There’s been a lot of complaining about it, so we’re going to look at Everything Wrong With The Last Jedi without nitpicking.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been described as ‘the most divisive Star Wars movie’ but it’s not actually that divisive unless we include critic reviews who all loved it. The vast majority of fans are unhappy with the film and even those who liked it have a lot they didn’t like about it too, but what is the problem with the movie?
Everything Wrong With The Last Jedi
There were a lot of good things in the movie, let’s be upfront about that, but this movie is a 6/10 at best and I’m a little unsure if I actually prefer The Phantom Menace more. Either way, the acting was what you’d expect from a Star Wars movie, the effects were great, the space battles were impressive as were the action sequences, but the film was let down by its writing.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens with Poe Dameron approaching a First Order Dreadnought Class Star Destroyer with BB-8 declaring he has a bad feeling about this in beeps and whistles. Poe hails the Dreadnought and requests to speak to General Hux, declaring he’ll hold when Hux answers him. While this is the first of many laughs in the film, the term “I’ll hold” is completely out of place as it’s a modern phrase and not the sort of thing that would normally appear in a Star Wars movie, plus when the joke is repeated with the dialogue ending with a ‘your mother’ joke we’re firmly out of Star Wars territory. Star Wars has always had humour and terrible dialogue but never humour of this nature and the dialogue was always poorly written rather than including words or phrasing that are modern slang.
Poe seems to have turned from cool and collected ace pilot to petulant child as he gets demoted after disobeying orders, a theme which will prevail throughout the film.
While the scene of Kylo Ren hesitating to fire on the Resistance bridge and kill his mother is well done, the rest of this plot thread is dire and totally illogical. Carrie Fisher died at the end of 2016 and we know that the scenes she filmed for the next Star Wars movie won’t be used, so Princess Leia dying on the exploding bridge would have been a perfect ending for the character even though it’d require removing and reshooting the other scenes involving Fisher in The Last Jedi. Considering Rogue One was largely reshot then we know it could have been done. Instead we are treated to Leia surviving in the vacuum of space and then flying Mary Poppins style back to the ship before slipping into a coma. Ignoring the logic that she seems to be unconscious in space so can’t be protecting herself with The Force and the ridiculousness of her traversing space, Leia survives to reappear later in the film and do very little. This means that Leia will now be written out of the next film via the opening crawl rather than dying on screen which is a total waste of one of the most iconic characters from the past 40 years.
Likewise, we’re informed after the fact that Admiral Ackbar is dead in a total throwaway moment rather than his death meaning something. Sure, he’s not a main character but he’s a very memorable part of the original trilogy and been the subject of hundreds of viral macros so you think he’d get a better send off. Another character and potentially emotional moment wasted.
Leia’s replacement is named as Vice Admiral
Hodor Holdo who is going to hold the door direction of the fleet and not fight back against the First Order even though they are running out of fuel. Cue Poe Dameron arguing with Holdo with him favouring attack rather than being picked off. Holdo promptly puts him in his place with a verbal beating that is ‘brilliant writing that illustrates how men won’t take instructions in the workplace from women’ according to a feminist critic who was evidently watching a different film to me. Holdo is an interesting character who is a little undermined by the fact that she seemed to think it was casual Friday and shows up on the bridge in a casual dress.
Meanwhile Finn who was a coward in the first film that discovered courage decides to not hang around to be killed and tries to hijack an escape pod. While his motivation is to ensure Rey doesn’t return to the fleet only to get slaughtered, Finn’s lies to Rose Tico almost give an impression that he’s saving his own hide rather than protecting Rey. Also the idea that Finn loves Rey is dropped entirely in this film, although it was apparently mentioned in a scene cut from the movie. Finn becomes a cringey comedy character while mechanic Rose Tico starts as a comedy character who seems to be fairly dim but suddenly turns into an expert on everything. When Tico, Finn, Dameron and BB-8 hatch a plan that involves Finn and Tico sneaking aboard Snoke’s ship (two teams trying to bring down a superweapon just like Return of the Jedi), Tico’s expertise is spreading because Finn is now an expert on Star Destroyers despite the fact that his job was to clean toilets on them. Finn doesn’t seem to notice that the Stomtroopers’ helmets have changed since the last movie, despite The Last Jedi picking up right at the end of The Force Awakens and for some reason the group have to ask Maz Kanata (you know, the alien woman from Force Awakens with bumholes for eyes) for advice.
Speaking of picking up where we left off, we find Rey holding out the lightsaber to hand back to Luke which he promptly throws over his shoulder before walking off. Apparently writer Rian Johnson thought he was writing a Saturday Night Live sketch or YouTube parody and not a Star Wars movie. There are some great parts to the story on Ahch-To but we’re firmly in Monty Python territory as we’re treated to running gags where Rey repeatedly annoys the island’s caretakers and Luke pranks Rey; thankfully not resulting in Luke declaring “IT’S A PRANK BRO!” Rey gets very little actual training as the plot revolves more around her convincing Luke to connect with The Force again and join the fight against The First Order. The reveal of the conflict between Kylo Ren and his former master is clever and done well but is totally overshadowed by comedy and Luke’s disturbing milking of a weird four breasted creature. Luke Skywalker is written as if Rian Johnson had no idea who the character was and worse still has R2-D2 remind Luke, and the audience, of who Luke was when they met in A New Hope. The whiny yet courageous Luke of A New Hope, the unswervingly loyal Luke of Empire Strikes Back and the self assured, cool, Luke of Return of the Jedi are all swept aside in favour of Luke being portrayed as a crazy hermit like the one Yoda was pretending to be in Empire. Worse still, Luke is now almost cowardly, self absorbed and indifferent to everything, not to mention angry with the Jedis. He could accept Obi Wan Kenobi lying to him about Darth Vader, he could accept kissing his own sister because he wasn’t told that Leia and he were related but yet he can’t get over Obi Wan training Anakin Skywalker? The same Luke who was willing to sacrifice himself to try and redeem the tiny bit of Anakin left within Vader, now can’t forgive the Jedi for training him, despite Luke knowing first hand (no pun intended) how seductive The Dark Side is. A case can be made for Jedis running from adversity and sulking in seclusion, as it was what both Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda did but in their cases they were totally overpowered, whereas Luke is more powerful than Kylo Ren and could have killed him before he gained more skill with the Force.
Eventually Rey decides that this film needs to follow The Force Awakens remake pattern by abandoning her training (Empire Strikes Back) to redeem Kylo Ren as she can feel there’s still good in him (Return of the Jedi). Luke carries on brooding while Yoda’s Force Ghost decides to join in the comedy before hitting Luke in the head with his walking stick, again sacrificing storytelling for cheap laughs.
It’s at this point where the movie totally falls apart and stops making any sense whatsoever.
Finn and Rose have gone to a casino to find a master hacker to break in to Snoke’s ship, instead they completely ignore Maz Kanata’s advice to look for the guy with the red flower and just hire the first scumbag they find before we’re introduced to new camel creatures and lectures on child and animal cruelty. By now Finn must have been wondering why the hot Tico sister was killed in the opening battle and he got stuck with the other one.
Once the incredibly long and not-relevant-to-the-story
podrace casino storyline is over, Finn, Rose, BB-8 and hired scumbag DJ (Benicio Del Toro wearing Robbie Rotten’s hair) eventually get onto Snoke’s ship only to hear from Poe that Holdo’s plan is to evacuate the one remaining Resistance ship by putting all personnel onto unarmed transports and dropping them off at the planet Crait. The writing is now so lazy that we’re reusing Star Wars names and spelling them differently to create “new” ideas (Krayt Dragon/Crait).
Poe decides to overthrow Holdo and take over the bridge while Finn’s group are captured. Poe gets shot by a conveniently-out-of-a-coma Princess Leia who explains to him that Holdo knows what she’s doing. Holdo will stay on board the last ship, keeping the focus off the transports. Meanwhile Finn is outraged to find out that the scumbag he’s known for ten minutes has sold out the Resistance and passed on the secret evacuation plan to the First Order. Vice Admiral Holdo turns her cruiser around and throws it into hyperspace, carving through and destroying Snoke’s ship, so out of two new characters introduced in this movie, the best one is killed off. The hyperspace suicide run also raises the question of why the Resistance would allow their ships to run out of fuel, dooming all aboard the large ships instead of having the X-Wing and A-Wing pilots suicide attack the First Order ship via hyperspace, thereby saving 99% of the Resistance. Maybe Holdo isn’t a great leader after all. Actually, considering Leia opposed Poe’s gambling a lot of lives to save the majority and has backed Holdo’s let everyone die plan, maybe Poe should be leading the Resistance after all. Take that feminists! It makes you wonder why Admiral Ackbar wasn’t spared so that he could have this moment of going out in a blaze of glory but maybe Disney wasn’t comfortable with a scene that would have Ackbar, vehicular ramming and suicide attack being associated. Considering how everyone is offended by everything these days, maybe they were right.
After teasing Captain Phasma before The Force Awakens and the resulting disappointment after she was in the movie for 5 minutes, we were told that she was an important character who would be vital to the plot of The Last Jedi. Evidently Johnson didn’t get the memo as she makes her triumphant return only to get her ass kicked and then apparently die within 5 minutes. I really hope actress Gwendoline Christie isn’t being paid by the hour. It’s possible that she survived, just as she survived being thrown into the trash compactor in The Force Awakens but then she’s just going to become an armoured version of Kenny from South Park. Everyone is rescued by BB-8 piloting an AT-ST who is a ‘Mary Sue’ if ever there was one.
Luke Rey surrenders to Darth Vader Kylo Ren who takes them to The Emperor Supreme Leader Snoke who prattles on endlessly while the rebels are decimated by the bad guys. Finally Darth Vader Kylo Ren turns on The Emperor Supreme Leader Snoke and kills him in order to save Luke Rey. Rey and Kylo team up to defeat some Bionicle guys before turning on each other and Kylo reveals that Rey’s parents were nobodies who sold her. After all the intrigue about Snoke’s identity he’s killed off with no build up or character development and the revelation of Rey’s parents isn’t the pivotal moment it should be, like the Luke/Darth scene at the end of Empire Strikes Back was.
The Resistance have now fallen back to an abandoned base on
Hoth Crait which only has one way in and out. Compounding the Resistance’s poor strategies, they decide to leave the door open to let the local wildlife inside because it’s presumably better to have the animals killed along with them than them scarpering to safety. The writing at this point must have been done by 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters because we have the First Order approach the Resistance base with Walkers and…a miniature Death Star cannon. FFS.
Inspired by Holdo or just tired of Rose’s pontificating, Finn decides to sacrifice himself by crashing into the cannon already firing cannon, which explains why he used to be in charge of cleaning toilets. However, he’s saved by Rose who crashes into him and for some reason decides to give him a kiss before passing out. The kiss must have been inspirational though as Finn manages to drag Rose back to the base across open ground while being attacked by gorilla AT-M6’s.
Luke arrives to do exactly what he said he wouldn’t do – take on the entire First Order with just a laser sword. To be fair, the barrage of AT-M6 fire at Luke is impressive and gives us hope that this final showdown will redeem the film with Luke using the Force to crush the Imperial Walkers, but instead we are treated to another comedy moment as Luke brushes some dirt off his shoulder. Kylo then decides to go mano-a-mano with Luke until he discovers that he’s been duped and Luke is a Force projection which has allowed the Resistance to sneak out through a back door that wasn’t previously there, thanks partially to Rey moving some rocks. Despite the Resistance now consisting of only about 8 people, Leia tells our heroes that they have everything they need. Really? You sent a transmission out saying you were in danger to which not one of your allies responded, you’ve lost all of your capital ships and fighters, the whole Resistance leadership and 99.9% of your troops but you have everything you need? If you only needed 8 people then why bother hiring the rest? We then we see that Luke couldn’t be bothered to even leave Ahch-To despite his sister being in mortal danger and it being a great opportunity to finish the First Order once and for all as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and General Hux are on Crait. Luke fades away becoming one with the Force so Yoda can hit poke him in the coconut for all eternity with his stick.
The whole film feels like Rian Johnson thought he was making episodes VIII and IX, found out he wasn’t then had to cut it down to one movie. It’s rather frightening how there’ll be over 30 minutes of deleted footage included with the home release that was intended to be in the cinematic version bringing the running time to over 3 hours. At the end of this movie Luke, Phasma and Snoke have been killed off, Leia won’t be in the next part, Rey hasn’t progressed at all and in fact seems to be a far less noble character while Poe is almost unlikeable. Kylo has destroyed his helmet which has abandoned a potentially new icon for seemingly no reason. If he’d kept the helmet then at least we wouldn’t have noticed that his facial scar has moved. Fun fact: fans noticed the scar had moved in the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Rian Johnson denying on Twitter that the scar had moved on April 17th before admitting on April 19th that he’d moved it because the scar running over Ren’s nose “looked goofy”.
At the end of Force Awakens we were left with the intrigue of Rey’s parents, the appearance of Luke Skywalker in the final scene, the implication that we knew Snoke as another character, a potential love triangle with Finn being attracted to Rey while there was also a hint of romance between Finn and Poe. All of these ideas were trashed which can’t help but make me think that Johnson was just trying to spite JJ Abrams by destroying everything he’d set in motion.
Worse yet, Johnson hasn’t set up anything for the next movie as there are no hanging plot threads to tie up and he hasn’t actually furthered the build up between Rey and Kylo Ren so Abrams will have nothing to work with on Episode IX. The only new character we have is Rose Tico who is less of a character than her sister, despite Paige Tico having around 60 seconds of screen time because Johnson hasn’t done any character development whatsoever. When Luke fought Vader at the end of Empire Strikes Back it was the moment we’d waited for since A New Hope although it didn’t end with a Luke victory. When the two faced off at the end of Return of the Jedi we knew that Luke had spent time training and so now they were on a more equal footing which made the idea of the end duel exciting but with Rey and Kylo, we don’t really have anything to care about. Besides, The Last Jedi has already established that the most powerful character in this new trilogy is this guy.
We could have had Rey turning and killing Luke to ally with Kylo Ren. That could have had Rey turning on Kylo at a pivotal moment in the next chapter and leading the Resistance to victory over the First Order before revealing that it was Luke’s plan all along to sacrifice himself so Rey could win Kylo’s trust (somewhat like like Snape and Dumbledore in Harry Potter).
Or, Force Awakens established Ren and Rey both having huge Force potential with Rey gaining the upper hand on Ren. The Last Jedi could have shown us that Ren is now much more powerful from killing his father because he’s no longer conflicted and has fully embraced the Dark Side of the Force; he could have fought Rey again and beat her easily leading to Luke defending her as we saw with Yoda arriving to save Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones. Kylo Ren could then kill Luke to establish how powerful he’s become, ending the second movie on a down note like Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones both did, making us want to see a more powerful Rey return to avenge Luke in the third instalment.
We should be excitedly speculating about the next movie, we should be excited about the resolution of an open ending, but instead we have a final part that will carry on very little from the first two parts, making it almost standalone and a showdown between two characters that haven’t had sufficient build to make anyone care.
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