The Five Reasons ‘The Last Jedi’ Is Better Than ‘The Force Awakens’

The Last Jedi has already surpassed Rogue One in the money it has made at the box office and has already claimed the spot as the highest grossing movie this year so it’s obviously clear that The Last Jedi is the success that LucasFilm was predicting it would be. And after watching The Force Awakens last night I realized just exactly how good its sequel truly is.

I love The Force Awakens. When it came out two years ago I went to see it five times because it was that incredible of a movie. And then I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it at home. When The Last Jedi was coming out I figured it would be better but there was no guarantee. *chuckle* It ended up being much better than The Force Awakens could’ve ever been and these are the five reasons why.

The Story

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The Force Awakens, while it was very, very enjoyable, frankly barely had a story. Its entire concept was a rehash of A New Hope and the only thing keeping it from feeling entirely reminiscent of the fourth Star Wars were the slightly different scenarios and new characters. It was so lacking in story in fact that us super Star Wars fans were trying to theorize the entire story of the next film. We were left with a trail of bread crumbs that were leading to all of these different possibilities and shocking reveals and basically none of them came to pass.

The Last Jedi didn’t do that.

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Rian Johnson made a solid story that had epic scenes, stunning moments, and overall he gave us a very good Star Wars movie. And no, it wasn’t a remake of another Star Wars film. There were some nostalgic moments but overall The Last Jedi stands in a realm of its own when it comes to this franchise and that is always refreshing. Someone was going to have eventually kick Star Wars out of its box and make a difference in this story and I’m so glad it was Rian Johnson who did it.

I also feel like I can wait patiently until Episode IX because he didn’t leave us with a mind-blowing cliffhanger. The Force Awakens was already full of subtle hints of ideas going forward and then the end was just too much. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen and that incredible anticipation was a lot to take. The Last Jedi is such a complete movie in itself that it’s going to probably take me about two years to discover all of its hidden references, Easter eggs, and the subtle implications for the next movie. All in all, The Force Awakens was an enjoyable action flick, The Last Jedi was a story.

The Characters

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The Force Awakens was a fantastic movie because the characters and the actors who played them were so instantly lovable and The Last Jedi only increased that. I was watching The Force Awakens last night in quiet awe as I thought about how far these characters have come.

Rey now knows her parents were “nobody” and that she can’t fall on the supposed legacy of her heritage but instead has to tread this path she has taken by herself like she has all of these years. That’s a powerful realization and one that will undoubtedly make her stronger.

Finn turned from a fleeing ex-stormtrooper into a full-blown rebel hero. I can’t wait to see him kicking more butt in Episode IX. 

Poe’s transformation in the film was evolving from a hotshot, no-nonsense pilot who didn’t take orders very well into the responsible leader General Leia was hoping he could become.

And Kylo Ren is literally the First Order’s Supreme Leader now. How incredible is that?! In The Force Awakens I didn’t take him very seriously as a villain, until he killed Han Solo, but that’s another story. When he wore that mask it always forced me to compare him to Darth Vader and that’s not fun when you want to see a trilogy with brand new characters and not newer, cooler versions of these classic characters. Rian Johnson’s decision to destroy his mask forced Kylo Ren to evolve into what he is now and when he shows up again it’s going to be very interesting seeing how someone with as hot a temper as he has can rule an entire faction.

The Cinematography

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There is no doubt in my mind that The Last Jedi’s cinematography far exceeds its predecessor. Whenever I think about The Last Jedi I can’t help but think about all of the awe-inspiring shots in that film such as when it shows Luke spearing for fish from that upward angle that elaborates on exactly how long that spear truly is. Or what about the part when Kylo Ren destroys his mask and it keeps flashing back and forth between his face and the crumbling helmet? Or even the downward shot on Kylo Ren and Rey’s fingers just as they’re about to touch? Those are only a few of the many chill-inducing moments in that film simply caused by Rian Johnson’s poetic eye.

Luke Skywalker

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Luke was in The Force Awakens in the last minutes or so of the movie and it is literally the best scene of that film. Just imagine an entire film with him gracing a lot of screentime?

Seeing Mark Hamill reprise his role as the iconic character was not only magical but exciting as well. The last time we saw him he was a hero in Return of the Jedi. He had participated in defeating Emperor Palpatine, he had saved his father’s soul, and he was a full fledged Jedi Knight. Jump thirty years ahead and he has lost all hope in the Jedi and has placed himself in utter exile. It’s a shocking reality and one I would’ve never imagined for the incredible Jedi master and yet it feels like the perfect and most realistic path he could’ve taken.

His scenes in The Last Jedi were not only riveting but it was also simply a blast to see Luke again. And it wasn’t as if he had totally changed. There were still moments when you could see that youthful man he used to be return for the briefest of moments. And even though his character is dead I’m sure he’ll make another appearance as a ghost and I can’t wait to see what gruff wisdom he’ll have to share next time around.

And finally, the Praetorian Guards

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I have never loved new additions to the Star Wars universe as much as I love these Praetorian Guards. I have been a HUGE fan of the Royal Imperial Guards that used to protect Emperor Palpatine but they never did anything except stand around and look cool. Rian Johnson took that concept to the next level and had them actually fight and I can only say, “THANK YOU!”

When I own The Last Jedi on DVD I am totally watching the Praetorian Guard/Kylo Ren and Rey fight at least two times in a row because that part is so out-of-this-world awesome that I’m still losing my mind over it.

And not only are the faceless, noiseless guards incredibly cool because they actually get a fighting scene but they’re also amazing because of their clothes. That armor is so gorgeously plastic looking, it’s like as if they’re life-size toys.

I love these guards so much I literally own a lego Praetorian Guard that I had to build with my sister out of 92 pieces and it is clearly one of the greatest figurines I have ever seen.

Well, these are the five reasons I think The Last Jedi is better than The Force Awakens. I thank you for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day. May the Force and the Praetorian Guards Be With You.

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