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The Last Jedi

Alexander Yagoda, Staff Writer

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Release Date: December 14, 2017

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Our Rating: A++++++++

To begin, Star Wars Episode VIII was fantastic. Keeping that in mind, the second half of the movie was absolutely fantastic, featuring what are probably the two best scenes in any movie this entire year. Without giving away any spoilers, one scene was one of the best lightsaber duels in the entire series, and the second was proof that something relatively mundane can be weaponized to great effect, creating a spectacular and dazzling event. As with the prequel and original Star Wars trilogies, the beginning of this film is weak, but it rapidly ramps up for a strong finish. Divided into halves, the first half of the movie would likely have received a 60%, and the second half a 120%, which averages to the 92% that Rotten Tomatoes gives it.

Alexander Yagoda

The first half was incredibly underwhelming, especially for a film series of such high caliber like Star Wars (not including Episodes 1 and 2). It attempted to string together a visually pleasing bouquet of story lines, with the one starring Finn only existing because of the clumsiness of a bomber pilot and a fighter pilot being an “irresponsible flyboy.” Plus, a large portion of the movie focused on the weak and unnecessary Finn plot line. While the film opened with one of the series’ signature space battles, it ends up putting a time constraint on the entire film that causes some inconsistencies. For example, despite the rebel ship supposedly only having 18 hours of power left, it manages to trundle on for several days, as seen by the progression of time during Rey’s stay at the ancient Jedi temple.

Alexander Yagoda

Aside from the flaming pile of garbage that was the first half, the second half was spectacular. The tangential mission’s package ends up betraying the mission’s protagonists, in a two minute scene more entertaining than the entirety of the mission. Plus, as was mentioned earlier, the two best movie scenes from this year occurred, answering the questions that everyone had been asking. The first was of course: “How well can the Praetorian Guard fight?” As it turns out, pretty well. However, the context of the fight scene is slightly unfair as the two sides were the ten highest trained melee-weapon fighters in the entire galaxy, but one of the sides had the two most power force users of the time (technically the second and third most powerful force users, but after the event which caused the fight, they became the first and second, but who is in which place still goes unanswered), which is obviously Kylo Ren and Rey. In addition, their parentage is also finally revealed, but due to the no-spoiler policy of this publication, I am not at liberty to discuss this topic. The second question is “What happens if you crash ships at hyper-speed?” The answer is that apparently everything affected kind of tears in half and ultimately explodes; unsurprisingly, that is exactly what happened. In most other circumstances, one smallish ship literally ripping apart the entire Imperial Armada in the span of a few seconds would be anticlimactic at best, but this movie manages to turn it into a masterpiece.

“There were some REALLY good part and some REALLY bad parts, and they just about evened out to a pretty good movie,” sophomore Jonathon Mesa said.

Alexander Yagoda

In conclusion, Star Wars Episode VIII was fantastic overall. It started slow but rapidly picked up speed for an explosive finish that balances new plot twists with old themes going back as far as the original Star Wars, which captivated so many fans a long time ago, in movie theaters not very far, far away.

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The Last Jedi