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Hayden's Overall Grade: B
Finally the wait is over as Star Wars The Last Jedi has officially arrived in theaters. Star Wars fans around the world have been waiting for this moment since the end credits of Force Awakens two years earlier. The anticipation was at an all time high and people were counting down the minutes until the opening crawl began to move across the screen. Surprisingly, what followed in the next two and a half hours was a shocking, twisting rollercoaster ride of emotional distress and jubilant celebration.
The early critical reviews had been calling this film an epic and saying it was the best Star Wars movie to date. What the audience has been saying since the first Thursday showing is a little bit more of a mixed bag. The feeling is that this new film has fans sitting on either side of the love/hate spectrum and in the end will go down as one of the most diverse entries in the cannon.
The story that unfolded in Star Wars The Last Jedi was unlike anything that had come before it. Following The Force Awakens, director Rian Johnson wanted to take a sharp left turn from the traditional Star Wars lore. The story contained all the major twists and insane revelations that fans are accustomed too with the typical Star Wars film but also had a few of those twists fall flat in the eyes of the audience. The storyline that it contained, along with the underwhelming answers to major plot points, is what has fans in the biggest uproar. Personally, without giving away any spoilers, I found that the vision that Rian Johnson had for this story was unique and I felt that most of plot points made sense in the confines of the narrative they were telling. Yes, some of them felt like cheap and easy answers, but I feel like this change of pace really helped give this film a unique flair from other Star Wars movies.
The four characters that had their story arcs explored the most were Luke, Leia, Rey, and Kylo. Luke made his triumphant return to the Star Wars lore and we soon learn why the last Jedi has been hiding for so long. We see him come full circle with the force and finally come to terms with his demons. Leia's arc takes a much different turn as we knew going in that the legendary Carrie Fisher had passed away last year. This made watching her character so much more emotional and really gave her story a satisfying conclusion. Rey and Kylo Ren's journeys took very similar paths and it seemed as they were destined to be joined together. They showed the same common idea that they didn't know themselves and used each other to find the answers within their own soul.
Some of the flaws that I felt really felt hurt this film in the long run was the characterization of some of their minor characters. After two years of wondering who Supreme Leader Snoke was, we were given a less than satisfactory result. The same can be said for Captain Phasam and the brilliant hacker DJ. The side-plot that kept characters like Finn and newcomer Rose busy fell flat in my eyes and could really have been done without. It could have easily been removed from the story and it wouldn't have affected anything and may have helped streamline the movies plot.
The only supporting character arc I really enjoyed was Poe's. He went toe to toe with the new leader Admiral Holdo and started to mature as a leader. The chemistry they had was very intriguing and you could feel the tension through the screen.
The Last Jedi did a lot of things that will make it an epic film in the Star Wars franchise but it also had some parts that will make it a hot bed for debate between die-hard Star Wars fans. I truly enjoyed this film and it gave me such a great feeling just being in the Star Wars universe again. It will never get old visiting the people and places that make a galaxy far far away so special. Sure the film diverse but it was another amazing trip into the world of Star Wars and that will never get old for me.
Recommendation: It's Star Wars, so if you love Star Wars this film will always be a must see. For anyone else, it is a crazy trip into space that twists your emotions and brings crazy action for you to enjoy.