Everything you’ve been told to believe has been thrown out the window.
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher
For 40 years we have been submersed in the universe created by Lucasfilms called Star Wars. Before there was a thing of connected ‘universes’ for movies and tv shows there was Star Wars. Before DC Comics or Marvel or Berlanti or ‘Dark’ Monsters or even Riverdale and Sabrina the teenage witch presented us with their “Universes“; there was Star Wars.
Connected films were these. A story they each must keep. Follow the rules they must.
Each story held a cannon of Star Wars lore and lineage. Each chapter adding to the overall grandiose universe created by George Lucas and his teams. All of them holding their own as individual films while staying true to the guidelines set forth in the bibles of Star Wars scripture. Time and time again many fans came up with and submitted storylines and adventures for the Star Wars characters to endure. Yet one by one they were turned away. Each were told they could publish if they wanted but they’ll be known as nothing more than “fan fiction” and not part of the Star Wars cannon.
This is what the fanboys have come to know, accept and love. The many nuances that each film provided all held serve as homage to the one before it. Each film knew the rules they must operate within, the lanes they must stay in and the backlash they would receive if they ventured away from this beautifully created galaxy far far away. Seems harsh I know, but true fans embraced it. True fans knew what to expect and look for in each film and then allow themselves to embrace the journey that these characters took them on. It worked. It was an insanity of passion deep to the core of many nerds across the land. Something they could unite behind.
All of that is gone now.
SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW
Rian Johnson was recently given the esteemed honor of helming the next trilogy of films. Episodes ten, eleven and twelve will ALL be directed by the same person. The same guy who just gave us episode eight. Many folks were curious as to why an entire trilogy of films was given to one man and also to someone whose film had yet to be released. We now know why. Disney and Lucasfilms have signed off on Johnson being the man to change the entire Star Wars cannon and move forward with his own new vision for the universe. That same universe we spent 40 years believing in is now allowed to change and move in new directions.
The change of direction begins from the opening scene. The huge heart wrenching cliff-hanger that we were given at the end of The Force Awakens leads off this film. Rey has found Luke Skywalker and is handing him his treasured light saber. Luke looks with tears in his eyes. He reaches and accepts his light saber; his past and his life that he left behind…and he just tosses it over his half shrugged shoulders. Red signals start firing, things are different now. We’ve replaced momentous scenes with cheesy one-liners. Was it funny? Sure, of course. But was far more a sign of the times. The biggest cliff-hanger of any of the films has just been shrugged off. The biggest mystery of the previous film, where and what has happened to Luke’s light saber all these years, will now go unanswered and ignored for the remainder of the franchise.
This is merely the launch pad for many scenes of confusion and misunderstanding. For the rest of the film there will be so many questions and mysteries that were created by the previous film which will now never get answered.
The actually plot of The Last Jedi is borderline boring. Almost the entirety of the rebel force has been destroyed. Only a handful of fighters remain and they are now surrounded by General Hux and his enemy fleet. The enemies have found a way to track the rebels. So the rebels decide to just wait. Just float through space and burn fuel while someone figures out how to disable the tracker. Rey is off begging a grumpy ‘stay off my lawn’ version of Luke Skywalker to train her. That’s it. There’s your in depth plot. The story of this film is so basic that they couldn’t figure out what to do with a handful of characters. Finn is the first to get lost in the shuffle. He has no place with the rebellion. Labeled a hero for being a traitor while his mindset is actually only focused on one thing – finding Rey. He winds up going on a ‘mission’ to find a secret hacker who is shacking up on the casino city of Canto Bight. This ENTIRE sequence was an absolute waste of time and film. It did absolutely nothing for the storyline accept add in agenda pushing ideals about capitalism and veganism as well as give Finn something to do. He winds up failing his mission horribly yet still makes it back to the rebellion just fine. Along the way he runs into an old friend – Captain Phasma. Do we get an epic fight scene with her? Phasma is played by an accomplished actress (Gwendoline Christie) who fights quite well. No, instead we are given a cheesy one-liner from Finn just before he defeats her from behind. Finn should have just been left in the coma for the film until making a triumphant wake up to save a day towards the end.
There’s plenty of other epic fight scenes right? Nope. We get 0 saber on saber fight scenes. Sure the Rey and Kylo team-up vs Snokes personal guards was badass. Yet at no point throughout the film is there an epic saber battle. Since we’ve brought up Snoke, that all powerful menacing mysterious evil force that lead you to believe he was more powerful that the Emperor. Remember all those fan theories about how powerful Snoke was? Remember some of them saying maybe he was Anakins father who can never die? Don’t worry, his all powerfulness was easily defeated by a mild distraction. The age old distraction of himself talking. Yup, while he villain chatted away and was on the verge of crushing Rey and Kylo at the snap of a finger he failed to notice Kylo aiming a light saber right at his side and then slicing him in half. Ok then, ding dong the witch is dead right? Nah, nobody cared. Genreal Hux was mildly bothered but Kylo brushed him aside and ended their rivalry like he should have done years ago with a little throat choking force usage. Snoke wasn’t so bad, Kylo simply had a “daddy complex” and raised Snoke up to be someone he wasn’t. Once again we as an audience are let down.
Leia. This is the point of the film that turned everything south. Until now the film was meandering along and an acceptable addition to the franchise even with its quirks. But here we are. The absolute moment we were all curious about. How will they kill off Leia? Kylo is flying his fighter directly at her. He senses her and realizes if he fires his missel at this one apparently non-shielded section of the Rebel spacecraft where Leia just happens to be sitting, he will kill his mother. He hesitates, is about to shoot and then can’t. There’s good in him! But not in his co-pilots, they light her up. She is smack in the middle of a huge explosion and propelled into the death vacuum of space. Our hearts are torn apart. Star Wars has done it again! They held us on the very edge of our seat and killed a main character while revealing such depth to the story. A satisfying goodbye to Carrie Fisher and the character she created of Leia. Except. Except that.. Except that she’s not dead. Nope, while floating in the deathly vacuum of outer space Leias body crystalizes and gets cute and glowy while she then opens her eyes. She then Mary Poppins style floats herself back to the ship from where she was blown. Steps over some other dead bodies that are apparently glued to the ground since they refuse to float in space and then knocks on the door to be let in. Listen closely and you’ll hear her give the secret password while she’s at it. ‘New England Clam Chowder’. Was it the red or the white?
I was officially done with the movie at this point. They had one of the greatest moments in the franchises history but decided to use it as their way to plant a new flag and declare “We will not follow the rules anymore!”
Henceforth the force shall change.
- You can survive getting blown up at point blank range
- You can now survive floating in space
- You can now use telekinesis to see other force users. Which is helpful to let Rey peak at Kylo topless.
- No lineage is needed to have the force. No amount of midichlorians flowing through your body. (Oh how I yearn for the midichlorians now)
- You may now hologram a projection of yourself halfway across the galaxy to defeated the baddest villain in said galaxy. He may have the force as well, but no worries he wont be able to tell.
That brings me to Luke. Our champion. Our hero for all the ages. The greatest Jedi of them all. The man that was able to sense the smallest amount of good remaining in his father, (spoiler) Darth Vader that he walked alone to the Emperor and defied that Vader would kill him. He was right. Yet, he spent day in and day out training Kylo, his nephew. He saw the massive amounts of good in him as well as a hint of dark. Then instead on having a sit down with Kylo about it he decides to murder him in his sleep? He’ll defy the greatest villain ever born in Vader because of a glimmer of light, yet Kylo gets axed?
Mark Hamill himself said he fully disagreed with the changes brought to the character of Luke Skywalker, but as a good Jedi does he obeyed his master and made this film anyway. His performance was solid. He gave some great fanfare in scenes with Leia and Rey as well as the finale against Kylo. But why did we have to change his entire outlook of everything? Why was the decision made that the Jedi should die? To justify his new found mindset Yoda himself is brought back. What immense fanfare this was to see Yoda save the day. Except he too agreed, screw the Jedi and all they believed in. “Not real page turners those books are” as he referenced the ancient Jedi scripture. Luke’s character change was implemented to help us accept this new regime. Forget everything you knew and believed, Luke already has.
I visuals and effects in this film are top notch. Although there’s no saber in saber battle, the scene of Kylo and Rey vs the Snoke guards was pretty great.
The acting was very solid top to bottom. Despite a lack of character I still enjoyed John Boyega more in this one. Hammil, Ridley and Driver are all really good with their performances as well. I am beginning to become a big Adam Driver fan. Oscar Isaac steals the movie from an acting perspective. He and his character were by far the biggest delight to watch.
I understand the thought process. They want to make changes so they aren’t tied to any old storylines. Then they can do anything they want going forward with the next 4+ films. If they’re making a billion dollars for each of these movies, why not make them how they want without restrictions of any type. I’m on board for episode nine and will have gotten over what happened here by then. I’ll want to see how they do finally finish Leias character and what is next for this new regime.
But for now, this film did nothing but make me question why. Why change anything at all? Why couldn’t they continue the path that has proven tried and true for 40 years? Did the last film not make enough money for them?
I was completely disappointed in this change of direction. It soured any amounts of good and fun that the movie actually does provide. Could you sit back and watch it not caring about the past? Yes and you would immensely enjoy it despite the lack of plot and overdrawn run time.
At least The Last Jedi followed one main rule from the past. “Do or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda
The Last Jedi doesn’t just try to create controversy amongst the fans, it succeeds faster than you could roast a porg on an open fire.
5.5 out of 10