After two consecutive Christmas blockbusters with “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One”, “The Last Jedi” had a lot of momentum behind it.
A number of fans felt that Episode VII was a return to form for the series, and while it garnered much praise from critics and fans, the film leaves many questions unanswered. Many fans wondered if “The Last Jedi” would be able to capitalize on the success of the previous film and successfully answer the mysteries left unsolved.
If anyone was expecting a continuation of the story set up by the previous film, they will be slightly disappointed. “The Last Jedi” suffers, in part, from picking up immediately after the events of “The Force Awakens.” Rey’s adventure becomes the centerpiece of the film, with fan favorites Finn and Poe taking a backseat. Part of the success of “The Force Awakens” was due, in large part, to the trio of Finn, Poe and Rey. Removing two of those characters from the central plot of the movie felt like a mistake. This isn’t to say that Finn and Poe get no screen time, as they get an entire side plot. The writers on this film were clearly trying to make this side plot equally important, but anything involving Luke Skywalker will always come front and center, in the film and the eyes of the fans.
Another valid criticism of this film is the length. The final runtime of “The Last Jedi” is 2 hours and 32 minutes. Multiple times while viewing the film, it felt like there were a few places that lended themselves to a natural stop. Also, some part of the film felt superfluous, and the runtime could have been cut by at least fifteen or twenty minutes. There is also a slight tonal shift in the movie about an hour and thirty minutes in. While it might have been an artistic choice, it made the movie feel a little disjointed and too long.
This isn’t to say that the movie is not good. “The Last Jedi” is an extremely fun film. It brings all of the action, adventure, and drama of its predecessor. The movie also has a few funny moments, just like “The Force Awakens.” In addition, a common criticism of “The Force Awakens” was that it was too similar to either “A New Hope” or “The Phantom Menace”. “The Last Jedi” is unlike all other “Star Wars” films. It does feel a little self-indulgent at times, but those moments feel more like homages to the original films as opposed to a copy and paste of the plot.
While some people may be upset that the new movie does not answer some of the questions asked by Episode VII, “The Last Jedi” never claimed to provide answers. Even though parts of “The Last Jedi” felt fluffy and unnecessary, it is still a very welcome addition to the “Star Wars” series.