If The Force Awakens moves our feelings because it evokes many moments of the original trilogy, Star Wars: The Last Jedi manages to be remarkable precisely by treading its own path and establishing its own identity, without forgetting that it is still part of the Star Wars franchise.
With the new characters duly presented in the previous feature, it is time for the franchise to finally explore each of them more deeply, showing a well-defined journey, which is not necessarily guided by a single hero. So, while Rey is trying to find his place in the world and learn about the Force and a Jedi, the resistance warriors, Poe, Finn and newcomer Rose, plot plans to try to defend themselves from First Order attacks. At this point, the film shifts the focus between the characters, making a montage that at times resembles The Empire Strikes Back.
Victories (and also defeats) come at a cost. The feature makes a point of emphasizing that with every heroic act done without thinking, resources and lives are lost and that a war cannot be won just by blowing up targets, there is also the need for strategic decisions and good leadership. It is good to see the weight of war being exploited, and to understand that General Leia Organa knows that soldiers and pilots who are not even nominated are as important to the Resistance as those closest to it.
In fact, seeing General Leia Organa, and remembering that Carrie Fisher, the actress who plays her, died shortly after filming, is always a blow that can lead to tears. But at no time did her appearances sound like a mere fan service - always with wise decisions worthy of an experienced strategist who ignites the spark of hope for a revolution.
While the heroes of the resistance go deeper in this feature, only Kylo Ren is explored in the First Order. The villains remain undefined and many questions remain open.
General Hux is used only as a comic relief, as are the Porgs, characters who were only thought to be cute and sell billions of licensed products, and who (at least) are not as annoying as Gungans and cuter than Ewoks.
There is a kind of dance between the Shadow and Light sides, involving Rey and Kylo Ren. They always appear mirrored, conflicted about their path and origin, and linked in an emotional way that no other film in the franchise has dared to do. The contrast between them is also visually interesting and gets even richer in the scenes where they are placed side by side, you can watch online the film to enjoy.
The film has truly surprising twists. At various times he threatens to become a kind of “The First Order Strikes Back”, but the script by Rian Johnson, who also directs the feature, manages to find an inventive and fun way out.
The action scenes are everything we could want from a Star Wars, adding an extra spice to an exuberant look. The battle on Crait, a planet that has a soil made of a red mineral covered with salt, is especially beautiful. When the ships fly, they raise a blood-colored fog that makes it look like the whole scene is hurt because of the collision. It is a moment that makes you want to revisit many times and that is worthy of framing and hanging on the wall.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi rehearses to address themes on the faces of conflict that we do not usually see in the cinematic universe of Star Wars, in which "good" and "evil" are generally simplified and well defined concepts, without much space for shades of gray. This appears not only in the aforementioned weight of the war (and in what is necessary to win it and its consequences), but also when the feature presents us with a whole city of figures who enrich themselves with the conflict, supplying weapons and ships indiscriminately, for example, or exploiting vulnerable people.
That said, these aspects do not define the new adventure, they appear only as brush strokes than themes central to what is being told. As we are still talking about Star Wars, a franchise that is designed for the whole family, the appearance of such elements gives more color to the entire universe, but without stealing the space of what we really want to see.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi explores the characters better and, with its impeccable look, it is an exciting trip to that galaxy so, so far away that we love and also the best farewell we could have from our dear Carrie Fisher. May the Force be with it, watch it now.