This is a spoiler-free film review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Last night, in an IMAX theater full of members of the media, I sat down with my nine-year-old son to screen the much-anticipated film. He barely remembers Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and dare I say, never got into the OG Star Wars films that I rant and rave about from my youth. But none the less, we sat there. Me teeming with excitement, him worried he was going to be bored. Audible gasps ensue.
As a huge Star Wars fan, I would love to see my son grow up in my likeness. But these days film has evolved so much from what it used to be it’s often hard to get kids excited about the movies you grew up loving. For me, I just wanted to see him have a good time and walk away from it with that galactic magic the franchise is so well known for.
I also wanted him to be inspired by “The Last Jedi” filming locations, especially since I had explored two of them on foot earlier this year in Ireland.
All of these things happened, and not just because lightsabers are cool, but because the story was captivating, the humor relatable to kids, and Porgs are the damn cutest things since Baby Groot. But how does this appeal to kids rank with Star Wars Puritans? I’m placing bets that there will be a lot of mixed feelings about this film. Here’s why…
Film Review Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second installment of the new Star Wars trilogy. It picks up where “The Force Awakens” left off and advances to entertain a multi-story plot which ultimately merges into a climactic battle. It delves into the mythology of the Jedi, honor, courage and of course rebellion while leaving an epic cliffhanger regarding the future of the Jedi.
With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%, it seems that critics are equally in love with “The Last Jedi” as they were with “The Force Awakens”. Yet, Variety Magazine is calling Writer and Director Rian Johnson’s efforts a disappointment, but why? Is this the Puritan critique, or is this the mom taking her kid to a movie critique? I think it’s fair to say first and foremost that this is a very entertaining film, one my son and I both enjoyed. It was funny, filled with epic battles and one heck of a lightsaber battle, had mind-blowing visuals and a strong focus on female characters. So why such an epic diss?
OG fans and apparently the dude at Variety might think the latest installment of the new trilogy is very “The Empire Strikes Back” -ish and its humor displaced. But let’s think on this. Han Solo always brought the element of humor to the franchise, so did Princess Leia, Yoda and Luke Skywalker, something I didn’t think was prominent in “The Force Awakens”. They may also think (despite their utter cuteness) that Porgs are a bit Marvel-ish. But this addition of cute overload is no stranger to the franchise, I’m sure we all remember the Ewoks. Granted, considered an epic fail by many, I can still remember the Ewok tribe clear as day from my childhood. I adored them in that “kids don’t care about the plot” kind of way and here I sit 30+ years later a die-hard Star Wars fan still. A pattern, probably. Genius? Maybe.
With Han Solo gone, I think it was a safe move to bring added humor to the story. Humor has historically won the hearts of geeks as we clearly saw with Ant-Man, Deadpool, and Thor: Ragnarok. Star Wars has always had funny one-liners, why water that down now? It was nice to see Luke Skywalker funnier than ever, even if it is a trend some think is adapted from Marvel films.
Fact. I heard a lot of clapping in the theater.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a downright masterpiece. It is visually flawless, brings powerful and strong women into the spotlight, and will give you all the feels with its humor and new furry little friends. My son, who started the film thinking he was going to be bored, was compelled and amused at all 2.5 hours of the so-called “disappointment” and its Porgs. I say take your kids, your partner, or just yourself to see this film when it opens this Friday.
And never trust anyone who doesn’t like a Porg.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters everywhere this Friday!