weird comedic jaunt through the galaxy. Mix this with the not so scary villains, it makes for a strange Star Wars episode. While I desperately want to love this film, it’s hard to feel it’s one of the best - however, what it lacks in cohesion and direction, it makes up in emotion, creativity, and sheer gravitas. Star Wars has found a new soul, albeit a tough one for fans to swallow.
One thing that must be celebrated is the strength of performances. Mark Hamill’s broken and bruised Luke Skywalker is a far cry from his optimistic boyish portrayal of the original series. He isn’t a talented actor but found a sweet spot with his aged character. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega both proved why they were chosen in the first place. While Ridley sometimes flirts with cliche and saccharine sensitivity, she brings it home with her passion and inner turmoil. Even the new additions of Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran, excite. They bring a complexity to a series often devoid of believable intensity.
No one beats Adam Driver and the inescapably brilliant Carrie Fisher. The former is brooding, conflicted and bizarrely realistic. Even though he isn’t as terrifying as one would hope or expect, it makes sense in the larger context. Driver is mesmerizingly good and tries hard not to be Darth Vader (despite the many similarities). That leaves Fisher, may she rest in peace. She’s regal as Princess Leia, the film is a love letter to her and you can’t help but feel melancholy knowing she’s passed. She gives a final performance befitting of a queen, one that will cap off an extraordinary career. Fans should be proud.
Where the film falters, however, is the overdose of plots on display. As the longest Star Wars episode, it doesn’t drag on but feels slightly heavier - there’s a lot going on. Then again this is the filler, where all characters are supposed to get a fair shake of the storyline. Because of this, you kind of wish there were multiple films to contain it all.
As I mentioned earlier, the film is also too funny. Jokes are thrown around and it only serves to take away from the seriousness of what is going on. It loses the fantastical feel as the characters sound more and more like they’re sarcastically riffing with their mates.
So to keep this review short and sweet, after all, you need to see this one to have an opinion, Star Wars didn’t crumble where it easily could have. However, you get the sense that the new directions and twists and turns that could make this one stand out, get drowned out by the sheer noise of the spectacle and the eagerness to make this sequel ‘have it all’. I’m convinced this one is the most entertaining Star Wars since the original prequels, yet it falls short of achieving greatness due to its self-imposed lack of restraint. On to the next one now.