“Last Jedi” Adds New Stories To Familiar Mythology

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“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” begins with a joke that could have come from “Spaceballs.”

ediIn it hot headed resistance fighter pilot Poe Dameron, a Han Solo type, trolls Domnhall Gleeson’s Colonel Hux, the imperious stooge in charge of the First Order fleet, in “can you hear me now” fashion that buys time to allow for something big to occur.

The Resistance achieves a Pyrrhic victory at great cost, that is part of a series of battle that they are losing. Carrie Fisher’s Leia is in charge of military maneuvers, and the late actress has a central role and a complete through line.

The last scene of the previous film found Daisy Ridley’s Rey on a windy ocean mountaintop face to face with Mark Hamill’s hooded and bearded, and now gravel voiced Luke who refuses to train her and has no interest in the resistance. Old friends help him see otherwise. Rey also uses the Force to mind meld with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and each attempts to recruit the other.

Surrounding these stories are battles in the continuing conflict. Leia wants to retreat but Poe wants to shoot things. Old characters return to connect new ones to the continuum, there are several bittersweet encounters, and Fisher’s death lends gravity to her work. Reportedly most of her scenes were finished before her death, but lines of dialogue had to be edited in.

Things end in a visually stunning and narratively compelling battle and cliffhanger that create a sense of writer director Rian Johnson adding new stories to a familiar mythology.

Andy Serkis is asteroid-faced Supreme Leader Snoke. Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico becomes partner to John Boyega’s Finn. Their spin-off story finds them on a gambling planet that is an exaggerated cantina scene, and where they encounter a rogue in the Lando mold, played by Benicio Del Toro. And I vote no on the hamster sized Porgs created for Christmas shoppers.

Left unanswered is the title itself; Who is the last Jedi? Luke, Rey, Kylo Ren.

Or someone we have already or haven’t yet met?

 

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