“The Last Jedi” is a welcomed new edition to the “Star Wars” franchise

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

I saw “The Last Jedi” over a month ago at the time of this publication, but it’s still quite fresh in my mind. Of course I pre-ordered tickets and saw it on opening night. Of course I wore one of my many Star Wars shirts. Of course I loved it. But it has been very polarizing in the world of film as well as for Star Wars fans.

“The Last Jedi” picks up shortly after the events of “The Force Awakens”, but so much of it is important to the plot, it will be difficult to review it without giving too much away. Suffice it to say, the New Order led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are bearing down on the Resistance forces led by his mother General Leia Organa-Solo (Carrie Fisher). After a very close call, the Resistance assume new leadership under Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), whom Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) believes to be a weak leader. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found long-hidden Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and begs him to train her and return to help the Resistance. He refuses, saying the last Jedi he trained betrayed him and the Jedi Order because he wasn’t strong enough to be an effective teacher.

The story is split between the two story lines: the Resistance evading the New Order with Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (new-comer Kelly Marie Tran) trying to find a master hacker to break into the New Order mainframe, and Rey and Luke beginning her Jedi training. There are some incredible sequences throughout the film, great moments of comedy and drama, and just so much fun for Star Wars fans and movie fans alike.

There has been quite a bit of criticism about the film, namely the comedy elements of the film with critics and hardcore fans saying it’s out of place. I welcome it! It’s just so much fun. I haven’t had this much fun watching Star Wars since the first season of “Star Wars Rebels”. Writer/director Rian Johnson is taking the franchise in a new and exciting direction that I whole-heartedly embrace because it’s not just the same thing we saw in the original trilogy, while adding in elements that are making the other Star Wars universe properties (comics, books, tv shows) so much fun.

I think the other reason the nerds (and I say that with love, I am one too) are so upset about this film is because it’s not what they expected. So often in fandom, we can get ahead of the creators as far as predicting story elements and plot twists. Our favorite thing to say after watching something is, “I totally saw that coming” because we feel superior to the people making the things we love. That didn’t happen in this movie. Johnson was able to create a story that was wholly new and different from the other films and it was delightful! Are there elements that don’t work that well or raise questions? Of course; it’s a film. It’s not perfect. Relax. Remember how much you love Star Wars in general, guys? Chill.

Also this film was completed shortly before the passing of Carrie Fisher, and I watched it with tears in my eyes each time she was on screen. If you’re a fan, stay for a bit of the credits. Very touching.

All in all, if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy this movie. Will you love it? Depends on you. But I did. And if you’re just a fan of movies, this is a really good movie. At one point, the woman about my age sitting next to me was literally on the edge of her seat. It was really fun to see.

Great cast, great story, really fun to watch and GUYS WE HAVE NEW STAR WARS MOVIES! If you’d like to hear more discussion about this film, check out the 50th episode of the WTH Are You Watching?! Podcast we recently recorded LIVE at the Vermont Comedy Club. And, if you’re so inclined, you can watch the episode as well because we taped it and put it on local TV and You Tube.




Rating: 5 out of 5 Snack Packs

Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in Vermont. You can find links to the aforementioned episode at www.facebook.com/WTHAreYouWatching

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