There are many mixed opinions among the reviews of the new Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi.
Not in dispute is the fact that it will make hundreds of millions of dollars, but critics seem less than enthused with the sequel filmed partly on Skellig Island off the coast of County Kerry and in Donegal and Cork.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson's performance gets a strange reaction from one critic. According to the Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, Gleeson plays General Hux "goofily" says it's as if Gleeson "were acting in a Monty Pythonesque parody."
Then there's a very show-off critique by, who else, the BBC:
"'The Last Jedi' can be seen as the space-opera equivalent of Clint Eastwood’s revisionist western, 'Unforgiven,' in that it pours scorn on its hero’s legendary reputation – but it eventually gives us the satisfaction of seeing why he acquired that legendary reputation in the first place."
But the Irish Times critic did not like it at all – Irish connection or not.
"'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' review: boring, bloated and confusing
"The latest instalment will fill a yawning Star Wars-shaped hole, but it's punishingly long and full of fudge.
"Put simply, 'The Last Jedi' is lodged several parsecs up its own black hole. George Lucas’s 'Star Wars' (that’s what the film was called) was awash with influences from myth, legend and cheap space opera. 'The Force Awakens' held close to the first film’s template, but generated modest interest by dangling new variations on the old characters.
"This time round, those characters are allowed insufficient development to distract from the suffocating self-awareness."
"What precedes that overall, alas, represents a creative step back, not a leap forward. Optimistically, 'The Last Jedi' leaves plenty of intriguing possibilities for the climactic installment. But there's also the kind of room for improvement that reminds us when it comes to 'Star Wars,' such hopes – new or otherwise – spring eternal.”
Yet, other critics are raving instead of ranting:
Cahir O'Doherty, Arts Editor for IrishCentral and the Irish Voice had a very reassuring review for those wondering if Star Wars Episode VIII is any good:
"I can give you the answer in one word – Yes! Ok, three words – it's fantastically good. In fact, it's without doubt the most thrilling new episode in the long-running saga since 1983's 'Return Of The Jedi,' which is a remarkable achievement in itself."
David Edelstein at Vulture and New York Magazine also calls The Last Jedi “shockingly good.”
“What you’d never dare expect is high style, let alone the kind of emotion that holds you through the requisite hopscotching among three different story arcs. There’s no such thing anymore as a straight, single-strand narrative in this kind of “universe” movie, which has a mandate to look backward and forward as well as sideward at any character with the potential to be spun off into his or her own vehicle. But the new writer-director, Rian Johnson, isn’t an impersonal technician (or a rote imitator, like Abrams). He pinpoints the intersection between characters’ desperate need to belong and the special effects that will lift those longings into the realm of myth. He achieves what no one else has since The Empire Strikes Back: a fusion of junkyard genre parts and passion.”
At TIME, Stephanie Zacharek says Johnson has achieved the hat-trick of making an actually well-crafted blockbuster film that rings emotionally true:
“Most big-ticket franchise filmmaking these days amounts to ticking off a series of boxes. If Johnson has ticked any, he’s done it in private, shielding us from all those horrid practicalities. His movie has a sense of humor about itself and a sense of joy, but its emotional generosity, even in the midst of all the extravagant green-screen work, is its best special effect. He’s taken Disney’s money and given the audience all the things money can’t buy: Instead of selling to us, he’s speaking to us. You can feel the difference.”
On RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz calls it:
“Everything a fan could want from a “Star Wars” film and then some. Even the sorts of viewers who spend the entire running time of movies anticipating every plot twist and crowing “called it!” when they get one right are likely to come up short here.”
Domhnall Gleeson gets comedic praise from NPR for his “reveling in sniveling” General Hux.
Now all that’s left is for you to be the judge! Do you think it’s going to be a good next installment in the Star Wars franchise? Or, if you’ve somehow managed to see it already, what did you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section.