Yes, I’m already back on schedule with a new movie review. Today I will be adding to the flood of Star Wars reviews in your timelines with my take on The Last Jedi. This post will be chock-full of spoilers so if you haven’t seen the biggest blockbuster of the year by now, I recommend doing so before giving this a read.
I need to preface this post with my thoughts on the newest Lucas Films ventures. When The Force Awakens rolled around, I was beyond excited. Finally, the most over-hyped franchise is back. This movie HAS to be good, right? Well, not quite. Actually, not at all. I hated this movie the first time I saw it. Then Rogue One was released and I begrudgingly went to the theatre and came out overjoyed. Finally, a modern Star Wars movie that I can put on par with the originals! This got me excited for The Last Jedi and even pushed me to give The Force Awakens a second chance.
Opening weekend was finally here and I had to see it before the full chaos of Christmas kicked in. Well I’m not surprised to say that I have mixed feelings towards this movie. While it’s flawed in all the ways The Force Awakens was, this movie is well made and fun to watch. I hope you can bear with me since this will be a long, long post as I try to explain the conflicting nature of this controversial movie.
This movie was yet another remake, but this time of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. How The Force Awakens didn’t incur outrage over the fact that was a crappier version of A New Hope is beyond me. Even the producers admitted to it and it somehow passed with the fans. I’m glad to see viewers are finally speaking out about the cheap writing of these movies. You can’t expect your die-hard supporters to be okay with you overhyping a massive blockbuster for it only to be the same exact movies they’ve already seen. It’s ridiculous to sit in a theatre after paying for an overpriced ticket to have the same exact plot points thrown at you.
After releasing Rogue One, this series has no excuse for its writing. If they can release an entirely new story and create a masterful addition to this expansive universe, then they can pick up this series and push it forward without the help of the older scripts.
I will say, I do enjoy the homage to the original movies. I think this film tows the line of remaking movies and paying respect to them. As cheesy as Luke’s death was, I did like the double sun on the horizon touch they added. I also think throwing Yoda into the movie was a great touch. While my dad predicted that before we even got to the theatre, it was fun to see Luke and his master reunited. Things like having a planet of salt instead of snow just doesn’t make the cut of giving tribute. That’s just a copy and pasted scene from the original trilogy.
There was at least one entirely new story added to the movie. When Finn and Rose escape to find the master code breaker, they find themselves on a planet filled with the richest souls in the galaxy. It was important for Finn’s character development, Rose’s introduction to the series, and sprinkles some political commentary throughout the movie. However, there was no point to the entire sequence. This chunk of the movie took up a large amount of time for absolutely nothing productive to the story to come of it. It was a complete Raiders of the Lost Ark moment for the series and ended up being a cheesy way to push character development on an audience.
There were also many moments in the movie where I could practically feel the memes oozing from the screen. There definitely are some cringe worthy scenes that you can’t help but giggle at. Kylo’s high-wasted fashion disaster? That’s been circling around twitter since its debut.
The Last Jedi also suffers the curse of predictability. There really wasn’t any major plot point that wasn’t heavily implied. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I did still love watching this movie, even if I knew what was going to happen. There were some good shocks and surprises thrown in so it wasn’t unbearably bland.
Okay, the majority of my ranting is done. I do want to highlight some aspects that made me enjoy it so much. The first of which being the characters themselves. This series thrives on flawed characters who we all become attached to. Heck, Luke, Leia, and Han are some of the most annoyingly flawed characters that movie-goers have every rallied around.
Rey’s character is being fleshed out even more. I’m glad they let the mystery of her parentage finally drop. She can move on and we can have a hero that isn’t bound to the Skywalker name. She can be more than just another member of Anakin’s soap opera. I love her temptation with the dark side and really want to see why she’s so connected with Kylo Ren.
Speaking of which, let’s discuss Kylo. I’ve never hidden the fact that I genuinely dislike this character. I think he’s spoiled, annoying, and isn’t much fun to watch. However, this movie did throw him a bone. He’s much more interesting than I gave him credit for. He may still be an infuriating man-child, but he has some interesting conflict within him. I’m excited to see if the writers do something interesting with this inner-turmoil or if they just pull a Vader and call it a day.
Finn got some much needed characterization. I wanted to like him in The Force Awakens but his character dragged the movie down for me. He finally seems to be finding himself and making his place in the universe. Rose is also a fun addition to the movies. I love her uplifting attitude and I really hope to see her shine in the next one.
However enjoyable these characters have been, there were two that really did wear me down. Luke is back and as whiney as ever. After all this time, he’s still just that lost teen in The Empire Strikes Back. I wanted more of his story but less of him. He has an epic redemption scene which is neat to watch, yet I was happy to see him go in the end.
Poe was a favorite of mine from The Force Awakens. We didn’t see much of the rambunctious pilot then. In this movie they tried to push a weak story him. His non-stop whining and short-temper became exhausting to watch. When he finally learns his lesson, it was through an awkward story time with him and Leia that just doesn’t land. It was a cheesy way of implying that he will be taking Leia’s place as leader of the rebellion and really weighed down one of my favorite characters. I’m hoping this sets him up to have some quality scenes without it focusing on his ego.
While the writing lagged in many ways, this movie was actually pretty funny. I found myself laughing regularly when the tense scenes were over. I think the comedy really helped the time whiz by. Being the longest Star Wars movie to date, it needed something to keep the audience going other than action.
Finally, we need to discuss how downright gorgeous this movie is. The CGI was nearly flawless as new worlds and creatures were brought to life. The natural landscapes used are beautiful, every visual of space or the ships is near perfect, and the creativity behind all of the design is inspiring. They really knocked this one out of the park when it comes to visuals.
The movie was extremely polarizing for the fans and I can sympathize with both sides. It’s a remake filled with cheap writing. It takes advantage of fans and casual move goers as it is the blockbuster of the year. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch. It’s funny, it’s dramatic, and it’s just beautiful to look at. I rank The Last Jedi above The Force Awakens but it doesn’t even some close to touching Rogue One.
What do you think of this movie? I’d love to hear from die-hard Star Wars fanatics and the casual fans who may not know much about the series as a whole. I’m quite captivated by the backlash this movie received compared to the warm welcome of the less-deserving The Force Awakens. As always, let me know if you have any recommendations for me to check out. Thanks for bearing with this long, rambling post and I’ll see you soon!