‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review: Rian Johnson Takes A Beloved Franchise Into Bold And New Territory

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source: Lucasfilm

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a blockbuster triumph

It’s no secret, even to longtime fans, that the Star Wars movies are formulaic films. They follow a certain path that leads to a certain victory. And not to say that the formula doesn’t work, because it indeed does and trying something new wasn’t always Star Wars‘ biggest success (yes, I mean the prequels). However, as Star Wars is being directed by auteur filmmakers, that comforting formula will be challenged. Star Wars: The Last Jedi manages to subvert expectations while delivering a worthy sequel that takes its place among the best of the franchise.

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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Review: A Gritty Star Wars Spinoff Unable To Pack The Emotional Punch

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Rogue One is enjoyable despite the lack of character development

Prequels are still a bad name around the Star Wars universe and that still lingers on everyone’s mind. Everyone who will sit in the theater waiting for Rogue One to start will have that tiny bit of doubt in the back of their minds. Is this prequel as bad as Episode I or II? No, but Rogue One has one serious flaw – a lack of interesting characters.

Opening to an already rough time in the Star Wars universe, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) teams up with a gang of Rebels to fight the Empire in the civil war. Their mission is to find the Death Star plan and give it to the Rebels. As we all know, that will be a young Princess Leia but what comes before is what ultimately is the story of Rogue One.

From the first shot, fans will know that this Star Wars story will be different from the Episodes. The beautiful cinematography first catches the eye. This is undeniably director Gareth Edwards’ (Godzilla) strength. Probably the most beautiful Star Wars film to date, Rogue One uses this strength to its full potential. The gang of Rebels visits various different locations, from a Normandy beach-like area to a Middle Eastern-like desert.

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Rogue One’s war scenes are impeccable

Jyn Erso isn’t the only newly introduced character. Others include Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut Imre (Donnie Yen), Bohdi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). In a Guardians of the Galaxy type deal, Rogue One‘s task, right away, is to introduce us to each individual character and make them relevant to the audience. Unfortunately, the movie never fully achieves this. Standing before us are easily defined one trait characters with the exception of Jyn Erso. Her backstory and persona make her the more well-rounded character in the group and the only interesting one in the group.

Probably the most underused character is Bohdi Rook, Riz Ahmed’s character, in which he is barely in the movie. As the movie searches to make these characters relevant, it comes up with very little. Some small tasks are performed but nothing that special that would make them great heroes.

Darker and grittier than the previous Star Wars movies, Rogue One isn’t afraid to take big risks. From the start, the film shows you just how high the stakes are. Coming around to the third act, the movie shows you just how daring it is, and it does deliver quite a bit. Some of the more emotional parts weaved into the final act don’t always land, but the war scenes are a thing of pure beauty. Edwards rips a page from directly from Saving Private Ryan to deliver some suspenseful moments.

When the credits come rolling, either way, you’ll be in shock. The problem arises whether or not the characters’ were compelling enough to carry the movie. They pose the biggest problem for Rogue One, particularly in the more emotional parts. However, this is still a Star Wars film with plenty of beautiful and suspenseful action. If all else fails then at least, you will get the fan service, which is weaved in flawlessly.

GRADE: B+

Top 15 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

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One fantastic movie year is done, and another one will shortly begin

Looking back at 2016, there are plenty of films that deserve attention. I’m currently writing my Top 10 Best Movies of 2016 and let me be the first to tell you that it is a tough one. Now turning our sight to 2017, it’s looking more and more like a great year for movie fans. This list contains mostly blockbusters but don’t worry I still have my sight on smaller movies, which usually tend to be the ones I love more. Speaking of sight, I will be certainly watching closely at both DCEU movies that will be coming out this year. Wonder Woman and Justice League will try to make the DCEU relevant and a worthy Marvel adversary. While the DCEU had a rough year, horror movies had an excellent year. The Conjuring 2, The Witch and Don’t Breathe were standouts from this year. Some much-anticipated sequels are coming out as well as directors returning to what they do best. Nolan’s Dunkirk, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Deadpool 2 are all movies that will need to deliver to the expectations. All and all, 2017 will be a blast and here is my list of the most anticipated movies of next year.

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