HEY! The title of this post says Spoilers. In case you missed it, this post contains big-time spoilers! Just a heads-up.
Also, I ramble allot in this.
Another holiday season, another exploitative Star Wars release that will rake in billions regardless of its quality. I’m going to be honest here: I’ve never really liked Star Wars. The first ones are alright, but I think they’ve aged a little worse than people are willing to admit they have. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t exactly raised on Star Wars that I’m not a megafan, but I’ve never really felt like these films are masterpieces. This came to me as bright as it could with 2015’s The Force Awakens. It looked good, sounded good, and some of the writing was solid… but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong with it. When I watched for a second time, I’d come to a realization: I don’t like The Force Awakens very much. It wasn’t that it was more of a rehash than a reboot that killed it for me, it was the fact that Star Wars now felt… corporate. The story felt like it wanted to go somewhere, but as I rewatched the film, I couldn’t help but imagine a whole board of brilliant writers having their unique vision turned down so Disney can pump out 20 more Star Wars movies over the course of the next 20 years. In a way, it felt devoid of the passion that Lucas had put behind the original Trilogy – more than the prequels had. This issue only became more apparent as I watched The Last Jedi in a packed theater last night.
So, what did I think of The Last Jedi? Well, for starters, I liked it far more than I had enjoyed The Force Awakens. Despite reeking of overly corporate decisions, there were moments that wowed more than just me. NOW ONTO WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT IT. When Snoke died, the whole audience burst into applause. I didn’t applaud. This surprised me, but only because Snoke is the opposite of a compelling villain. Over the course of 2 movies, all I knew about him was that he isn’t a Jedi, so he’s bad by nature. It looked cool, but it sure didn’t feel cool. What was pretty awesome, however, was when Rey and Kylo Ren kick some ass… only for Kylo to be like “ayy yo I have an obligational contract to be the big bad meanie in the next film, so fuck any of the potentials I might have had as a character in this film k byeeee”. Yeah, that was a little disappointing. Then there’s Luke Skywalker. I didn’t hate his character here, but he underused as a character. His death, also, was far more underwhelming than anything else. He just kind of dies. Apparently, Jedi can commit magical seppuku whenever they feel like it. Why was this never established before? Movie. This is all not to mention the countless plot threads, some of which were not entirely necessary. I am, of course, referring to the moment where Finn has to track down some code breaker. This felt like it just dragged on, with nothing important really happening until the writers gave up on it. Finally, the pacing near the end was way off. I honestly felt like there were 5 different endings within the last 20-30 minutes. The long shot of the ship disappearing would have made for a bad ending, and the writers were smarter than that… but I couldn’t help but feel like it was going to come to a close as the ship left. FINALLY, finally, not all of the logic makes sense. Why does ramming into a giant ship at lightspeed cause all of the smaller ships (which are out of range) to explode? Movie.
With that in mind, there’s a lot to dislike about The Last Jedi. NOW ONTO WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT. The Last Jedi is standard Star Wars fare. This means the acting is solid, it looks and sounds pleasant, the music is undeniably epic, the CGI is well done, and it has plenty of humor. The action sequences, especially, were well done. The Last Jedi, despite its flaws, is actually quite a fun movie that had me near the edge of my seat on some occasions. My favorite part of The Last Jedi, however, is the acknowledgment that all sides of the conflict are total hypocrites and are all wrong in some glaring way. The scene where the codebreaker showing off all the ships the owner had sold until landing on a Jedi one was very well executed and got to the point. Kylo Ren, despite having an arc that went almost nowhere in this film, actually makes a great point about this near the end. Hell, if anything, Kylo becomes a more interesting villain here than he did in The Force Awakens because of this. One of the cooler things I noticed here, more than I did with The Force Awakens, is the evolution of the Star Wars universe from the O.G. trilogy to the newer films. Like with Blade Runner 2049, the idea to mix old technology with new technology actually gives off a vibe that the universe is alive in a way. That is the only comparison between these 2 movies I’ll ever make.
Yeah, and that’s about it. Again, I didn’t hate it. I did come out of the theater bitching to my friends about the various aspects that didn’t work so well, but I can hardly say I regretted my time with this one. If anything, The Last Jedi has made me happy for all of the unique and risky films that came out this year that a corporation, like Disney, wouldn’t do. Films from this year like Blade Runner 2049, Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, and so on prove that the film industry is still creative and kicking.