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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Misses Mark for Star-Studded Film

By Lizzie Deal and Mae Bruce

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Since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans of the franchise have been speculating about what the newest trilogy in the classic series will bring. After buying Lucasfilm in 2012, Disney rebooted the late ‘70s hit by announcing a new trilogy (Episodes VII through IX), the first movie of which was released in 2015. Two years after its predecessor and following the franchise’s stand alone, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the second movie of Disney’s new trilogy was released: Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

After the cliffhanger at the end of The Force Awakens left moviegoers wanting more, the latest film had a lot to live up to. For the most part, the film succeeded in surpassing predictions. The acting, music, and visual effects all attributed to creating a strong film. However, the film wasn’t without critiques.

It wasn’t that I had a problem with enjoying the film — as any Star Wars fan knows, nothing can be worse that the prequels (Episodes I through III) released in the early 2000s. It was more of the fact that I felt the film could have been better. Instead of using the suspense and dread that had filled the audience throughout The Force Awakens, the movie hit a fast moving pace and stayed there, never really veering off the path to slow down and give the audience time to process what was happening on the screen. By moving too quickly, the film lacked the usual nerves that accompany a big franchise movie like this — worry that someone will die, dread that things won’t turn out for the better, relief when the unexpected happens just in time to save the day. The emotional ties to the characters, while still there from the previous film, weren’t really fostered in the way that they could have. With a wild plot and unpredictable characters, it would have been easy to really nourish those emotional pangs into something almost tangible for the audience, but the lack of drawn out suspense killed it. Instead of taking the audience over the mountainous plot terrain of conflicts, resolutions, and climaxes, The Last Jedi plateaued at an energy level high enough to keep moviegoers entertained, but leaving avid fans wanting something further. While the story advanced quite a lot in the two hour runtime, it was hard for me personally to wrap my head around everything that happened due to the quick pace, which made plot twists and events that were very major to the storyline feel insignificant. We were forced to follow three different plot lines at the same time, and while for some films that works quite well, The Last Jedi drew attention too thin and made it hard to focus very long before hopping to a completely different plot.

A second low point of the film was that the plot seemed to mirror that of the prequel. The storyline of Kylo Ren was unmistakably similar to that of Darth Vader/Anakin and Luke, the franchise still exploiting the now overused father-son relationship in which the pair battle over their beliefs. Even after the untimely demise of Han Solo in The Force Awakens, the idea remains very much the same, with Luke, Kylo Ren’s Uncle, taking over the paternal role. To fans of the original trilogy, Luke, Leia, and Rey’s approach to Kylo Ren’s darker beliefs is very familiar, the words “there is still good in him” repeated rather often. This trope, which proved to be Anakin’s saving grace in Return of the Jedi, was a signature line in the original trilogy. In order to avoid a repeat of Episodes IV through VI, fans wanted the conflict to be different to provide a unique storyline rather than a repeat of the first but with new characters and in slightly altered positions. With a power hungry young force-wielder carrying out the dirty work of an older sith master, only to be thwarted by an obvious force-sensitive underdog, The Force Awakens started Disney’s trilogy out highly resembling the franchise’s earlier counterparts. Not doing much to deviate from the source material, The Last Jedi stumbled down the same route.

Regardless of what the filmmakers could have done better, The Last Jedi was definitely a strong addition to the Star Wars franchise. Picking up right where The Force Awakens left off, the movie centers around Rey and her struggle to find herself and the Force in the midst of everything that is going on around her. The Resistance, now confined to a small fleet of ships, is still struggling to ditch the First Order and establish a new base. Kylo Ren, peeved after his defeat at the hands of Rey, fights for a better foothold in the dark side of the Force and the First Order. Despite the convoluted plot, the characters and their actions really make the movie come alive. The cinematography is stunning and even better than The Force Awakens, bringing the world and universe to life right before our eyes and creates a beautifully crafted movie. The characters retain their original charm while battling a host of new conflicts, and the new characters show us that there are different sides to each fight. Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley really bring each character to life with their strong acting, and no one can deny that they are what made this film as good as it was.

The film as a whole was a wonderful display of the universe that is Star Wars. If you loved the original trilogy, then The Last Jedi will bring back another wave of nostalgia. The film showcases the members of the original trilogy, such as Luke and Leia, and passes on the torch to the upcoming generation of Finn, Rey, and Poe, just as our parents are passing on their childhood legacy to us.

About the Writers
Lizzie Deal, Managing Editor
When I'm not writing articles, I am usually found playing soccer, listening to music, and watching my favorite movies over and over. I absolutely love to write, and hope to be a young adult author someday. I also have a slight obsession with books, and cannot go a day without reading something, no matter how small.
Mae Bruce, A&E Editor
 I enjoy listening to music, singing, and writing. I have two cats and a tortoise that I love the most. I strongly believe in ghosts and spend most of my free time watching true crime documentaries. I can't wait to pursue a career in journalism.
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