Ever since the original trilogy wrapped up in 1983, every new Star Wars movie has been an attempt to recreate the magic that audiences felt when they first read the words “A long, long time ago…” While the prequels attempted this feat with cheesy CGI aliens and awkward exposition, the latest Star Wars rings much truer to the original space operas. However, The Last Jedi fails at closing many of its gaping plot holes and makes many of its cast of characters seem unreasonable and unrealtable.
The Last Jedi is made up of two contrasting storylines. The first one picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, high on the cliffs of an alien island where Rey has located the long lost Luke and is begging him to rejoin the Resistance. Dripping with lifting-the-TIE-fighter-from-the-swamp potential, this plot delivers on the promise of a Jedi training based story: it is engrossing and speaks to the turmoil of the larger Star Wars universe while existing on a smaller scale. The Rey and Luke plot also contains some interesting cinematography while still feeling like a Star Wars movie.
Unfortunately, this storyline accounts for less then half of the movie. The rest is taken up by a single large-scale space battle that has the Resistance fleeing helplessly from the might of the First Order. While this should be the type of narrative that a Star Wars movie excels at, the plot holes and hammy dialogue that plague the space battle plot completely ruin it. Beyond the first altercation, the entire conflict is kept in place by one nonsensical miscommunication that could have been cleared up in at least four different scenes. The new characters we are introduced to are either overeager, bland, or Laura Dern. This results in a movie that is heavily split down the middle, with one half exciting and captivating, and the other bland and frustrating.
The Last Jedi delivers on some of its promises: it provides a lively and entertaining story while maintaining that uniquely Star Wars vibe that moviegoers fell in love with over 40 years ago. Yet it also falls victim to the prequel curse with its melodramatic dialogue and obvious narrative flaws. But while some diehard fans might find The Last Jedi personally insulting, most people will find something they like about the movie, even if it’s just those annoyingly adorable penguin-bear-creatures that Disney clearly hopes will become the new Ewoks.