Star Wars is Shakespearean Comedy

It may be deemed anachronistic to compare the works of the 16th century Bard to a Space saga based in a galaxy far, far away, in a world where travelling at light speed is like picking grocery. And yet, the ingredients of a Shakespearean comedy are deeply entrenched in how Star Wars treats it’s titular characters and their stories. Characters in a Shakespearean comedy are often disguised in various aspects, keeping the audience wracking their brains about their origins and motives until a cathartic revelation. Keeping true to this attribute, The Force Awakens introduces us to characters like Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, whose wannabe Darth Vader disguise kept us from guessing his true origins until the revelation that Ren was none other than Ben Solo, the love-child of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, was introduced as another wildcard character whose infant Jedi powers were never attributed to her humble origins on the planet Jakku where she was seemingly abandoned by her parents. Finn, played by John Boyega, hides behind the guise of a storm-trooper but his loyalties, as we come to know, lie with the Resistance who are fighting with the First Order trying to restore peace in the universe.

Shakespeare’s brand of Comedy is also replete with unions and reunions amongst characters. The union and revelation of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history already. Throughout the prequels, however misaligned they may be, we watch Anakin Skywalker and Padme unite many times and every time, Anakin had moved a bit closer to the dark side. Their unions were also their journey of detachment as Anakin painfully evolves into Vader. Talking of iconic scenes, The Force Awakens gave us one of the best unions in the franchise through the closing scene where Rey finds herself on an isolated island facing a hooded figure. As the figure turns around to reveal himself to the audience, we are also reunited with one of our most beloved characters – Luke, played by the one and only Mark Hamill.

Also read: Our review of The Force Awakens

The Last Jedi opens into a world thick with war as we watch a ginger-headed (Weasley) First Order General called Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson, in a strabge situation as his battalion of ships is faced by a single light aircraft of the Resistance. Manned by the happy-go-lucky rebel Poe Dameron who keeps addressing him as “General Hugs”, the Light aircraft almost single handedly brings down a ship-destroyer Dreadnought. As the Resistance, led by Leia, celebrates their victory in the small battle, they are unaware that this was a ploy for the Order to track them to their Rebel base. Supreme Leader Snoke directs Kylo Ren to prepare their armies for the last assault they would ever need to wipe out the Resistance once and for all.

Meanwhile on the rain-lashed island in the middle of nowhere, Rey fights to convince Luke Skywalker to join the Resistance and help them defeat Snoke. But it’s easier said than done as Luke doesn’t believe in the Jedi religion anymore. The angst he has harboured, after Kylo Ren went over to the dark side, is too overpowering for him to ever train another Jedi again. However, Rey tells him about the power she feels surging inside her and that she needed help. Her plea probably reminds him of the time when he was very young and Yoda had taken him under his wing. One of the scenes where Luke asks Rey to close her eyes and reach out to the force, is heartwarming and reminds you of the fact that despite being a space saga, Star Wars is grounded to its characters. Having said that, Rey’s origin still remains elusive. There are moments when you almost believe that Rey and Kylo Ren are related somehow but I guess we would have to wait for the next Episode to get closer to the truth. For now, Rey would remain the last of the Jedis.

True to Shakespearean comedies, The Last Jedi is strewn with dichotomies. The internal turmoil of Luke Skywalker whether to train yet another Jedi makes him question what is right and what is wrong, and yet he decides to go ahead against his instincts. Rey, who has shown to be a pure-of-heart character also struggles with her internal demons, a strange tug at her inner force, which calls her to the dark side. Kylo Ren is essentially a destroyer but his motive at the end is to bring a new World Order, a proponent of order ab chao.

You cannot talk about Star Wars without mentioning Leia. From being every science nerd’s very first crush since 1977 when the franchise began until now, a leader, a fighter and a mother whose son has gone rogue, Leia’s character has been at the very centre of the story arcs. Director Rian Johnson gives a fitting tribute to the beloved Carrie Fisher through a mesmerising sequence where we get to see her Jedi powers discretely for very first time. After all these years !

Also read : The Tribute to Carrie Fisher

The Last Jedi is an unrelenting, fast-paced space drama with the most breathtaking space battles filmed yet. The tightly cut, continuous moving shots which transition seamlessly from one frame to another take you right into the middle of the action if you’re watching it in IMAX 3D. The sequences with the adorable Porgs and the free Farthiers are instant classics and would almost make you miss Jar Jar Binks.

Episode VIII is a refreshing watch. The screenplay is almost as if a fan has been asked to make a list of all things he/she wanted to watch and they have weaved a story around it. Ridley, as the ‘Rey of hope’, is indefatigable in her resolve and that emotion goes perfectly with her childlike personality and not in a demeaning way. Kylo Ren is way more complex than Vader who was more unidimensional, and Driver drives that balance beautifully. Oscar Isaac is fun to watch as he hoodwinks the Order at their own game with some of the funniest lines in the film. Andy Serkis is at his best as Snoke, menacing and bone-chilling as the Supreme Leader.

Also read: Everything you need to know about Episode IX

Episode IX is slated to release in 2019 and we can’t be more excited to see J J Abrams getting back into the driver seat for this one. Abrams has been a prolific writer, producer and director of some of the best shows and films in the recent past. Interestingly, he also directed the 2008 Star Trek film which was a huge success. Well, by the way things are going, the Trekkies and the Star Warboys might just unite in a future far, far away.

May the force live long and prosper !

gobblscore: 8/10


Disclaimer: The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of the film and series, and are not owned by us in any form whatsoever.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sivaramakrishnan says:

    Happy to see such an observation. I too watched this very keen but this perspective is giving a different feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. screengobblr says:

      Glad you liked it Siva ! Means a lot 🙂

      Like

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