Review: The Last Jedi…Movie I’ll Ever Watch

 

Written by: SDP

***SPOILERS AHEAD*** 

 

Let me preface this first by saying that I am a life-long Star Wars fan. I watched the originals hundreds of times growing up. The prequels, though full of cringe worthy dialogue,

to their credit, actually had an interesting plot line and it gave a decent history of Palpatine’s rise to power and Anakin’s duality and fall from grace. The best light-saber battles we have ever seen are found in those poorly scripted cinematic misadventures.

 

I had some beef with The Force Awakens and have written about them in the past , but overall, I was just happy (albeit slightly annoyed) to see a pretty descent adaption of A New Hope on the big screen again. 

My problems with The Last Jedi are many. 

From the beginning… 

The First Order, though they should be reeling from the loss of their Planet/Starkiller Base,

are on the brink of destroying the last little remnant of the Resistance/Republic. A handful of planets got blown up in the last movie.

Were those supposed to make up the ENTIRE republic?? Just exactly how small is this galaxy far far away? In The Revenge of the Sith,  the republic represented hundreds of planets, as can be seen by all of the representatives seats that Darth Sidious chucks at Yoda.

I know Sidious dissolved the Senate in A New Hope, but the only planet that got blown up was Alderaan. So how is the New Republic, 40 years after defeating the Empire, so poorly “represented”, small and weak and the remnants of the Empire still so strong? 

So here they are about to wipe out the last band of rebels. They destroy  every other rebel ship in seconds and for some reason, the AFT shield on the last rebel ship cannot be penetrated as long as they have gas? Why? All the other ships had shields and presumably fuel and they were overcome in a matter of seconds. And if it is a question of range, why didn’t the First Order bring their entire fleet?  Do their other squadrons have more pressing issues than wiping out the few remaining Rebels in one fell swoop? Why not at least bring in another Dreadknot on the fleeing side of the rebel ship and cut them off? Or bust out the “miniaturized Death Star Tech” and use that? 

General Hux

General Hux is too baby faced to really take him seriously as a “seasoned general”, but at least he seemed Hitlerishly menacing in TFA. In the Last Jedi, he is caked with makeup and is much more comically evil. Even the jokes between him and Poe in the beginning and subsequent Porg/Nun humor have a strong Marvel flavor. 

Fin and Rose

That whole subplot was mind-numbing. They literally hop on a shuttle and light speed, undetected, to a different planet in a different system.  If they could do that, then why didn’t they have all the survivors on the cruiser hop aboard shuttles and hyperspace in different directions to different planets in the first place? They could have even planned to rendezvous elsewhere after gaining some reinforcements. 

Why did the republic have to call on Maz for advice on where to find a “code breaker”? Surely they would have access to somebody, or a something ie: I don’t know, maybe a friggin’ droid with some type of code breaking skills. R2D2, where you at homie? How many times did you hack the Empire in the past?

 

Maz says the ONLY one that could crack the code is some guy with a lapel pin on Canto Bite. 

They go there and have zero interaction with the one that Maz said was the ONLY person that could help. Instead they go with Del Toro’s character who had painfully little development and who can apparently do exactly what only the high rolling lapel wearer could do.

How was Del Toro’s character so good at hacking? Where did he come from? Why didn’t Maz know about him? What was the point in even having the guy with the lapel pin to begin with? Why not have Maz say, “The man you need is a scoundrel, who is currently being held in a prison on Canto Bite, you need to go there with a plan to escape, get arrested on purpose and then break him out, then he will help you.” That would have made more sense!

The whole animal rights activism stuff, though honorable and insert more politically correct stuff here, gets in the way of the urgency of their mission. And the whole getaway scene riding those camel things had some painfully bad CGI, reminiscent of Anakin riding those round water cows or whatever they are in AOTC.

And if all they were guilty of was a parking violation, why did the police arrest them and later blow up their ship that they were trying to get to and move? Seems a little ridiculous over all really. 

The light speed kamikaze was a cool scene, but does the First Order ship not have a working shield? Wouldn’t the rebel cruiser, no matter how fast it is traveling just implode as it impacts on the shield? If all it takes is ship traveling at light speed to penetrate their shields why not launch a bunch of x-wings piloted by droids at light speed and blow the First Order’s entire fleet to bits? Or at very least, why not have Admiral Holdo get in one of the light speed capable little shuttles, like Fin and Rose were in, and kamikaze with that? Surely even a lightweight meteor traveling that fast would rip through the First Order’s ship. Then everyone could have stayed on the big cruiser and made one last jump to light speed themselves without being tracked.  

Leia

Let’s be honest, Leia should have died when she got pulled out into space. I get it that it is cool seeing her use the force but still…she was pretty dead. Then she is on life support, could have died then, but “luckily” pulls through. Then I expected her to volunteer to be the kamikaze pilot and do the light speed thing, since the actor Carrie Fisher is actually deceased and they have to write her out at some point, and Holdo is extremely underdeveloped as a character and could lead the Resistance on in the next movie, but no, Leia kicks on and the barely introduced purple haired Dr. Sattler does the honors. Then by the end, at the base on Crate, Leia could have and should have died as a result of the First Order’s attack, or the blast by the “battering ram” or something!  But again, Leia survived. Now she will be awkwardly missing with a poor excuse written in to explain her absence in the next installment!

Luke

I was worried from the start…

…that they would turn Luke into the Tony Stark we saw in Iron Man 3.  Scared, cowering, no confidence. 

What do you mean, you “knew you were no match for the darkness rising in him”, you are Luke freaking Skywalker! Trained by Obi-Wan and Yoda, son of Darth Vader! You should be one of the baddest asses of them all! Instead we see him sword fight with a stick! Pull out his green saber once and a make believe blue saber another time. He is cynical and jaded and afraid, and I get that, but if that is the road you are taking with the character then at least apply the rules!

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” “Once you start down the dark path forever it will dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” Make him evil or make him good, either way he needs to be a force to be reckoned with (pun intended).

The director of Rogue One understood this, the empire is menacing, not comical, and the scene with Darth at the end gave audiences exactly what they wanted to see! The Darth Vader from lore and legend, the Darth that is crazy powerful, agile and takes no prisoners.

Audiences wanted something similar from Luke. What they got was a force-projected hologram taunting the rising Sith wannabe, that was apparently so difficult to conjure that afterwards an exhausted Luke dissipates into nothingness….

Good job Luke. Good job. If you are gonna talk trash, at least be able to back it up! 

If that was how it was going to be, why not go face Kylo in person? 

All the mishaps in the story leading up to Luke arriving on Crate would have been generously forgiven if Luke would have epically destroyed the approaching army single handedly. He could have wielded both his green and blue sabers. Or if he had two green sabers then audiences and toy companies alike would have exclaimed, “Oh crap, he made another one!” Have him rage “Force Fury” style

wielding and hurling multiple sabers, charging them with force lightning and then sending the lightning blast out to destroy the AT-M6’s advancing on him. Have him singlehandedly and definitively whoop Ben Solo’s whiny butt, along with an amputation and send them all packing.

Luke could have told him, “hey better bring your ‘Knights’ next time”. The First Order could retreat and even though there were so few rebels left, it would have been like, “but yeah they have Luke so, they’re good.”  Rey could sensibly add to her miniscule training and all would be well next episode when Luke and Rey face off against Kylo and his Knights!  

Snoke

Who the hell was that guy?? How did he come to power? Why was he so strong? Who trained him? Maybe he is an alumni from the same online Jedi School that Rey seems to be apart of. In TFA, you didn’t even know if Snoke had the force. In this one you see him rank with it, toying with Rey, and bitch-slapping Kylo with force lightning.

The last of the Sith were Palpatine and Vader. You can’t just not explain that and escape mass uprisings of fans. If he is so strong as to “bridge the minds” of Kylo and Rey, how did he not read Kylo’s mind moments before he got smote?

And if he can locate and bridge Rey’s mind and see her surroundings on Skellig, then why didn’t he do that with Luke in TFA and bypass finding the stupid map to Skywalker in the first place. Snoke could have just gone to Skellig and taken care of business himself.  Obviously Luke wouldn’t have been a threat in the state we saw him in TLJ and Snoke would have made light work of him. 

Instead, Snoke died as fast as he appeared with no explanation as to why he was anything to anybody in the first place. Truthfully, that scene was more reminiscent of Sideous, Skywalker and Vader in ROJ and would have been better suited for the third act after characters are better developed and Rey gets Ben to turn back to the light, or plot twist she joins him and they rule the galaxy.

No answers, no sith lightning, no saber dual, just Darth Maul…

…I mean Snoke cut in two. Who approved of this malarkey? Was a single fan of the franchise consulted on this? A quick text message to George Lucas? Did Rian Johnson even watch TFA? Kathleen Kennedy, where the hell were you at on this one when you signed off on it? 

Rey

So you come from nobody….makes sense. I mean Anakin came from nothing right? Wrong! No he didn’t! He was conceived by the force as either a fulfillment of “prophecy”

or he was conceived through the experiments of Darth Plagueis and Darth Sideous while they were exploring the force as they “manipulated midi-chlorians to create life”

Either way there is a huge explanation as to why Anakin existed and why he was so strong.  

Rey is nobody. Ok, so the force had to be balanced and “darkness rises and light to meet it”.  She still needs to be trained! Anakin was trained from boyhood, by Qui Gon and Obi Wan and mentored by Yoda and Mace Windu. It took him years to be admitted to the Jedi counsel and after turning dark was under the stewardship and training of Sideous for the rest of his life. 

Kylo was trained, by Luke and is the grandson of Darth Vader! Makes sense that he is strong, but he too needed years of training and is still unpredictable and juvenile in his behavior and knowledge of the force. 

Yet, here Rey is, no proper lineage, no training at all, save the 1.5 lessons she got from Luke on Skellig, and she is Kylo’s equal?? Both force gripping Anakins’ old saber with equal hold until it shears apart? Sorry, doesn’t make sense man. Again, Rian did you even watch the last movie? Have you seen any of them?? 

The dark hole in the ground. What was that about? Didn’t make any sense at all. At least when Luke ended up in a weird force cave in ESB there was meaning to what he saw.

Nothing dark in the dark hole. Nothing menacing. No saber dual. Not anything really. And no consequence for ignoring Luke’s call to resist the darkness and no follow up to the fact that she “went straight to the dark” and “didn’t resist at all”. 

Yoda

Good grief. He looked horrible. He looked like the cartoon straight off of the Clone Wars cartoon or the Disney Infinity video game!

His advice was fine and when he burns down the tree he discounts the value of the last Jedi texts by saying that what Rey needed was already inside here. One could conclude that the texts were not as valuable as we were originally lead to believe and that Luke should shift his focus to training her instead of pining away at this ancient Jedi tree-house.

But later, it turns out Rey stole the texts and had them in the Millennium Falcon, but why? If they were worthless like Yoda said, then this seems like a cheap way to be like, “Oh, well, yeah, now that Luke is gone, she will just become a Jedi by reading a few books.”

Sure, she will become stronger than Kylo Ren by taking a Jedi correspondence course or self-study class. Bumpkiss! It seems like Yoda’s advice should have come a little earlier during Luke’s tenure at the Island.  Like maybe before Rey’s arrival!   

Yoda, “Hey Luke, incoming, there is a trainee coming in with my stamp of approval. I want you to get off your duff and help her out, mmmmkay.”

And if Yoda can make an appearance why didn’t they have Kenobi?

After all, we did hear Obi Wan speaking to Rey in the TFA. 

Long and short of it, they had an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to have Luke Skywalker back on the big screen and they blew it! He could have and should have been and done something amazing!

So many opportunities and so many different directions they could have gone and I was thoroughly disappointed in the direction they decided to take. Luke could have faced off against Snoke, against Kylo and his Knights, against team Rey and Ben Solo, against the incoming army on Crate, against a friggin’ sea monster on Skelling.

Instead we got the temporarily amazing scene where he survives the blasts from the Walkers, only to find out that he wasn’t even there to begin with so his surviving wasn’t as epic as originally thought.

After Kylo runs him through, you fear the worst, as it appears he has been force-ghosted. Then you are pleasantly surprised when you see Luke is still alive safe and sound on his little island!

Only to be horrified when, due to exhaustion from projecting his worthless astral hologram across the cosmos, he force-ghosts himself!!!!!

Dammit Rian!! You were gifted the chance to put Luke back on the big screen!

“Lame, Lame, Lame, Lame, Lame!”

I hated that part the most. I hated it as much as Anakin hates sand. 

 

At the end of The Force Awakens, I was a little disappointed that it was basically “A Newer Hope”.  After The Last Jedi, I am left wishing it was a little more like Empire Strikes Back and a lot less like…The Last Jedi. 

 

 

 

 

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