Man On Internet Has Opinions About New 'Star Wars' Movie, Shares Them On His Blog
Note: There are spoilers in this post. Lots of spoilers. Perhaps even all of them. If you haven't seen The Last Jedi, close this tab and return at a later date. No good will come of your continued presence here. Be gone!
Five minutes before the iconic horns of the Star Wars opening crawl, I was in a dilemma: I could go to the bathroom, or take my chances with a two-and-a-half-hour movie. Now, I didn't need to use the restroom, but I could if my life depended on it. And it kind of did!
So I bolted from my chair and headed to the other end of the long hallway outside my theater. To my surprise, another Last Jedi showing just finished in the adjacent theater. A bunch of dudes who looked like me spilled out of the doorway, eager to discuss what they just saw. Being a grown adult of 31 years — but also a Star Wars fan — I plugged my ears and hummed to myself like a child as I zig-zagged between their coats. Spoilers averted.
But! Many of these dudes apparently chose not to relieve themselves before the film, and were desperate to do so in the nearest restroom. As a dozen excited bros descended on a lavatory with just two stations, forming a line in the room, I slid into a stall and turned my loud humming to an open-mouthed "Aaaaaaaaaaaa" to drown out any unwanted discussion. I washed my hands, dried them on my sweatshirt and escaped the chaos, pleased with myself for having avoided hearing any devastating spoilers. It was my own personal Battle of Yavin.
That's a small and dumb anecdote, but I wanted to make you laugh, dear reader, add some cushion before we start discussing plot details, and establish that, shit man I just really love Star Wars. Maybe more than you do, maybe not nearly as much. It doesn't matter. If you're reading this, I assume these wacky sci-fi adventures mean something to you, so let's talk about all the stuff that happened in The Last Jedi, good and bad, fun and dumb, and everything in between.
Big Things We Liked
Kylo Ren. I'm still not sure if Kylo is truly conflicted or merely an opportunist, but I remain sold on him as a truly evil villan, one who is at least more interesting than the bad-guy-turned-remorseful-and-sad-old-man Darth Vader. His character arc is most compelling in the new trilogy and he's played by probably the most talented actor.
- The Kylo-Rey Force mind-meld. Now this is my kind of Force — mysterious and plot-thickening, like starch. We saw the connection between these two in ways we never could have otherwise. I have high hopes for whatever this is going forward.
In a movie full of surprises, the biggest one might have been that Mark Hamill was totally convincing as an aged, broken, reluctant Luke Skywalker. I did not expect that. Guy stole the show.
Luke's death. If Luke sacrificed himself to Kylo Ren under the same circumstances Obi-Wan allowed Vader to kill him, I may have thrown hands with someone in the theater. Luke's death was surprising and valuable and just the way I would expect the Luke we saw in this movie to go out.
Carrie Fisher was also great! After a dry performance in The Force Awakens, Fisher successfully recaptured Leia's leadership and take-no-shit attitude from the original films.
Rey's parents being "nobodies." This one comes with a huge asterisk, as it's probably not the best idea to take Supreme Leader Kylo Ren at his word. But if this turns out to be true, then it's a welcome departure from the rampant Skywalker connections and sets the franchise up for believable new protagonists from anywhere in the galaxy.
The kamikaze at light speed. One could argue Vice Admiral Holdo's heroic task should have been carried out by a more important character (Leia, Ackbar, literally anyone else with a name), but the visual was incredible and the idea was creative.
Poe Dameron. He isn't always vital to the story, but all of these movies need a dashing, smart-ass, rule-breaking rebel fighter pilot. Yeeeeeoowwwwmm, pew pew pew!
They kept grown adult fanboys (myself included) at arm's length without abandoning the core themes. Kylo said we need to "let go of the past". Yoda set the Jedi temple on fire and said the sacred texts aren't important. Luke told R2-D2 the Leia message was a cheap trick. Coupled with tamped-down callback references, the message is clear: get over your childhood nostalgia or be left behind.
Other Good Things:
Luke and Leia's reunion, even if it was a little cheeky. My bar was low for this.
Yoda's scene and the use of an actual puppet rather than full CGI.
BB-8. Big BB-8 guy.
There were moments where I genuinely thought both Kylo and Rey might turn to the other side. Good tension!
Snoke's guards posed a real threat to Kylo and Rey. This was one of the great battles in Star Wars history, in my opinion, even if it was against some faceless guards. Too often in this franchise do we see ultimately harmless enemies stand between our heroes and their goals.
Speaking of bad guys, there were almost no stormtroopers to speak of in this movie. Bold strategy, Cotton. I respect it.
The battle on the salt flats was great! All that cool red stuff and what not. Pretty neat.
Loved when Snoke called Kylo "just a boy with a mask" and questioned his ability to surpass Darth Vader, causing Kylo to smash his helmet in a fit of rage and embarrassment. Just another way this movie distanced itself from our expectations.
Big Things We Did Not Like
Too many major things happened. Kylo killed Snoke, Luke and Leia reunited, Luke faced off against Kylo, Luke died, Phasma died, Luke and Rey fought, Yoda returned, Rey mastered the Force, Kylo and Rey teamed up, and I'm sure I'm forgetting others. That's too many big things for one movie! Folks it felt like a movie and a half I tell you what.
The comic relief detracted from some serious moments. Poe's prank phone call, Hux's joke after the presumed death of LUKE SKYWALKER, Rey telling Kylo to put a shirt on, the lizard nuns' reaction after a significant Rey moment, etc. It was just too much in some big spots.
Leia’s Force float back to the ship was absolutely ridiculous. If you can use the Force to survive being blasted into space then what are we even doing out here? Leia might as well have Force-floated her way up to the First Order ships and popped a hole in the windshield or something. This moment robbed us of a proper goodbye for Leia, and will be remembered as an embarrassing stain on the franchise.
Luke tossing his lightsaber over his shoulder. This bothered me more than it should. The Force Awakens brought back the magic millions waited for, ending with an INCREDIBLE final scene where Rey (possibly Luke's daughter??) finally tracks down the LEGENDARY Jedi Luke Skywalker on the remote island home of the original Jedi temple and hands him HIS lightsaber. It was breathtaking! Then we get to this movie and he chucks it over his shoulder for a cheap laugh. Folks what is this a Star Wars parody? An SNL skit?? At the very least, that moment deserved a serious, angry discarding of the weapon. Doing it for laughs was a step too far.
Finn and Rose didn't really help anyone, did they? Their mission to deactivate the light speed tracker was ultimately pointless (there was a moment when I thought it would be the crux of the film), and their trip to the casino city seemed very out of place, as did the anti-1%/animal rights overtones of those scenes. Reminder: Chewie barbecued a porg earlier in the movie.
Their pal Benicio del Toro (didn't bother to learn his character's name) didn't add much for me either. The Adam Sandler-on-SNL speech impediment got us off to a rocky start, and his needless betrayal of Finn and Rose totally undermined the sweet moment where he returned her necklace, which we were apparently supposed to care about.
The Vice Admiral Holdo storyline was half-baked at best. I've yet to read a convincing reason why she shouldn't have just told Poe the plan, or at least that a plan existed. They teased her as being a potential mole, or perhaps just incompetent, but then Leia woke up and pretty much said she would have done the exact same thing as Holdo. I suppose if you erase these events, Finn and Rose have no reason to go on their secret mission, but that wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world.
- Finn and Rose do not love one another. This notion is silly and I refuse to accept it. Rose "saving" Finn from his Russell Casse moment — putting the entire Resistance at risk in the process — was bad. The cheesy lines about saving love rather than fighting hate were worse. And the kiss? Folks don't even get me started on that emotionless peck. Nothing in the movie foreshadowed this love connection. Oh and they also somehow survived a ginger walk across a battlefield in view of Kylo Ren and his army of AT-ATs. Come on! But yeah other than all that these two were great.
Other Bad Things
Too many characters, too many storylines. Game of Thrones syndrome. When Luke showed up at the Resistance base, I had to jog my memory to remember what he was doing the last time we saw him. Rose is fine, but she's like 13th on the good guys depth chart. We don't need 13 good guys to keep track of. I'm old.
(whispers) ...some of the CGI kind of stunk. Walking Snoke was jerky and the Porgs sometimes looked like Roger Rabbit FOLKS.
Snoke's death would have landed a lot harder if they didn't show Kylo turning the lightsaber before he did the deed. Also the Snoke death would have landed a lot harder if I DIDN'T READ A SPOILER IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF AN UNRELATED BLOG POST A WEEK EARLY THANKS A LOT ANONYMOUS INTERNET JERK.
Perhaps they thought Kylo ordering the fire on Luke would make him seem even more evil, but in my eyes it was more cowardly than going down there to face him right away.
Luke brushing off his shoulder after the attack from the First Order was, um, out of character to say the least. Didn't really need a Dad Joke in that moment.
Aren't Finn and Rey supposed to be maybe in love, or at least be off-the-charts platonic? They didn't seem super excited to see one another again, even though Finn was always concerned about her whereabouts. Maybe I'm overthinking this because I desperately want these two to be together in real life. Won't apologize for being a fan of chemistry.
After the Resistance cruiser started running on fumes but before they ran out of fuel, Rey turned into some sort of master Force user. That was quick!
Maybe I'm off-base here, but Leia didn't seem deeply affected by her SON killing her former HUSBAND, nor did it seem too important that the man attempting to MURDER everyone in the Resistance was her offspring. In this regard I think the two movies in this trilogy have treated Kylo more like Han Solo's son rather than the son of Han and Leia.
Admiral Ackbar's death was off-screen and mentioned only in passing. I imagine this did not sit well with the mega-nerds.
Chewie and Luke should have spent more time together on Ahch-To. They acted like acquaintances rather than true old friends. Maybe commiserate over Han one time?
Not Sure Yet
I don't think the Force broom kid looking up to the sky was a worthy ending for a movie in which so many galaxy-shifting things transpired, but I could be wrong if that spins off into something important. I guess it ties into the idea that anyone in this universe can come from nothing and become a hero (Rey, Luke a little bit), but it still felt like a Hallmark commercial to me.
Snoke just dying without us knowing much about his background, i.e. how he rose to power, how he convinced Kylo to come to the dark side, etc. I'm very on board with Kylo as the new Supreme Leader, and that they’re not just re-hashing Palpatine, but I think that death could have been a bigger deal if there was more weight to his character. Fans built up Snoke too much in the lead-up to this movie, so it’s not really the fault of the creators.
To love the new Star Wars trilogy is to make some difficult concessions: These movies will never make you feel the same way A New Hope did when you were 8 years old. It's not going to happen. They're Disney movies now, which means the epic space adventure from your childhood is now an epic space adventure for everyone's childhood, young and old, from casual fan to obsessed convention-goer. They need hit a lot of notes to please that massive audience, and some of those notes won't resonate with you. The franchise is evolving, for better or worse, with or without us. If you're willing to accept those terms, it becomes a lot easier to just sit back and enjoy the adventure. |ES|