• Hope Wilson

Why I love The Last Jedi

I think we can all agree that the Last Jedi received a lot of backlash and hate from the fanbase. Some hated it, some loved it and some people simply saw it as another one of those space movies. I loved the Last Jedi and would go as far as to say that it is my favourite Star Wars movie (with Empire, Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One closely behind it). As someone who wasn't too fond of the Force Awakens, I found that the Last Jedi brought together a lot of what I love about Star Wars. It has its faults of course, just like every Star Wars film does and when I first stepped out of the cinema I wasn't 100% sure what I thought about it, it took a few watches to take it all in. But after countless rewatches both in the cinema and at home, I soon became certain that it was my favourite Star Wars film. And here's why...

For me, the Last Jedi felt unexpected. It caught me off guard and gave me a story I certainly wouldn't have been able to anticipate or predict. The Force Awakens wasn't my favourite film, I never really got too into it other than when it came to analysing scenes between Rey and Kylo Ren to try and pick up the breadcrumbs that I hoped would one day lead to a relationship between the two of them. I found that my biggest problem with the Force Awakens was how predictable it was in my eyes, I felt like I was watching something I had seen before. I thought it was a good movie but for me, it didn't quite have the same spark as some of the other films. The Last Jedi did the opposite of this in my personal experience and made me look at Star Wars in a whole new light. Throughout the film I felt like I was on the edge of my seat, anxious to see what was going to happen next. And every time I watch it I feel the same way, excited and following each twist and turn in each character's journey. It surprised me and took risks, something I certainly appreciated.

A second reason why I love The Last Jedi is how it explored the Force. For a majority of the films, in particular the original trilogy, the Force has been mysterious and never really explicitly explained in detail. Of course, we learn about it with Luke throughout the first trilogy however we never have a visual representation or a more 'simplified' version of this power. One of my favourite sequences in the film is Luke's explanation of balance in the Force. The visuals are beautiful, representing the light and the dark, life and death. The film told the audience WHY the Force is so significant to the characters, what is so special about it and how the character's experience this power. It goes into how for many it can become a burden, how it can conflict and shape a person. In my eyes, the Last Jedi was the most Star Warsy (that's a term now) film in all of Star Wars because it understood the Force, it made it more than something godlike, it made it real.

Rey's journey throughout the Last Jedi was a key part as to why I was so fascinated by the characters in the film. At the beginning of the film, Rey is the scavenger we met in the Force Awakens. A lot of the film is her denial, both that Luke has given up and that her parents didn't throw her away. We witness Rey's confusion, the phrase "Never meet your heroes." I feel comes to mind in this film. Rey has only known Luke Skywalker as a myth, something greater than her. But the man she faces in the Last Jedi is not she or the audience expected. He is a retired hero, and a lot of what we see is how disappointed Rey is. She thought Luke Skywalker would give her the answers she needed, only for him to turn away. I felt like Rey's emotions towards Luke on-screen really reflected how I felt seeing my childhood hero giving up, a mixture of anger, disappointment and sadness. It gave an emotional element to the film that I didn't expect as it wasn't straight-forward and obvious, it gave me something to think about and explore, leaving me with questions that I hoped would be answered in the next film... but let's not go down that road...

The Last Jedi is a BEAUTIFUL film. As a film & media student, I adored the cinematography in this film, I could watch it multiple times just for that because it is so wonderfully made and put together. The lighting throughout it is beautiful, the camera work is thought out and to perfection in my personal opinion. As Star Wars films go, I believe this was one of the best shot. In particular, the one above is one of my favourites in the whole film. We have a visual and straight forward representation of the narrative through the cinematography, incorporating the very specific positions of the actors, the setting and lighting. All of these elements of film making are well thought out throughout the film, something I appreciate and am fascinated by the number of creative techniques and choices made both in the production and post-production stages of the film.

Whilst we are on the topic, here are some more stunning shots from the film that I find are just beautiful 😍

Moving on to probably my favourite thing about the Last Jedi which is, of course, the relationship development between Rey and Ben Solo. As someone who walked out of the Force Awakens obsessed with the connection between the two characters, I was hoping for something in this film that could potentially create a possibility of a future for these characters together. What I did not expect was for their connection to develop so significantly in such a short space of time. In one hour we go from Rey trying to shoot Kylo Ren, to her reaching out to Ben Solo. But best and most importantly of all, it doesn't feel rushed or out of place because it works wonderfully as we see the gradual build as Rey, in particular, learns that Kylo Ren isn't a killing machine, that in many ways he is a lot like her...

So those were just a few reasons why I love Star Wars the Last Jedi (I could seriously go on for HOURS about this masterpiece) This film taught me a lot and I enjoy it every time I watch it, according to my friends I can not stop smiling whenever I do. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and I don't like tea (I'm a fake Brit I know) but I certainly love this film.

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