Now that I’ve seen this movie an entire 3 times and thought about it and discussed it with many people, I finally feel ready to form an opinion and write it down. So here we are!
Since it’s been a few weeks since Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out, I’m not going to avoid spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen it and have successfully avoided spoilers as of yet (what rock have you been living under?), you might not want to read this review, because spoiler alert!
Another warning: I have a lot of feelings about this movie, so I’m going to use a lot of words to describe them… which is my weird way of saying: sorry for the long post.
I’m going to sort this review into the things that I liked and the things that I didn’t, because that’s easier for me.
I’ll start with the bad stuff so I can end it on a good note.
1. It was too long. It’s never good when a movie feels too long, and this one felt like it could have cut a half hour at least. The entire sequence of Finn and Rose on Canto Bight could have been cut or at least shortened – the movie would have been the exact same. If the point was to have a more or less pointless sequence to show that not every plan ends well, that’s fine, but then it should have been shorter. If the point was to introduce a hacker who could later betray them – again, could have been shorter. If they meant to introduce us to that group of force-sensitive kids, they could have done that in less time. I’m sorry, I just really felt like that sequence was more or less irrelevant to the plot…
2. Luke Skywalker’s character felt nothing like the Luke we met and loved in the original trilogy. I get that he wants to be alone on that island and is scared of teaching another person who is as strong with the force as Rey because of what happened with Ben/Kylo Ren, but seriously? Tossing that lightsaber – which, by the way, he hasn’t seen since it fell down a botomless pit in Cloud City 30 years ago along with his hand, and also belonged to his father (if I remember correctly) – without even questioning how Rey came by it for a second? That felt like a cheap laugh. And I’m not saying I didn’t laugh, I just thought it was weird that he tossed it and left without even saying a word. And don’t even get me started on his refusal to help his sister, because that’s not the Luke Skywalker we met and loved in the Original movies. Although that changed in the second half of the movie, thank god.
3. The inconsistencies. There were a few things that felt like they were changed simply so the movie could go in a different direction – Rey’s attitude toward Kylo Ren, for instance. She calls him a monster and hates him – until the moment he tells her about Luke’s “betrayal” (without wearing a shirt, which still feels weird to me, even after seeing it three times and understanding that it’s not about the shirtlessness…)? And then all of a sudden she’s on his side and convinced she can save him, despite everything he’s done? She changed her mind so completely, it still baffles me. Another thing was the way she acted toward Luke: he tells her, pretty much straight away, that it’s his fault Ben Solo turned into Kylo Ren, and she comforts him; but then, Kylo tells her his sob-story, and she starts yelling at Luke for creating Kylo Ren? What the hell? He told you that from the beginning?
4. The change in direction. I understand that, with two different directors, there’s gonna be a change in vision, but I would have loved not to be able to see that. Because the changes from J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens to Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi were anything but smooth. It’s like Rian Johnson had this completely different idea for this franchise, and instead of accepting that he got the sequel and not the first movie, and thus continuing the story-lines J.J. Abrams started building up in his movie, he said “f*ck this, I’m doing my own thing” and took an entirely different direction (pun fully intended). Starting with the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren (you may have figured out that I simply do not ship them and maybe hate that ship a little bit… so I’m very biased on this), that felt inconsistent with the way Rey acted in The Force Awakens – but this I could get over. What really annoys me is that J.J. Abrams did this whole build-up around the identities of Rey’s parents, and then Rian Johnson comes along and just goes “nope, they’re not important; moving on” – don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the idea that Rey made them up to be these important people and that’s why we were made to feel the same, and that the disappointment we felt was a shadow of what she must have felt like; but I also think that it’s not fair, because even though it makes sense, it did not feel like this was where J.J. Abrams was headed with that story. And then there’s the whole Snoke thing. That dude was supposed to be the uber-bad-guy; the next Emperor or whatever – and he dies. Just like that. And we learn nothing about him, even though we all had sooo many questions, starting with who the hell is he? Where did he come from? What happened to his face? How was he able to Force-connect Kylo Ren and Rey even though he didn’t even know who Rey was? How did he find her? If he knew where she was, couldn’t he just have sent a few Stormtroopers to burn Ahch-To to the ground and destroy Luke, Rey and the original Jedi texts all at the same time?
5. The forced conflict between Haldo and Poe. I mean, seriously? The guy might be a hot-head, and he might annoy you, but what kind of leader lets their people believe they’re going to die because there’s no plan out of spite? All he wants to know was if there’s a plan. And she doesn’t tell him, because she doesn’t seem to like him. The entire mutiny could have been completely avoided if Haldo had talked to him like a normal person, instead of treating him like an idiotic child. When Leia finally tells him the plan, his reaction is literally “yeah, that’s a good plan, that might work”. So why not tell him? It really felt like the movie just wanted to have conflict for the sake of conflict, but apparently didn’t find a believeable one.
6. Leia Force-flying through space. Just… what. the. hell. I’m all for her being Force-sensitive, but that was a horribly awkward scene and it felt weird.
7. Though I liked the relationship between Rose and Finn, and I liked Rose, I absolutely did not feel any romantic chemistry between the two of them. I just figured they’re friends until that super awkward kiss. It isn’t even a real kiss, more like a peck or something. They would have had an awesome friendship, but no, they had to make it weird. Not every relationship between a man and a woman has to be romantic. That is so heteronormative… especially because it felt – to me – as though Rian Johnson either wants a super awkward love-pentagon between Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose and Kylo Ren, or just wanted there to be a kiss in the movie, and this one was the best he could do.
8. They said they “sent off Carrie Fisher in a great way”, and that she would have a “bigger role in this movie”. Leia is in a coma for half of it, and still very much alive at the end? Which begs a few questions, starting with: how are they going to deal with Carrie Fisher’s death in Episode IX? What’s going to happen to Leia? (And I’m sad we’ll probably never really get a reunion between Leia and Ben…)
9. They just killed off Admiral Ackbar, who’s been there since the beginning, like he was a side character 😦
Now about the good stuff:
1. This movie was visually stunning. I want half of it as posters to plaster my appartment with. It looks beautiful – here are three of my favorites scenes: Haldo flying the Resistance ship into Snoke’s huge Destroyer-thingy and it just breaks in two. Combined with the – I think it’s about ten seconds? – of silence… that was a scene done right. Then there’s Luke standing alone in front of the AC-TCs and half of the First Order – also awesome. And the last one is when Rey moves all those rocks out of the way so the last of the Resistance can escape, and she stands there surrounded by flying rocks for a second or so – I loved that. The entirety of the planet Crait looked amazing! I loved the salt on the red ground, and everything they did with it.
2. The humor. I’m torn with this one, because it felt a lot more like Marvel or Disney humor than Star Wars humor, but I still laughed. Although, admittedly, I wouldn’t have minded less jokes…
3. Rose is a sweet, interesting new character, that I wish they would have done more with. She is obviously very smart and brave, and I would have loved for her to have a more important role. Here’s to hoping they use her better and more in Episode IX.
4. The Rey-Kylo Ren fight against Snoke’s guard looked amazing. I loved the way they fought together, and the yin-yang visual they had going on.
5. Luke fighting against Kylo Ren was also pretty nice. There were a few Matrix-moves in there, which was kind of awesome, and it also reminded everyone that there’s a reason why the First Order is scared of Luke Skywalker.
7. The entire second half of the movie was pretty great. I like the action sequences, I love the visuals, the editing is lot less sloppy and the dialogue a lot less awkward. It is epic in the way that only Star Wars can be, and I love that.
8. I like the way they tell the viewer what happened between Luke and Ben; the difference between their stories, to show the way perspective changes memories and stories. I enjoyed that, and I was glad to learn about it. And I am also glad that they end up telling the real story as well, which is somewhere between the way they tell their memories to Rey.
9. I always love learning more and seeing more of the Star Wars Universe. We see new places in this movie, and meet new creatures, and they all look fantastic. The porgs are – though obviously only created to sell merchandise – adorable, and I might buy some merchandise because I’m a sucker for that sh*t. The Crystal Foxes (I just read they’re called Vulptex?) are beautiful, the Space Horses (Fathiers, if I remember correctly) are incredibly well done, even the Fish Nuns on Ahch-To – they’re all super cool.
10. The force-sensitive kids are about the only thing I actually cared about in the whole Finn-and-Rose-on-Canto-Bight-sequence. Are they going to be the next generation of Jedi? How many people in the galaxy are actually Force-sensitive? That would be awesome. I’m really curious about these kids (wait, technically, we only know that one of them is Force-sensitive…).
My Rating: Acceptable. I really, really, really wanted to love this movie, and I love a lot of people did, but I just have too many problems with it. It’s still an enjoyable movie that I will most certainly add to my Star Wars collection, and, like I said, I absolulely loved the second half of it… but the first half was too slow, too awkward, the dialogue cringy, and the movie too long. But I’m still super excited for Episode XI and the Han Solo stand-alone!
What about you? Any thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi?