A little less than a week ago Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered and I gave you my spoiler free review, which I still stand by. As promised, I’ll go a lot deeper this time around assuming that everybody’s had a fair chance to see the film. So, if you haven’t seen it now would be a good time to look away from the screen because spoilers galore follows.
Overall it’s a good (not great) film but a terrible Star Wars film. I’ll jump right into the elephant in the room.
Not only did Rian Johnson kill off Luke Skywalker, he did in a way that wasn’t really worthy of such iconic character. I had my issues with J.J. killing off Han in The Force Awakens but I understand that it was to a certain point necessary to advance the plot. Luke’s death felt gratuitous and mishandled, as if Johnson just wanted to give fans the finger one last time before the credits rolled.
I remember reading that Mark Hamill had disagreed with Johnson’s take on Luke and I couldn’t agree more with Mark. Sure, people grow up and change but this represents a 180 degree turn from the kid who would waltz in with a “laser sword” (I’ll admit I thought that line was funny) to try and save his friends.
Rey continues to be a Mary Sue that can be awesome at anything without any proper training. Johnson managed to give the whole world the finger by having Kylo say that Rey’s parents are “nobodies” which is something I hope J.J. can still fix in Episode IX. That was also sort of amazing and weird, Johnson didn’t settle for mocking everything about our beloved original trilogy, he still managed to take a dump on The Force Awakens here and there. That helmet crushing scene felt like a huge middle finger if you ask me.
The much talked about Supreme Leader Snoke perished before getting any considerable screen time rendering all those theories useless. All he was a little stepping stone to advance Kylo’s arc. Hopefully Disney at least gives us a book or comic that somewhat explains how this mysterious character rose to power after the Empire’s demise.
Leia has been the only character who’s arc has been consistent with the original trilogy. She turned out to be what she was destined to be: a boss. Having her die in space would’ve been a fitting goodbye given that Carrie sadly isn’t here anymore to portray her in Episode IX but somehow she’s the only character of the “Holy Trinity” that’s still alive. That whole “Mary Poppins” scene was laughable but at least we finally saw her use the force in a interesting way, after all, she is the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (although Mr. Johnson would have you believe that that bloodline is meaningless).
That whole using the force as Facetime felt more like a complete mockery, broom kid made me facepalm and Hux’s existence wasn’t justified after Snoke’s death. To be fair I don’t feel the Canto Bight subplot was pointless as many have pointed. It didn’t advance the plot but it helped us understand Finn a bit more and get to know Rose Tico. Speaking of that particular subplot, one of the things I enjoyed the most about the film is that it’s the first time that the question is raised, who benefits from all these wars? It turns out that, like on our world, that the arms dealers do. That alone to me justified Finn and Rose’s suicide mission.
This was a completely new feeling for me, I had never seen a movie that was objectively good but ended up disliking for reasons other than its quality. That’s the magic of Star Wars for you I guess. They did a “reverse DC”, critics loved it but fans hated it.
Love it or hate it the fact of the matter is that it made it unbelievable amount of money and that’s really all the Mouse House really cares about.
I know this posture has been mocked relentlessly but Disney could try and find some middle ground. It’s either they make a soft reboot of the original trilogy or they take a huge dump on everything it stood for. You can still make an insanely profitable movie without being so disrespectful to its predecessors and the people who grew up loving them.