So the long anticipated Star Wars - The Last Jedi makes its movie debut this weekend. The Ragin' Geek made it's way over to Regal Theaters in North Brunswick, NJ to check out the long awaited return of Luke Skywalker. The theater has not been this packed since we started going here and it was nice to see the franchise can still bring people into the box office. The movie runs about two and a half hours so if you are planning to see it be ready for a nice long enjoyable watch. This review has many spoilers so if you don't want to know what happened in the movie stop reading here. I will keep the details to a minimum as to not make viewing the movie too redundant and still leave room for many surprises.
The movie starts off with the traditional Star Wars anthem and the Episode VIII title scrolling up the screen. The story is pretty much the same as usual the Empire *cough* First Order has destroyed the last remnants of the Republic and has the rebels on the run. The only hope for the resistance is the return of Luke Skywalker which hopefully will rally their forces and defeat in the end defeat the evil First Order. To start off this movie has a lot going on, just when you see a plot twist come to a conclusion another one sprouts up immediately after. The film consistently keeps you on edge and you never know what lies around the next bend in the story. There are elements from both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi episodes in the film and after viewing the whole movie it definitely seems like a closing of the old Lucas story line and the dawn of the Disney era.
After the initial credits the story begins with the First Order about to strike the final blow on a no longer hidden rebel base. You definitely feel undertones of Empire Strikes back at this point. The rebels are attempting to flee and send Commander Poe to distract them in his lone X-Wing fighter while the transports try to escape. Poe does his job but in his reckless bravado sees an opportunity to destroy a large First Order Dreadnought which would be relative to the Super Star Destroyer from the original trilogy. Against Leia's better judgement they go ahead with the assault and destroy the enemy ship but with massive losses resulting in Poe being eventually demoted to Captain. I have to say after watching this movie I have grown to like the character Poe more and he definitely is one of the rebellion's larger than life characters. The story then segues back to where episode seven left off where Rey tries to convince Luke to train her and return to fight the First Order and change the tide of the war.
Ahch-To is the island where Luke exiles himself to after his failure training Ben Solo and a group of Jedi students. The island is the original Jedi Temple and home to the ancients texts of the Jedi. Mark Hamill does a great job of performing the role of Luke and at the same time providing great fan service to older followers of the franchise. Luke would eventually begin to train Rey but would later have reservations after believing her to be drawn to the dark side. Consequently Rey would further explore the dark side while on the island in an effort to find out more about her lost parents but nothing ever comes of it. While Rey would stay at the island she would experience almost telepathic force linked episodes with Kylo Ren. It would later be determined these linked encounters between Rey and Kylo were orchestrated by Supreme Leader Snoke in an effort to trick Rey into seeking out Kylo Ren. The links would also come to reveal the deeper story behind what happened between Luke and Ben Solo. Rey would eventually leave the island failing to convince Luke to come with her and assist with the war against the First Order all the while at the same time they would be hunting down the last of the rebellion.
After the bitter sweet victory while being driven out of their would be secret base the rebels took to light speed where they would normally be safe from the prying eyes of the First Order. Little did they know the First Order now has a way to track ships while in light speed and shortly after reaching there destination they are surprised to see the First Order fleet close in pursuit this time with Snoke's command ship in company. The rebels low on fuel and unable to escape without being tracked seem to be at the final hour of their ultimate defeat. Finn and Rose who is a new character and engineer on the rebel command cruiser come up with a larger than life plan to disable the tracking device on the First Order command ship. They inform Poe of their plans and take off to the planet Cantonica to find a code cracker who is capable of completing the mission. On Cantonica they would be captured but later escape with the hacker played by Benicio Del Toro.
Prior to all our main characters returning to the scene of the fleeing rebel fleet the First Order would wage an aggressive fighter assault on the tiny band of ships. Led by Kylo Ren the fighters would force massive damage to the remaining rebel ships and even destroy the command cruiser's bridge which would result in Princess Leia being sucked out into the vacuum of space while narrowly saving herself by using the power of the force to fly back to the ship where she was incapacitated and rushed to intensive care. The rebel fleet would now be lead by the Vice Admiral where all hope would then seem to be lost. Poe would eventually attempt to lead a coup to take over the rebel command ship and wait for Finn and Rose to complete their mission. Rey returns and surrenders herself to Kylo Ren on Snoke's command ship where she is brought before him and is told the she was being manipulated this whole time. The scenes to follow would feel very influenced by Return of the Jedi with some hints of Empire Strikes Back. Rey and Kylo would later slay Snoke and his guards only to have Kylo subsequently try to convince Rey to join him and start yet another misguided quest at galactic domination. Rey would refuse Kylo's offer and they would then engage in a battle of the force trying to gain control of the only near lightsaber.
While Rey would be battling with Snoke and his guard and later Kylo Ren, Finn and Rose along with the hacker mercenary are attempting to disable the First Order tracking mechanism to allow the rebellion one last attempt at escape. They would eventually fail being captured and Poe having taken over the rebel ship would then be subdued by a recovered Princess Leia where it would later be revealed to Poe that the greater plan was an escape to a forgotten deserted rebel base on a near planet while using the command cruiser as a diversionary tactic. The rebels would begin escaping via cloaked transports to the nearby planet but the recently captured mercenary would betray the rebels and reveal these plans to the First Order where there would begin blasting the transports like fish in a barrel. Seeing the escape plan being revealed the self-sacrificing Vice Admiral would then direct the command ship into the First Order fleet and engage it's hyper drive in a desperate last ditch effort to save the last of the rebellion. The First Order fleet would be badly damaged, Finn and Rose would narrowly escape with an enemy transport only after a furious battle with Captain Phasma and the remaining rebel soldiers would take refuge in the deserted rebel base.
Kylo Ren hell bent on destroying all traces of the old rebellion leads an assault on the base with his personal transport, a number of AT-AT Walkers and a special weapon. All that would stand between the beaten rebels and oncoming onslaught is the massive door of base enclosure but even that is threatened by the First Order's battering ram weapon. The rebels scurry to scrounge up any vehicles they can find to stage a counter offensive but the base wall is breached and defeat seems imminent. Out of the ashes a lone silhouette appears and it is Luke Skywalker who would later stand off alone against the entire First Order offensive. What would follow was just the best fan service a Star Wars lover could ask for and it would later be found that Luke was never actually there gave the rebels the time they needed to escape and rescued by Rey in the Millennium Falcon.
Luke exerting so much energy in his extravagant charade to save the rebels would consequently dissipate into the force ever so elegantly and appropriately as the legend he is providing satisfactory closure for all fans. This movie really went above and beyond to accommodate everyone and did a great job of it. It clearly was the best film since the original trilogy and as a fan myself I couldn't of asked for more. I am sure any Star Wars fan who watches this movie will be adequately content coming out of the movie theater. Hope you enjoyed this read and come back to see us soon.