Star Wars VIII: the Last Jedi without spoilers

Two years ago, after the Force Awakens (TFA) came out, I made sure to get to everything I could get my hands on to figure out who Rey was, and how she got somewhat chosen to be tangled up in this mess. Yes, we could argue in the possibility of fluke, that she and Finn just had to realize their full potentials outside their home, out of the dark and straight into the Falcon, literally.

However, this is Star Wars we’re talking about. Prophecies, force, destinies and all. Don’t make me go all Episode IV (or as I prefer it, New Hope, because let’s face it, it’d be better to pretend that the prequels didn’t exist), where Luke found R2 and saw Leia for the first time. Out of everyone, how did it come to Leia’s twin brother? The similarities between IV and VII are somewhat beyond obvious, with Rey being our new Luke, and it’s BB8 containing Luke’s map instead of R2 with Leia’s message.

So after two years of intense games of guesses, piling up evidences and putting the puzzle pieces together, I found myself crushed to the bones while watching the Last Jedi, despite it being possibly the best by far in the entire saga.

We picked up right where we left off two years ago: Rey finding Luke and trying to find answers for herself. The irony of this training on Ach-to was that, I wanted more than anything for Rey to get the answers she was looking for; partially because they were the same answers I searched and waited for.

Unfortunately, I was led to an inevitable doom called disappointment. Perhaps, Rey was too.

Now, putting all of my personal vendetta aside, let me review the Last Jedi without spoilers.

As the Resistance was running to safety, they were disgraced by Poe Dameron’s very impulsive choices, and Leia had to demote him to make sure that he would behave. Something we would never, and should never expect from Poe. When the First Order found a way to track the Resistance and cornered them to a massive blowout that resulted in the death of their leaders, Leia, the sole survivor, was stuck in a comma and a new leader, Holdo took over. Poe, with expectations on his mind, was disappointed to learn that Holdo had no plans for the Resistance, and let Finn and a rising hero Rose to go on a mission to save the them all.

Meanwhile, Luke was adamant about not leaving for the Resistance, so Rey had to work her way around Ach-To, where we would find the newest, cute obsession called Porgs. They looked like tiny birds with big eyes, and before you know it, you’ll be buying mini Porgs and storing them in your rooms.

Rey and Kylo started developing connection while apart, because their forces were somehow bridged. These two got to learn about and lean on each other, and as Luke feared, there was a lot more darkness in Rey than she let him see.

This movie is a masterpiece, and I felt horrible for tainting my own experience with my expectations and hopes for the plot to go. To say that this movie did the saga justice would be well intended – it was written carefully and calculated well, packing a lot of action and stories in a long period of two and a half hours.

A lot of our characters were challenged, their flaws were exposed and talents explored. Instead of having characters who got nothing to do, we had everyone going up and about the urgency of this war. Because above all, war was the get go of this saga, and the sense of urgency existed in this movie. It did not go unnoticed or unappreciated, because it went hand in hand with the pacing in this piece.

Speaking of the pace, this movie had the Empire Strikes Back vibe to it, and I could not stop thinking about ESB the whole time watching TLJ. We got to see one character to the other, one frame to another, one island to a ship, back and forth, but not without the appropriate timing and cue. The flow had its purpose, we did not just jump from one place to another randomly, but with a certain flow in the plot.

And the plot was strong, this, I say with plenty of respect, that it did not need any distraction or unnecessary romance.

I do appreciate and applaud the works of the actors. Ridley, Boyega, and Isaac were always a delight to watch, even if this movie had less fluffy tone and time to breathe. We also got new heroes, those I honestly did not invest much in, but enjoyed to meet. I am not spoiling anything here, so I can’t say much.

The strongest performances this time went to the Skywalker twins, because you could feel their charisma pushing through the entire film, and that took some skills. Carrie Fisher held, and will always have a special place in my heart, and I had to keep myself from crying when I saw her here, knowing that she had been gone and how much I’d missed her as Leia, and as her usual inspiring self. She had such a presence that we could forget that other characters were as important – when she spoke she immediately took charge. Mark Hamill easily had the best scenes and lines, everything he did was what everyone needed to see. To make up for his two second glow up in TFA, I guess.

But Mark delivered the pain and sorrow that Luke went through. And I could still see the Episodes IV, V, and VI Luke Skywalker in him. No one else could do this character more justice. The way he handled this character from 1977 had always been nothing less than brilliant, as did Carrie with Leia.

There were times I believed that the twins saved me during the movie. My expectations fell short and my questions were left unanswered, but the Skywalkers, even the indomitable Kylo, gave me everything I’d wished for and more. Adam Driver looked more conflicted than ever, and I loved it. He’d reached the Anakin’s Revenge of the Sith ground in my opinion, and I liked it.

One thing for sure though, that the entire saga is based on Skywalker men screwing up over and over.

At least though, they do it in beautiful settings, because this movie is visually stunning. Mark my words.

The Last Jedi is a solid 8.5/10 for me. I am going to watch it again, and again, and again. For Yoda knows how many times until it’s enough for me. If you’re watching it this week, may the force be with you.

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