Star Wars: The Last Jedi : 4.5/5

Since I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi four times in the first week it came out (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Wednesday), I figure I should probably review it. I will try to keep this review spoiler-free and am trying to focus on just my impressions of the film rather than actual plot points. If you consider vague commentary on plot to be spoiler-y, however, read no further.

The film starts off with some action and humor (the Poe Dameron kind, not the Jar Jar kind) and quickly drew me into the opening mission. Was I clenching my fists, silently egging the heroes on, breathing a little faster than usual in suspense? Damn straight. The whole opening sequence balances action and tension well, using them to capture the audience and then providing reprieves for viewers to catch their breath. It is a captivating beginning, and sets the stage well.

The second half of the film really moves. If you are the person who usually needs a bathroom break during a movie, I strongly advise doing so by the end of the first hour of The Last Jedi. There are so many amazing moments in the second half that made the audience cheer or applaud and/or shout “YEAH!” in a satisfied fist-shaking manner. You will miss them if you are in the bathroom, and you really don’t want to. Trust me.

At the end of my first viewing, while the credits rolled, I found myself sitting there with my brow furrowed and my arms crossed. What do I think? I knew this would be the first question my family and colleagues asked me the next time they saw me because they know me as a huge Star Wars fan.

Was it good? Was it bad?

What do I think?

I wasn’t sure. I definitely liked *that* scene and *that* scene and holy-shit-how-could-I-forget-*that*-scene and *that* plot arc and and the character dynamics (Rey/Luke, Rey/Kylo, Kylo/Hux, Finn/Rose, [redacted]/[redacted], & [redacted/redacted]) were so well done… but I felt like the first half of the film really dragged due to all the character development (…buuuuut it led to a really solid second half, so I guess it was necessary). There was a certain scene and a plot arc in the first half of the film made me concerned that The Last Jedi might not live up to The Force Awakens, but I rolled with them anyway. I recognized, however, that I came to my first viewing of The Last Jedi with a lot of questions I wanted answered, and to a certain extent I was too anxious about those possible answers to savor some of the more slowly-paced parts.

My immediate decision, once all that reflecting was done: I need to see it again.

The second time through, the film felt much faster overall. It was a blast, and I decided that it was good, especially that second half. SOLID. I also felt more emotionally invested the second-time around, and teared up during a scene or two (I shed no tears the first time). Also, holy crap. Just, holy crap. SO COOL. Also also, I would have liked to see a little more of Canto Bight (although that’s how people felt about the Mos Eisley Cantina and Jabba’s Palace, too).

Four times later, I am sure I enjoyed The Last Jedi and have been endorsing it to people since it came out. I am advising everyone who asks my opinion on the movie to see it twice.

Although The Last Jedi continues the story set forth in The Force Awakens and has numerous callbacks to other Star Wars films (including at least one Rogue One Easter egg), it challenges the audience to think a little deeper about our personal conceptions of what Star Wars is. It introduces a lot of new (good) elements to the Star Wars film series, and that sort of thing is not necessarily easy to process on a first viewing.

Whatever you’re expecting The Last Jedi to show you, it’s probably not going to go the way you think. Go see it (twice) anyway!

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