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I loved The Last Jedi. It was the boldest Star Wars movie to date, taking great steps in making sure the franchise would change and grow with the times and to surprise fans while being much better-acted and -filmed than the prequels. Rey and Kylo, two characters who were a bit dodgy in TFA were a lot better here, with more character development and more unique motives. Not to mention the breathtaking special effects and action sequences, which may be the best in a Star Wars movie to date.
That said, the movie has been very controversial, and at first I was hit with a severe case of Critical Backlash: why would this fantastic movie, beloved by critics, be so utterly divisive among audiences that it's even more controversial than the prequels?
Then I came across this article, and upon reflection and reading the movie's YMMV page on this very wiki, it dawned upon me: The Last Jedi is unabashedly liberal. It's pro-feminism: it has four fantastic female leads in Rey, Leia, Rose and Holdo, and the latter's conflict with Poe is very symbolic of the feminism vs. toxic masculinity conflict (with Holdo coming out on top). Its overall message is to let go of the past to make way for new developments, and to give the weaker and poorer a chance at life. Canto Bight is an analogy for the wealthy "fat cats" and how they live in glitz and glamor but it's all corruption and abuse underneath.
Star Wars is an American franchise. As of the time of writing, America is being run by an administration much like the bigwigs at Canto Bight. Bigwigs who demean women and want to restore America to the racist, sexist, classist way it was in the past (like how the First Order wants to restore Palpatine's Empire). Bigwigs with a rabidly anti-establishment, white, male, young, angry cult following (like Kylo Ren).
As such, The Last Jedi is bound to ruffle a few feathers with its very clear side-taking on the political issues at the time; I have a feeling that it played a big role in why the Critical Dissonance is so pronounced, since specific criticisms like Luke's character normally wouldn't be enough to cause such a divide. But we need movies like The Last Jedi more than ever. We need to tell women and girls that they can do anything, even if the GOP wants them to take a backseat to men. We need to teach people to "let the past die". We need to teach people that the biggest and richest aren't necessarily the best. And what better way to do that than through the most-hyped movie of the year. The Trump administration is already trying to control things like the flow of information on the Internet, and if left unchecked, they'd happily work their magic on "liberal Hollywood" so that every blockbuster is an MRA-friendly testosterone-fest like Batman v. Superman or Bayformers.
First off, while I didn't quite like this movie... i also think 95% of the "criticism" by hardcore fans is nothing but whining. There ARE problems with this film, but almost none of those problems "ruined my childhood" and whatnot. In fact, I consider half that stuff to be the good parts.
So, on to the themes. This movie has a good theme it's supposed to teach: Failures are important, because you can learn from your failures. Except I guess they completely forgot about the second part. There are several plot threads, all of which end in failure. And nobody learns anything, everyone just pats each other on the back and say "we'll succeed in the end, we have hope!"
Poe almost learns his lesson I think, except he's too gosh darn likeable to suffer the consequences (his commanding officers even say this.)
Rose and Finn don't seem to learn any lesson at all. They have their own subplot, which is very reminiscent of the Prequel trilogy - in the bad way. Their failure is due to taking shortcuts and half-assing their own job, but we never see them learn their lesson (much less question themselves in the first place).
Oh, we also see Finn almost have a character arc, but he's forced to fail by Rose, and the reason is, well, completely pointless if they didn't just Hand Wave the problem away. Oh wait, it is still pointless and it's still a problem.
Most of the other problems the hardcore fans have? They mostly boil down to "character doesn't meet my expectations set up by the EU." Luke isn't EU luke? Force Power wasn't in the EU? Villain doesn't have 4 novels, games, and TV shows worth of backstory? Complain, complain, complain.
My major complaint with Rey in the TFA is still here though. She just perfects everything, first try. Mary Sue is still Mary Sue. Mock lightsaber battle, beats Luke first try. Luke expressly tries NOT to teach her anything, she does a massive Force Lift first try. Oh, and I guess this is her second lightsaber battle ever, but obviously she does it perfectly.
Lastly, the twists and double-twists. The movie seems like it's actually taking chances and doing something interesting - what a twist! But wait, at the very last second there's another twist to make sure the basic, boring Jedi Good vs Sith Evil setup is where we remain.
I've mulled over the most commonly-cited parts of the film and come to the conclusion that the plot had potential, but wasted it. Luke's failure and death was not an inherently bad idea. It was the way it was done, and the failure to integrate it into the wider fabric of the Star Wars universe.
TLJ takes place literally seconds after TFA. Yet it completely ignores several of the most significant plot points raised in its predecessor. The first line of the opening crawl: "The First Order reigns supreme." Except that the FO is a (relatively) small-scale military movement going up against the full might of the New Republic, and, more importantly, the film fails to explain how this is even possible. I seem to recall that the last film ended with their ace in the hole being blown up. Would it have killed Rian Johnson to add a few scenes of First Order star destroyers and the Knights of Ren wreaking havoc around the galaxy?
The map, the all-important macguffin from TFA, isn't even mentioned. This could have been fixed simply by adding a few lines, but nope! It doesn't even come up.
Luke's depression and death might have had emotional weight if we had gotten more than a 30-second scene of him drawing his lightsaber and clashing with Ben. As it stands, Luke Skywalker — the guy who only lashed out when in the midst of the most evil fortress in the galaxy, with the two most evil men therein pushing all his buttons — almost killed his nephew because he was afraid. Add a flashback scene showing Luke's relationship with Ben deteriorating, and Ben falling under Snoke's influence, for goodness' sake! If you're going to tear down one of fiction's most beloved characters, you have to earn that right.
Snoke and Hux, two intimidating villains in the previous movie, suffer massive Character Derailment. The destruction of Starkiller base didn't bother Snoke at all, yet the loss of a single dreadnaught is enough to make him toss Hux around like a ragdoll? I don't buy it. And lest we forget, Hux was confident enough to stand up to Kylo Ren and get away with it in the previous film — why is he suddenly such a buffoon?
These elements could have worked, had the film bothered to explain why. There's nothing inherently wrong with doing a complete 180 with your characters or story...so long as you explain what's happened. But the movie can't be bothered to do that — instead, we get a scene of Luke milking a weird animal and drinking green milk from it.
The film's greatest failure is that it doesn't integrate itself into the larger Star Wars universe. If you set your film literal seconds after the first, you have an obligation to make sure it follows logically. It doesn't. And for that reason, TLJ is a bad film.
Rian Johnson wanted to educate us about failure. He succeeded.
I suppose that, by now, everyone has thrown something into the pot of reviews for this movie. I've got to say that this it that left me unsatisfied when I watched it last December, but I found it inspiring and interesting when I really thought about it.
Think about the experience of watching in the theater. It's slow—I still dislike the length of the fuel plot. The characters' crazy schemes that should fail but just might work...mostly fail, despite provoking some temporary laughs at the expense of the decadent bourgeoisie of Canto Bight. The reveals you're expecting to be massive all end up being anti-climactic and inconsequential. The hero who you were so happy to see after 30 years...is a washed-up wreck, doesn't truly enter the battlefield and dies peacefully. All this makes for unsatisfying theater-watching. And yet, thinking about it, it's deliberate in the same way that The Cabin in the Woods was. Amidst the theme of learning from failure that others have noted here, there is also a call to action:
Rian Johnson wants us to stop waiting for heroes to save us, and join with others to advocate for and save ourselves.
I suppose this is obvious, but it bears examining in the context of the politics that each hero represents. Poe Dameron's character arc is his attempt to be an '80s action hero. He puts Honor Before Reason, preferring tough-guy bravado to strategic planning...which is shown to be wrongheaded. This era of individualist, macho heroes coincided with a political era—the Reagan Era—characterized by the atomization of politics alongside the destruction or marginalization of the labor, feminist and PoC rights movements and the rise of the so-called Moral Majority.
Luke returns, but the new Jedi Order has ended up like the past one—annihilated. Meanwhile, by the end, Leia's Resistance fighters have mostly been killed and cease to exist as a fighting force. These serve as allegories for the failures of vanguardism: the Obama/Trump type—who end up being managers and/or breaking their promises rather than being true change agents—as well as the vanguardism of a small group of experts or ideologues operating independently of the larger body politic.
True hope—the "fire that will burn down the First Order"—is represented by the stable boy looking up at the stars with anticipation, representing the ordinary citizens of the Galaxy and their aspirations. They provide hope that, through their sheer numbers, they'll create a collective will that the First Order won't be able to contain. I can't think of a more decisive endorsement of people-power.
And it is these parallels and that message that I find more satisfying than the actual experience of the movie. By removing a type of "satisfaction" that movies, myths and legends can bring—Escapism and Wish Fulfillment—the movie makes us ask: need this type of hope that myth provides stop us from creating a better world?
This movie is character driven at its heart. We see each of our main characters having to confront something within themselves and come out stronger for it.
Rey looks for a role for herself in the greater scheme of things, given to her by parentage or mentoral blessing, but realises she’ll have to forge her own path, and she can’t look for answers to the bigger questions about herself anywhere but within.
Poe realises his hero fantasy of big, risky plans and self sacrifice might win the battle, but it won’t win the war. We see here a reckless maverick, like so many pieces of fiction idolise, taken to task for their behavior and how they can damage the very causes they hold dear. And through his willingness to attempt an escape on Crait rather than do the satisfying, adrenaline pumping martyr’s sacrifice, we see a great growth in his character.
Finn is a character who, while empathetic and kind, has so far been rather apathetic, politically. We see his desire to get out of the war thing in TFA until Rey is in danger, and in this movie he once again attempts to defect. But in this movie, he sees two possible extremes. Rose, fiercely devoted to her cause, fighting for what she thinks is right, and DJ, the logical extreme of his own apathy, a man who cares only for himself and his, without true ideals. His journey is coming to care enough about a cause to be willing to fight for it at his own risk, and lets him accept idealism rather than cynical non committance.
In my favorite plotline of the movie, Rey and Kylo share a connection through the force, and learn more about each other. Rather than Luke’s vague comments about Vader, we get to see the conflict, feel the emotions driving Kylo and (in my case anyway) suspect, even hope, there is good left in him. While the movie doesn’t see his turn, and Rey even literally “shuts the door” on him at the end, I don’t think their shared plotline is finished. It’s a very different hero/villain connection than Star Wars has so far had, and it’s great.
A central theme of the movie is the past, learning from it as well as leaving it behind. This takes several forms, in Luke, now in exile, embittered by his role in Kylo Ren’s rise, having grown disillusioned with the Jedi teachings. We also see it in Kylo who gets the signature line, and desires an end to the factions and ideals that have so far defined the galaxy (one of which he now finds himself in charge of, which is very interesting). But while both seek to leave the past behind, we see in Luke’s comment “I won’t be the last Jedi” that he is open to change, not just destruction, while Kylo’s brand of leaving behind the past very quickly amasses a body count and leaves him standing alone.
While I loved this movie, it does leave me a bit worried for episode IX. I hope that JJ is willing to take more risks than he did with TFA, and manages to give a satisfying conclusion to this (so far) great sequel trilogy.
The Last Jedi, try as it might to hide it, is thematically the equivalent of the Empire Strikes back as the second act film. The good guys are hurting, the bad guys are winning, etc, etc.
So how does it do at it?
Honestly while the special effects are top notch and the filmography is very pretty, the narrative and characterization are a hot mess.
The theme of this movie seems to be failure. We are now certain that our beloved heroes from the original movie have failed in every respect. Han fails as a smuggler, a husband and a father. Leia fails as a politician and leader. Luke fails as a Jedi and teacher.
So after that kick in the guts for the old school Star Wars fans, the new blood to the franchise should be doing better right? Well no. In fact quite the opposite.
Rey gets scenes where she struggles a bit and is conflicted but she is not going to easily shake off the Mary Sue label anytime soon. Yoda shills her as the equivalent of a Jedi without any training. She succeeds so easily at using their skills that she is The Chosen One who supersedes the previous chosen one.
Poe is used to show off the flaws of a hot head because he rightly feared that incompetence was going to get all his friends killed. The problem is not that he tries this; that is perfectly in character. The problem is that so many people join his mutiny which implies that Admiral Holdo does not have the trust and faith of a good chunk of her forces.
Finn is prevented from a glowing send off by sacrificing himself for the good of the Rebellion by Rose. Ah yes, Rose. She appears, narratively, to fill the same role as Jar Jar. She is there to be obstructive to the actually competent heroes. Her arc was pointless. Her death was meaningless as the audience had little time to really connect with her.
This pointlessness, this bathos, drenches the movie. The New Republic is in tatters. The casino arc was pointless. Snoke, built up as a legitimate threat, dies effortlessly without us ever really learning anything about him. Phasma goes the same way. The movie fails to build any climax. Plot threads from the Force Awakens such as hints that Rey has some connection to the Skywalkers dangle abandoned.
This bathos mixed with the pathos of seeing beloved characters fail so spectacularly is the root of a lot of the criticism. Let us make no bones about it; Star Wars had been at its heart an escapist space opera. When it turned into a postmodern deconstruction of the Hero’s Journey, it jarred a lot of fans. It takes a certain degree of self-assurance on the part of the film’s makers to not expect some degree of pushback.
So should you see the Last Jedi? It will thrill you for a few hours from sheer spectacle alone. But it is the sizzle without the steak, there is little satisfying anymore. It is unlikely to grab your imagination like the original trilogy did. People watching this movie may visit a galaxy far, far away but they might not want to stay.
I can't believe this is the controversial opinion, but I liked this film.
"But it's different and challenges you!"
...um, that's good!
Poe has more importance in this film, which is great.
Rose Tico is a maintenance worker who gets roped into the action part of the Resistance. She provides some sloppy morals to the film and it's too late in the trilogy for her to work as a key heroic cast member. Not exactly a highlight.
Holdo is going to be a controversial figure...but that's the point. She's presented as an out-of-place and obstructive substitute leader, and while she makes mistakes, our perceptions of her are manipulated all the way through to constantly evolve. She's fascinating to me.
DJ provides some interesting commentary.
The film, again, really adds a sense of gravitas to the battles that I've never felt before. You can feel the weight on Leia's shoulders, and given the previous film's events, you really do feel more like Anyone Can Die.
The film is expedient in its parallels this time, and gets some interesting turns out of the way that are going to make Episode IX a lot freer and more interesting.
Canto Bight is a great location. It's a clever subversion of the "wretched hive of scum and villainy" we've seen so often in that it's a rich casino city, and the designs of the place and inhabitants are really cool.
Rey's development is interesting, and her relationship with Kylo Ren gets a lot more complex. Even though she never starts behaving in evil ways, there is real tension about her naivete and alignment.
Luke gets to be a character this time, and has a great, complex role.
Rey's past gets a great reveal.
The porgs are welcomely restrained, and serve as annoyances instead of cute creatures, and the character moments and comedy continue to be fantastic.
Points of contention:
"Luke would never!"— Luke was not 100% pure and idealistic, and continually demonstrated hallmarks of the Dark Side before cementing himself in the light. This is just what happens again in a tiny span of time, and the moral greys are what make it so compelling. Kylo Ren's character needed a morally uncomfortable origin.
"Leia Poppins!"— Given the significance of the moment especially after Carrie Fisher's passing, I'll accept it.
"B-plot goes nowhere!"— That's the point. This story is full of failure, with the lesson being to learn from it.
"1% animal-abuse politics overload!"— Fair, too. The fathiers are not a great part of Canto Bight, but we've seen benevolent rich people in these before, so it's nice to see the bad ones.
"Phasma underuse!"— Better than overuse, and Boba did it, too.
Overall, a Jedi approach is wise. Blind yourself to positivity, and you'll miss out on a lot of good.
If you didn't like The Last Jedi, you're wrong.
Okay not really. There's nothing wrong with not liking a movie. You like what you like and you don't like what you don't like.
The Last Jedi is a magnificent film. One that deftly blends action spectacle and thematic contemplation together. It's a funny, dramatic, humanist tale that manages to evolve the Star Wars franchise. It does have its problems, a slow second act and the occasional joke that doesn't really work, but Leia floating through space is not one of them.
Y'see, you can *not like* the various ways the force is used in the film, but that's actually not a problem with the movie itself. Complaining about how the force is used here purely because it was never used the same way in previous films is like complaining about the Emperor's force lightning in Rot J. It's the exact. same. thing.
Even beyond that, most of the complaints against this film seem to come down to They Changed It, So It Sucks.
"Luke is different here than he was 30 years ago"! Yeah, it's almost like time and bearing the guilt of the mistake he made has worn him down or something.
"Rey turns out to be a nobody!" Yeah, the film is showing that anyone can be a Jedi, like with the boy at the end.
"Snoke dies and we never learned who he was!" Who Snoke actually was, didn't really matter. What he represented did. He represented the struggle in Kylo's mind. If killing Han represented Ben Solo's turn from the light then Snoke's death represented Kylo Ren's turn from the dark. It ties into the film's themes of everything not being clear cut black and white, as presented by the Canto Bight sequence.
Speaking of, the Canto Bight scene was actually one of my favourites in the movie. Yes it's a bit slow at times, but it is so important in referencing the themes of the movie. Rose's "fight for what we love, not what we hate" spiel at the end is justified by the release of the animals here. Kindness over cruelty.
People have been comparing things to ' 'The Empire Strikes Back' ' forever, but this is the first film that really deserves he comparison. It may be divisive now, but someday it will be seen as something truly special.
This film is amazing, and if you don't agree...well, you're not wrong, but I would suggest you reevaluate ' 'why' ' you say you don't like it.
When I saw The Last Jed i I thought it was quite simply the best Star Wars movie yet, and I consider myself to be a Star Wars Nerd. Sure It was a little slow in some parts, sure some scenes could have been reworked, sure some lines didn't work but they were a minority and when the film as a whole was spectacular and groundbreaking. I couldn't wait to see it again and after about three weeks I found the excuse to do so.
Second time around TLJ was actually painful during an inexcusably large portion of the movie. The main problem is the Sub-plot(s).
However rather than starting off emphasizing the negative here is the film's strong points. The main plot of the interactions between Luke, Kylo Ren, and Rey is fantastic. Its heavy but it shows some great character development and serves as a great Decon-Recon of the whole franchise. As always it looks stunning and even at its least visually interesting (casino scene hands down) it's at least on par with other movies.
But this is constantly being interrupted by that annoying sub-plot. It goes all over the place and introduces a numerous themes that are introduced but not explored before being oddly forgotten about. The only character who had believable development was Poe who learned about the dangers of uncontrolled cavalierism. Holdo and Fin simply didn't have character arcs, which is a damn shame considering the later was one of the more entertaining aspects of the Force Awakens. Rose rather suddenly goes from having a deep seated grudge against the elite to stating that saving things we love is more important than wanting to destroy the enemy. The explanation has something to do with rather bland space horses but it think a line about revenge feeling hollow somewhere along the line would have made her character arc a true arc rather than a series of points. There certainly was room for it among all the filler.
The whole subplot ends with Fin, Rose, and Poe accidentally sabotaging the Resistance making the whole thing not only pointless but actively harmful in universe. This is probably why I'm not the only person who can't help but see nothing but flaws during these parts of the movie, it practically begs you to analyze it during a repeat viewing.
So yah I would recommend going to see the Last Jedi, its still a solid movie, but I would also recommend waiting for it to leave your head before you watch it again.
Let me preface this by stating that if you are reading this, you really should just go see the movie and form your own opinion. In the end I can only state how I feel about the film and what I felt worked and didn't work. Spoilers are in bound because there is no way to talk about this movie without them. This will probably just be me complaining.
To begin, let us cover what I found good, the Luke and Rey Scenes, Kylo taking over and actually being intimidating, Snoke's fabulous outfit and throne room, the revelation that Rey's parents are nobodies. The fact that this movie tries to do its own thing.
What I found lacking, Admiral Holdo's subplot, Finn and Rose's Subplot, the Chase, the First Order, the final battle, DJ, Captain Phasma, how little we know about Snoke, Leia saving herself.
Snoke is never properly explained and is quite literally cut short, we never know who he is or why he brought the empire back. We don't know how the First Order got all this power, especially since this is set only a few days after the events of TFA. The Final Battle is interesting but why did Rose knock Finn out of the when he would've easily given everyone a better chance at fighting and escaping. Sure it's because she claims that it's about saving the things we love, but that plotline feels somewhat out of left field.
Captain Phasma's time isn't even more than the last movie and she's pretty much uninteresting. The chase takes up a large part of the movie and feels empty. Leia's superman scene was just too ridiculous not to laugh at, when her death while shocking would have been surprisingly fitting for a series about war, and with Carrie Fisher's death, we're left with the inevitable truth of a bus crash coming next movie.
To cover my final issue, how come Admiral Holdo nor anyone else told Poe what was going on? The entire Finn and Rose subplot could have been avoided had Poe simply known, and his mutiny wasn't done alone, others weren't kept in the loop on the plan, so how come they weren't informed since a evacuation can't be preformed without people knowing. It does take me out of the movie, especially when at least 2/3rds comprise the plot. Poe was demoted sure, but he was still a member of a relatively small group of the resistance and needed to know what was going on.
In the end, I did not enjoy the movie and will not be including it on my rewatches of the sequel trilogy often and can only wonder where the hell we go next. If you enjoyed the movie, that's good, I just couldn't.
The Last Jedi is the second best Star Wars movie in the series, but only if you see the Empire Strikes Back as the only other good thing about the franchise. If you appreciate the canon of Star Wars whether it be from the movies' continuities or concepts explored by the Expanded Universe this movie will disappoint you.
Some people complain that Luke has been reduced to a crabby, bitter, old man. I'm not upset about that as much as he's a crabby, bitter, old man that doesn't do anything. The whole island story arc with him and Rey feels like several drafts stitched together and then never edited. Luke says he's going to teach her three lessons about why the Jedi should end. He gives up halfway through one and then complains when she tries to seek answers from other sources. Rey visits the residential Dark Side sinkhole and makes a rad finger snapping concert but doesn't get anything else out of it. Luke tries to destroy the old Jedi relics, gives up, then ghost Yoda destroys them anyway, saying Rey already has the wisdom of a Jedi. Really? Because she came here for that reason and Luke has barely taught her a thing.
This is the second film that has a title that implies there is going to be a discussion about the Force and once again the topic is skimmed before being abandoned. Kylo Ren's fall to the Dark Side is a great example of this. Kylo Ren had a loving family took tutelage under Luke who was known as a galactic hero but somehow becomes corrupted by Snoke simply reaching out to him. Compare this abrupt change to the prequels, where Anakin's fall was a series of tragic events that made him feel inadequate and helpless, with the Dark Side promising him the power to change his weakness. The Dark Side is individualism in contrast to Light Side's collectivism, neither are inherently bad, and the prequels showed that both could be morally grey. However, the J. J. Abrams films simply chooses to stick with the simplistic good vs evil cliche, with the Dark Side having super corrupting powers that act on contact.
My complaints about the Rebel storyline is that the film retreads old ground. Once again the Rebels are the underdog. Only instead of it being just a David vs Goliath fight, David is hooked to a respirator and suffers musclular dystrophy in all his limbs. The Rebels say they are "the spark that will burn down the New Order". The New Order infrastructure better be more explosive than Psychlo because by the end of the film there aren't enough Rebels to organize a city paper route let alone defeat a galaxy wide empire.
The characters are actually surprisingly solid. Kylo Ren and Finn both receive significant character exploration and depth. Rose is a new addition that is fun and charismatic. Even Rey is a bit more complex as a protagonist. Its just a shame they are stuck with this wierd and ultimately disappointing plot.
So I finally got around to watching The Last Jedi and while I did enjoy it, in my honest opinion, this is easily the Worse of the Star Wars movies. And while there are several reasons for my overall dislike of this movie, (the padding that was the Rose/Finn subplot, the porgs, the rather unimpressive Yoda puppet that made me long for the CGI Yoda in the prequels and the plot twists that exist just to shock viewers) the worst part of The Last Jedi is that EVERY ONE IN THE MOVIE IS A IDIOT!!!
Everything that happened in this film was result of everyone doing stupid things because if anyone acted like themselves then the movie would be over in about 5 minutes. The worse offenders in the movie are, Holdo, who takes the title as the DUMBEST person in Star Wars ever, beating about Jar Jar by a million light years as everything that goes wrong on the good guy side can be traced back to her poor leader ship "skills", while Jar Jar was actually useful in TPM and didn't get anyone on his side killed.
But really takes the cake is the worst moment in Star Wars history. I will gladly take the Romantic Plot Tumor of Episode 2, Jar Jar Binks and Anakin yelling YIPPEE over this scene in TLJ. Luke contemplating killing his own nephew because he MIGHT turn evil!!! No, No, NOOO!!! I don't care if it was only for a moment! I don't care if Snoke had already turned Ben to the Dark Side! I Don't F#cking Care What His Reasons Were! Luke Would Never, EVER, Do Something Like This! The Moment, The SECOND, He Ignited His Light Saber He Would Have Turned It On Himself For Even CONSIDERING That Idea!!!
I get why so many people liked the film but honestly, for me, its strengths are outweighed by its flaws more so then any of the Prequels and this film is, again for me, the worst Star Wars movie ever.
P.S. Yes I know that the Prequels also suffer idiot plots but by Lucas' own admission he's not really a writer. So what's Johnson's excuse?
I didn't watch this movie til a week after it had been released, which meant thatfor seven days I had to exercise the utmost care when turning on the internet, in case all the spoilers and angry fans come tumbling out of my screen and onto my lap. My youtube feed is currently a warzone of half hour long videos of adults complaining to the camera about The Last Jedi, and I've had it up to here with it.
The movie itself turned out to be fine. I liked it. It is good. It's festooned with niggling little things that will bother some people way more than me, but the core experience is a good one. It has a straightforward space plot involving a slow speed pursuit, which sets a nice impending threat and urgency to the movie. The secondary plot involves Rey going off to visit Luke to find out about herself and the force, which was enlightening and lets us see a whole new side to some characters. Finally, there is a tertiary plot in which Finn and newcomer Rose team up to hack a space do-hickey. The latter feels a tad ancillary to the story, but it does the ground work of fleshing out the setting beyond various battlefields, discussing the philosophy of war, and providing sequel material.
There is however some clumsiness to it. The movie has occasional Marvelisms, where characters will shoot off one liners and make stupid gags - most of these, including one within the first minute of the movie, fall flat. With those are some really cheesy lines, with characters repeating "we are the ember that sparks the flame" or some such nonsense over and over in the hopes it will stick. There are also some oddly directed scenes, including one stand out one involving Leia. None of these are especially egregious, just irritating little things that stick in your mind, perhaps more so than the cool fight scenes and space battles.
A Spoiler-Free Review
As a plot, The Last Jedi is actually not bad. It goes something like this: After a disastrous attack on the First Order, the Resistance flees, only to realize they were tracked through light speed. They can move faster for the time being, but the rebels must find a way to deactivate this tracking before the ships run out of fuel and are sitting ducks, dooming the galaxy.
It's a simple, and somewhat original, plot. Unfortunately, the movie focuses on the characters, which was a big mistake. Finn takes center-stage this time around, sharing it with newcomer Engineer Rose. I think Rose exists because people didn't take well to Rey, but Rose is actually even worse, with an obnoxious attitude that varies between crying over her sister (who died in the failed assault) and heavy-handedly lecturing about the evils of people. When she reflects that saving a bunch of animals during a disastrous mission made everything worth it, I rolled my eyes so hard it hurt as much as the rest of her character.
The other characters themselves were just boring: The most Finn comes to a personality was being excited by a casino; Rey spends her time Force-Skyping with Kylo Ren and wondering about her parents; and Poe, the most interesting of the three, spends it being dressed down and talking to people. In fact, the only interesting characters around were the always-cute and awesome BB-8, the surprising twists by a new Rebel authority, played by Laura Dern, and Benecio del Toro's DJ.
After a surprise Force ghost appearance from Yoda and an homage to Hoth, the story ends with everyone reunited and I'm left wondering what on Earth was the point of this. Some things happened, but it could've all been condensed to about ten minutes, and I would've been spared an hour listening to Rose.
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.
The Last Jedi is the eight installment in the franchise but it honestly plays out with a much fresher feel than you'd expect from the 8th installment of ANY franchise. Just look at Fate of the Furious for example.
The Last Jedi is a much more introspective movie than any mega blockbuster has any reason to be. It explores the themes of destroying the past, being starstruck by legends and mythos and the damage it can cause, and abolishing the cowboy cop trope in favor of more realistic strategy. It's like the film is telling us that it won't be hamstrung by the tropes of the franchise that Lucas built going forward.
One of the biggest benefits of the new trilogy overall is the absolute dearth of raw acting talent that's present on the screen at any given time. Oscar Issac as Poe Dameron is one of my favorite characters and his arc in TLJ is adjacent to Finn's but the hammer hits home much harder on Poe's side than Finn's. Poe is propped up to be knocked down in this film and I believe it should continue to the next one since his actions have significant effects on the end game of the film. Poe's blend of humor, pilot skills, and brass ones make him a unique character on his own. Not a Solo or a Skywalker expy but his own personality and footprint.
Between the Force Awakens and TLJ it seems that Poe and Finn switched places as in TLJ it seems as if Finn takes a more secondary role. His actions in his arc help play a part in the disaster of the third act but even then he seems to not understand the weight of his actions and who it effects. His adventure with Rose may have seemed extraneous but it's vital in introducing some weighty themes into the film regarding life in the galaxy under the boot of the First Order.
Rose was a great addition to the cast as the face of the run of the mill Resistance member. Not an ace pilot, or a disgraced stormtrooper, or a Force heavy Jedi in training, but a Resistance member who works day in and day out to insure the movement doesn't die. Someone who has lost something valuable in the war and works hard to live up to the standards of the "legends" around them.
I cannot in good faith discuss Kylo, Luke, and Rey as this is not a spoiler heavy review.
All in all, I'd give it 4 binary sunsets out of 10. (8/10)
As of the writing of this review, there are like eight or nine other Last Jedi reviews right at the top of the Review section. This is mine.
What I liked:
What I didn't like:
I'd love to elaborate on any of the above points in the comments. Let me know what you thought of the movie.
First of all, if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read the other reviews. They're filled to the brim with spoilers.
Second of all, The Last Jedi is a good movie, contrary to The Force Awakens.
This time, we don't get an uninspired remake of one of the original movies. LJ pays its fair share of homages and has enough "history rhyming" to satisfy those in need of a nostalgia fix, but it's still a new Star Wars film.
It deepens both the new characters (Kylo and Rey especially) and even the original trilogy's protagonist, Luke Skywalker. No, he's not the perfect, innocent hero you remember. He's a bitter old man, who grew jaded under the burden of his harsh experiences. Some are angry with this portrayal, and that's great. A movie that breaks the base is thousand times better than one that doesn't ruffle any feathers and goes gently into the night of our indifference.
There is comic relief, of course, but this time it doesn't sabotage dramatic tension, like it usually does in Disney blockbusters (I'm looking at you, MCU). Sometimes it gets shoehorned into a scene where it really doesn't belong, but it's rare enough to forgive.
The only serious criticism I have is about the Ending Fatigue, but the last chunk of the movie is very much not purposeless, even if it can tire.
In conclusion, I recommend The Last Jedi even if you hated TFA.
The benefits of working at a cinema came around today when at 9:50am me and two other members of staff had an early screening of The Last Jedi. One guy, like me, was a fan of the series and the third, an old timer, who’d not seen any Star Wars film in years. Upon leaving all three of us shared the same basic reaction: “Huh… that was umm.”
An all too heard complaint about Force Awakens was it’s repeating of New Hope and all it’s plot points and beats. Last Jedi has it’s sights firmly upon being ‘the dark chapter’, and it is Empire Strikes Back, with a few sprinkles of Return of the Jedi thrown in. It also happens to be a bloated, complicated, needlessly long, melodramatic jumble of ideas, and master of none.
The First Order, having won big at the card tables somehow buys an entire mega fleet and gives chase to Leia and the rest of the Resistance. Poe does all the legwork as usual, bringing the Resistance squadron into question when he can evidently just do all the dogfights and cripple Star Destroyers himself. Finn seeing the futility tries to unsuccessfully weasel out of it. The Order pursue their fleet across the galaxy, fuel reserves and hope running low.
Meanwhile, Rey and Luke have their quirky Master/Apprentice banter. “Bluhh” grumbles Luke. “I don’t train anyone. Leave me alone!” It felt like Shrek and Donkey all over again. Despite that, these island scenes are the most interesting in the film. It’s the parallel to Luke and Yoda, naturally: stuck in a soggy natural landscape with a mentally questionable teacher. Through the Force we watch Rey form a bond with Kylo, still the put-upon teenager alongside Snoke. We slowly figure out what happened between ‘Ben’ and Luke all those years ago, hints of who Rey’s parents are and Luke’s disappointment in himse-oh, and the squeaky hamster birds annoy Chewbacca! Haha…ugh.
My major complaints with the whole film, putting Episode V to one side, are firstly it’s melodramatic intense scenes and then hitting us with a whiplash inducing funny/cute moment. Some are welcome tension relief, others just make me blink and angrily groan. The Monte Carlo planet, which ultimately doesn’t contribute anything. It’s also two films. Or rather it’s Empire in reverse order. Not content with a noble sacrifice that rips apart the First Order’s Fleet...only to keep going, landing on a snowy salt planet for a defend the base against incoming walkers. Shots of soldiers in the trenches et al. Except now the good guys are on the right of the screen and the baddies on the left! Plus a mini-death star..?
It’s a jumble. We have Snoke’s throne room, complete with “Look out there, Rey… your fleet is lost,” then Snoke is quickly brushed away. Phasma returns in an extended cameo, before being brushed away too. What should have been a simple film is stuffed with sawdust and stretched for two and a half hours. A few good scenes, but not enough to excuse it.
The movie was a huge disappointment from start to end. It seems incoherent with the rest of the saga.
Sigh. Where do I start with this. Luke's character assassination? The eighty different subplots, half of which lead absolutely nowhere and the other half that are completely pointless? How about the godawful Lucasesque critters and sets that belong in Pushing Daisies?
Let's start by breaking down the plot and "character arcs", if we can call them that. So: the movie starts off immediately where The Force Awakens left us. Poe is now a hotheaded semi-stereotype instead of the cool and interesting resistance fighter, who constantly butts heads with Resistance Leadership. Already a somewhat cliche plotline from many films, at the end of the film, this ultimately leads nowhere. Finn, a previously brave and kind character, turns into a coward and comic relief. He has no character arc and ultimately his entire subplot is pointless. Rey goes to get trained. She still has issues with her parents, and instead of an interesting plot about her training or her family, we get Luke's evil doppelganger, the anticlimactic reveal that her parents were nobodies, and Skype chats with Kylo Ren. She learns to get over her parents. Maybe. Kylo Ren kills Snoke. IDK what his character arc was supposed to be, because all this confirms is that he's evil, which we already knew. Rose, the first of two Asian characters , has no arc other than being a heterosexual love interest for Finn. Her sister, the other Asian character in a series inspired heavily by Asian movies and aesthetics, gets killed off in her one on-screen appearance.
It is, of course, truly unfortunate that we couldn't have Luke Skywalker, a man who believed that there was good in his father and refused to turn to the dark side, in the film. Instead, we have his evil doppelganger who hates the Force and tried to kill a teenager in his sleep.
The Force, by the way, can also do astral projection, let you fly in space, and make Skype calls. If you didn't know that already.
Chewbacca has three scenes, mostly comic relief. Leia is in a coma for most of the movie. There was a huge opportunity to have Lando reappear, but it's wasted. R2D2 and C-3PO might as well have not shown up. Phasma and Snoke die unceremoniously and without purpose.
The humor is forced and largely out of place. A lot of it also relies on humiliation of the characters of color. The set design is almost entirely awful, either nondescript sci-fi or cartoonish. The porgs and horse and fox things are Lucasesque in the worst way. Most of the plots fail to resolve any from The Force Awakens and only bring up more.
The only things I will praise are the soundtrack and Carrie Fisher's performance. Otherwise, I can't recommend this film to anyone who loves the characters we know, whether from the original trilogy or The Force Awakens.
The Last Jedi is not a bad film, though if one has to start a film review by saying it's not bad, then something's definitely wrong with it. For TLJ, it's the film's tendency to be anticlimatic at any moment possible (save for that one big scene where Holdo blasts through the First Order fleet near the end. That shit was badass).
There are no big reveals, no spectacular final confrontation. The film deconstructs everything people have come to associate with Star Wars, with Reality Ensues all over the place. Dashing hero like Poe taking on the bad guys all by himself and save the day? Turns out to have dire consequences in the long run. Expects Rey to have an interesting backstory and the potential to become the next Chosen One? Nope. She's just a nobody and was never an important piece in the grand scheme of things. Finn's entire subplot that people expected to pay off later in the film ends up being a "Shaggy Dog" Story. Snoke turns out to be a sellout, as does Phasma. The final battle where people expected Luke to singlehandedly taking on the First Order army doesn't happen, and just using Astral Projection cost him so much life force that he died from it, with no big lightsaber showdown between him and Kylo Ren.
Basically, everything fans loved about Star Wars got torn apart in this film. Coming out after the nostalgia-filled Rogue One, no wonder why it's so polarizing. Even Mark Hamill himself didn't particularly like it.
If one views TLJ without caring too much about the established Star Wars lore and characters, then it's a solid standalone film. The actions are decent, and the constant anti-climaxes and deconstructions take the film into an interesting path. Personally, I really liked how they ended the film like they did, because I have no idea at all how EP.IX will turn out.
However, that still doesn't excuse the fact that the production crew took so much liberties with the Star Wars lore that it's almost unrecognizable anymore, and all those anti-climaxes and deconstructions can only work when people are invested in the characters and story, something TLJ clearly didn't do well enough.
In a way, the plot of the TLJ itself summarizes the state of this movie: a struggle to find a balance between the old and the new, unsure of whether to breathe a new life in it or to completely wipes it away, and any effort to join the old and the new together only serves to fracture it even more.
Whether you'll like the movie or not depends on how much you valued the Star Wars lore. If it's not that important for you, then it's a solid entry. But if the lore is everything to you, then you're probably gonna hate it.
Paraphrasing but - "Cut ties with the past. Kill it, if you have to." is both the most meta and most intimidating movie quote ever.
in the case of The Last Jedi, your enjoyment of it will largely depend upon whether you're a fan of the original trilogy or just saw it a few times and came in to this movie unspoiled and looking for a quick thrill.
TLJ does not favors for the original trilogy's mythos or Leia and Luke Skywalker, and it pained me to see the decisions meant to justify both of their existences and choices. It goes against their characters, and it completely destroys all of the actions they took in the original set. The director couldn't have shown his disdain for the original trilogy any more outside of happily burning a VHS set and dancing on its ashes.
Besides that... it's... okay. The Force Awakens has very little to do with this movie's plot, as many plot lines have either been dropped and forgotten about or brushed aside as unimportant. How big is The First Order? How come The Resistance, er, Rebellion, er, whatever it is, doesn't have any support? Captain whatsherface, you know,t he one billed as the FIRST female Stormtrooper? Who cares about her anyway? Why did Rey have that vision? It doesn't matter, forget about it, look! A shiny battle! Explosions! Pretty scenery! A TWIST!
There are moments of awkwardly placed humor throughout, and it is a pretty movie too. Kylo Ren was a step up from the last movie too, so that's good.
If you grew up with the original trilogy, and it's a core part of your nerd awakening, don't watch it. You will be disappointed and angry.
If anything, this proves that consistency and storytelling is changing in the franchise-movie-per-year era. If you enjoy seeing a sci fi /fantasy movie on Friday night with space battles and like to laugh, go for it. Just turn your brain off, and pretend whatever came before doesn't exist.
So...Last Jedi. It was honestly an okay movie. Not great, but I did enjoy it. Namely, what I did love about the movie were the action scenes. They were flashy, very creative. I also did like how Poe was almost like a surrogate son for Leia after Ben was seduced to the dark side. Though those are some of the few things that I legitimately liked about the movie.
While the film was good, I was pretty disappointed in it. Number one: Supreme Leader Snoke. Andy Serkis had described Snoke as being a master manipulator who had been orchestrating events even before Ben was born. Theory after theory had been proposed on who Snoke really was ranging from the downright silly Jar Jar Binks to the Legends Universe's Darth Plagueis. After someone like Emperor Palpatine, you would think that he would have a big role to play. And the way that he gets defeated.....While it is awesome, at the same time given the circumstances, there might not be a chance to further delve into his motivations or his training of Ben / Kylo Ren. And then there's Phasma. She was also underused again. While she did do something in this movie, she is ultimately done away with without much effort.
For Luke Skywalker, I had mixed feelings on. He came off as a grumpy old man because of how failed to teach his nephew and is reluctant to help Rey at first. While he grew gradually better throughout the film, he is definitely a far cry from his original self. As for new characters....Rose. Rose is Asian in this film, which isn't problematic in and of itself, if she contributed anything to the film. Really, while I do favor some diversity in films, I feel that there should be a reason for it rather than out of any "self guilt." Is she annoying? Well, she didn't get on my nerves when she was first introduced, but she did feel like a stereotypical fangirl especially when she met Finn. I don't buy the bond that the two characters have for each other either. To me, it feels undeserved. There is hardly any development between the two that makes me feel that they had grown closer in the film. Really, I felt that Rose didn't really have much of a crucial role in the film to speak of. She has a backstory - that being that she lost her sister - but if she were to be written out and with a few alterations to the final draft of the script, nothing much would change.
Okay, this movie was awesome, for lack of a better word.
Naturally, it has some issues, work twists and turns and plots being set up for the next one, but still, overall? A great movie.
The great parts were most of the action scenes, and while it does kind of drag on a bit, the sheer number of twists and turns keeps one enthralled. The character arcs and their growth is great, and the tearjerker moments are just inevitable really. You will be surprised when watching this, if you haven't been spoilered.
To be frank, I predict this movie will have a much better reception later on, and become the Episode V of this trilogy. We now know how the older fans felt seeing that one for the first time.
This review contains spoilers.
I don't really like to think of myself as a "hardcore" Star Wars fan, but I have had a deep solid love for this franchise for the past decade or so, a love that continued with the release of The Force Awakens, so naturally, my expectations of what The Last Jedi would do in terms of developing all of it's characters were very high.
The only problem is, there's no ounce of character development in this film. I would argue that even if there is a sliver of character development in the movie at all, every single character of note from previous movies seem to regress. That emotional final scene between Rey and Luke in TFA where Rey hands Luke Anakin's lightsaber? Yeah, no, Luke throws away the Skywalker lightsaber like a worthless piece of trash when he takes it from Rey's hands. Rey hates Kylo but somehow starts to trust him with what amounts to Force Skype calls, but then hates him again when it turns out he was trying to manipulate her the entire time. Poe is weirdly at odds with Vice-Admiral Holdo because he's a trigger-happy and gungho flyboy instead of being cool, calm and collected like he was in The Force Awakens. The only character I felt was 100% truly in character was Leia, who was given a truly amazing send-off with a great final performance by Carrie Fisher.
Basically, this movie has a huge characterization problem. It's like Rian Johnson only barely watched how the characters were established from The Force Awakens, and then decided to just ignore all of that.
I still enjoyed a lot of what happens in the movie, but it's just not really a great Star Wars movie, and it's also not a good sequel to The Force Awakens.
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