The Last Jedi has hit theaters. But it severely misses its target.
After two years of waiting, the next installment in the Star Wars universe has arrived. The Last Jedi
, written and directed by Rian Johnson, promised to deliver something fans have never seen before in the saga. And oh boy, truer words have never been spoken.
Johnson certainly took everything we've seen thus far in the Star Wars saga and completely flipped it on its head -- and then some. But I'm not sure if that was for better or for worse.
Below I'll be discussing things that went wrong and things that went right with The Last Jedi
The Dark Side -- What Went Wrong
Lack of Character Development/Over-Saturation of Characters
All of our favorites from The Force Awakens
are back in The Last Jedi
. I know I was pumped to see how Rey, Finn, Poe, along with Luke and Leia would grow and change in this new movie. Unfortunately, the characters don't really develop as much as I hoped. It felt like they're essentially the same as before and the movie didn't give them a chance to expand.
When you have a trilogy like this, you always want your characters to develop and grow over time. So why are we now going into the final episode of the trilogy with the exact same characters as the first?
One of the characters I wish we had seen more of was Captain Phasma. She was built up to be this huge character in The Force Awakens
, only to be severely underused. So going into The Last Jedi
, I got excited to finally have some more action with Phasma. But she gets maybe five minutes of screen time, then gets killed off. She got reduced to a toss-away character when she could've had such depth added to her personality.
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When we're not worrying about the characters we already know, now we've got to juggle all of the new additions like Admiral Holdo, Rose, and DJ, among others. Holdo and DJ, like Phasma, were poorly used and didn't really give us much in terms of substance. They were just kind of ... there.
Plus, there were so many different plots trying to balance out the amount of characters that they ended up getting lost in the story. Which brings me to my next point:
Between the once-powerful First Order being unable to capture the Resistance's ships and all of the scenes with Finn and Rose on Canto Bight, there was way too much filler material, most of which didn't make any sense.
Why couldn't the First Order simply send Tie Fighters and Tie Bombers to stop them? Why didn't they just jump ahead and cut the Resistance off? Why would the First Order just trail behind the crumbling Resistance ships, waiting as they run out of fuel? I feel like a space battle between the two opposing sides would've been more exciting than seeing a nearly two-and-a-half hour "chase scene." At least something
would've happened. It made both sides seem really inadequate, which is not in line with the characters at all.
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John Boyega's natural charm definitely shined through, but I don't think Johnson knew how to utilize him. Also, here's a question: if The Last Jedi
is supposed to take place mere minutes after The Force Awakens
, how is Finn miraculously healed? Sure, he was in the bubble-bacta suit thingy, but it shouldn't have healed him as fast as it did. A part of me wishes they kept Finn in a coma for at least half the movie and had him wake up in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order.
And what was the point of sending Finn and Rose on a mission to find a "Master Code Breaker" when the end result didn't have any impact on the story? It felt like they just needed to give them something to do, so they sent them on a pointless mission. I really wish they cut out all of the Canto Bight scenes. I think it would've been very beneficial to the overall story. And don't even get me started on that over-sized horse scene ...
Laughable CGI Creatures
Okay, so you and I both know that the adorable Porgs were created purely for toy sales. That much was obvious from the beginning. But from the trailers, they looked really cute and the CGI didn't look half bad, right? In fact, I bought one in anticipation of the movie's premiere because I was so excited. Fast-forward to the movie, and the Porgs look horrendous. I left wondering if the special effects team had yet to finish them. But no, those were the Porgs' final form. Why they didn't just use practical effects, I don't know.
The only creatures that didn't look half bad were the crystal foxes on Crait. I think they were the most detailed creatures in the entire movie. And on the plus side, the foxes served somewhat of a point, which was leading the Resistance out of the mine to flee from the First Order. Which is more than we can say for the Porgs, who were just there to look cute.
In the past, we've seen Force users have the ability to influence the minds of the weak-minded, commune with the past and see the future, and lift objects in the air, like rocks or x-wings.
I can appreciate Johnson's attempt at wanting to expand the scope of the Force since it's been pretty stale as of late. But some of these new abilities were, well, for lack of a better word, lame. Apparently, if you're Leia, you can survive the vacuum of space -- that entire scene, in my opinion, was a complete disservice to her memory and to Star Wars fans.
The Light Side -- What Went Right
The Fall of Ben Solo
We're given new insight to those Force visions that were so predominant in The Force Awakens
and launched many fan theories over the last two years. We now know what happened to Luke's Jedi Academy and how his confrontation with Ben Solo went down before he became Kylo Ren.
All of that is revealed to Rey in three ways, but only in bits and pieces. The first by Luke, then by Kylo, and then by Luke again, this time in more detail. Once all of the pieces are put together, we learn that Luke sensed a darkness in Ben and went to confront him. From Kylo's point of view, he woke up to find his uncle standing over him with his lightsaber drawn, so he reacts out of self-defense and destroys the temple, Luke getting buried underneath it.
Luke eventually reveals that it was a moment of weakness and that he would not have followed through with it. Because of that single moment though, Kylo came to the wrong conclusion, and ultimately, that's what pushed him to the dark side. As Rey puts it, Luke is to blame for the "creation of Kylo Ren."
I really enjoyed those flashback moments and thought that they were really well-executed. They were some of the few scenes that kept me engaged.
Rey and Kylo Ren Team Up
Another highlight was the surprise collaboration of Rey and Kylo Ren in the throne room. It's a great moment, albeit a brief one. The two fight back-t0-back to defeat Snoke's guards (in possibly one of the best action scenes in the entire movie) after Kylo fails to kill Rey. He does, however, succeed in killing Snoke. Yes, Snoke is dead. So throw away all of those Plagueis-Snoke theories that have been floating around, because they're completely irrelevant now.
Their teamwork ends all too soon, and I (along with Rey) was hopeful that he had turned his back on the dark side for good. Instead, he's completely dedicated to the dark side of the Force, and attempts to draw Rey on his side. Luckily, she is able to resist this pull and goes to Crait to help the Resistance.
Humor and Fun Moments
No Star Wars movie would be complete if there wasn't some type of joke thrown in there. The Last Jedi
definitely had its fair share of laughs, starting off with a "I'll hold" joke by Poe directed at General Hux. It was funny and definitely started the movie off right. I just wish we could've had that tone the remainder of the movie.
I know a few people who were not too keen on all of the jokes and one-liners tossed in there, but I found myself laughing, even if it was a bit cheesy. I couldn't help it. The "reach out" moment with Rey and Luke sticks out as one of my favorite laugh out-loud moments. Not only was it a cute scene but it showed us that Luke isn't as grumpy as he pretends to be.
Unfortunately, I don't think the few good things about the movie outweigh the bad. If you couldn't tell, I was not happy with a majority of the choices that were made in The Last Jedi
. But it is one that I'll probably see one more time in theaters. Who knows? Maybe I'll find myself enjoying it more the third time around.
I have high hopes that JJ Abrams will be able to clean up and tie loose ends in Episode IX. Fingers crossed.
What did you guys think of The Last Jedi
? Were you surprised by some of the twists? Where does it rank in the best Star Wars
movies? And finally, what are your hopes for Episode IX? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
May the Force be with you.
Please check the latest episode of "Double Feature," where we dive into Episode VIII even more. Don't forget to subscribe to our channel!