Wednesday, December 13, 2017

In Theaters Now - 12/15/17



(new releases in green)

Additional Films Not Reviewed:
  • A Bad Moms Christmas 
  • Daddy's Home 2
  • Ferdinand
  • Jigsaw
  • Just Getting Started
  • The Star

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poster

For those of you getting lost in the non-linear Star Wars cinematic universe (which is probably increasingly many of you since there are so many more now and they seem to have dropped the roman numerals), this is Episode VIII.  It's the sequel to The Force Awakens and the second in this third trilogy of films.  (Rogue One, which came out last year, was a stand alone story that took place between Episodes III and IV.)

OK, now that that's out of the way, even though there's hardly a lack of critics' opinions floating around already, I'll offer my two cents on it.  I have mixed feelings, as I did with the last two Star Wars films.  On one hand it's hard to dislike any Star Wars film.  It's so large scale, big budget, and iconic.  But, given that, this is my least favorite of all Star Wars films to date (including the much maligned prequels, that I actually like.)  One blatant reason why is that director Rian Johnson has opted to inject comedy in a franchise that until now has been largely devoid of it, (or at least obvious comedy.)  And it just feels extremely out of place.  Whereas it works well in Marvel comic films, with Thor: Ragnarok being a great example, it just doesn't in this franchise.  You just can't change the tone this late in the game.  But fortunately that is only a sporadic annoyance.  Another issue I have, as I have had with the two last films, is how annoyingly safe they are.  These films intend to make billions of dollars.  And you don't make billions of dollars by taking chances.  You do so by playing it safe.  And that's exactly what they've done.  And I'm confident they'll hit at least $1B at the box office.  (Though perhaps not $2B like The Force Awakens.)  For me, there just aren't those iconic characters or memorable, classic moments I loved from the first trilogy.  Though I must acknowledge a good part of the problem could be that I'm not 10 years old anymore.  I know that life is complex and people aren't pure evil or all good.  To me, now, the most interesting characters in films are complex ones, of all shades of grey.  And yes, to some degree that exists in the Star Wars universe, but to a large degree it does not.  Star Wars has and always will be a story for children that depicts good vs. evil.  And good will always win.  I guess I just wanted this franchise to grow up with me and become a niche series for middle aged geeks.  And it's just not.  Oh well.

Grade: B

Who is this movie for?  I suspect it will sufficiently please everyone, but will be met with some criticism by some.  It's made for everyone and nothing great is made for everyone.