- Chad Womack
Chad Reviews "Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi"
When I reviewed the last two entries of the “Star Wars” film franchise, I was reeling from the giddiness-filled shock of it all, overcome with nostalgic emotion. Given that I’m a lifelong fan of the series as well as a film critic, it was extremely difficult to review both “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” entirely objectively immediately after viewing them. So, I’ve given myself a little bit of extra time to stew on it and let my inner geek calm down so I would be a bit more focused as a critic reviewing a film rather than a fanboy gushing over another chapter of a saga that has completely permeated my life. With THAT being said, let’s light this candle and break down “The Last Jedi”.
We pick up IMMEDIATELY after “The Force Awakens” (a first in the Star Wars saga as every preceding chapter usually picks up a year or more in the timeline of the film’s story), as Rey (Daisy Ridley) has managed to track down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in his secluded hideaway of Achh-To, asking for his assistance in defeating the villainous First Order led by the slimy General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). As the First Order doggedly pursues the fleet of the Resistance led by Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), the fleet’s ships begin running low on fuel and are unable to escape. Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), Finn (John Boyega), and newcomers to the saga Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) are forced to hatch a plan to try and outwit the First Order and live to fight another day.
This film was a complete blast to experience amongst fellow lifelong fans, and it’s very easy to get caught up in not only just one particular moment, but a series of SEVERAL that got my adrenalin pumping, and in many cases tears of joy flowing down your cheeks. There are so many unexpected moments, but equally as many where I found myself going, “Yep, saw that coming a mile away,” which is not necessarily a bad thing. Part of what makes “Star Wars” so much joyful fun is trying to figure out where this is going with a deep sense of gleeful accomplishment when getting it right.
There is much to admire director Rian Johnson for, as he handles the source material with great respect, but there are times when it gets away from him (albeit temporarily) as he deftly guides things back on track. I can confidently say that in the grand scheme of things, this is a more enjoyable film than “The Force Awakens,” as this seems to have a stronger sense of its own identity and doesn’t fall into the dreaded sophomore slump as many may have feared that it might. The galaxy far, far away seems to be in capable hands, and I’m all too eager to see where we go from here.
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