The Last Jedi is full of wonderful surprises

How the latest Star Wars film expertly injects an old franchise with fresh story

'The Last Jedi.'
(Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi does what its predecessor, The Force Awakens, could not: It innovates and surprises.

This delightful if overlong film has so many arcs and subplots that you'll find yourself parsing them later, trying to work out what exactly happened and why — not because they don't work, but because the film packs so many scenes that reward closer-than-normal observation. (Rewatch the red dirt battles and you'll see what I mean.) If certain moments are permitted to remain evocative and surreal rather than purely expository — for those who've seen the film, I'm thinking of the ice-mirror particularly — the movie also takes up the problem of history: A major plot point revolves around the way two different characters narrate the same incident. The difference between their accounts translates to war. That's exactly as correct as it is tragic. What's more, the relationship defined by that difference acquires 100 times more depth than the Han-Ben dynamic, which remains the emptiest cipher of a relationship I've yet to see onscreen.

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