RATING: 4.5 out of 5
(Normally I would release my review during the day of the opening, but I’ve decided to release it about a week after the movie has opened in the Philippines so I can write a review with spoilers. Maraming nangyari sa Star Wars: The Last Jedi that’s worth discussing na baduy kung magsusulat tayo ng spoiler-free review.)
Wala nang paligoy-ligoy pa dahil maiksi ang buhay at lahat tayo busy, in my opinion “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is one of the best entries in the franchise so far. It’s highly entertaining, thrilling, funny, and emotional but what I like the most about it is that’s it’s full of surprises. Like Manong Luke Skywalker said himself, things won’t go the way you expect them to. While it’s far from perfect and is hampered a bit by a dragging first hour, the second half of the movie is so wonderfully made na pag labas mo ng sine sasabihin mo “P*** bakit ba ang tagal pa ng Episode IX?!”
“The Last Jedi” starts exactly where we left things in “The Force Awakens”. General Leia Organa and the rebels are on the run from the First Order and Rey has found Luke Skywalker hiding out in some distant planet with only Porgs and the most hideous nuns you’ve ever seen to accompany him. But much to Rey’s surprise, Luke doesn’t have any interest in training her and would rather have the Jedi Order die instead. I think it was a bit disconcerting for everyone when Luke got the light saber and threw it over his shoulder because that’s not how we expected that scenario would play out. But it does set the tone for the rest of the film that this isn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill Star Wars film.
It’s been well documented that Mark Hamill was at odds with director Rian Johnson when it came to the portrayal of Luke Skywalker. In this movie, we see a more cynical and conflicted Luke Skywalker, so different from the one we knew at the end of the original trilogy that was sure of his place in the universe. Honestly mas gusto ko tong version na to ni Luke because it makes his character so much more interesting. There’s a reason why everyone loves Han Solo in the original films and that’s because he was a charming and complex character. Si Luke medyo naive and vanilla sa totoo lang. People we’re probably expecting a Karate Kid-type training montage between Rey and Luke in this film but we never get that.
Pero meron akong tatlong moments sa movie na to napa-mura ako ng “t***ina” habang nanunuod (iisa-isahin natin sila mamaya) at isa dun sa mga moments na yun ay yung final scenes ni Luke nung kinalaban niya si Kylo Ren. That shit was just pure awesomeness. Astig yung buong sequence na yun na lumilipat from Luke to Rey yung frame habang sinasabi niya na he’s not the last Jedi and will send chills down your spine. Pero ang pinakamalupit dun for me ay yung pagkamatay niya. It’s the perfect way to go for one of the most iconic characters in movie history.
It’s throwbacks like these that make fan boys pee in their pants with delight. In that scene, Luke is still trying to find his place in the universe. Now in the moment of his death, he sees the exact same thing but has finally found peace. It’s so awesome when things come full circle for our favorite characters but it doesn’t get anymore awesome than that in my opinion. (Excuse me pupunasan ko lang yung mga luha kong tumulo sa keyboard.)
One of the most controversial things in this movie is the seemingly premature death of Snoke which was my T***ina Moment #2. We were all expecting him to be the biggest baddie in this trilogy but obviously hindi na mangyayari yun unless manananggal pala ang kontrabida sa Star Wars kasi hati na yung katawan niya. Some people didn’t like this twist but I actually do. One of the major complaints about “The Force Awakens” is that it rehashed a lot of elements from a “A New Hope”. If Snoke was to be the final boss until the end of this trilogy, then this wouldn’t make it any different than those that came before it. I wish we knew more about him but then again what is there to know, really? Kung bakit siya may biyak sa noo? Malay ko baka nauntog lang! He’s a Sith. He’s evil. That’s really all you need to know about him. At sabihin mong hindi mo na-enjoy yung fight scene na magkakampi si Rey at Kylo Ren nung pinatay nila si Snoke! Sige sabihin mo! Pero sasampalin kita kasi sinungaling ka!
Speaking of Kylo Ren, ayoko siya sa “The Force Awakens” sa totoo lang. I couldn’t understand why they got this scrawny and awkward looking guy to be THE great Han Solo and THE great Princess Leia’s daughter. It didn’t make sense to me. It’s only in “The Last Jedi” that I saw the wisdom behind his casting. Adam Driver gives off a vibe of a angsty teenager despite the fact that he’s already 34 years old in real life. He’s a great actor and it’s in the close ups of Kylo Ren that you see the conflict inside him and his vulnerability. Kung kumuha ka ng hunk para sa role na yan, the effect might not be the same. Although we never actually see how Snoke corrupted him, at least we finally understand kung bakit ang emo niyang tao. He thought Luke was trying to kill him! Kung ikaw ba pag gising mo may hawak na itak yung tiyuhin mo at balak kang tuliin ng pangalawang beses, makikinig ka pa sa paliwanag? I don’t think so. Although it does make me wonder how much of an asshole Han Solo is as a father that Kylo has the heart to kill him but not Leia.
My T***ina Moment #3 was when Vice Admiral Holdo played by Laura Dern destroyed Snoke’s ship. Until that moment akala natin may maitim na balak tong babaeng ube ang buhok e di ba? But she ends up being one of the most bad ass character in a movie about iconic Jedi and cocksure fighter pilots. In the two times that I’ve seen the movie, I distinctly remember the audience let out a collective gasp during that moment. And that experience is one good example why it’s still great to see movies like these in theaters.
Now that being said, there are some things about The Last Jedi that I didn’t enjoy. I liked the sequence where they destroyed the dreadnought because it had elements of “Rogue One” in it. But other than that, I didn’t really care for the first half of the film so much. It’s not that it was bad, I just found it to be mediocre. The Canto Bright plot was the one I didn’t enjoy as much because it felt like they were just looking for something for Finn to do. And I usually like Benicio Del Toro in his movies but not in this one. Nilaglag lang siya conveniently bigla sa gitna ng kuwento tapos tinanggal ng ganun kabilis. Parang ang purpose niya lang is to move the plot along and to preach about the military industrial complex.
I also didn’t like the scene where Leia floats across space ala Mary Poppins. It’s nice to finally have confirmation that Leia has force powers other than those sporadic scenes where she pauses when she feels that something bad has happened in the same way we do pag nakaamoy tayo ng utot pero di tayo sure. But the whole scene just felt awkward to me. Now that we know that Leia survives Episode VIII, I’m really curious to see how they handle her character in the next movie.
As for the reveal that Rey’s parents were just nobodies that left her to die in Jakku, I find it hard to believe that that’s all there is to her backstory. So for now, I’m giving Episode IX the benefit of the doubt that they have a better explanation as to why Rey seemingly is so strong in the force without even the semblance of training. Kasi otherwise it would be a total letdown. What’s the point of the whole hall of mirrors sequence? Why does she have a strong connection with Kylo Ren, the same way Luke and Leia are, if they’re not related at all? Pagkatapos natin malaman kung sinong parents ni Jon Snow, Rey’s background would probably the biggest mystery in pop culture. Sabihin niyo na lang na Targaryen rin si Rey sa Episode IX kesa sabihin niyo na “wala lang” yung parents niya utang na loob!
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has been lauded by critics everywhere but fan opinion has been pretty much divided and I totally understand why. It changes everything we know about the trilogy and that’s something that might be hard for hardcore fans to accept. But that’s exactly what makes it great in my opinion. After 9 movies that chronicle the Skywalker saga, we finally get one that shakes things up a bit. It ties in with the rest of the Star Wars movies beautifully but still has its own identity. Only time will tell if it’s going to go down as the best Star Wars movie of all-time, but it’s definitely in the conversation.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now out in cinemas everywhere.