(The following will contain SPOILERS for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. You have been warned.)
Happy New Year to all you wonderful folk! Hopefully, 2018 will be more awesome than 2017. Even though there were highs, the lows REALLY sucked donkey ass. I have some site updates that will go up tomorrow, but I wanted to get right into my first post of the new year.
While I was off taking my break, my family and I went to see The Last Jedi and that was… an experience. Its been weeks since I saw the movie and I still haven’t exactly sussed out how I feel about it all. This will be more about my overall impressions and less a review since this is the kind of movie I feel would benefit from a second watch. I am still pretty conflicted about the movie, but just like with any film there were things I liked and things I didn’t.
Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the movie so let’s get into the things I liked about The Last Jedi. This is perhaps one of the most well directed Star Wars movies ever made. Rian Johnson is a talented director and there are some truly stunning shots and sequences. Among my favorites were the Kylo/Rey team up battle against the elite Praetorian guards and the third act battle on the mineral world of Crait. It was very clear that Lucasfilm wanted Johnson to do something fresh with the Star Wars lore and they got that. While this has both negative and positive consequences(in my opinion), I can not deny that for better or worse, The Last Jedi is a very different Star Wars movie.
The performances were solid across the board, even if the direction the actor’s character was given didn’t exactly work. Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver are really the standouts here. While I might not love the direction they took my childhood hero, I respect the creative choice and Star Wars as a franchise might be all the better for it. I’m just glad that we got to finally see Luke and Leia on screen together(kind of) again. While this was very much Luke’s journey, Leia had a more prominent role too. Carrie Fisher was given more to do in this film than in the previous one so it was good to see my favorite Star Wars character back in action. I loved that when the rebels thought they were being attacked in the bunker, Leia was right there in front with a rifle in her hand. Although she was a general now, she was still the princess we all knew and loved.
Here are the things I either hated or felt conflicted by. I’ve seen The Last Jedi getting raked over the coals online for not answering any questions. I actually think that sentiment is false. The Last Jedi gives us a lot of answers, but a huge part of the audience found those answers to be disappointing.
Part of this can be attributed to unrealistic expectations. Lucasfilm didn’t force people into the cult-like online speculation about the questions that were raised in The Force Awakens. That part is on the fandom. However, The Force Awakens made it a point to raise certain questions such as “Who are Rey’s Parents?” While, as a writer, I can get behind a hero rising above their lineage and taking their destiny into their own hands, the reveal in Snoke’s throne room felt cheap. Snoke’s ultimate fate seemed like a waste of Andy Serkis’ talents and it was yet another answer that audiences felt disappointed by. In the end, Snoke was just a convenient plot device to give Kylo Ren control of The First Order.
Finn and Rose’s plotline could have been removed from the movie as it was ultimately inconsequential and felt pretty hamfisted. Even from a character’s journey perspective, there were better ways to have Finn realize he needs to fight for more than just himself and Rey. I hated the Leia death fake out and WHAT THE FUCK was that scene with Luke milking an eight titted alien? Didn’t need to see that. I know it sounds like I’m shitting on the movie and I kind of am, but at the very least Disney didn’t try to make another safe Star Wars movie because that would have been a mistake. I’m not sure where I would rank this movie in the Star Wars franchise, but maybe with time and the release of Episode IX, things will be made clearer as to where all these pieces fit into the Saga.
Those were just some of my own thoughts on The Last Jedi. If you’ve seen the film, let me know in the comments below some of your own thoughts, whether they be good or bad. I’ll see you all tomorrow with an update on the site.