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Star Wars: The Last Jedi is brilliant, deep and subtly beautiful

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Directed by: Ryan Johnson
Story by: Rian Johnson, George Lucas (based on characters created by)
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro

The following is a spoiler-free look at the latest addition to the Star Wars saga.

“This is not going to go the way you think.” That phrase, spoken by Luke Skywalker in the trailer, encompasses the entirety film. Throw any expectations out the window. Star Wars: The Last Jedi crosses boundaries and takes risks more than any film in the saga.

Rian Johnson orchestrated a visual masterpiece while interweaving a beautiful tale of darkness laced with hope. It’s dire times for the Resistance as the First Order hunts them down on a path towards annihilation.

The first act set the mood and connected us to its predecessor, The Force Awakens, while preparing us for the roller-coaster to come. The resistance is in escape-and-survival mode, while Rey is on Ahch-To waiting for the legend Luke Skywalker to provide some earth shattering revelation on how to destroy the First Order and understand her place in all of it.

Everything you have come to love and expect in a Star Wars film will be tested. Your understanding of the force will be tested. Any expectations you had following The Force Awakens, are challenged. If you accept the challenge, open your mind to possibilities and beautiful stories, you’ll walk away with the sweetest of experiences. If you fight it or resist it, you’ll leave with a sour taste in your mouth.

Simply put, leave your expectations at the door.

We’re introduced to a plethora of emotions – humor, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and anticipation. Johnson takes us on an emotional roller-coaster from the opening sequence. You’ll have very little time to process each shift of emotion or subtlety, before you descend or ascend on another. You’ll likely leave the movie shell-shocked and taken aback.

Don’t push against it or resist. It took me a couple days to process what I’d witnessed on screen. It could very well have the same effect on you. There are subtle yet powerful moments that lend depth to the lore of the galaxy and moments that are so fleeting that if you blink, you’ll miss them.

The movie stands on its own just as much as it does a middle chapter to a trilogy. It answers many of the burning questions we had coming in, while giving a whole new list of questions to let simmer for the next two years.

The much anticipated revelation of Rey’s parentage is finally answered, as is the reason for Luke’s exile. There are space battles, a spectacular lightsaber duel, and surprises around every corner. Perhaps the most beautiful of sequences involve Princess Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher, and Luke. I would love to get into detail, but would rather avoid doing so until you’ve had an opportunity to experience it for yourself.

Speaking of Carrie Fisher, her performance is humbling and spectacular. It will penetrate your soul with love and brimming emotion. She is royalty and is portrayed as such. I would be remiss if I didn’t advise you to stay for the credits. Do so as a service to all the folks that worked hard on the film, but do so also for a brief moment of tribute to Carrie.

The movie is unique in its approach, but stays true to the galaxy far far away. It’s tragic yet magnificent. Darkness and light, hopeless and hopeful; It’s timeless and endearing, yet powerful and crushing.

It isn’t a perfect movie, then again I’m not sure there is one. There are scenarios left unanswered that have me wanting for more and, truth is, I’m not sure we’ll get the answers. That’s ok. Because on the grand scale, the movie entertained while causing the audience to think beyond the depths of cognizant reality.

I recommend this film whether you’re an avid Star Wars fan who delves deep into the lore and mystery or someone who just enjoys a good space opera.

 

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