Review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: Thoughts, Not Spoilers!

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No spoilers. No hints. Not even a subtle nudge-nudge-wink-wink. I am under extraordinary threats to my life if even a whisper crosses these lips. Of course, I’m talking about The Last Jedi, otherwise known as Episode VIII in the Star Wars franchise. Never before have I felt such raw power coursing through my veins, calling to me like a voice from the shadows, “just one spoiler…”

And I like it.

But I also like writing for GeekMom. So, I promise to be on my bestest of best behaviors and provide no spoilers. Just a few thoughts, to give you a better idea of whether you want to see the movie yourself.

Wait, that’s just ridiculous.

Of course, you want to see it! The question should be whether you want to see it three times in the cinema, or just once and buy the Blu-ray collector’s edition with bloopers and deleted scenes. Or both. I won’t judge.

Disclaimer: I am not a Star Wars fan. Truly, I’m not. I don’t hate them, but I’m not completely won over by them. Well, except for the prequels. I hate them. The only Star Wars midnight session I have attended in my life was Episode 2, and our friends totally disowned my husband and I… mainly because we were ridiculing the movie for the entire most of it. I have not shown the prequels to our kids. I’m proud of that.

However, I received a VIP pass to share with our son, EG Nefarious. This gave me a great opportunity to see the movie with Star Wars fans AND gain some insight from a kid who truly loves it. I don’t know if it was the movie, the atmosphere, or sharing it with my kid… but I enjoyed this movie. The Last Jedi is the film that wins me over. It’s The Star Wars Movie that entices me to learn more. I want to read the books, re-watch the movies, talk to the fans. There are still some questions left to answer but here are the highlights, from our family to yours.

Team Porg or Team Vulptex Crystal Critters

Team Crystal Critters from The Last Jedi or the crystal fox
#teamvulptix … no, wait! #teamcrystalcritters / image from Disney

The ‘official’ term is ‘Vulptex’ or ‘vulptices’ for plural. Easy enough to remember, thanks to my Pokemon influences. I don’t really care what they are ‘officially’ called; I love the unofficial name given by one of the characters: “crystal critters”. And they are far more adorable than the Porgs. Those Porgs are just comedic relief. The crystal critters are at least helpful. EG Nefarious totally agrees and has asked for a Crystal Critter for Solstice. We both realize the toy Porgs are going to be a big seller this Christmas but I liken the things to Furbies.

And anyone who sends us a Porg will be cursed with the deluge of a 100 Furbies in return (that was Nefarious’ idea, not mine).

Team Finn or Team Poe

To be absolutely honest, this debate loses all relevance in The Last Jedi.

The character development in this movie is one of its best features. Seriously. All the characters (especially Finn and Poe) have so much growth and depth given to them, it feels like they are building a Universe just for them. I know that is how a Star Wars movie is supposed to feel but this was the first time I have wanted to learn more about the characters.

The reason it works in The Last Jedi is because they are allowed to be flawed. They are not some typical Hollywood archetypes. They are people with blurry lines and questionable moments. In fact, the whole movie is about the blurring of these lines. We see our favorite characters facing new questions and troubling situations. There is a lot for them to learn about themselves, and for us to learn about them. Even the dry wit and quick one-liners add depth to the characters.

Team Poe or Team Finn
Image from Vanity Fair

For the record, Nefarious says Poe. Mainly because he was given permission to jump in an X-Wing and blow something up.

Team Kylo Ren or Team Rey

team kylo ren or team rey star wars

Going into the movie, EG Nefarious said he was most looking forward to seeing Kylo Ren’s development. Nefarious had so many questions about what could make someone so dark and yet so powerful, or were the two dependent on each other? I asked him if he felt the same way about Rey and the mystery surrounding her identity. Nefarious said,

“No. Rey’s mystery is fascinating but it’s easy to be good. There are a lot of people in the world who are trying to be good; not because they want to be good but because they are just afraid of being bad. They become bad, like really bad, when they make a choice to do it; even with the fear. At the end of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren doesn’t seem afraid of being bad anymore. I’d really like to know what it is that pushed him to the Dark Side. Do you think that will be in The Last Jedi?”

At the end of the movie, I am now with Nefarious on Team Kylo Ren. I want to learn more about this character.

Team Nostalgia or Team Fresh Start

This was the big question for me. The Force Awakens was essentially a well-executed re-boot of A New Hope within some continuity of the Star Wars Universe. It was a film resting squarely on the nostalgic shoulders of the cashed-up fans of the originals.

It worked. TFA was a hit and everyone felt the franchise receive a big enough boost to reassure Disney with their acquisition. The thing is, it left The Last Jedi in a precarious position. There are only so many ‘nostalgic revisits’ you can do in a move—and a sequel, at that. The Last Jedi needed to step out from the shadows and make a mark as an independent film of its own. Before its release, critics were already preparing for the second coming of The Empire Strikes Back.

The Last Jedi isn’t like that. Again, Nefarious and I are in agreement: Fresh Start.

There are sections of the movie that feel loooooooong (note: I am so very proud of Nefarious and his eight-year-old bladder. He lasted to about half-way through the credits. Longer than some adults in the cinema with us). There is a lot of story set-up but if I were to remove anything, I don’t know what it would be. I felt many of the earlier scenes were more about building the characters than the story itself. While I enjoyed the development, I was initially concerned it was too much for Nefarious. We all know Star Wars loves to bring in the younger fans but typically a two-and-a-half hour movie filled with exposition is not the way to do it.

Yet somehow it worked. The kids I saw in the cinema loved it. There is still enough visual stimulation with color and big booms to keep the kids interested. Nefarious enjoyed the entire film. He paid attention to all of it and asked questions during the movie. Clearly, Star Wars/Disney knows something I don’t—usually I can’t hold my kids’ attention for longer than 10 minutes.

Team Leia or Team Luke

Team Leia.

I can’t believe I even have to ask the question but Nefarious liked Luke. Although, he conceded Leia kicks butt in this film…and that admission made me a little weepy at the end. I have no idea what they are doing with Leia in the story. I … don’t… nope, can’t talk about it. Spoilers.

General Leia or Luke Skywalker
Image from Vanity Fair

Team Cinema or Team DVD/Blu-ray

I really want to say ‘Team DVD/Blu-ray’ for the comfort of my pause-button for toilet breaks. However, The Last Jedi really does deserve to be seen on the big screen. There are more than a few scenes to benefit from the big screen; especially those based in space. Without the cinema experience, you lose the grandeur and atmosphere (or lack thereof) that comes from galactic battles. There is one scene towards the end… You’ll know it when you see it and you’ll thank me for telling you to see it in the cinema.

And you will probably still go out and buy the Blu-Ray anyway, won’t you?

 

The Last Jedi is now showing in cinemas around the world.  You should also read 9 Things Parents Should Know About The Last Jedi (including when to take a toilet break). EG Nefarious and I received tickets from Disney to attend the VIP session in Sydney. Check out the GeekMom Facebook and Instagram accounts to see the photos from the VIP session, including cosplay and a 1:1 scale X-Wing Fighter. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own.

And if you respectfully disagree with our opinions, feel free to share them in the comments below. But NO SPOILERS. Don’t be a porg.

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