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To start with a brief summary, this film allowed me to finally get past the disgrace that was The Force Awakens and convinced me with the improbable notion that there is life left in the franchise after all. And that comes after TFA, with its shameless mishmash of self-plagiarism and uninspired fanfic-esque new characters, had left me completely convinced of the opposite.
Let's be honest, The Last Jedi is not exactly the best of the best. Although it finally dares to leave the safe terrain of recycling the previous film rested at, it is still bloated, histrionic, argumentally indecisive and overloaded with shocking twists that look straight out of a quick "what do we do now"-themed brainstorming session. Its pacing is also incredibly tiring, as the whole second part of this over-two-hours film is an overextended final battle in itself, and some of the traditional Star Wars inconsistencies are there as well. It also contains rather narmy new additions to the cast ("Guys, we have already a woman, a black guy and a ho yay guy, do we have any other discriminated group left?" "Let's add a Chinese girl and a Hispanic guy" "Good, but not discriminated enough. We will make her chubby and him a stutterer") and imaginarium ("Guys, guys, why not turning Montecarlo into a planet?" "Lol, let's do it"), and finally, many characters seem to appear in the film solely to show the producers haven't forgotten them.
And yet, the film somehow works. It manages to create and subvert expectations both in character deaths and plot revelations, showcases real conflicts and personal depth even if they take outlandish directions, does not shy away from bringing new storylines instead of making a living off the past of the franchise, and avoids overusing characters to the point of the marysueness (or just plain annoyance) like TFA received not enough flak for. Its soundtrack and visuals stand out too: John Williams's score proves once again that he never lets down, and the scene of a certain character's kamikaze attack makes single-handedly the money worthy by being heartbreakingly beautiful. If all of this still fails at making the TLJ a truly solid Star Wars chapter, it surely turns it into an incredibly entertaining one.
I would have never believed I could say it, but I completely recommend it. Even if the film's outcome leaves us in the dark about the future the saga might take, it has been now proven that there is a true intention behind it (weird and questionable as it might be) and not just a shallow cashgrabbing exercise. And that, at least for me, is what makes legendary film franchises what they are.
Kelly Marie Tran is Vietnamese.
And seriously, having a diverse cast is narmy?
It's not exactly narmy because of her existence, it's just that she doesn't get developed enough as a character in the film. She exists solely to be Finn's partner who tags along with him in his mission so that he can have someone to talk to and provide some exposition about the gray morality of Star Wars universe, something that DJ has already easily covered.
Now, don't get me wrong. She's a fine addition to the diverse cast, I just wish that something more could be done with her than what we get in the film. She doesn't even have to be Finn's romantic interest (heck, that romance kinda comes out of nowhere by the end).
Trust me, if you think an Asian main character is the furthest reach of diversity Star Wars can do, hoo boy are there many more that the franchise hasn't even dipped a toe towards. (Gay characters, trans characters, genderqueer characters, disabled characters played by disabled actors, black women, Latina women, Jews, Desi and Middle Eastern women, any of the aforementioned queer demographics being also people of color...)
Also, regarding "a ho yay guy" and "Let's add a Hispanic guy in this movie", Oscar Isaac is Hispanic and he was already in TFA.
Heh, and the main leads are all human. Almost no alien except Chewie. I mean, I kinda wanted the main cast to have at least aliens as part of the main group (other that the Rebels show). Even Rogue One’s main group are all humans.
I want to see a Mirialan kicks asses, darn it...
That's also true. I did appreciate that TFA and Rogue One did, in small amounts, show more aliens in direct combat roles apart from sitting aboard a command ship.
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