While the Star Wars movies were never big in China, the last two movies made decent money there, about average for action-blockbusters of their budget range. This entry on the other hand was eviscerated by both audiences and critics in China (and East Asia in general), earning less in its opening weekend than the previous ones, making only $28 million compared to The Force Awakens's $52 million. Chinese exhibitors decreased the film's showtimes by 92% on the second weekend, from a 34,5% share of the total screenings to 2,6%. The reviews from their popular aggregator Douban (China's own Rotten Tomatoes) were even less kind, with the most upvoted review calling it "a insult to intelligence". It was so disliked in China that subsequent Star Wars films released there are dropping "Star Wars" from their titles.
The film wasn't particularly successful in South Korea either; it never reached the number 1 spot and grossed the equivalent of about $8 million - one-third of what The Force Awakens made in the country.
Snoke, the Supreme Leader of the First Order, the man who turned Kylo Ren to the Dark Side and personally trained him as well as his elite bodyguards in combat, and an incredibly powerful Force user who can Mind Rape or electrocute people with a flick of his wrist. Despite all his power, he amounts to a Disc-One Final Boss and is killed in a sneak attack by Kylo Ren two thirds through the movie.
Captain Phasma gets into a brief fight with Finn that barely lasts thirty seconds. She's winning handily and knocks Finn down, but gets distracted for a few seconds to shoot at Rose when she tries to gun her down from behind, allowing Finn to get in a hit with his shock baton and wound her. This also knocks her onto a platform and then she unceremoniously falls to her death as Snoke's ship goes to pieces.
Anvilicious: The film's theme of failure and overcoming it is well-meaning but very heavy-handed in some parts. Special mention goes to the Yoda scene for more or less flat-out explaining what the theme is to Luke.
Award Snub: Despite receiving high critical acclaim and becoming the highest grossing movie of 2017, it failed to get nominated for the major awards at the Oscars. The fandom's backlash and subsequent rivalry with the nominees were spoofed in this video by How It Should Have Ended.
Awesome Ego: Poe Dameron isone hell of a pilot, and considering that he single-handedly disables the heavy weapons of a First Order dreadnaught in the very first scene of the movie, it's hard not to argue that his incredible arrogance is highly justified.
"Canto Bight" is a very jazzy theme.note In fact; John Williams can pull off flashy brassy Jazz as awesomely as wondrously bombastic symphonic orchestral masterpieces....one of his very first film scores was a fun Big Band Jazzy soundtrack for the fun, cheesy-but-rather watchable 1950s B-Movie, Daddy-O, which really could "swing". Rock Candy Baby!, indeedie!
Rose Tico is either a likable, well-developed heroine who sacrifices more than Finn or Rey or a bland and annoying character who serves little purpose beyond acting as a rival to Rey for Finn's affections. There are also fans who believe she's merely Pandering to the Base. Finally, her speech to Finn in the movie's finale is either insightful or pretentious.
Holdo. Fans are heavily divided on if her decision to not tell Poe her plan (or even that there is a plan) was justifiable or stupid to the point of undermining her intended character, and if her Signature Scene-worthy Heroic Sacrifice redeemed her or not.
DJ can either be seen as an interesting commentary on the morality of war, or an overly cartoonish character that was unnecessary to the plot.
Bellisario's Maxim: Rian Johnson was well aware that Luke's metal hand should not have disappeared with the rest of him, but it was clear this would have ruined the emotional impact of the scene.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Thala-siren milking scene. It's hilarious at best and disgusting at worst, but it still comes right the fuck out of nowhere and it's never brought up again afterwards.
Broken Base: To say that the movie has gathered strong reactions from different sides is putting things lightly. However, the most popular points of contention are...
Luke's characterization in the film. A neat twist on a character that builds on his established personality, or an utter betrayal of everything the original trilogy built upon him? One example that struck a lot of controversy was his brief impulse to kill young Kylo Ren. A chilling reminder that even Luke is not safe from the temptations of the Dark Side, or a move that was completely contradictory to his motivations from Return of the Jedi. Since there have been arguments on This Very Wiki about this, that is all we can say.
Snoke's unexpected death. A shocking twist that adds more complexity towards Kylo Ren's character and taking the story in a brand new direction, or a cheap way to end an incredibly underdeveloped villain.
The reveal of Rey's parents has divided some fans. Some people criticized it as an underwhelming reveal to a mystery the last movie had set up. Others support the idea of making Rey more relatable by having her be the daughter to ordinary people, and also think The Force Awakens had plenty of evidence to point to it.
Holdo's plan, Poe's reaction, and who was in the right. Those who side with Holdo point out that her plan was actually good, that because of her rank she had no obligation to tell Poe her plan, as Poe had proven himself to be reckless, and that her secrecy was to protect the resistance from spies. Those who side with Poe say that he only got started on his own plan out of desperation and what he saw as a commanding officer that had basically given up, that the Resistance is not a very formal military (as Leia slapping Poe would have led to her being court marshalled) and even if it were, they were on a desperate situation where survival was more important than rank, that Holdo had more personal reasons for holding back the information (because of her "Flyboy" comment), that while Poe might be reckless it is very different from being untrustworthy, that Holdo refusing to share the information shows a lack in leadership, and that the movie never suggested a leak or a spy for Holdo to be so aprehensive about her plan. A third camp says that it would have been more interesting had the movie used the conflict to explore the strenghts and weaknesses of different types of leadership, but the movie painting Holdo in the right kills the idea.
Luke Skywalker gloriously returning to battle, shrugging off a barrage of fire like it's nothing, and making a complete fool out of his evil nephew Kylo with the most impressive use of the Force in the entire franchise.
Character Rerailment: Much like Darth Vader in Rogue One, Yoda gets much of his original characterization restored after going through a personality overhaul in the prequel trilogy. Whereas Yoda in those films was noted for a frequently somber, serious tone, put predicates before subjects in his dialogue on a near-constant basis and tended not to express emotion strongly (at least when not physically fighting), The Last Jedi follows the template of Empire in making Yoda a much more optimistic and expressive figure while de-emphasizing his famous speech pattern.note However, Yoda arguably goes through another form of Flanderization in the way his kooky pre-Reveal persona is merged with his real persona, though it's possible Yoda is simply playing those traits up as a contrast to Luke's own despondency. (Also, he's a puppet again rather than CGI.)
Contested Sequel: The Last Jedi is one of the most controversial films in the Star Wars franchise. Supporters believe the film to be an Even Better Sequel to The Force Awakens, taking the strengths of that film and improving on it with a more original plot, better Character Development, and strong performances from the main cast. Detractors feel it's weighed down by pacing issues, forced humor, excessive trope subversion (subvert expectations as fans would call it), and poor handling of Finn and Poe's respective subplots. The direction of Luke Skywalker's character has also been extremely controversial, with some feeling Luke's actions in the film are out of character and the movie did a disservice to the original hero of Star Wars, while others believe the darker take is more interesting and fits well with the movie's theme of overcoming failure. Rian Johnson in fact cited this as an Intended Audience Reaction,note although he specified that the goal was not to outright divide or upset the fandom, and that the conversations (read: debates) in the fandom would have to happen for Star Wars to move forward as a franchise.
After this movie, some people have started jokingly shipping Snoke with Darth Maul, thanks to both of them being powerful Dark Side Force-wielders who get unexpectedly cut in half.
There are some who even ship Rose with DJ despite the fact that she canonically would find him creepy and weird at best or a monstrous "lying snake traitor" at worst. This is mostly due to him kindly giving her back her medallion rather than keeping it as payment.
If you thought DJ and Rose was a Crack Pairing, there are apparently a few people who ship Rose and General Hux. Their sole interaction in the film is Hux mocking her before ordering her execution, though the shippers also seem to focus on a Deleted Scene where Rose defiantly bites Hux's finger.
On the flip side of the heavy backlash the film got upon release, many feel that the film deserves nowhere near the amount of bile it receives in many internet circles, especially considering that it was a darling with critics in the first place. Part of this may have to do with the fact that unlike the prequels (whose criticism was largely based of more obvious flaws like dialogue, special effects, and acting) The Last Jedi's criticism is mostly based off more abstract flaws like the discrepancies with tone and continuity from The Force Awakens and whether certain characters would act in the way that they are shown in the movie.
Rose Tico has gotten quite a bit of this. Some very vocal parts of the fandom absolutely despise her, leading to a frequent meme (sometimes used in jest, sometimes not) that she is worse than Jar-Jar Binks himself. Due to this intense hatred of her, many who have seen the movie after reading these comments have stated that while she does have quite a few cheesy lines, she doesn't deserve the absolute hatred she gets from these circles, and certainly comes nowhere close to Jar-Jar.
Critical Dissonance: The film received near-unanimous praise from critics with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%, but fan reception has been very mixed. Most agree that the film is well-made, but take contention with a number of plot points as well as the handling of certain characters, particularly Luke and Snoke. While the film's IMDB user rating is at 7.3 and the movie has received a CinemaScore of A, its Rotten Tomatoes audience has consistently hovered around the halfway mark, eventually dipping below any of the prequels' audience rating.note Both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB have no measures in place to make sure people can't rate multiple times over multiple accounts, nor are there any to verify whether users actually saw the movie in the first place. The RT audience rating has been particularly controversial; some believe it to be a wave of initial backlash to the film defying expectations just like The Empire Strikes Back when first released,note Jeremy Jahns, for instance, refused to rate the movie in his review because he needed a second viewing to sort out his highly mixed feelings towards it,others havepointed torallies and bot spamming to sabotage the movie's user score due to Fandom Rivalry or political motivations,note although it's unclear whether such rallies had much of an effect at all, and/or whether trolls are simply taking credit for the movie's low rating, some believe that the score is more than a knee-jerk reaction and that The Last Jedi will be forever marked as one of the most polarizing Star Wars films, more akin to the prequels than TESBnote The Empire Strikes Back was said to have a mixed reception from audience and only got recognized as the high point of the series after Return of the Jedi came out, and general consensus is that all three options are true to some extent.note i.e. that the film is genuinely divisive but its Rotten Tomatoes audience score represents an exaggeration of this mindset thanks to trolls (although considering the fact that movies like Infinity War, Wonder Woman, and Black Panther all enjoy favorable audience scores, this may not be the case). For what it's worth, Disney's and Rian Johnson's official stances cite No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and consider the debate to be healthy for the franchise, and Rotten Tomatoes' exec Dana Benson claims that the score is at least genuine.
Designated Love Interest: Rose Tico can be seen as this to Finn. Their romance comes off as one-sided; Rose obviously has a crush on Finn, but his interactions towards her are mostly platonic and he's more focused on reuniting with Rey (whom some viewers thought he actually had romantic feelings for). Rose only knows Finn for a few days, tops, before she tells him she loves him and kisses him, and Finn's response to this appears to be confusion more than anything. The creators apparently realized this because the romance is completely dropped in The Rise of Skywalker (the Expanded Universe novel Star Wars: Resistance Reborn also mentions Finn and Rose decided they were Better as Friends).
Designated Monkey: Both Luke and Rey show very little concern about destroying structures in the Jedi Temple, despite the fact that the Lanai have devoted their lives to preserving those structures. The scenes just drip with What Measure Is a Non-Human? Not even Yoda seems to be bothered with this if he's so easily willing to burn down an ancient tree with a bolt of lightning.
Kylo gets even more of this, despite seemingly committing himself to the Dark Side fully after becoming the new Supreme Leader. His backstory involving Luke having a desire to kill him and certain interpretations of his Force bond with Rey don't help matters. Also not helping matters is the fact that, as with TFA, the adult novelization for TLJ once again portraying him as a much more sympathetic figure and the junior novelization, despite giving Kylo a degree of Adaptational Villainy, outright inferring that Ben Solo would be saved if Rey was able to defeat Kylo Ren.
Invoked in-universe by none other than Snoke. He created the Force bond between Rey and Kylo in the first place to get her to empathize with him, knowing this would lead her to come to him in an attempt to redeem him. From there, Snoke could corrupt her or, failing that, get Kylo to kill her as an ultimate show of loyalty. Unfortunately for the Supreme Leader, both young Force-users turn out to be stronger-willed than he expected, allowing Kylo to fatally turn the tables on his master.
DJ gets a bit of this, as well seeing that he's likely a genuinely Grey/Neutral character who's presented as neither evil nor good, is a Lovable Rogue with a novel vocabulary and a stutter, has a grungy-but-cool sense of style and is played by Benicio del Toro.
Ending Fatigue: There are four climatic fights stuffed between the second and third act of the movie—Kylo Ren defeating Snoke and then he and Rey fighting his guards and then each other, Finn dueling Phasma as Snoke's ship goes pear shaped due to Holdo hyperspace-ramming the Raddus into it, the First Order's assault on the old Rebel base on Crait where the last of the Resistance are hiding, and finally rounds it out with a duel between Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker. To say the least, it goes on and on, and it's a lot to take in.
The Praetorian Guard definitely became unexpectedly popular, specifically for the fact that they fight on equal terms, and almost manage to win against Kylo Ren and Rey, to the point where the two need to work together just to even survive the fight. This despite the fact that there is no indication that they have any connection to the Force whatsoever. Their incredibly cool weapons and fighting styles don't hurt either.
Rose's sister Paige, who many people are calling one of the best characters in the movie despite her death in a Heroic Sacrifice 10 minutes into the movie. And just like Tallie, she's also rather good-looking (her actress Veronica Ngo is also a model, after all).
The vulptices on Crait are almost universally beloved thanks to their beautiful, elegant designs and helping save the Resistance by leading them to the secret escape route.
DJ, who is popular even among people who didn't like the otherwise controversial Canto Bight plotline for Benicio del Toro's excellent performance and the element of moral ambiguity that he brings to the Star Wars cast. Many people loved his personality despite, or perhaps even because of selling the Resistance out to the First Order to save his own skin.
Captain Canady, commander of the Dreadnought, who gets a lot of attention for being a crusty old Imperial Navy veteran and his Surrounded by Idiots attitude compared to the usual clueless incompetence of his fresh-faced First Order officers.
Tallie, the A-wing pilot who participated in the Dreadnought attack but was killed when the hangar blew up, has drawn attention from people who wish redshirts didn't have to be so good-looking.
The Porgs became overnight sensations on the internet shortly after they were first officially unveiled.
A t-shirt design featuring Rey and a silhouette of a Vulptex (which at the time, was only seen in the Disney D23 preview video for the film and was believed to be a background creature) quickly raised suspicion regarding the importance of the so-called crystal foxes. When asked on Twitter for the name of the fox species after the release of the second trailer, Hidalgo stated that it would be a spoiler for the movie.
When Benicio Del Toro was cast, fans quickly began to theorize that he would play an adult Ezra Bridger, either as a Knight of Ren or returning to his thieving ways (and has since been largely relegated to the latter after DJ was confirmed to be a criminal rather than a Knight of Ren). Despite Word of God jossing it on multiple occasions, there are still fans that think Ezra is DJ and insist so. There were also people guessing that Benicio del Toro would appear as Admiral Thrawn.
In RedLetterMedia's review, they discuss a (supposedly) legitimate fan theory that Snoke was an elderly woman with a similar golden vest and facial features seen in the prequel trilogynote Namely, Jocasta Nu, the Jedi Archives librarian featured briefly in Attack of the Clones.
The film can be considered a meta commentary on the cyclical nature of Star Wars conflicts, canon and in Legends; a really powerful person showed up and fell to the dark side, so now an equally powerful person emerges on the light side. Kylo wanted to say "let's just stop this, it's not going anywhere, we can do something new", but he's refused by Rey and the franchise itself.
Kylo Ren is back and more powerful than in The Force Awakens, dresses more neatly and perpetrates a coup that leaves him as Supreme Leader of the First Order and free to terrorize his troops with his impulsive nature, poor decisions and desire to destroy the established order, cranking up his Love to Hate factor and evoking numerous Game of Thrones villains. This is the film that established Ren as one of the saga's most complex and interesting villains, and many reviews praised him as a high point of the movie.
Snoke gets to show a lot more personality in this film than the previous one, throwing Rey, Hux, and Ren alike around like toys with the Force without even lifting a finger. Andy Serkis' scenery-chewing performance makes him both genuinely intimidating and delightfully vile, which is part of what makes it so genuinely shocking and satisfying when Ren murders him two-thirds of the way through.
DJ... while not technically evil... would also apply. That grungy Lovable Rogue space-hacker certainly has a certain sex-appeal and a number of horny fans as well (It helps that he's played by Benicio del Toro).
General Hux is even seen as sexy with his lean build, long legs, sharp black uniform and being played by ginger-haired, Pretty Boy actor, Domhnall Gleeson.
An unusual one popped up between fans of The Last Jedi and fans of Wonder Woman (2017) and Black Panther (2018). When some defenders of The Last Jedi branded the film's haters as racists or misogynists, some of the film's detractors have fired back by simultaneously praising Black Panther and Wonder Woman. Furthermore, while the two superhero movies have similar critical reception to TLJ, both have better audience reception. Furthermore, both films didn't experience the racist/misogynistic backlash that The Last Jedi did despite of having even more overt socially progressive themesnote Wonder Woman is directed by woman, and has a female protagonist from an island inhabited by only women. Likewise, Black Panther is directed by a black man and has a black protagonist from a technologically advanced African nation.. Black Panther in particular managed to handily outgrossed the The Last Jedi and on a smaller budget with a more obscure source material to boot. This in turn has lead some fandom wars over which film is better at both entertaining audiences and promoting a progressive narrative.
One between Marvel Fans and The Last Jedi fans have also propped out in regards to debates about formula and audience-pleasing with Marvel fans claiming that if The Last Jedi had been an audience-pleasing movie (Tons of action, adventure and giving audiences what they want), there wouldn't have been such a large backlash against it while The Last Jedi fans claim that Marvel movies play it too safe and have made audiences very hostile to deconstructions and genre-critiquing in blockbusters today due to they giving what audiences want out of their action blockbusters.
Fanon Discontinuity: As of December 19th 2017, there was an actual online petition to declare the movie official non-canon. A few thousand people have signed the petition, though some to mock the idea. The creator of the original petition has come out and said that it was a bad idea.. Even to this day, the movie still is a point of contention among fans, and Rian Johnson's constant statements that he intentionally wanted to cause divisive reactions (and, in a somewhat worse light, the rather blunt Twitter responses to some fans' critique of the movie) all keep adding to the fire that will probably not be extinguished for a long period to come.
The stable boy at the end of the film opened many storyline possibilities for future Star Wars installments.
The Reveal of Rey and Kylo's Force Bond has lead to many fics exploring just how much the Bond can do and if it is possible for them to do more physically than just touch hands.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Reylo (the pairing of Rey and Kylo) was already popular after the first film, but after this one's release, its fan following has become even stronger. Despite Kylo seemingly committing himself to the dark side fully and Rey rejecting the offer to join him, the amount of Ship Tease and UST in their interactions and the potential drama for their relationship in the future really won people over. Reviewers often praise them as one of the film's highlights, with one even comparing their interactions to Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester and (probably jokingly) stating that if they didn't end up together by the end of Episode IX, he was going to sue.
Fight Scene Failure: Rey and Kylo's battle with the Praetorian Guards includes numerous moments where the guards stand by and don't attack, or they seem to purposely miss attacks while Rey and Kylo do nothing to block or dodge. A particularly infamous moment◊ has one of the guards' weapons suddenly vanish behind Rey's back mid-shot and he appears to be catching her from falling. There's also a moment where Rey gets attacked by three of the guards, and somehow kicks all three way despite only kicking one of them physically. Again, there is a moment when one guard throws away his weapon before Kylo Ren runs him through. Another particularly awful moment is when another Praetorian Guard armed with an electro-bisento wrestles Kylo into a stranglehold with his weapon. The guard briefly lets the weapon go to adjust his grip, while Kylo is still holding on to the weapon as if he is being choked when he could have pulled it away from his neck at that moment. This gives the impression that Kylo is actually choking himself. As a result of all these issues, it ends up being a rather awkward scene to watch once a single one of these issues appear.
One of the major points of contention about The Last Jedi is that a heroic character - Luke Skywalker - is shown to be more morally complex than previously believed. Yet, only a year earlier, Rogue One also attempted to paint the heroic faction in a more morally gray light, and was more unanimously praised for doing so. However, Rogue One did so with a team of original characters, and told a story that was deliberately meant to fit right in to A New Hope, showing that the Grey-and-Gray Morality was only on a smaller scale and that the factions at large still fit into the series' classic mold of Black-and-White Morality. Meanwhile Luke is known for being one of the most idealistic and good-hearted heroes in the series, to the point that he was able to redeem Darth Vader by sticking to his values, which results in TLJ's transformation of Luke into a morally gray character coming across to some to be an insult to his characterization, even more so in that the movie revealed him to be partially responsible for the Resistance-First Order conflict because he considered killing his own pupil and nephew. While Luke nearly killed Vader in Episode 6 in a fit of rage - and only after much goading from the Emperor and Vader, with the final straw being the latter threatening to corrupt Leia and turn her to the Dark Side - he managed to stop himself and reaffirm himself as a idealistic character. In TLJ, Luke's attempting at killing Ben happens in a flashback without context to provide why he would do so other than word of mouth. One scene was meant to show Luke having a realistic reaction to a bad situation, then managing to defy Palpatine's plans, while the other exists as a Shocking Swerve in a moment the audicene isn't given enough context to understand.
The Evil Overlord existing as a Generic Doomsday Villain and dying with little character development or backstory was first done in Return of the Jedi, where Emperor Palpatine was just as one-note as Snoke—he only got fleshed out when the prequels and side-material came. Rian Johnson even acknowledged this, saying that in both cases, who Snoke and Palpatine were wasn't important to the story. However, Snoke is heavily criticized for this status, with many fans arguing that just because it worked for Palpatine doesn't mean it can be repeated again due to various factors such as the fact that Palpatine was the status quo and the Final Boss introduced before the Star Wars universe was fully established whereas Snoke shows up out of nowhere in an established SW universe with 40 years of stories behind its back. It also doesn't help that unlike Palpatine, Snoke was built up by the cast and crew as a major figure, where in the original trilogy, Palpatine was built up in the actual story. Thus, Luke standing up to Palpatine has a strong foundation since in story he knows he's the Big Bad, while Rey never learns about Snoke till right before her meeting, causing there to be no personal attachment whatsoever.
Rebels fans quickly took to the Vulptex species on Crait, in part because of being a cool and mystical-appearing canine species like the lothwolves, which had been revealed around the same time the foxes were seen in the second trailer.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: Although it's a tragic moment, the revelation about Rey's family selling her for drinking money also makes Rey's decision in The Force Awakens not to sell BB-8 for portions even more touching.
Given all the build-up and fan theories surrounding him prior to the film's release, at least a few fans doubt that this is the last we've seen of Snoke, despite his on-screen bisection at Kylo's hands. It helps that Darth Maulsurvived a similar bisection.
Likewise, many have doubts about the implied death of Captain Phasma. The character's last seen falling into a blazing inferno on a destroyed dreadnaught, but given the Never Found the Body nature of this death, many think she could return. It helps that Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill and her actress, Gwendoline Christie, have all remarked (or joked) on how the character might've survived.
Let's be honest, does anyone think that Luke is not going to come back as a Force Ghost in the next movie?
Ho Yay: Fans were quite enthusiastic about Poe giving his jacket to Finn in the previous film. The Last Jedi tops that by having them share an entire outfit.
Idiot Plot: The entire space chase from start to finish. The First Order could have ended the whole movie right at the start had their Dreadnought fired on Raddus and her consorts first, rather than wasting time bombarding the already mostly-evacuated base. Knock out their fleet, and what's left of the Resistance isn't going anywhere, no matter what defenses they have on the planet. Examined in this video.
Informed Wrongness: After Holdo's true plans come to light, Leia admonishes Poe for trying to act like a hero, saying that Holdo was doing the truly heroic thing through deceiving those under her and generally failing to act like a leader. However, Poe had no way of knowing better, since he was kept in the dark despite pleading to Holdo to at least tell the crew she had something of a plan to keep their morale up. Within the context of what is shown, Poe acted within what seemed reasonably, and yet is treated as wrong.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: For all the talk about the movie's "freshness" and subverting some expectations, such as by employing The Unreveal, some feel that the movie's relationship with The Empire Strikes Back ends up being pretty similar to that of the The Force Awakens with A New Hope, essentially a soft remake. The movie hits all of the major plot points The Empire Strikes Back did: Stern Chase, a group of the main characters going to a different planet where they find a charismatic rogue who ultimately betrays them, Jedi training (where the trainee goes to a place filled with The Dark Side to confront themselves), the reveal of the protagonist's parents by the Darth Vader CloneBig Bad done in a way meant to be deliberately shocking,note in the case of TLJ, deliberately averting the expected Luke, I Am Your Father, a cliffhanger ending where the heroes are in a weak situation but still have hope, etc. Additionally, TESB was a major Wham Episode back in the day that employed many Shocking Swerves; TLJ does the exact same thing, only by subverting a different set of expectations based on the standards set by TESB and the other movies in the saga. This hasn't gone unnoticed by critics, and some fans.
Jerkass Woobie: Kylo Ren's first scene on screen has him being admonished, electrocuted, and taunted by Snoke, while he can only protest that he's given everything he has to him. It's later discovered that one of the major factors driving him to the dark side was waking up to find his mentor and uncle apparently trying to murder him in his sleep. He also loses his mother, who he thinks died, and Rey, the only other person he cares about, when he makes a power grab and she rejects his offer of ruling with him. By the end of the film, he's completely alone at the head of a First Order that neither likes nor respects him, and even he seems unhappy about it. And this is all while he's still recovering from the events of The Force Awakens, which were none too kind to him either. Quite a fair amount of his pain is brought unto himself, and he remains as dangerous as ever, but it's hard not to feel for him.
Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: The leaders of the First Order want to conquer the galaxy to restore the oppressive Galactic Empire of old, but Admiral Holdo is more hated than any of them for... being an uncharismatic leader and rude towards Poe.
Les Yay: Quite a few fans detected sparks between Leia and Holdo in their single scene together, where they come close to giggling at trying to figure out who's going to say "May the Force be with you" to the other. Holdo was actually implied to be bisexual in a tie-in novel, though Laura Dern wasn't aware of this during filming.
Love to Hate: Just like in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is a terrifying but endearing buffoon, but this is cranked up even further because his successful coup against Snoke and takeover of the First Order just for the sake of power shows how his short-sighted avarice can make him truly despicable.
Snoke's Praetorian Guard. They're the last person you'd think would make for an epic fight scene, yet their battle with Rey and Kylo is cited as one of the high-points of the film.
The stable boy at the end, just thanks to the simple act of pulling up a broom with the Force. Fan interpretations range from him using the broom as his own weapon to being the new Chosen One.
The Z-6 riot control baton already had this reputation as the weapon of the legendary Nines from the previous movie, but the weapon itself has become iconic thanks to Finn using it to easily defeat Captain Phasma.
In contrast to his Memetic Loser status from The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is now considered this; partially due to being much more heavily fleshed out in the film, but mainly thanks to the "Ben Swolo" meme, which portrays him as a ridiculously strong and buff character who is the strongest thing in the whole galaxy and can do practically anything.
Captain Canady, given the fact that he is a survivor from the days of the Empire, portrayed as the Only Sane Man of the First Order's personnel, and his general One-Scene Wonder status. In memes, he is usually paired with Hux as the Memetic Loser to his Badass.
Memetic Loser: Kylo Ren already had this status thanks to The Force Awakens but his less-than-perfect head start as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order and his failure to best Luke (or rather, his astral projection) in a one-on-one duel and destroy the rest of the Resistance only cements his status as this even further for fans who remained unconvinced by his newfound Took a Level in Badass.
Memetic Molester: Supreme Leader Snoke rapidly achieved this status on tumblr within days of the film's release, with many people finding his emotional manipulation of Kylo to be akin to child-grooming and/or gaslighting. And then there's the scene where he Force-pulls Rey within inches of his face and compliments her on her "spunk." And there's the fact that in the aforementioned scene with Rey, he meets her and Kylo while apparently wearing a dressing gown. The novelization has a scene where he strokes Kylo's face while reprimanding him, only exacerbating the creepiness. The creators confirming they based his design off Hugh Hefner is the cherry on top.
Memetic Psychopath: BB-8's more... aggressive actions in this film have lead to jokes that it secretly loves murder. The novelization even nods to this, with Rose noting that it's picked up a worrying taste for larceny and assault.
Some fans take Kylo's idea of "Letting the past die" and Luke's statements that the Jedi were failures at face value, going as far as calling Rey a villain who refuses to let go of the old ways , forgetting that the first statement was said by the films villain, and that Luke realizes the error of his statement, going so far as to say that "[He] will not be the last jedi", suggesting the Jedi grow stronger from their mistakes rather than stopping to exist alltogether. Part of the problem can be blamed on the film spending most of its runtime calling the Jedi failures and only the last few minutes refuting it.
Some have also assumed Kylo Ren's words are the real message of the movie, not realizing that Kylo Ren's own desire to kill the past means that he is in more defined by his past than anybody else in the movie.
Kylo telling Rey that "[she's] nobody, [she's] nothing, but not to me" is taken as romantic, ignoring that this is a Backhanded Compliment (calling a loved one worthless to their face is not very... loving) and that this is gaslighting — he's making her believe that no one else cares about her and that he's the only one who knows what she wants, when we and Rey know that she has people who care about her in Finn, Leia, Han, BB-8, and so on.
Misaimed Marketing: Kylo Ren's mask got just as much play in the merchandise for this film as in the previous one. Cue, very early on in the film, Snoke mocking him for wearing it, and him smashing it to a mass of twisted metal and never wearing it again.
Finn and Rose getting arrested for a parking violation of all things at Canto Bight. While this does ruin their plans of getting in contact with the actual codebreaker, it's hard not to get reminded of Spaceballs when guards attempt to arrest the main characters for illegal parking (which is meant to be intentionally funny).
At one point in the throne room fight scene, Kylo fights with a Praetorian Guard armed with an Electro-bisento. The guard uses his weapon to get Kylo into a stranglehold, and Kylo tries to pull the weapon away. However, the guard briefly lets the weapon go to adjust his grip, but even then Kylo is still holding on to the weapon as if he were being choked when he could have pulled it away from his neck. This gives the impression that that Kylo is actually choking himself.
Rose kissing Finn after she saves his life. It would have been a heartwarming moment.....if not for the fact that the Resistance Base gets breached at that exact moment, causing a background explosion. Not helping matters at all was the fact that Finn was going to sacrifice himself to destroy the cannon.
The rather infamous scene where Leia uses The Force to pull herself back into the ship. Her pose ends up making her less like she's saving herself and more like she's attempting to mimic a Superman pose. Not helping matters at all were people drawing comparisons and referencing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And to add insult to injury, the CGI quality takes a nosedive during the sequence, making her like a lifeless corpse that's floating towards the airlock for no reason.
The subtext between Rey and Snoke is incredibly creepy. It was Snoke who linked her mind with Kylo's. When she first meets him he drags her over to him with the Force, puts his hand on her face, and compliments her "spunk" in a rather creepy way.
Fans have already noted that Snoke's corruption of a young Ben Solo makes him come off as a child predator, but the scene in the novelization where Snoke strokes his face makes it way worse.
A controversial reaction to Rey and Kylos interactions is to be disgusted at what it perceived as a weakly written and sexiest abusive relationship... in kart because hes already done most of the stuff Snoke did to to her.
Leia's ability to survive and move in space back to her ship is not unheard of, considering Kanan Jarrus managed to get himself back inside a ship after being spaced by Darth Maul in "The Holocrons of Fate" episode of Season Three of Star Wars Rebels, which aired 14 months prior to the film's release.
Before this movie, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords had already taken a stab at doing an Internal Deconstruction of the Star Wars universe, to the point that several themes in the film echo that game, such as Luke's desire to end the Jedi mirroring Kreia's desire to destroy the Force itself. It was also similarly divisive among fans.
Luke's castigation of Rey for thinking the Force is just the power source for the Jedi, rather than something more mystical and concurrent with life itself, is reminiscent of a complaint raised by Timothy Zahn about other authors in Star Wars Legends while developing Hand of Thrawn. This prompted Zahn to write in those books regarding Luke's restored Jedi Order that overly flashy use of Force powers actually inhibits your higher perceptions of the Force.
An Asian actress cast as a major character was actually first done twenty years earlier in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II with Angela Harry portraying Jan Ors.
Several people have expressed wonder at the sheer amount of hate the film has received, and continues to receive to this day. However, people are still complaining about the prequels even after nearly two decades.
Force ghosts being able to affect the living world. Way back in Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wans ghost is clearly shown moving tree branches when he walks past them.
Even Kylo Ren killing Snoke so early can actually be traced back to his Legends counterpart, Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus to a degree; Lumiya, the Sith Lady who led Jacen down the path of the dark side, was killed (admittedly not by Jacen, but by Luke) well before the climax of his story.
Rose Tico talking about fighting the Order with love... considering the fact that it is now led by Dark Force-wielder Ben Solo, the fact that positive thoughts (including, yes, love) are a way to literally fight the Dark Side has appeared on multiple Legends stories.
In a meta sense, people condemning this film because Mark Hamill expressed dissatisfaction with the creator's intent is interesting because nobody seemed to care about his opinion when he complained about Luke slicing the wampa's arm off in The Empire Strikes Back, citing that he felt it was out-of-character. Hamill has also gone back on the way he expressed some of his statments about this film, but has never agreed with the wampa-hurting.
Maz Kanata only has a brief cameo, but it's both funny and badass when she trades zingers with Finn and Poe while in the middle of combat over a "union dispute".
Yoda, who appears as a Force Ghost to Luke.
Snoke's elite bodyguards for their fight against Rey and Kylo Ren.
Paige Tico, Rose's Determinator sister, who gives everything including her life in order to complete Poe's plan to destroy the Dreadnought.
FN-926, a regular First Order stormtrooper who appears in a deleted scene played by Tom Hardy, during which he recognizes Finn from their days in training (but doesnt know that Finn has deserted the First Order) and, seeing Finn in an imperial navy officers uniform, just naturally assumes that Finn had been promoted, and drops his stoic demeanor to sincerely congratulate Finn and give him a friendly, bro-like pat on the butt. All with a very heavy southern drawl. People are already referring to him as the coolest stormtrooper ever.
Padding: One of the most common criticisms of the film is that the subplot involving Finn and Rose ultimately felt unnecessary and only served to drag out the pacing, with nothing coming of it and it even working against the other plan the Resistance had, which would have worked if it hadn't been for them going off to get the hacker. The fact that Return of the Jedi got through roughly the same plot point in a sentence ("Many Bothans died giving us this information") isn't exactly a point in its favor either.
The Producer Thinks of Everything: Everyone focuses on Snoke getting cut in half and all, but his posture means his left hand (resting on the arm of his throne) should have been severed at about the wrist. Sure enough, when Hux walks in and Snoke's legs finally topple to join his torso on the floor, you can see his left hand still sitting there.
Some Rose haters like to paint her as an abusive bitch to Finn, based on the scene where she tazes him. What those people forget (or ignore) is that Rose was doing her job, which had been to catch deserters, and that Finn was attempting exactly that. Then again, Finn wasn't technically a member of the Resistance at that point, and he was leaving to find Rey.
There are also those who see a small, subtle version of this occurring to Finn at the beginning of the story, not in-coincidentally when Rose makes her first appearance. The entire construction of the scene so that Finn is in the wrong for trying to leave to get Rey, and apparently has no opinion or will to help the Resistance and Galaxy, can feel like a flimsy attempt to portray his caring for Rey as wrong, arguably by ignoring key moments form the previous film that showed him having larger motivations than just Rey.
Luke showed fear due to Kylo's darkness which caused a moment of weakness, but managed to stop in time, that did not prevent the fandom from truly believing that he was going to kill his nephew by cold hand.
The epic battle in the throne room is fondly remembered by fans who are used to the prequel trilogy's intense lightsaber duels, as the scene consists of a very dragged out and visceral confrontation between experienced warriors with impressive visual backdrops.
Holdo's Heroic Sacrifice via lightspeed that slices Snoke's ship into pieces easily trumps all other scenes in the space battle department, given the perfectly applied silence and sheer magnitude of destruction rivaled only by Death Stars blowing up. There's a reason fans have taken to calling Holdo as "Holdo My Beer" due to one upping crazy feats accomplished in the franchise.
Rey is frequently shown gripping her lightsaber by its blade.
During the throne room fight, one of Snoke's Praetorian Guards wields two knives. One of the knives is digitally erased at a certain point in the scene when this Guard grabs Rey. The Guard makes a drawing motion across her stomach with his empty hand, Rey reacts as if she has been cut, but the knife is nowhere to be seen, except for an outline that couldn't quite be completely erased.
The CGI when Leia force-pulls herself back into the ship takes a massive nosedive in quality, making her look more like a lifeless corpse rather than a person on the edge of death.
In another example from the throne room scene, one of the guards is decapitated by Kylo Ren. However, a couple shots later, the guard's corpse can be briefly, but clearly, seen with his head still attached to his body.
Spiritual Adaptation: Thematically, it's an adaptation of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, both being subversive Internal Deconstructions of the Star Wars franchise starring a woman (well, canonically starring a woman in KOTOR II's case) that, because of said case of Deconstruction, ended up extremely divisive as far as fan reaction goes. Part of the plot of both involve a member of the main cast's desire to put an end to something related to the Jedi (whether it be Kreia wanting to destroy the Force, or Luke wanting to leave the Jedi Order as a thing of the past).
Spoiled by the Format: A very tragic case of it, as Carrie Fisher's untimely death caused Disney to announce Leia was planned to have a large role in the ninth film which had to be completely redone. Thus, there's no way Kylo is actually going to kill her like the trailer implies. This was later confirmed in an interview with Daisy Ridley, who described the emotion of filming a scene between Rey and Leia towards the very end of the film.
Squick: Admiral Holdo cupping Poe's cheek while he's unconscious made many fans uncomfortable due to their age gap, her status as his superior officer, their constant antagonism, and the sheer inappropriateness of the gesture.
A common complaint about the Finn and Rose arc is this, since towards the end of the Battle on Crait, Rose kisses Finn and expresses her love for him. Rose knows Finn for only at most one day, and has never interacted with him before this movie. While Rose developing feelings for Finn isn't really bad in of itself, since she clearly sees him as a hero, the fact that she falls for him that quickly feels like it was shoehorned in for no other reason than the writers needing a romantic twist. The fact the following movie did nothing with it makes it feel like it had no reason to belong in the film either.
A somewhat similar case occurs with Rey and Kylo, in contrast to their status as a Fan-Preferred Couple elsewhere. Rey is a victim of Kylos crimes several times over from the previous film, as are her friends, and critics often see the story as railroading her into caring for Kylo for very little reason, and often at her expense as a character. The fact the following movie effectively canonized the literal meaning of this trope with the Dyad explanation feels like a de facto recognition the relationship was never going to make sense to some people.
This case is most definitely invoked because it worked out so well in the film's favor and foreshadowed the plot twist as well. Luke's younger, black bearded face looked particularly unsettling. This served to highlight the Unreliable Narrator nature of the flashback to Luke and Ben's fallout: Ben saw Luke as a monster when Luke showed only fear. The second time it is used to foreshadow the twist that Luke used Force Vision to fight Kylo.
The fathiers have uncomfortably humanoid-looking faces, which look particularly out of place on giant alien horse-dogs.
Unexpected Character: Very few people expected Yoda to pop in from the Force for a chat with Luke. Voiced by Frank Oz and puppeteered as a practical effect, no less!
Poe is meant to be seen as irrational for mutinying against Admiral Holdo. However, she deliberately kept him Locked Out of the Loop even after he repeatedly asked her to clarify the situation, giving him every reason to think that his actions were averting disaster or that Holdo was dooming them to die. This is further undermined by the actors' performances, as Holdo seems rather repellent and Poe comes off as the Only Sane Man who, while impulsive, is well-meaning and concerned for the lives of his men. The fact Poe actually ends up agreeing with Holdo and Leia's plans when he learns it didn't help either, since it means Poe would have been all for it had Holdo just been more upfront with him.
While it may overlap with Draco in Leather Pants, there are some who view Kylo Ren this way because they think his idea of letting the past and all old things die, including the franchise's traditional Black-and-White Morality, and start a new order in the galaxy that can prevent the same problems from constantly happening is the correct one, and that Rey refusing to join him is holding back progress that needs to happen. Basically, he's seen as the Doomed Moral Victor of the story.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Vice Admiral Holdo was clearly meant to be seen as a heroic character who audiences were supposed to root for putting Poe in his place and teaching him to be more careful as a leader. However, many felt the film made her out to be unlikable because she wasn't very open about her plan. The reveal of her plan, and that Leia supported it, doesn't help much since it reveals that Poe would have gone along with it had she only trusted him, and her Heroic Sacrifice feels somewhat hollow as she only had to make it because she failed to either win Poe's trust or to keep him in line. Indeed, a lot of the detractors of the movie say that the mutiny subplot comes out of the left field, especially considering the animosity between Holdo and Poe.
Yoda's brief appearance uses an actual puppet instead of a CG model, and it looks and moves identical to the puppets of the original trilogy.note As it should, since the puppet was made from the original molds and performed by Frank Oz. This truly stands out in a movie loaded with CG spaceships.
The aftermath of Holdo ramming Snoke's flagship at lightspeed. The impact doesn't just destroy the flagship, it cuts through the First Order fleet in a brilliant blue blaze, and every other source of illumination in the surrounding space (stars, planets, etc.) cannot be seen as the First Order fleet is destroyed.
The thala-siren that Luke milks was completely achieved with puppetry, and it looks so good that it not only seems like a real creature, but one achieved through CGI.
While in the first film, Snoke's hologram looked really fake, "physical", "onscreen" Snoke is convincing, like Maz Kanata before him.
The Canto Bight scenes can be seen as political commentary on capitalism (particularly the global arms trade), slavery, and animal abuse. It had a mixed reception, though to a minor extent since not much was done with that subplot.
Many viewers of different political affiliations believe that, at times, The Last Jedi comes across as very Anvilicious in its political messages. Some have accused this quality of playing a part in the film's polarized reaction, both in terms of viewer agreement/disagreement and people wanting to see Star Wars as a fun, escapist action flick rather than a heavy-handed critique on society — the latter was also a major criticism of the prequels. Even worse, the political divide made it very difficult to tell which criticisms of the film were politically motivated and which were not, and made it more difficult for some people to pinpoint the film's genuine strengths and flaws.
Rey, fresh from losing her would-be father figure Han Solo, goes to find Luke Skywalker and learn the ways of the Force, only to be denied by the grizzled Jedi who did not live up to her expectation of a legendary hero. She somehow bonds with Kylo Ren, the murderer who killed his own father, yet ironically, the only person who understands her feelings. He reveals that Luke attempted to kill him, causing Rey to lose all respect for Luke and run away to try to redeem Ben Solo on her own. It turns out that Snoke was manipulating her all along and with him dead, Kylo disappoints her by refusing to redeem himself and tries to eliminate everything she loves. Kylo also forces her to admit that she's been living a Changeling Fantasy; there's no grand destiny for her, she's not a descendant of some great lineage, she's just a nobody whose parents sold her for some drinking money and died afterwards. By the end of the film, it's amazing she hasn't become even more of a Broken Bird or turned to the dark side after everything she's been through.
Poe loses several of his comrades in the process of destroying the Dreadnaught, and upon returning to base he gets smacked, berated and demoted by his surrogate mother figure (who almost dies). Then he meets Admiral Holdo, who disrespects him constantly and refuses to explain her seemingly harmful actions, despite holding the lives of his fellow soldiers in her hands. Once Poe decides hes had enough and stages a mutiny his plans are foiled by Leia shooting him. Moreover, this all happens mere days after being captured and tortured by the First Order, and suffering a near-death experience while escaping from them. He takes most of it in stride.
Rose loses her sister in war, gets sent on a dangerous mission (despite being a noncombatant) where she's arrested, betrayed, and handed over to the First Order. She also has the honor of seeing Finn, her hero, try to run away again and near the end she injures herself saving him.
Leia. The New Republic she spent decades building is in ruins and she's leading the Resistance in a losing war against the First Order. Every casualty under her command weighs heavily on her, while those who survive can't cooperate (Poe and Holdo) or inadvertently makes things worse (Finn and Rose). She recently lost her husband to their son - who she's given up on after he contemplates killing her - and doesnt have the time to grieve for him properly. Her allies in the Outer Rim never arrive and when her brother Luke returns, hes not even there physically, and he dies while buying the Resistance time to escape from the planet. Despite all this, she soldiers on.
Luke himself. Just try to listen to him getting choked up as he tells how he failed all of his students and not feel terrible for him.
Snoke's golden robe looks really weird on someone who's supposed to be as intimidating as The Emperor. Some even derogatorily call it a bathrobe. The official Black Series action figure only made this worse — and, having been released long before the movie, cemented the impression before the character could even appear on-screen. The idea was for him to be wearing an impractical and luxurious outtfit out of arrogance, but most thought it looked too silly.
Holdo's hair and dress go a long way towards undermining the image of her supposedly being a competent and professional military officer, particularly when compared to Leia's prim haircut and her rough-and-tough military-style coat. In contrast, Holdo's outfit looks both impratical and sloppy, and has been compared by many as making her look like a giraffe. Especially since so much had been made in the supplemental materials about the Republic government being run by pretentious politicians and the Resistance is depicted as dirt poor. This may have been the point, given Holdo's character arc over the course of the film. The Art of the Last Jedi reveals that Holdo was going to wear a military uniform in early sketches of the character.
During Kylo Ren's shirtless scene, roughly 1/3 of his chest is blocked by high-waisted pants. Apart from not suiting his overall appearance... the fangirls were not pleased.