When 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens premiered, super fans of the franchise were introduced to the Resistance, formerly the Rebellion. Key Resistance members were introduced, including Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, Finn, portrayed by John Boyega, and BB-8, played by, well, himself I guess. With the death of the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, came the First Order. In Episode VII, the villainous Kylo Ren, portrayed by Adam Driver, showcased his dark side and Daddy issues. As the movie ended, a beloved Star Wars legend, whose whereabouts were unknown, was wordlessly revealed, leaving breathless audience members in awe as they raised theories of their own about his galactic resurrection.
Since we saw Episode VII two years ago, my husband Mike, my daughter Addie, and I have been anxiously anticipating Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson. Would our theories about Luke Skywalker and Rey pan out? (No spoilers! I promise!) What is their connection? How is it that she’s able to use the Force, and how does the now fatherless Kylo Ren (a.k.a. Ben Solo) fit into the whole story line? We loved Episode VII, and wondered if Episode VIII, the second offering in this latest trilogy, would be as satisfying.
It would be virtually impossible to give a synopsis of this latest Star Wars release without spoiling at least some elements of the plot, so, unlike my typical reviews in which I give a generalized overview of the film, I’m instead just going to point out a few of the aspects I appreciated.
- While most of the Star Wars films focus on the general “good versus evil” struggle, The Last Jedi delves deeper, offering several mini-moral lessons along the way.
- While Princess Leia may have been the original anti-princess in terms of girl power, I love how the series as a whole continues to highlight that female characters are just as strong, both physically and mentally, as their male counterparts. Rey continues to be a force as she uses the Force.
- Some interesting topics for discussion can easily stem from this latest installment, including what makes a leader versus what makes a hero, whether one’s past can and should ever be forgotten, and is it wrong to ever give up on someone or something?
- Ewoks may have been the cutest critters ever, but they’ve been usurped by the birdlike creatures known as Porgs that live on the island where Luke Skywalker has hidden away. They are by far the most adorable things EVER, and I’m hoping it’s not too late to ask Santa for one because I’m pretty sure I need one! (Trust me, when you watch it, you’ll agree, but since I added Porgs to my Christmas list before you, I call first dibs.)
Mike and Addie both loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Mike’s only complaint was, “I wished it was longer!” For a movie that’s close to two and a half hours long, that says a lot. “As is the case with each new Star Wars movie,” he shared, “the special effects have exceeded all expectations, the fight sequences are impressive and well-choreographed, and I loved the bits of humor throughout. The whole movie was so well done, and it was definitely worth the wait.” (For the record, my forty-something old husband is now adding a lightsaber to his Christmas wish list, specifying that he doesn’t want the wimpy, pool noodle kind. He wants the real thing, Santa.)
Addie, who dressed up like Princess Leia a few Halloweens ago, with the full-on cinnamon buns, knew going into this film that The Last Jedi, will be, as far as we know, Carrie Fisher’s last performance in her defining role. As a parent, I appreciated how her iconic character has influenced generations of girls, including myself and my daughter. Princess Leia, with her strong leadership skills and dedication to her troops, has always been the epitome of royalty blended with a healthy dose of bad-ass. After the film, Addie said, “It made me happy to see Princess Leia again. I know when girls talk about who their favorite princesses are, they always say Elsa, Ariel, Jasmine, or Cinderella, but Princess Leia will always be my favorite.”
So, did the The Last Jedi live up to our expectations and the hype? Yes and yes! While many of our questions were answered, after watching The Last Jedi, we, of course, now have a whole new list of things we’re dying to know! Until Episode IX is released, “May the force be with us.”
Movie times: click here
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Rian Johnson
Actors: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill
Running Time: 2 hours 32 minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.