The Last Jedi has just been released, and it’s already become arguably the most popular Star Wars movie of all time. And it’s not even close. The movie just broke multiple box office records, both in theaters and on home video.
The Last Jedi is the concluding chapter in the blockbuster Star Wars saga that began with The Force Awakens. Directed by Rian Johnson, the film stars a returning ensemble cast, including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver. The plot mostly follows that of The Force Awakens, with the First Order battling it out with the Resistance, but it also explores new aspects of the Star Wars universe, including touching on topics like gender identity, racism, and the environments of space and planet Earth.
With just under two weeks having passed since its premiere, it’s already clear that The Last Jedi will be among the most highly acclaimed films of the year. But exactly how will audiences respond to the film? Let’s take a look.
The narrative of The Last Jedi continues the adventures of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac), who were featured prominently in The Force Awakens. After narrowly escaping a First Order slaughterhouse (the same one used to house Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back), the heroes crash-land on the remote forest moon of Endor. Here, they meet resistance fighters, including General Leia (Carrie Fisher), who’s been leading a band of rebels for the past few years. After a pitched battle, the First Order flees the scene, pursued by Rey, Finn, and Poe. The film ends with an ambiguous twist that leaves viewers wondering what will become of the main characters.
While The Last Jedi doesn’t feature any marquee talent, the film is still brimming with superb acting from every corner. Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker and takes the role of a lifetime as he watches his beloved Star Wars saga unfold before his very eyes. Boyega and Ridley step up to the plate, exhibiting great promise as the next generation of Star Wars heroes. Isaac breaks out of his shell yet again, delivering a memorable performance as the film’s titular character, Poe Dameron.
One of the most striking aspects of The Last Jedi is its setting. The film takes place in a galaxy far, far away, but it feels completely realistic. That’s largely due to the film’s phenomenal special effects, but it’s also because Johnson and his team delivered a meticulous design and visual language for this alternate universe. Fans will recognize many locations and spaces from the original trilogy, which helped to transport the audience to this fantastical world and made them feel like they’ve never left the cinema.
The Last Jedi is full of memorable characters. The film’s protagonist, Rey, is a bit of a cipher at first, but she eventually reveals a touching backstory as she struggles to accept her heritage and identity. After being raised by Luke Skywalker, she decides to leave his side and embrace her true power, all while trying to find her place in the galaxy. Similarly, Finn struggles with questions of identity as he becomes increasingly disillusioned with the First Order and what it stands for. The film’s antagonist, Kylo Ren, is the complete opposite, reveling in wielding power and waiting for the perfect opportunity to make his move.
Many other characters, such as BB-8 and Rose Tattoo, also break through the mists of Hollywood and become instant fan favorites. BB-8 is the film’s comic relief, but he also has a touching conversation with Rey that helps establish their growing rapport. Rose Tattoo is a living, breathing work of art, and it’s hard not to love her regardless of your feelings toward the film’s other characters.
John Williams is back with a vengeance, scoring the first two episodes of The Last Jedi. And he didn’t just return for those episodes—the composer went on to score four of the film’s six installments. It would be an understatement to say that Williams’ work is breathtaking, and it really does feel like the perfect marriage of story and music. The Last Jedi also features brief cameos by some of the biggest names in music, including Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Kendrick Lamar.
The Last Jedi is an incredible feat of filmmaking, one that continues to astound and delight audiences around the world. But beyond the incredible special effects and flawless score, what makes the film so memorable is its heart. Thanks to its phenomenal cast, which includes some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, The Last Jedi will live on in the memories of fans for years to come.