6 Reasons The Last Jedi Is The Best Star Wars Film

After nine live-action films, it’s safe to say that the most polarizing of the bunch is the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi. More so than The Force Awakens, more so than Rogue One, and yes, even more so than the prequels. However, an argument can be made that, despite its flaws, Episode VIII is actually the greatest Star Wars film to date, surpassing even the likes of the fan-favorite Empire Strikes Back.

Your parsecs may vary, but here’s our list of 6 reasons The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film:

  1. The Acting

    Subpar acting rarely gets a pass in any franchise, so why is it that we Star Wars fans tend to overlook this otherwise glaring offense in the other films? Mark Hamill’s performance in the original trilogy, despite improving drastically over the course of the three movies, wasn’t all that impressive, especially considering he was the lead character. As for the prequels, there were certainly some standout players (looking at you, Ewan McGregor), but Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman were glorified marionette puppets, at best.

    Fast-forward to The Last Jedi. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac all manage to top their performances in The Force Awakens. Adam Driver has solidified Kylo Ren as one of the most complex, intriguing villains in Star Wars history. Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, and Kelly Marie Tran all made fun new additions to the cast. And then, of course, you have Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who deliver their absolute best outings as Leia and Luke, respectively.

    You can hate the direction, you can hate the plot, but you can’t deny that the acting in The Last Jedi is impeccable. 

  2. The Visuals

    Not only is The Last Jedi the best-acted Star Wars film – it’s also the best-looking. The cinematography is nothing short of stunning, and the blend of practical effects and CGI beautifully capture the essence of the original trilogy, while still adding a tasteful dose of modern flair.

    And speaking of the original trilogy, while the visuals in each film surpass their predecessor, even the most gorgeous shots, such as the Star Destroyer panning in at the start of A New Hope, are products of their time. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, the prequels often feel like they were shot entirely on green screens, which makes their aesthetics feel even more dated as CGI continues to improve.

    The Last Jedi, on the other hand, is home to some of the most breathtaking shots in any Star Wars film – particularly when Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo rams through the Mega-class Star Destroyer Supremacy at lightspeed. That’s on top of the film’s visually striking and appropriately thematic color schemes, such as the red and black of Snoke’s throne room and the red and white of Crait’s surface.

    However, it isn’t just the visual effects and incredible set pieces that make The Last Jedi so beautiful to watch…

  3. The Fight Choreography

    Save for the flashback sequence, we never actually see two lightsabers clash in The Last Jedi. And yet, this film is still home to some of the best-choreographed and most memorable fight sequences in the franchise.

    The lightsaber fights in the original trilogy, although dramatic, are clunky at times, and those in the prequels while pretty, are overly acrobatic. The fight between Rey, Kylo Ren, and the Elite Praetorian Guard, though? It’s sequences like this that help set The Last Jedi apart from its predecessors. And between one of the guards getting turned into human confetti and another getting a hole punched through his head with a lightsaber, it’s also one of the grittiest Star Wars battles we’ve ever witnessed, which is surprising for the Disney-owned Lucasfilm.

  4. It Strikes The Perfect Balance Between Humor And Drama

    The Star Wars films have always incorporated elements of humor, but the degree of success has varied wildly. For the most part, the jokes in the original trilogy are timeless – free from the restraints of any particular era. Nevertheless, Episodes IV-VI aren’t exactly what you would call “funny” movies. Meanwhile, the prequels… well, let’s just leave it at Jar Jar Binks.

    However, The Last Jedi, for all its action, drama, and emotional weight, is actually a genuinely funny movie. More importantly, the humor never comes at the expense of the other aforementioned themes; it only serves to complement them, which is a happy medium that some writers and directors struggle to find.

  5. It Subverts Expectations

    Rian Johnson took unparalleled risks with The Last Jedi, and perhaps the biggest of them was giving fans the opposite of what they expected, transcending their preconceived notions about the Star Wars franchise. Who are Rey’s parents? Doesn’t matter, they’re nobodies. Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Doesn’t matter, he’s dead now.

    Admittedly, some of Johnson’s creative decisions are controversial, and if any of them bothered you, that’s understandable. However, nothing else Johnson could have done would have lived up to the expectations of fans that spent the last two years deciding what they wanted to see. For that reason, he chose to subvert those expectations altogether, which was a smart decision that led to a genuinely unpredictable – not to mention great – film.

  6. It Challenges Our Perception Of Heroes

    The most intriguing heroes are the ones who are flawed, not the ones who are deified. In The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron’s recklessness directly results in the death of several Resistance pilots right at the start of the film. Finn and Rose’s decision to trust DJ indirectly results in the First Order firing at the escape pods fleeing from the Raddus. In fact, DJ also reveals that the very same war profiteers supplying ships to the First Order are also equipping the Resistance. And Luke? He went into a self-imposed exile after nearly murdering his nephew in his sleep.

    The point is, these characters aren’t perfect. They’re deep, complex individuals who fully embody the idea of one man’s freedom fighter being another man’s terrorist – a feat that Rogue One comes closest to rivaling. And for some, that’s problematic, but at the end of the day, the Star Wars saga’s overarching theme of hope is far less compelling if there isn’t anyone or anything challenging the purity of the hopeful.

    What about you? Do you think The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film? Let us know in the comments section!

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