Star Wars: The Last Jedi, shamelessly brilliant

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

Director Rian Johnson’s first venture in the Star Wars franchise hit theaters in December and made waves all throughout the galaxy. Johnson crafted a movie that, while imperfect, is a thrilling and awe-inspiring addition in the Star Wars saga.

“The Last Jedi” stars veterans to the saga such as Mark Hamill, Frank Oz and Carrie Fisher, as well as the returning cast of “The Force Awakens” like John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.

“The Last Jedi” focuses once again on the character of Rey, as portrayed by Ridley, on her quest to bring Luke Skywalker to the aid of the Resistance and discover if he will be able to help her control the raging conflict within herself.

While Rey is attempting to persuade Luke to come out of his exile, General Leia Organa, played by Fisher, and ace pilot Poe Dameron, played by Isaac, are doing everything they can to avoid the destruction of the Resistance while they are being pursued by the dreaded First Order’s fleet.

The strongest aspects of “The Last Jedi” lie in the beautiful performances by all the members of the cast, the stunning visuals and seamless melding of practical effects and computer generated animation. Most of all, the film makes bold strides to be both original and emotionally rich.

The characters of Rey, Skywalker and Kylo Ren all expand and become much more compelling in “The Last Jedi.” The chemistry between Rey and Skywalker and Rey and Ren ground the film in emotional richness that most sci-fi blockbusters lack.

The action in “The Last Jedi” is filled with emotional depth and is genuinely thrilling. The duels between  Ren, Skywalker, and Rey feel real. The action is not overly choreographed and has a raw sophistication Star Wars fans will love.

“The Last Jedi” also features some of the best space battles in the saga.Johnson spared no expense when designing thrilling battles that have an epic scope and are followed through an intimate lense, something most action movies lack the creative vision to provide.

Certain bold moves made in “The Last Jedi” will be a problem for many fans who have issues with deviation from common lore. Many questions raised in “The Force Awakens” are answered in controversial ways and many characters received genuinely unexpected directions, posing a problem for some fans.

“The Last Jedi” makes unexpected twists and turns and impressively makes most of them work.

The few real issues with “The Last Jedi” have to do largely with pacing. There are a couple sequences that slow down the movie and feel unnatural. There are questionable transitions and themes in these sequences that detract from the movie’s plot.

However, regardless of individual fan’s desires, ideas and the few pacing issues in the film, “The Last Jedi” is a thrilling, well made, well acted, ambitious, original and creative addition to the Star Wars saga that undermined audiences’ expectations and pleased all who wanted a shamelessly brilliant Star Wars experience.

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