- (Also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII–The Last Jedi)
- Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
- December 9, 2017 (Shrine Auditorium) / December 15, 2017 (US)
- Based on characters created by George Lucas
Rey seeks guidance in the ways of The Force from Luke Skywalker whom she also tries to convince to join the Resistance while princess-turned-general (she was always a military commander regardless of title) Leia attempts to lead what is left of the Resistance away from the First Order.
While The Force Awakens was a promising start, The Last Jedi was a very disappointing turn. This is to Star Wars what the three Star Trek reboot films are to that franchise. It ranks as the worst of the Star Wars series (I am counting the Ewok films) as it forgets it is Star Wars. Not that you cannot be different and still be Star Wars (see Rogue One), but this tries to be against Star Wars. Get comfy because it is going to be a long ride.
That opening bit between Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and General Hux (Domhall Gleason) was a rough and completely wrong way to start a Star Wars movie. I understand Rian Johnson’s desire to subvert expectations and let the audience know this would be different, that whole exchange was too jokey and only served to undermine the seriousness of the threat the Resistance was facing as they tried to evacuate.
Whitty repartee and joking comments during a fight are one thing but as a delay tactic in battle it honestly made the villain seem a lot less threatening. And when you make the villains less of a threat the audience loses investment in the narrative and the danger because if you can think the villains are incompetent then how do they pose an issue for the heroes?
And the exchange between Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Poe is the first iteration of something we would get in this film that made little sense in comparison to so much other Star Wars. Our heroes and villains are on the same side. The animosity among the Resistance is out of place with everything else. The good guys all get along. They send their heroes in to take chances and they pull off amazing things. Plus, why would they pass up a chance to take out a major threat to their ships?
I feel they were trying to be like Empire by being the downbeat middle chapter which is not a bad idea, but this lacks the hope that was present in that or any other film in this fictional universe. The good guys are good and there is hope that good will triumph even at the darkest moments. Victory of some type was present in the face of defeat.
I waited 40 years to see Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a Star Wars film again, and they turned the character into a bitter old man who abandoned the Jedi way and that tried to kill his nephew Ben Solo because of a bad dream. How that connects or where the change came with the man that went through great lengths to save his father because he saw a tiny fraction of good in him is not clear. Admittedly time has passed but there is no logic in the change in character. And that bit with him milking that creature was just weird and awkward. I wasn’t the only person in the theater that exclaimed “What the hell?!”
I understand the point of Rey (Daisy Ridley) going to Luke as it completed an important plot element of The Force Awakens but what was the point of her interactions with Luke? What did the character learn? How did the character grow? All Luke did was jerk Rey around and ultimately she was no different than when she started. It was a little more than fan service and poorly done fan service at that.
Rey is also framed as a significant nobody. Not an unimportant person that became important but rather a big goose egg in terms of everything. That seems to ignore the level of Force control and general Force power she has without having been schooled in the ways of the Jedi at all.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) became a more significant presence here than before as his actions were involved in so many elements of the movie. But he felt much more like an unthreatening brat than a dangerous presence. Part of what made Darth Vader such an effective villain was not only that you never saw his face, but he used violence sparingly. He was cold and thus threatening. It added a sense of mystery and menace to the character. It dehumanized him. Kylo Ren, by losing the mask here, lost that sense of danger and mystery. Not that he was that dangerous or mysterious to begin with. They portrayed him as a petulant, angry emo kid with daddy issues.
Previously The Force had limits. It made you powerful. You could jump higher or fight better or pilot better. There were mind tricks or even telekinesis, but not power like here. Leia’s display of power which helped her survive the vacuum of space basically said you could be a god. It felt a little too much superhero-ish.
How can you talk about The Last Jedi and not talk about Adm. Holdo (Laura Dern)? She was unnecessarily hostile and secretive, and her big plan was to slowly run until they got close to an old base where the survivors could all be penned in to be slaughtered since there was no back door. Yet Johnson goes through great pains to paint her as the one that should have been listened to rather than being wrong.
Previously the leaders in Star Wars here would address the concerns and at least be comforting. Not Holdo. She wasn’t some strong character. She was just a jerk. And her plan of action just gets the remaining Resistance forces wiped out in a slow and terrifying. At least if you were a Resistance member.
Snoke (Andy Serkis) for his part is more interesting here than he was in The Force Awakens. He was much more of a threat than a distant boss. Unfortunately, they killed him off in the midpoint of the movie. All the potential wasted.
And then there is the worst character to be introduced since Jar Jar Binks. And he at least had the excuse of being introduced as comic relief. Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) was introduced as a serious character to make commentary on this, that, and the other thing. Yet she was grating and obnoxious in everything she said and did. And she had some insipid dialogue.
“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.” Really? How simplistic is that? And what is with stopping Finn from destroying a weapon which is about to kill everybody? She stopped Finn from saving what he loved. And the romance between them was far more simplistic than anything previously portrayed in Star Wars.
Discussion of the Canto Bight seems to be making the rounds on social media lately. There is this sentiment going that audience didn’t understand it. The thing is the audience DID understand it. The point is obvious that it’s about war profiteering and the rich get richer no matter what. Point is this was a significantly poorly done film and the scene itself was poorly executed. It was a shallow and superficial commentary
What was the point of releasing all those animals for the slaves to clean up? All they did was cause a great deal of damage that a lot of slavery would have to pick up and may even suffer consequences for depending on their master. And don’t get me started on that whole code breaker. Ugh! If they were going to introduce a legacy character here Canto Bight would’ve been a perfect spot to bring back Lando Calrissian. Not that he was a codebreaker, but the gambling element of the environment made his reappearance perfect.
I guess the overall point of The Last Jedi was to leave the past behind or destroy the past? Take your pick. Either one makes so much of what they have done in the preceding movies rather pointless. And that includes the Jedi in general.
What should’ve been the climax and quite possibly the most epic lightsaber battle in Star Wars history turned out to be a super powered teleconference. Luke claims he had come to the planet where the Resistance survivors are to face Kylo Ren but Luke is not even actually there. Luke projected himself over lightyears to Kylo Ren rather than actually go there and confront him.
Fans definitely would have loved that battle. It would’ve made so much more sense and been so much more logical and meaningful than what they did. I certainly didn’t expect him to beat Kylo Ren as there was one more movie coming. Heck if he had died in the conflict I would’ve been okay with that. Maybe a little upset but there’s always the Force ghost thing. But he didn’t do anything.
“But the walker blasters” you might say. Luke is supposed to be a very powerful Jedi and it would not have been out of the realm of possibility for him to have used The Force to protect against the blasts. Earlier in the film Leia flew through space and came out fine.
And that doesn’t even explain why Luke had to fade away on the planet he had spent the previous few years on. What killed him? Old age? Or did he commit suicide? And why did he commit suicide if that was the case? The theme might be to let the past die, but does that mean he should die? So many questions in a poorly constructed film. Rian Johnson tried to make it a non-Star Wars Star Wars movie. He tried so hard to subvert expectations, and he created a movie that didn’t fit at all.
What the movie gets right is exciting battles and stunning visuals. It makes locations on planet Earth feel very alien. You are truly taken to other worlds and see things beyond human capabilities. There is great action and stunning visuals. But Star Wars is not just cool looking stuff. And that secondary sliver done right does not make everything better.
What makes Star Wars: The Last Jedi worth watching is that it is Star Wars. Meaning this is something that you have to watch if you’re a fan of Star Wars just so you can understand other things that are going on with the Star Wars universe. But if it’s your plan to introduce people to the Star Wars universe this is not something I would recommend. Ultimately go for it just because it is Star Wars and for no other reason.
2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Horrible fucking turd of a movie. Total disrespect of the franchise and its fans. The sheer hubris of that clown Rian Johnson and Disney beggars belief. Not so much ‘destroying the past’ as they claim, as it is actually destroying the franchise. After the prequels, I thought I wouldn’t have much sympathy for George Lucas but bloody hell, he did all that work creating that universe and look what Disney did to it.
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