Directed By Rian Johnson
The stylish episode VIII of the Star Wars franchise, the second of a trilogy that began in 2015 with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, was given the title of “The Last Jedi” and keeps dividing audiences worldwide. While its visual impact is undeniable, old and new characters work together to infuse zest and grittiness in an impetuous inspiration by Rian Johnson (“Brick”, “Looper”), who penned and directed with equal doses of passion and fascination. The director actually captured the tonal spirit of the preceding episodes and elevated it through bold and fresh ideas. However, this spacial opus could have run shorter than the two hours and a half without major loss.
The spectacular battles between the dominant First Order, an evil military junta commanded by the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), are in the center of the attention. However, and because this is far from being a tacky tale, one can find a decent emotional side attached to it, as well as a winning humor, which associated to speedy action scenes, regales with an inviting diversion.
In this episode, Rey (Daisy Ridley) travels to the secluded planetary island of Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a Jedi master turned hermit, decided to hide six years before. She wants to convince him to join the Resistance. After the initial stubbornness and refusal, Luke ends up accepting the challenge and even teaches her the ways of the Jedi as he sees a lot of courage, righteousness, and skills in her that are so characteristic from The Force. However, Rey communicates telepathically with the venomous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), son of Leia and Han Solo, whose ambiguous behavior and sly intentions will drag her to Snoke’s den.
On another front, we have the former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) teaming up with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a maintenance worker for the Resistance that appears for the first time in the series. I don’t see her as a super strong character, though. Also, the often funny X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), does what he has to do for the sake of the Light with fearless bravura, even if he needs to confront his inflexible, stern superior, the Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern).
As a bold director, Johnson didn’t turn his face to risk or experience and his efforts become successful. The stunning tete-a-tete between Skywalker and Kylo Ren was the most exciting moment of the film, culminating in a sophisticated artifice of teleportation. It felt like I was in a video game without being able to control it.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was dedicated to Carrie Fisher, who died of cardiac arrest on December 15. The last installment of the trilogy will be released in 2019, having J.J. Abrams once again in the director’s chair.