The hope going into Star Wars The Last Jedi is that this sequel to Star Wars The Force Awakens will be the Empire Strikes Back of the new trilogy. But thanks to some issues with the script, it ends up being more like the Attack Of The Clones: not bad but not as it could’ve been, but certainly not as good as it should’ve been.
When Star Wars The Last Jedi begins, the First Order are pissed that The Resistance destroyed their base and are looking to repay the favor. Meanwhile, Rey meets Luke on the top of the mountainous island where he’s been playing hermit, only to learn he’s there get away from it all. And not in a vacation-y kind of way.
For the most part, Star Wars The Last Jedi is a typical Star Wars movie. It has epic space battles, wild aliens, edge-of-your-seat escapades, and other tenets of space opera sci-fi. Though to talk about most of the film’s highlights would be to spoil things, something I’m not going to do, save to say that this adds some interesting new wrinkles to the Jedi resume.
Star Wars The Last Jedi also, like its predecessor, has a first-rate cast highlighted by Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, and Oscar Isaac as Poe, all of whom are as good here as they were in The Force Awakens. But the latter two are somewhat overshadowed, and rightfully so, by Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker like a bitter Obi-Wan, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Organa, who kicks ass here just as hard as she always did in these films.
What threatens to undermine Star Wars The Last Jedi — though it thankfully just ends up eliciting a lot of groans — is the jokey script. While there’s always been humor in these films, there’s never been as much as there is here. The problem being that its humor isn’t, well, humorous. Some of the jokes are cheesy, some are just obvious, and a couple are so out of place that they recall when C-3PO said something way too close to, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” in Attack Of The Clones.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no, not all of the bad jokes in Star Wars The Last Jedi come from the Porgs, which are these adorable penguin-like creatures that live on the island where Luke is hanging out. Sure, some of their capering is silly in the same way that the Ewoks were dopey in Return Of The Jedi, but it’s actually their human costars who say the cheesier lines.
Star Wars The Last Jedi also fails to live up to The Force Awakens or the original trilogy by not having as spry or as sparkling of a script. Granted, some of it is because Ridley and Boyega don’t hang out as much this time around; they should really take their comedy act on the road. But the whole movie lacks the kind of energy that made The Force Awakens as effortlessly fun and watchable as Deadpool and the first Avengers movie. Sure, The Force Awakens had the benefit of mining A New Hope for its plot points, but it worked because it injected every scene with energy, something Star Wars The Last Jedi sometimes fails to do. Not always, but enough that it’s noticeable.
Because of this, Star Wars The Last Jedi doesn’t live up to the promise provided by The Force Awakens. But while this makes Star Wars The Last Jedi a far lesser Star Wars movie than The Force Awakens — or anything from the original trilogy — it’s still an exciting and often exhilarating sci-fi epic, and a solid next chapter in the Star Wars saga that adds some interesting wrinkles to the overall story. Let’s just hope this trilogy ends with more of Return Of The Jedi– or Revenge Of The Sith-esque bang and not a humorless whimper.