The Last Jedi has undoubtedly polarized the Star Wars fan base. After only one week, it’s apparent that people either have to love or hate this movie. There is no in between and yet, like the Force, there is balance. Two passionate groups of people, that are trying to sum up a movie that has hardly been out long enough to truly digest. It won’t be for several years, perhaps until Episode IX, before we understand the significance of The Last Jedi, but I’ll do my best to share my experience with the latest Star Wars.
I generally liked this move, and would rate it as a B. There are plenty of things to love about it, but it has some BIG flaws (emphasis on BIG). Let’s discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly….
Our new Star Wars characters (Rey, Ren, Finn, Poe) are phenomenal in this movie! It feels like where The Force Awakens hesitates, The Last Jedi goes for it, and the result is engaging performances that put you right in their galaxy. The new cast is easily one of my favorite aspects about this movie, and I already can not wait to see their next adventure. Poe and BB-8 share a great moment in the opening space battle, and I can’t help but be giddy, because of how it reminds me of Luke and R2-D2 in the original trilogy. Poe isn’t a Jedi, of course, but Rey also has a moment, reminiscent of Luke’s training with Yoda on Dagobah. It’s at this moment she’s learning about her force abilities that I can’t help but like this movie. It’s as if she’s a superhero just discovering her powers, and we get a completely new perspective of the force, which is worth the price of admission alone, in my opinion.
This movie also challenges the way we view their space ships. Until now, it seems that the pattern has always been for a smaller ship to be fleeing or avoiding the Republic and then jumping to hyperspace to get away for good. Without getting into spoilers, let’s just say that hyperspace isn’t an option in this movie, so we essentially get a giant space chase! It’s definitely a new idea and worth recognizing. That, along with compelling space battles and well choreographed light saber fights, there are many more good things I can say about this movie. Good. Good. Good.
The original characters (Luke, Leia, C3-P0, R2-D2) need to not be in these movies anymore. I love the original cast and I understand the need to include them; to make a seamless transition from old to new, but the plot continues to focus on the Skywalker’s and the story suffers for it. The “reveal” of Rey’s parents is underwhelming and somewhat confusing, but it’s an small detail that can be addressed in the next movie. Porgs are harmless creatures that don’t necessarily offend me either, but every other new creature in this movie is uninteresting and uninspired.
Finn was a great character in The Force Awakens, but unfortunately is underutilized in this film. By the time he has something to do to propel the story forward, I was checking my watch to see how much time was left. That is another gripe I have with this movie. Scenes noticeably linger and the time adds up fast! The “space chase”, while fascinating to me, nearly last’s the entire length of the movie which causes the end to feel rushed. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Luke Skywalker milking a space cow and drinking said milk. It’s an image I never wanted to see, and even typing it just now fills me with disgust. It’s not that bad, but it’s definitely not pretty!
Supreme leader Snoke is made out to be a near omnipotent Sith villain, but meets a swift demise without us ever learning anything about him. I understand they can only spend so much time on each character, but this character deserved a backstory (and better CGI)… Or maybe he doesn’t, considering how easily Kylo Ren betrayed him. Either way, it’s ugly.
And last, and quite possibly least: Leia. Leia has a moment in The Last Jedi that is so unbelievable, that it’s almost unforgivable. After being blown up and sucked into space, Leia is not only impossibly alive, but able to fly back into the spaceship. This is the sole reason why this movie could never be above a B for me. This stunt, while amazing, isn’t explained (at least not in this movie). It might be the director Rian Johnson, showing us another new perspective of the Force, but it completely pulls me out of the movie and I don’t know how to get over it. Generally when I can’t stop thinking about a movie, it’s for a good reason, but this scene vexes me to no end. It helps me understand why people are so divided on this movie.
As atrocious as these moments are, they don’t completely ruin the movie for me. I believe that although there is resistance right now, The Last Jedi will hold up well in the next couple of years. And be made only stronger by the next movie, Episode IX. Love it or hate it, this is the newest Star Wars we have and I believe there is great potential with the new direction it’s heading. May the Force be with you.