Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Part VIII of VIII of My “Skywalker” Binge
I want to try something moderately different that I don’t reckon has been done with a semi-negative, semi-positive Last Jedi review yet—keyword: try. I’m going to do my very best to explain why I whole-heartedly believe that The Last Jedi is not a good movie without using old Star Wars “lore” facts as a way to demean it. I genuinely want to express my reasons for why Rian Johnson’s jab at the franchise is a partially-poor blockbuster regardless of what it did for the legacy.
Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi: An illusion that made critics believe that they were watching something tastefully divergent and a savage device that split fans harder than cement. I’ve gone back and forth from loving to hating to loving and then to hating this movie over and over again—it’s been fun; not gonna lie, and that’s not sarcasm!
Now, at this point, I’m pretty much determined that The Last Jedi is just a “meh” movie. No, it’s not the worst movie ever made in the history of cinema nor is it the best movie ever made in the history of cinema—you silly, silly people. It’s just a middling, try-hard entry in a franchise that’s been desperately running low on steam and originality, so much so, that it’ll try anything in its capacity to be “different.”
The best part of The Last Jedi is simultaneously the worst part of The Last Jedi. The new ideas that are added to the lore to give Star Wars a new flair are fairly interesting and fruitful but are executed in such a spontaneous fashion and with such haphazard laziness that it’s hard to not question their existence. I encourage the writers of this franchise to change things up with fresh elements that fans haven’t experienced before yet and to mix up the formula of these Star Wars motion pictures, but my main gripe with The Last Jedi is that most of these alterations are executed quite abysmally, without reason nor logic.
So yes, this movie is a tad grimy. Messy, yes, but no, The Last Jedi is not the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars—don’t get your knickers in a twist. Star Wars has either been sucking hard or floating melodramatically for the past 36 years now. I have never understood why we continue to support this franchise that just…stopped…being… interesting…a long…long…time…ago.
Rian Johnson—A MAN, MAY I REMIND YOU, I RESPECT BECAUSE HE MADE LOOPER AND DIRECTED SOME BREAKING BAD EPISODES AND ALL THOSE THINGS F*** HARD—fails to write a cohesive story in The Last Jedi. And, I’m about 99.9% certain he’s not even the one to completely be blamed for this. Imagine being handed an entire franchise that had to continue off of a movie that set up a TON of unanswered storylines, with limited time, and were then just told to “make whatever the hell you want—but add the Porgs so we can sell merch!”
- Luke being an old, grumpy, force-hating agitator was an idea that I actually really appreciated and thought worked—despite most fans finding it to be an absolute betrayal of the character. Luke’s motive is fairly justified in the scene where he causes Kylo to turn, so I don’t understand why people find it so difficult to believe his alteration in beliefs. I mean, I feel like after causing one of your students to become one of the evilest Sith lords in the Republic that ultimately slaughtered most of your students, you would be pushed into hating the thing you once taught and preached. It makes sense to me. Anakin was Jedi and he turned, so obviously people can have a change in heart, Jedi or not.
- Rey and Kylo Ren’s long-distance force conversations are intensely engrossing. Their both lost souls who’ve been attempting to find someone to define their place in this war and they try to reconcile that with each other. Arguably, these exchanges between the two conflicted souls are the most admirable features of The Last Jedi.
- Rey’s hallucinatory vision is just plain fascinating. Disney has surprisingly been pleasing the druggies in this new saga. Go figure.
- The throne room scene is candidly one of the greatest sequences in Star Wars history. This is one of the few times where I actually believe Rian Johnson “subverted our expectations” in a moderately breathtaking way. The turn doesn’t feel forced, misplaced, or just plain illogical; it appears genuine. The surprise doesn’t have plot holes nor leakage in its intricate details; it treads a conceptual foreground. Yes, the fans didn’t get their answers for who Snoke was, but I got to see a CGI man dressed in golden robes get chopped in half, and that’ll have to do. Considering Snoke was never interesting in the first place, I was whole-heartedly fine with Kylo shockingly killing him in one epic, powerful blow. The fight is also 100 times more believable than any contrived lightsaber battle in the prequel trilogy—to those whining about it.
- The concept of Rey and Kylo teaming up is just flat out awesome—it kills me to see that it wasn’t the central storyline in the movie. All though, if it had instantaneously happened in this movie, it would’ve felt unearned—we’d need some more development for such a drastic thing to happen—but again, it’s the unexpected concept that I’m praising. Having some neutral, hybrid of the Republic and the Rebels would’ve somewhat switched up the repetitive storyline of Disney’s take on the Skywalker saga.
- The whole “Rey is a nobody” concept is perfectly fine with me but we all know Abrams will probably screw that up in The Rise of Skywalker.
- I actually really dig the hologram scene/battle between Kylo and Luke. However, once again, with more build-up or possible hints that this could be possible in the force would’ve made the sequence a lot more warranted. I can totally understand people who hate it because it is very far-fetched, but the pure shock value of the sequence and Luke saying “see you around kid” as if he was Kylo Ren’s father (Han Solo) truly struck me.
- Rose saving Finn from sacrificing himself is single-handedly the most contradicting event to happen in this entire movie for better? The potential of Finn’s entire character arc isn’t really diminished because he clearly committed to sacrificing himself, he was just interrupted. Rose’s original flaming pride and aspiration she starts off with to save and fight for the rebellion at all costs is also completely overruled. In an attempt where Finn could’ve possibly saved all of the Rebellion from certain death, Rose decides to entirely contradict her beliefs, although, to save this boy that she’s fallen in love with within the course of a day. Conceptually, I genuinely think this could actually make for a great way of exposing the flaws of our heroes, and how they’re prone to change simply from selfishness, but the film doesn’t do it too well given those far-fetched circumstances. She does however appear to be real desperate to not lose another person close to her (like her sister) even if they’re only remotely close to her because I don’t know how she could’ve ever assumed that the two would survive a traumatic crash like that—spur of the moment! Don’t kill me, but showing how egotistical Rose is able to be kind of made me admire her character more, because in the name of Anakin Skywalker, those are the characters that feel the most human.
- Here’s a list of some other commendable sequences in The Last Jedi: Showcasing at the beginning a Rebel pilot extra as someone much deeper than just a kill-off Rebel pilot extra. Snoke bringing Kylo’s spirit down for getting beaten by Rey. Luke making Rey envision what is made up of the force. Holdo’s visually grand sacrifice. Anything relating to Chewbacca.
- The comedy in The Last Jedi is just flat out HORRENDOUS. Almost every gag is utterly cringy, forced, and prime examples of jokes that can only work for a once in a lifetime ordeal.
- Ya guys did Princess Leia dirty. Like, c’mon. There is no way you people could make her fly with no lead-up or hints to it and expect people not to think it’s the most hilarious event to ever transpire in Star Wars yet. Yes, she should be able to use the physical powers of the force, but like, did it really take her 50-something years to do so while she was unconsciously floating in space? Pretty questionable.
- How they wrote Vice Admiral Holdo. Sure, her sacrifice was d-o-p-e, but her intentions made no sense whatsoever. Her putting her own people at peril because she wanted to not tell anyone exactly what was going on for no apparent reason other than to be an asshole is such a grand-sized plot hole.
- The Finn and Rose’s Canto Bight sequence is just riddled with issues. Although, Finn and Rose’s foolery become the cause of hundreds of Rebel deaths and make for a terrifying enhancement of this movie’s theme of failure, there’s never really a moment where these two characters ever seem to feel the drastic consequences of their actions which they would need to progress onward and learn from it.
- Benicio Del Toro is lazily inserted into the movie. How they meet DJ is so poorly riddled with coincidence, it has me questioning what was going on in the writer’s room when this part of the story was written. The fact that Finn and Rose happened to be locked in a cage with a code breaker who just decided to escape right as they were coming in is hilariously fortuitous.
- Poe’s character is completely different than he was in The Force Awakens. In The Last Jedi, he’s this arrogant asshole who completely neglects the many deaths he caused for encouraging Leia to send in bomb fleets. While honestly, I much would’ve preferred this version of Poe than his unusually perfect persona from J.J. Abram’s vision because there’s a lot of great arc-development that you could make with that especially to switch gears up for this franchise, the two’s visions contradict in a way that makes the transition between them seem unearned.
- The “save the animals” message in this movie is so out of place and force-feed. I remember seeing that scene where they’re riding those giant Fathiers and legitimately thinking that the movie was trolling us. I kid you not, I was dumbfounded (LOL). When you compare the action in this movie to the action in The Force Awakens, there is a significant difference in quality. Rian Johnson just isn’t that educated in crafting large-scaled (action spectacles. It additionally, doesn’t help your message when you realize Rose decided to save a bunch of animals rather than the slave children who now have to clean up the mess Rose has made. Damn. The “selling weapons” message though whether to the good or bad side was insightful, however—and not too meaty or excessive. The best part about Canto Bight is we actually get to finally see that establishment of the bystander world of Star Wars, humanizing this galaxy.
- Luke’s death is poorly handled in my opinion. You can’t just make him stare at a binary sunset like he did in A New Hope and expect people to be pleased with that. Cheap move. There is no reason for him to have died in this movie other than to harken back to the original ‘77—that’s a J.J. Abrams moment…
- PORGS! And, BB-8 on top of an AT-ST with its top purposely removed so we can see BB-8. Those factors alone shouldn’t even need an explanation.
In these analyzations of the pros and the cons, it can be safe to say that I found The Last Jedi to be saved of being some blockbuster crisis because of its memorable and unforgettable sequences—that actually gainfully moved characters in new directions. These sequences nonetheless were sporadically misplaced into the very grubby plot that randomly inserted shocking events for the sake of randomly inserting shocking events. I couldn’t care less about the Star Wars lore technicalities that were mismatched (tracking through light speed, ghost Yoda being Zeus, force powers can now communicate clearly and send holograms), but I damn well care about the story elements in a movie feeling EARNED.
People are acting like it’s an apocalypse out there because this movie wasn’t good—it’s really amusing, to be honest. This isn’t life-or-death s***, it’s Star Wars. Sending abuse messages and threats to The Last Jedi co-stars is embarrassing and right-out unacceptable. Rian Johnson didn’t ruin Star Wars, you babies. George Lucas didn’t ruin it when he made two s*** prequels. Dave Filoni didn’t scramble it all up because he made that crappy Clone Wars movie. And Ron Howard didn’t f*** up Han Solo for me just because Solo: A Star Wars movie now exists. You fellas ought to realize that these are just pieces of a legacy that can easily be over-minded by better properties or future possibilities. They are dents more than anything. Somewhat ugly, but excusable, mistakes. Stop the fandom! Kill it, if you have to!
However, I think the hardcore, 5/5 lovers of this pretty mediocre blockbuster spectacle that are claiming haters just wanna hate because it “subverted their expectations” are just giving this movie the special treatment because it’s Star Wars property, and ever since Return of the Jedi, this franchise has been reproducing basically the same exact hero’s journey tale-tale—excluding Revenge. This applies especially towards people who were never big fans of Star Wars because it makes them believe that The Last Jedi is some special snowflake that jinxed the formula and made the series some highbrow saga like Lord of the Rings. No, señor. I mean, imagine the amount of ego some people must have to think that The Last Jedi is inherently “flawless” or a piece that only cinematic intellectuals can understand—no disrespect. Rian Johnson’s film simply reorganized the classic recipe and disguised it as something “different.” Well, it’s frankly not? Space battles, lightsaber fights, funny sidekicks, and cheap references, oh my. Space battles, lightsaber fights, funny sidekicks…
All in all, The Last Jedi in ways, is spectacular and terrible. If there’s anything we can take away from this, it’s that sometimes dividing a fanbase with insanity can make for quite the radical experience outside of the movie itself. Good on you, Rian Johnson? Thanks for listening to my Star Wars TED Talk. We’ll talk more on December 19th. See you then.
“Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” is now available to stream on Netflix.