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A Worthwhile Journey to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Maeve Reilly, Contributing Writer

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Falcon Rating: 3/4

The eighth episode of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, was released on December 14th, 2017. It’s received quite positive reviews from critics, earning a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, no other film in the franchise has caused such a division among fans. Many older fans who grew up with the original trilogy spit on The Last Jedi, claiming that Disney has ruined the story and disrespected the original, iconic characters.

Beginning with The Force Awakens, Star Wars has embarked on a new journey with young characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The Last Jedi picks up exactly where The Force Awakens ends, with Rey returning a lightsaber to an aged Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

From there, the next two-and-a-half hours unfold with the war between the First Order (Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren’s regime) and the Resistance—the rebel group led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), encompassing the new gaggle of young characters full of hope for restoring the Republic to its peaceful glory.

In true Star Wars fashion, things do not go as planned, and much of the movie consists of the characters figuring out how to finish what they started. But somehow it never once gets boring—director Rian Johnson brings suspenseful face-offs, stunning vistas, and mysterious characters with intriguing development to this episode.

This amounts to a film that nods to its predecessors in the saga while connecting to issues real people are facing today. I had never felt such a sense of humanity in the previous films, demonstrated by the complex platonic, familial, and romantic relationships. This reminds us that many of the conflicts in Star Wars arise from miscommunication and the inability to just talk to each other, which is a very real problem in our world.

Almost 20 years into the twenty-first century, we are finally seeing diversity in Star Wars films and roles of leadership for women, installing important representation into an American classic. I rate the film 3 out of 4 Falcons for the pure emotional ride it brings you on—as long as you let it—and its graceful transition from old to new in the “galaxy far, far away.”

The film alone is so compelling that it will make you smile, tear up, and gasp. This all comes with a few plot holes—and at times awkward or unnecessary dialogue—knocking off a Falcon. But The Last Jedi does experiment with thought-provoking, and at times humorous, scenes that bring us up close and personal with many of the characters. These creative elements make me excited to see what J.J. Abrams as director will do with the so-far untitled Episode IX.

Many older fans have accounted online that the original trilogy struck awe in them as children and taught them valuable lessons. Now as adults, they protest the latest episodes, saying they do not live up to expectations of where the story is going or provoke the same admiration.

As difficult as it can be, these fans must realize a single storyline cannot be drawn out forever, and that they must give the sequel trilogy a chance to exist without tremendous pressure of living up to their cherished childhood films. Once you sit down and give this movie a chance, you will find yourself wrapped up in the film’s stunning visuals and exciting story line. The point of Star Wars has never been perfection—this can be especially proven in the prequel trilogy. What Star Wars does, no matter the decade, is bring the audience into a universe we’ve never seen and inspire an inexplicable feeling of amazement.

My best advice for viewing this movie is to let go of all expectations and just enjoy the adventure.

This piece also appears in our January print edition.

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A Worthwhile Journey to a Galaxy Far, Far Away