Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, has finally arrived and it gives us many of the things we’ve been waiting for: incredible girl power, visually stunning scenes of ships emerging from light speed, a salt-covered planet that kicks up red dust, and plenty of screen time from Carrie Fisher. Although I’m still pondering where I rank the newest installment of the greatest galactic sci-fi series, The Last Jedi is certainly impressive.
I solemnly swear I am trying my best not to ruin the film, but if you haven’t seen it JUST GO SEE IT ALREADY BECAUSE IT’S GREAT. But if you have, or if you need to indulge in all things Star Wars regardless, here’s a more in-depth look at the latest galactic installment.
We start immediately in the thick of it as the First Order is prepared to launch on a rebel base on a planet directly below them. General Leia Organa’s Resistance has been greatly reduced by Supreme Leader Snoke and his misunderstood minion Kylo Ren, and everyone’s favorite bun-haired leader (she changed her hair and she’ll let you know) is depending on her brother to come out of hiding.
And that’s where we pick up where J.J. Abrams left off in The Force Awakens. Johnson replays the climatic scene of Rey handing Jedi Master Luke Skywalker his original lightsaber and from there we learn how our scruffy-looking master really feels about the Force. As Rey tries to understand what it all means, Luke gives the most simplistic definition we have ever received of what the Force truly represents. But I’ll let him explain that to you.
We spend much of the movie jumping around three different storylines: Rey and Luke on an island of porgs (we’ll get to those later), Kylo being as emo as ever, and the Resistance pulling all kinds of tricks to keep the First Order at bay, including several stunts from the dream team of Poe Dameron and BB-8, as well as the galaxy’s most productive former janitor, Finn, and his fierce new pal, Rose.
Back on Leia’s cruiser we meet Admiral Holdo, who we are unsure if she actually has the Resistance’s best interests in mind. Admiral Holdo (played by Laura Dern) comes in to shake things up, and our pal Poe is not a fan of her approach. She also has purple hair, so it’s been a great year of Dern showing how many crazy hair colors she can flawlessly pull off (where my Twin Peaks pals at?).
With Rey trying to learn how to move rocks, and Poe trying to figure out what Admiral Holdo is all about, Finn is in need of a new friend to get mixed up in crazy antics with. And that’s how we meet another new incredible female character, Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Rose and Finn jump around the galaxy together attempting to aid the Resistance in slowing down General Hux’s attacks, and of course Captain Phasma.
As the First Order is greatly gaining power under Snoke’s brutal leadership, Kylo Ren cranks up his fav Fall Out Boy album and we are finally treated to a bit of his back story. Through the powers of the Force and his moodiness, Leia and Han Solo’s son keeps us on our toes, teasing us so many times about what might actually be going on under that thick layer of flowing hair. He is also a participant in one of the most intriguing lightsaber battles in all of Star Wars—at least in the top five—that leaves you feeling like you did 60 minutes of cardio just watching.
There are a few surprise cameos along the way—but I won’t even go there. Instead let’s stick to the new dudes we’ve all been waiting to learn about. Force Friday II revealed to us BB-9E, whom I was probably most excited about this film (is that true? I don’t know, I was excited about a lot of things). This lil droid dressed all in black is part of the First Order and has a few beeps and boops to give us a clue as to what he might be up to. He doesn’t play quite as big of a role as I was hoping, but still neat to see a new, sleek droid rolling around.
And now what we have all been waiting for: porgs. They’re the perfect mix of pug and penguin, with their plump, little bodies and huge sad eyes that even Chewbacca can’t resist. There are haters out there saying they’re only in the film so the franchise can sell cute things, but they have no real part in the movie. WELL GUESS WHAT, I DON’T CARE. They may not be crucial to the plot, but they truly do enhance the direction Johnson is trying to take with his turn in the series. They are there to make you smile, to add some relief, as well as emit emotion, and if you can’t appreciate that then I might dare say you are soulless.
The film starts and ends with an incredible amount of action that’s welcomely exhausting, but drags a bit in the middle as we reiterate Johnson’s main themes several times. There are shout outs to the original trilogy along the way with the transitions and shots, but we are deep into a new era of heroes and villains that will #NeverForget its successful past.
And the Force lives on with all of us as there are tons of incredible toys, of course with several porg options, so that we can believe that one day, we too may be able to move rocks with our minds.
This review was originally published on the Toy Insider.