Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Movie Poster Image
Sci-fi violence, strong female characters in thrilling epic.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 152 minutes
 Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 73 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 124 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Typical for the Star Wars franchise, the main tension here is between good and evil, light and dark; characters must decide whether to choose the path they were brought up to believe in or the "other" side. Underlines the idea that everyone has a choice about which moral code to believe in and which mission to accept. Explores how transformative hope can be for people. The importance of friendship, courage, teamwork, loyalty, listening to others, and doing the right thing is demonstrated again and again.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rey continues to be a strong, capable, and courageous character. In fact, all of the female characters -- including Leia, Vice Admiral Holdo, and Rose -- are front and center, making tough decisions, leading bravely, and more. Finn is determined to help Rey. Poe is often impulsive and brash, but he's also brave and intelligent, and he does learn to respect others' abilities/plans. While the clearly evil First Order is virtually all white (although there are a few women, like the helmeted Captain Phasma), the Resistance is notably diverse, with white, black, Latino, and Asian characters (as well as those from other intergalactic species), women in leadership positions, etc.

Violence

Plenty of sci-fi action violence, mostly large-scale space battles and explosions, as well as one-on-one duels, shoot-outs, and pursuits. One death is particularly explicit -- the character is sliced in half -- but there isn't any blood. Dozens of Resistance ships are destroyed, with "good guys" killed. Many weapons are used in addition to the classic lightsabers, including bombs and fighter planes. A couple of people sacrifice themselves in suicide missions. An officer orders an entire fleet destroyed, and another leader gives the order that there will be no prisoners, no mercy. The Supreme Leader of the First Order could be scary to kids. Spoiler alert: Supporting characters are injured and killed. A couple of people are presumed dead, and there's one notable good-guy death, but it's not as sad as Han Solo's traumatizing murder in The Force Awakens.

Sex

Two characters have an intense, supernatural bond that's nearly romantic at times. A character quickly kisses another character before passing out. Kylo Ren is shirtless in one scene. Characters in a casino wear revealing dresses and outfits.

Language

Infrequent use of words including "damn it," "hell," "ass," "stupid," "nothing," "scum," "murderer," "shut up," etc.

Consumerism

On camera, nothing; but off camera, the Star Wars franchise is a merchandiser's dream, with branded/themed apparel, games, accessories, housewares, action figures, Lego sets, food, toys, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink cocktails at a luxury casino.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is part of the billion-dollar Star Wars saga, continuing the segment of the story that began in The Force Awakens. It takes place right after the events of that movie and is just as violent, with several battles, explosions, space chases, and close-up duels. There's one rather explicit death (though it's not bloody), and several people die in battle, in some cases sacrificing themselves for their mission. A few times it seems like characters are near death, but they recover. Romance-wise, expect to see one quick, chaste kiss, and some slightly uncomfortable tension between two other characters. Adam Driver's Kylo Ren appears shirtless in one scene for no apparent reason other than to fluster a female character, and there's an odd shot of a character milking a lactating creature and then drinking the milk. Characters also drink cocktails in a luxury casino. Language is tame, with a few uses of words including "damn," "what the hell," "shut up," and the like. Directed by Rian Johnson, the movie boasts several strong female characters, including both Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Leia (Carrie Fisher, in her final Star Wars performance), as well as diversity within the Resistance and strong messages of courage, teamwork, hope, and loyalty.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 year old Written byJulie T. December 15, 2017

Amazing, eye-popping, thrilling movie!

BE CAUTIOUS TAKING YOUNG KIDS AND SENSITIVE KIDS! What a brilliant movie! With tons of action and fight scenes, intense moments, plot twists galore, and some w... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 year old Written byNicole M. December 16, 2017

Excellent!!

Took our kids ages almost 6 and 7. Was a bit apprehensive after reading some of the reviews on the violence but it was not nearly as scary as what K thought it... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 13, 2017

Incredible Star Wars Film

This movie is amazing. It is worth the money. So much happens in this masterpiece, so much that I will need to see this again so I can remember everything that... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJwander007 December 16, 2017

A great film by Ryan Johnson, but hits a darker tone than Rouge One and The Force Awakens

I thought that the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise was a great film, but not for kids under 12 (Before you start, you need to know that every chil... Continue reading

What's the story?

STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI takes place right after the events of The Force Awakens, with Commander Poe (Oscar Isaac) and the rest of the Resistance fighters facing a First Order dreadnought, while Rey (Daisy Ridley) tracks down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in hopes of convincing him to join the Republic's mission. As General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) follows what remains of the Resistance's fleet, a revived Finn (John Boyega) teams up with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), a grieving technician, and Poe in a risky scheme to shut down the First Order's tracking system. Luke senses Rey's powerful potential, but it scares him -- reminding him of his failure to keep Ben/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) away from the dark side. Speaking of which, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) berates a conflicted Kylo Ren to stop whining and take his rightful place as Darth Vader's heir apparent.

Is it any good?

Director Rian Johnson delivers a funny, emotional, suspenseful middle-of-the-trilogy installment that will delight fans as it elevates beloved heroes and moves the story forward. The Last Jedi's female characters, from Rey and Leia (Carrie Fisher) to new additions Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), are decisive, courageous, and fierce. War hero Holdo puts Poe in his place, commanding the Resistance with assurance and hope. Rose is a sweet addition, going from deferential to confident during her time with Finn. And of course, there's Rey, who learns more in this movie about her connection to the Force and puts everything on the line to give Kylo Ren an opportunity to become Ben again. The men are great, too, particularly Hamill, who portrays Luke with the nuance necessary for a deeply conflicted but wise man who's seen far more death and destruction than anyone should. There's even a cameo from one of his long-gone mentors that's likely to make viewers gasp -- and cheer.

Johnson ups the humor while keeping the action operatic in style. Gleeson's pompous General Hux is hilariously cowardly when dealing with Poe and Kylo Ren. Finn and Rose's adventure to find a master coder at a luxury casino has several buddy-comedy road trip elements, and Chewbacca's interaction with the adorable puffin-like porgs is awww-inducing. The fight scenes range from explosive to up close and personal. Among several standout lightsaber fights, one epic duel is more profound than expected. Despite a few minor missteps (like an odd scene in which Luke milks a large creature with four teats and immediately drinks its milk, or an unnecessary and unexpected quick kiss between two characters who've exhibited zero romantic tension), The Last Jedi beautifully sets up what needs to happen for the forces of good to win.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Do scenes of explosions and space battles affect you differently than those of close-up, one-on-one lightsaber duels and killings? Why do you think that is? What makes more of an impact: violence or loss? Why? How does this movie handle both topics?

  • Who are the movie's heroes? How are they role models? Do they demonstrate character strengths such as courage and teamwork?

  • How is diversity -- and a lack thereof -- used to indicate the values of the opposing sides of the conflict in the Star Wars series? Why is it notable that the First Order has very little diversity, while the Republic has a lot of it?

  • Did you notice the strong female characters in the movie? How has the world of Star Wars changed in this respect since the original trilogy (or even the prequels)?

  • Talk about the themes from the previous movies that repeat themselves here. Why are issues of good vs. evil, mentorship, and so on so important to this series? How do they play out on-screen?

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