So the time has come. Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi has hit the big screen, and fans of the movie here in the UK are all rushing at the chance to see it first. The TechNuovo team was among them, and to be honest with you, I’ve just got home and have started writing this straight away.

Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi, pretty much started at the point the previous title ended. Rey (Daisy Ridley), who has arrived and met with the retired Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), who is in command of the now fleeing from the First Order, Resistance. The film wastes no time in engaging the viewers in some Star Wars action, as skilled Pilot and romanticist Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) takes the lead in knocking out some turrets on the new First Order Dreadnought. Of course things go wrong, and the Resistance fleet, now weakened is forced to retreat, which unfortunately, plays out for around two thirds of the film.

Alongside this though, we’re again introduced to our other favorite characters like Finn (John Boyega) who is still in two minds about fighting with the Resistance, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who’s still just as EMO and whiny as he was in the first film, Rey (Daisy Ridley) now intent on learning about her new force powers and even Snoke (Adam Serkis) who was no where near as menacing as he was as a hologram, towering over Ren in the giant chair during The Force Awakens.

There are some new characters this time round too. Rose Tico, a recently orphaned engineer who works on the Resistance cruiser and Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) Princess Leia’s second in command. Chewbacca returns and is still just as badass, even if he is missing his partner Han Solo, and of course, everyone’s lovable droid of the new trilogy, BB-8. Oh, and I can’t forget Captain Phasma, who is fitting the Boba Fett type character rather well. Looks menacing, gets defeated straight away.

During the fleet escape, Finn and Rose are sent on a side mission to a Vegas-like planet to search for the Master Codebreaker (Benicio Del Toro), a mumbling scoundrel. Although it’s refreshing to see a new location and what other parts of the Star Wars universe look like, it failed hard to provide as much excitement as it should have done. Instead, Finn and Rose battle with the universe’s political agenda, feeling sorry for the animals captured for sport, or the fact that there are arms-dealers who sell to both The Resistance and The First Order. This paired with a chase scene on large dog like animals through a town that resembles that from a Harry Potter movie, and you’ve got a plot that really sticks out like a sore thumb.

Although during this scene, we’re still treated to more space chase between The First Order and The Resistance, with multiple characters telling us how much fuel is left in the tanks. It’s really drawn out, and overall, doesn’t offer too much advancement to the overall narrative of the first two movies in the new trilogy.

While this is going on, Rey has now forced Skywalker’s hand and has begun what I would call a very fast Jedi masterclass. She does some meditating, swings a lightsaber around and explores a creepy cave after being told not to go there, only to be greeted by an image of herself. Sound familiar? It’s exactly what Yoda said to Luke on Dagobah. Again in true Skywalker fashion and extremely underprepared, Rey decides she wants to go and save Kylo from the dark side. Again, sound familiar?

The Last Jedi failed to take any part of the film too seriously, and I think that really deters away from the drama and dark vs light theme that’s really going on. There were a few times the audience of the theatre let out laughs, and the rest, like us were probably cringing quietly into our popcorn bags. Humour was fired at us at what seemed like every opportunity that they got, and unfortunately, fell a little short. I don’t think this kind of approach works very well inside the Star Wars universe like it does in say a Marvel film.

And with the introduction of cute and cuddly animals like the Porgs, which almost feels like a marketing ploy to sell toys this Christmas, really makes me think who this film is targeted towards. Okay, so the animals in this movie didn’t have as large an impact on the plot as say the Ewoks or the Gungans, but they have enough screen time and are included in easy to understand gags like slamming against the window of the Millennium Falcon cockpit, that they begin to get a little tedious after a while. Although, the Crystal Critters, as Poe calls them, do offer a way out for the trapped Resistance during the last battle, and without them, where would the Resistance be?

The Last Jedi was very hard to love. On one hand it had some really awesome battle scenes and some gripping acting, especially from Adam Driver, but on the other we’re still left with unanswered questions like who the hell is Snoke – because he didn’t last long on screen before being killed off – and also where is the story going from here because it seems completely open. Only time will tell, but I’m pretty convinced already that you’re not going to need to see this one to understand what’s going on in Episode 9 when it arrives in around two years time.

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Stef Murphy

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