Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow below.
It’s here. After two years of waiting, the second chapter in the brand new Star Wars trilogy has arrived—and it’s caught everyone off guard. Who knew blockbuster filmmaking could still be this surprising? Writer/director Rian Johnson picked up the baton from J.J. Abrams and in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, crafted a bold, thrilling, and downright shocking follow-up that dispels preconceived notions about where this franchise was going.
The Last Jedi is a lot of movie. So much happens in this film, and yet it rarely feels bloated or like it’s going off on a tangent. Every decision, every plot move is in service of character development, theme, or both. This is “Hashtag Resistance: The Movie.” It’s a film about standing up to evil in the face of overwhelming odds and, as Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) says, fighting to save those that you love. It’s also a film that underlines the fact that heroes aren’t born of royal blood—the capacity for greatness lives in people from all walks of life.
One imagines the reveal that Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) parents are, in fact, of no importance at all will ruffle feathers of those who’ve spent the last two years theorizing wildly, but again that decision is rooted in character and theme. Rey is special because she’s a nobody. The hero to equal Kylo Ren was not destined from birth or written in the stars, she was dumped like garbage and, in the face of despair, never gave up hope.
The evolution of Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren in this film solidifies him as one of the great movie villains in recent memory. An emotionally complex, arresting, and empathetic character who is more than just Evil Incarnate Wearing a Mask. His swift dispatch of Snoke is a shocking turn, but one that makes perfect sense. Who’s a more interesting antagonist for the final chapter, a scarred alien-looking dude who spouts venom ad nauseum, or the corrupted, tortured, and somewhat unfairly maligned son of Han Solo and Leia Organa?
And this is not to even mention the stunningly iconographic shots that Johnson and DP Steve Yedlin composed. But enough of my rambling. We’re curious what you think. Did you love The Last Jedi? How did you feel about the twists and turns? Where do you think this takes the franchise in Episode IX? Sound off the comments below, but first, let’s take a moment to revisit the very first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.