Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This image released by Lucasfilm shows Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

Associated Press

"This is not going to go the way you think!"

The line spit out from a hard-hearted Luke Skywalker may as well have been directed at the audience of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

For all its stumbling blocks, the film certainly doesn't allow you to successfully guess what will happen next. The heroes suffer more failures than successes, and scenes that lead to the cusp of a big win take a sharp turn to stunning losses.

There are no more impossible shots into a planet killer, no more ridiculously elaborate plans that somehow work out in the end. After criticism that "The Force Awakens" was too similar to "A New Hope," it now seems as though the creative team behind the new trilogy is willing to risk it to offer something outside from what fans have grown accustomed with "Star Wars."

That's not proving to be a well-liked move by some fans who saw "The Last Jedi" this past weekend, but it wouldn't necessarily be a bad move if the film was better at tying it all together.

The film suffers from too many people being in too many different areas. Rey is trying to convince Luke to come back with her to the Resistance (with surprisingly little help from Chewbacca and no help at all from the needless addition of the cute creatures, Porgs), Finn is in a seemingly separate heist movie with a newcomer to find a way to board an imperial ship, and Poe is left to fret on a ship with nothing to do but yell at his superiors (which they somehow find endearing). Add in whatever moping Kylo Ren is doing, and you have an overly complicated movie that would have been better off losing one of these storylines.

It's the culmination of everything that makes the movie feel overstuffed. Everyone stays away from each other long enough that when they're all close to being in the same area again and in separate battles for their lives, you think this must be the climax of the film.

Only it isn't. There's another battle to be had, and that's when you can really feel the 2 1/2 hour runtime sink in. Plenty of other movies have had success with longer runtimes, but "The Last Jedi" isn't one of them.

With all that it lacks, "The Last Jedi" has far more emotional moments than its predecessor. While a major character's death in "The Force Awakens" hardly earned a reaction due to the obvious setup, the deaths of two minor characters in "The Last Jedi" was much more affecting despite neither character being in the series before - and one having very little screentime altogether.

"The Last Jedi" also had small callbacks to the original trilogy, and the original score from John Williams paired with scenes like a new binary sunset were beautiful additions to the film.

There's a fair amount to love, a lot to process and a good number to criticize with the latest "Star Wars" movie. It, at the very least, sets up a third movie in the new trilogy that shouldn't be an exact replica of "Return of the Jedi" - not unless those Porgs come back with a vengeance for more screentime.


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