Continuing from The Force Awakens the story to The Last Jedi centers on Rey (Daisy Ridley) who seeks out a a weary Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamill) in order to become a Jedi and stop Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). As Rey seeks guidance from the old hero the Resistance are pushed to the brink by the First Order as Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Issacs) must find a way to keep the group alive. As the iconic scroll faded away and the story began I was not sure what to think about the plot. However as the adventure unfolded I found myself impressed with The Last Jedi's story. The plot kept true to the idea of Star Wars but how it utilized these concepts is what made all the difference. Story elements such as the Force were not only well presented but expanded upon in ways that were unexpected. The movie also took its time to establish each part to the story and,in doing so, created a sense of relevance for the overall plot. Now this is not to say the story was perfect. While its narrative was sound the plot could drag on in places and certain moments in the story were questionable. Yet despite the issues Episode VIII’s story was still effective as its twists, turns and sense of adventure were surprising; making it an engaging experience.
The cast of The Force Awakens was a formidable ensemble but I felt that it was lacking in vital areas. This was not the case for The Last Jedi as its band of characters was a group worthy to Star Wars alumni. The movie made Rey into a hero that I could behind and it turned Kylo Ren into a engaging antagonist. Characters such as Finn and Poe Dameron, whom I thought both had weak development in Episode VII, were fleshed out and they became characters that I could follow. This direction was not just seen in the heroes but the villains as well. The likes of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Snoke (Andy Serkis) had standout qualities in this film despite their limited time.The new characters were, more or less, effective. While the additions such as Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and DJ (Benicio Del Toro) had little to offer, the likes of Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) ended up being a strong supporting character for the cast. As for the iconic characters all of them had their time in the spotlight (even C-3PO). Carrie Fisher provided an engaging performance as Leia; which was good seeing that this marks Fisher’s final performance. Yet the one to steal the show was none other than Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Luke’s development sparked new life into the iconic hero while giving Hamill one of his best performances to date.