“Look closer,” Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) says to Finn (John Boyega) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the two of them are in the middle of a rogue mission that could help save the floundering Resistance from the threat of the First Order.
That same advice could be handed to those who have felt the film, written and directed by Rian Johnson, fell short of being worthy to stand as the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga.
The movie picks up seemingly within a day of the end of 2015’s The Force Awakens, with the Resistance having destroyed the First Order’s Starkiller Base but far from victorious against the enemy. Without going into spoiler territory we then follow the continued adventures of Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she works to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to show her the ways of the Jedi and what her place in the universe is. Meanwhile Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher) keep the Resistance fighting as best they can with the help of Vice-Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), an effort Rose and Finn are ultimately instrumental in. On the other side of the battle, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) continue vying for the affection of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).
Most all of that was presented in the massive, albeit time-compressed, marketing campaign mounted by Disney over the last seven or eight months of 2017. That campaign presented a dark chapter in the saga, one that was fraught with the potential for danger. Would Rey succumb to the Dark Side of the Force? Would the Resistance and all its heroes be snuffed out for good?
None of that prepared me for what might be the most thoughtful and thought-provoking entry in the entire Star Wars saga.
MILD SPOILERS BELOW. DON’T CLICK IF YOU’RE STILL WAITING TO BE SURPRISED.