If someone says to you “Do you want to attend a media screening of the latest Star Wars movie, and watch it days before the general public?”, your immediate reaction is – and always will be – yes.
Now, someone did ask me that question, but the only issue was that they asked me to attend said media screening the day after I worked the busiest event in my professional calendar; working for 14 hours straight, for two days, and after said shift, didn’t even get a thank you from my boss. In retaliation, I then decided to take full advantage of the drinks on offer. I’d literally make a dirty protest by throwing up watered down beer on his dollar. That’ll show him.
What I’m trying to say was that I was tired and hungover, but I still said yes, because it’s Star Wars, and I’m not a complete idiot.
Including the recent Star Wars Story, this is the ninth full-length feature film in the saga, and – for me – the most anticipated instalment. So you’ll excuse me if any Snapchat stories arise of me squealing when I got to meet BB-8 prior to the screening, or when Rian Johnson was announced to make a brief speech to introduce The Last Jedi. (I’m sure that’s not the worst thing I’d have done on Snapchat, in all fairness.)
Following immediately from where The Force Awakens left, The Last Jedi sees Rey, Finn and Poe return to stop a whole series of villains from taking over the galaxy, but unlike its predecessor, we see three very separate storylines featuring each of the protagonists.
Firstly, there’s Poe’s. I’ll start with him for many reasons; the movie opens with Poe; he’s often overlooked as a character; and, most importantly, it just gives me an excuse to Google Image search Oscar Isaac, y’know? Poe is a reckless yet talented fighter pilot, who is in an attempt to save the ship’s crew, including the late and just fucking incredible Carrie Fisher, as Leia. It seems Rian added this plot to add an element of suspense, as the ship they’re on is being slowly attacked by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), while slowly depleting through fuel. We’re also introduced to one of many new characters, played by Laura Dern. Laura plays, erm, Birdy McPurpleHair. (Okay, I don’t remember her name, but can you blame me? The whole time her character was talking, all I could do was think that she looked like the love child of every Hunger Games character ever.) For me, this is the slowest of all of the plots – there’s brief flickers of humour, but at the end of it, it’s the baddies firing at a ship with several of the movies main characters – my niece could work out that that ship wasn’t going down, and she’s so stupid, it takes her at least six attempts to realise that the square block has to go in the square hole on her wooden toy. It only takes me three attempts. What a div.
Then there’s Daisy Ridley’s tale, of Rey searching to rescue Luke Skywalker, and return him to save the day. This section of the film follows directly from The Force Awakens’ closing shot, and has some incredible comedic moments, such as the time of – after waiting a year to hear Luke’s response to getting his lightsaber back – just lobs it into the ocean and walks off like a boss. We also see Rey become increasingly more confident with the Force, as Luke trains her. This is the most vital part of the film, because not only do we learn along with Rey, but we find out why Kylo Ren is just such a little shit. Rey’s story for me has some great moments – even the dramatic moments have touches of comedy (such as a semi-naked Adam Driver), and of course, there’s porgs. I saw the trailer and loved them. Then I saw the trailer and hated them for just being furry Minions. And now, I want to spend the rest of my life going into prog-related conservation, because we do not deserve their greatness. There is, however, bloody weird moments with Rey – at one point, she gets sucked into a Stranger Things-esque black hole, and is taken to a hall of mirrors where she becomes, like, a gazillion Reys. Now, if it were me, I’d panic and try to find a way outta that hell – one of me is bad enough. But not Rey. While I’d like their to be infinite Daisy Ridley’s, Rey decides the best thing to do is to click her fingers repeatedly and create a beat, as if she’s in an OK Go music video. Hun, we dunno if you know, but there’s ultimate evil outside, so once you’ve finished recording your mixtape, maybe sort that out, okay? This doesn’t take away from the fact that Daisy and Adam take their characters, Rey and Adam, to whole new levels and really just act their bums off.
Finally, there’s Finn. John Boyega’s character teams up with a brand new character, Kelly Marie Gran’s Rose, as they seek to find a way to disable the ship attacking Poe and Leia. Rian is not only great at creating a surprising amount of laughs in the movie, but at creating new and exciting worlds. Finn initially visits Canto Bight, a planet with a high-end gambling district, illuminated by gold and extravagant decor. I was a real sucker for this world, not only because my bedroom is the complete opposite – a place where I have to crack socks just to wear them – but because it’s one of the many world’s Rian has created, that just let your imagination run wild. Much like the movie’s climax, a salty, white planet that kicks up red dust and grit whenever touched, Rian creates a visual spectacle, and doesn’t rely too heavily on Star Wars’ established environment. While some moments in Finn’s storyline are relatively predictable – I mean, Finn and Rose spend a lot of time together and may or may not get feelings for one another… Why not just call him Jack and be done with it? – it’s an interesting story arc which gives us plenty of BB-8 screen time, but takes away by giving us plenty of Benecio Del Toro, too, a character who seemed pretty beige from the beginning, and was only there to progress the plot. But the real moment from Finn’s tale? We get to see a bit of Gwendoline Christie’s face. This movie’s already great in my eyes for that alone.
I really enjoyed this picture – Rian has made his mark on the Star Wars franchise by providing a lot more laughs than I expected, and even got four rounds of applause during the screening I sat through. And despite its huge amount of laughs, it’s still very tense and dramatic throughout, as a Star Wars movie should be. While moments were slow, I couldn’t help but grin throughout the entirety of The Last Jedi.
But then again, maybe that’s because of this…