California School of the Arts

Movie review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ honors the saga’s legacy

In the eighth installment of the Star Wars franchise, Poe (Oscar Isaac), a Resistance pilot, Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger-turned Jedi, Finn (John Boyega), a rebel Stormtrooper, along with the legendary Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) return, some of the last of the Resistance against the First Order.

Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) of the First Order, along with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), rule the galaxy and seem to overpower the Rebel forces on every front. With Chewbacca, R2D2, C-3PO,(Anthony Daniels), and BB-8 by their side, the Resistance makes a desperate attempt to outrun the First Order and fight the Dark Side. We are also introduced to a new, leading, Asian character, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a member of the Resistance, whose life as a maintenance worker gets turned upside down when the fate of the rebels lies on her.

Directed and written by Rian Johnson, “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” honors the saga’s legacy, rich with action, emotion, and suspense. John Williams, composer for the previous seven films, returned to compose the score with a tremendous score to accompany the thrilling film. The reality of the situation is defined clearly, and the stakes are raised, bringing a dark moment to the Star Wars series.

The inter-galactic space battles, as well as emotional battles, between characters, keep the audience interested. They draw us in with power and take us on twists and turns that leave the audience sometimes whooping and cheering, and other times with a moment of silence.

With every scene, “The Last Jedi” reintroduces the tropes, mood, characters, and themes of its predecessors to create a vivid masterpiece. It has its own unique qualities, with the new set of characters and their differences from the original “Jedi,” but it speaks powerfully.

It was an overall dark film, a fusion of outer-space action, loss, and self-discovery with a mix of bits of comedy here and there. Rey’s character arc throughout the film was a constant battle between the Dark side and the Light, and her relationship with Kylo Ren kept the audience on the edge of their seats. I lost myself in not only each scene, but in the Star Wars universe.

The movie ultimately gives tribute to the original characters who started it all, Hamill and the late Fisher. Jedi Luke Skywalker and General Leia end the film with reverence and fitting finales, welcoming a new generation of characters to change the Star Wars universe forever.

The 9th installment is scheduled for release Dec. 20, 2019.