Written by D. Quinn
So, before we get started I simply want to say that I enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That being said, I expected a lot more. I heard someone say that this movie was better than Empire Strikes Back. If you agree with that, then to you I say this: you need to reevaluate your life choices. There will be spoilers in this so if you have NOT watched The Last Jedi…then you should NOT read this review.
Prepare for a jump to hyperspace.
The Last Jedi picks up where The Force Awakens left off. Rey, in the noblest of gestures, handing over her newly-found lightsaber to its original and rightful owner, Luke Skywalker. If his grim visage from the end of TFA is any indication, his reaction isn’t going to be good. So, what does he do? He chucks it. While I expected something along these lines, I still found it amusing.
After Rey located Luke, we find him living off the land …in exile. Doesn’t this sound a bit familiar? Wait…Luke found Yoda…in exile…
My friends this movie screams “Empire.” It alludes to it in so many ways, all of which were predictable. And yes, Rey does abandon her training…just as Luke did. But unlike Empire, this movie seems a bit rushed and, at times, unconvincing.
The movie did not fail to deliver on the star-struck action that we all know and love, but it still had a certain feeling of departure from the normal tones that the Star Wars universe often delivers. The story itself seemed…lacking. The first half or so seemed to thrive and play on our own anxiousness rather than having a fully developed plot and it was more anticlimactic than anything else. There were times when this movie brought us to the precipice of some really deep decisions—decisions that would have changed the entire outcome of the movie! But the rug was yanked out from under us, making us fall backwards on our butts in betrayal.
Okay, I did say that I enjoyed the movie, so let me start again.
This movie featured all our favorite characters and introduced us to a few new ones, some of whom didn’t get enough screen time if you ask me…others got too much. It was fast-paced and thrilling, with a few tear-jerking moments, and a few inspirational quotes that should be floating around on Pinterest by now. It even conveyed a sequence of events by employing Rashomon style, a method of storytelling in which a particular event is told from different perspectives. It was great. The best part of the movie, in my opinion, was when we saw the return of, arguably, the most loved character in the series (I’m talking about Yoda, people).
So, why do I say that I felt this movie was lacking?
Because, as I said before—it was rushed. There are countless moments where things just happened to happen, and you have no clue why! One of the reasons I love the prequels (sue me!) is because of the story and plot behind it. Every action, for the most part, was a vehicle for propelling the story forward to its ultimate doom, and later retribution. The plot was dense with an outrageous payoff. Even though we knew the result, we (or maybe just me) were blown away. This movie, however, lacked the propulsions that are usually seen in a Star Wars movie. Nothing in the prequels was really “throwaway,” whereas in this movie there were several throwaway scenes. For example, topless Kylo Ren. Why…just…why? If the trailers were any indication—it certainly had more bark than bite. And can we talk about the games those trailers played? Splicing scenes together for the sake of getting us riled up? I have never been so incensed…
The second half of the movie is where the real action begins, and pays homage to the plot thickening of Star Wars movies of old. But, I still feel that there was a lot of yelling, a lot of temper tantrums, and lot of bruhaha that the movie could’ve done without. And let’s talk about the, often ill-placed, humor. I’d say they tried too hard with it, to the point of overkill. But, I guess that’s what you get when you mess with Disney.
This movie didn’t do right by many characters. Phasma (my fave) is the biggest source for this statement. I’m righteously indignant by her death. I’m holding out hope that she survives—she’s already survived the destruction of Star Killer base. Snoke’s death was about as anticlimactic as it gets. End of story. After years of sifting through the smoke about Snoke…we got nothing. But, again, perhaps there is more to his death than one might expect. Here’s hoping. It seems that Star Wars has a habit of introducing a villain, hyping them up, but then lacking the wherewithal regarding what to do with them (proper disposal if you will). I’m not nearly as crazy about Snoke as I am about Phasma, but he was done wrong just as Phasma was. He probably should’ve seen his death coming, but I guess one could argue that the Dark Side clouded his vision? Anyways, I think that Star Wars just can’t do villains justice (the irony of that statement is not lost on me).
For anyone who read the books that were published prior to the release of the movie, we expected more of the characters that were to be featured in the movie. From Phasma to Amilyn Holdo, we expected more personality from these characters. Their on-screen counterparts were kind of, well, vanilla, and ultimately, I think that took away from the movie. Yes, I know that books are always going to be able to offer us a little more than movies but let’s look at Amilyn Holdo, for example. In the book, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Amilyn speaks in riddles, wears outlandish attire, knows everything there is to know about astronomy. The version we saw on-screen? I didn’t get that vibe. And it’s not anyone’s fault. I think TLJ just had a lot going on and it just couldn’t afford (both literally and figuratively) to cover all the bases.
I think there’s also an issue when you have multiple people signing on to direct different movies. The glorious thing about Star Wars episodes 1-6 is that the same person was behind all of them. The feel for them was consistent. Now, there’s a different director for every movie. That has to factor into the outcomes of the movies. In my personal opinion, “Rogue One” came closest to conveying that Star Wars nostalgia. TFA came close, but TLJ is the farthest from the mark.
I still really enjoyed the movie, though. I know it doesn’t sound that way, but I did. It was very well-written. It was exciting to learn about other worlds within the Star Wars Universe because, personally, I’m always excited whenever someone mentions a new planet/system and state that they’re going there. I’m always eager to see what culture and creatures exist within the Star Wars Universe. It’s so intriguing to me. Yes, I will be reading about Canto Bight next. Again, on the topic of characters, they were simply awesome. In the beginning of the movie, we fall in love with a character who’s only in the movie for about five minutes. The introduction of so many other characters into the universe is always exciting. It would’ve been better if Finn had died (I swear I’m not hating on him. I just think it would’ve been better storytelling), but keeping him alive was still heart-warming. But what do I know? Jedi raked in $220 million at the box office on opening weekend. So, I’ll let those numbers speak for themselves.