Christmas has come early, and yes, it is in the form of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Driving the story and the revolution forward while remaining true to the series’ themes, Episode Eight is full of action and sheer wonder, particularly in its second half where everything makes the jump to lightspeed.
Fans of both The Force Awakens and Rogue One will be pleased with the balance that could only be set by the Force between the old and new. Like The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi still feels like an homage, but does so with much more subtlety. Unlike the cheering crowds present two years ago clapping and celebrating everything from the Millennium Falcon to our favorite heroes, this film release saw a more thoughtful appreciation. I can only describe the feeling as one of actual chills during some of the more reminiscent scenes.
As the second installment of the newest trilogy, The Last Jedi allows for new depth to be found in returning characters while also introducing fans to insightful and compelling new ones. And while the plot of political revolution is obviously the catapulting (and capitulating) pilot steering the movie’s ship, it is clearly the characters that give the story meaning and purpose.
Without venturing into spoiler territory (as we can all recognize that the movie officially came out less than 24 hours), what can be discussed is its relevance to the current political climate and culture. Save for possibly Rogue One, The Last Jedi digs deep into the true struggle and conflict of an (at times failing) revolution. For once, the scene set truly does feel like a war zone. With masterful cinematography and storytelling, what has been crafted is a gut-wrenching look at the moral grey area, the conflict and the loss that comes with trying to be the hero, even if you are the hero of only your own story.
But The Last Jedi is filled with heroes and with heroic moments and sacrifices that make its audience want to be better. These acts of heroism are loud, as well as quiet, demonstrating the vast legacies we leave when we fight the good fight. And in ways that first two trilogies at times fell unintentionally short of, The Last Jedi also proves that heroism is not only a boys’ club.
There is something incredibly powerful in the bittersweet note with which the movie concludes, and it rings with notes of five and six especially. If nothing more, the newest film ends with what can only be called the true new hope. And maybe that is exactly the thing this world needs.