Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Spoiler Free Ryview

The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson.

This is a spoiler free ryview, so if you're okay with what you've seen in the trailers already, no need to shy away.

Okay, let's go ahead and discuss the mixed audience reaction. Do you remember when a lot of people saw The Force Awakens and then complained that it didn't feel like Star Wars (while somehow also complaining that it was a ripoff of Episode IV)? Well, it's happening again. And with good reason. This is a drastic change from what came before it in the movies. It bucks tradition, goes to new and interesting places, and therefore pisses some people off.

What did I think? I think it's 100% Star Wars, and I can't wait to see it again.

Let me back up a bit and discuss how I feel about the Star Wars media empire. Having consumed Star Wars books, video games, movies, and television shows across most of my life, I've come to the conclusion that the movies are my least favorite part of the franchise. Yes, it all started with Episode IV, and the movies will always hold a certain iron fist over the rest of the universe, but when you get right down to it I enjoy the television shows and books far more.

For all it's rosy retrospection, the original trilogy was fairly poorly put together. And before A New Hope was saved by some editors, George Lucas made a god awful movie. It was saved, and it became what you all know and love today, but his vision was a pretty terrible one. That may help explain why the prequels didn't really flow very well. Too much Lucas in them.

Star Wars was built on campy acting, black and white characters, and a pretty serious lack of diversity. In the original trilogy, I'm pretty sure we see 2 human females and 1 black guy in the entire universe. And the prequels held up that tradition with bad acting, poor character development, and still mostly dudes. So you can see why the movies are not really my favorite part.

The Clone Wars television show is a great example of Star Wars done right. Here comes along a show that basically saves the prequels. It makes you not hate Anakin, it shows the clones as actual people (and therefore makes episode 3 way more gut wrenching when they turn on the Jedi), and it develops the universe in ways that you can't do in a single movie, or even a single trilogy. It shows that while the Jedi were good individuals, they were a bad society. It shows gray areas. It actually involves a living, breathing universe, rather than the narrow focus we see in the films.

Darth Vader in the original trilogy is a laboring hulking machine that shouldn't intimidate anybody. But in the comics, they've rightfully turned him into someone who is actually feared. He's friggin' awesome in his recent comics, and that bled over into Rogue One. We all know that's how he's supposed to be, but watch the original trilogy as an adult and tell me that character is as dangerous as his hype.

So how is this a ryview of The Last Jedi? This movie does something that no previous Star Wars film has done. It doesn't feel like a Star Wars film. It shrugs off a lot of the tropes and cliches that are rampant in episodes I-VII and creates a great movie. The music is still wonderful. The story, while expansive, is still focused and moving. And the new characters are given far more room to grow than they did in The Force Awakens.

The acting and editing in this movie are an improvement over most Star Wars entries, too. There are a few goofy lines and poor delivery, but they don't dominate the script. There are some head scratching moments, but the immersive environment of this movie helps glide past those. The visuals are great. The action is great. Every scene with Rey is phenomenal. And I can tell you that the twists and turns are extremely exciting.

I feel as though lots of people who only consume Star Wars in movie format are going to see this and say "wow, this is nothing like what I expected or what I wanted", but if you're like me, and you've seen this universe in novels, in comic books, and on television, then you'll exit this movie thinking, "wow, this feels like all of those things more than it feels like a Star Wars movie".

And that's a tremendously good thing.

Until next time,


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