When I left The Force Awakens two years ago, I felt like there was going to be a good and interesting passing of the torch coming in The Last Jedi. When I walked into The Last Jedi I was excited to see what was going to happen now that Luke Skywalker was back in the picture. I was stupid, excited, naive and a fool…
Title: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd. & Bad Robot Productions
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy & Ram Bergman
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac & Andy Serkis
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas
Release dates: December 15, 2017 (United States) / December 14, 2017 (Australia)
Running time: 152 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (United States) / M15+ (Australia)
Following their successful operation to destroy Starkiller Base, Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa evacuate their main base as a First Order fleet reaches them. Poe Dameron leads an effective but costly counterattack. The Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order, with Supreme Leader Snoke present, gives pursuit using a tracking device. During an attack, Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, destroys the Resistance support fighters, but hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence on board. TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing many Resistance leaders. Leia saves herself using the Force but is incapacitated, leaving Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in command. Disapproving of her passive strategy, Poe, Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device.
Having arrived on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon, Rey meets Luke Skywalker. Luke initially refuses to teach her, even after learning of Han Solo’s death, saying the Jedi should end for their failures. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo begin communicating with each other through telepathic visions. Prompted by R2-D2, Luke eventually agrees to teach Rey, but Luke and Kylo give Rey differing accounts of the incident that turned Kylo evil, with Luke confessing that he contemplated killing Kylo upon discovering his corruption by Snoke. Unable to convince Luke to join the Resistance, Rey leaves Ahch-To without him to confront Kylo. While preparing to burn down the Ahch-To Jedi temple and its library, Luke encounters Yoda’s Force ghost, who destroys the sanctuary instead and tells Luke that failure is the greatest teacher.
Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions to be cowardly and risky, Poe instigates a mutiny. Finn, Rose, and BB-8 recruit the pirate and computer hacker DJ at a casino on Canto Bight, believing that he will be able to help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate Snoke’s ship, but are captured by Captain Phasma, though BB-8 manages to escape. Meanwhile, Rey lands on Snoke’s ship and is seized by Kylo, who takes her to Snoke. During a confrontation with Snoke, Rey tries to turn Kylo to the side of the Resistance. Snoke reveals that he controlled the mental connection between her and Kylo as part of a plan to destroy Luke. Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and works together with Rey to kill Snoke’s guards. Kylo invites Rey to rule the galaxy with him, but Rey refuses. Using the Force, they struggle for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber until it splits in two.
Leia, having recovered, stuns Poe and allows the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the main ship to mislead Snoke’s fleet as all others escape to an old Rebel Alliance base on the nearby planet Crait. However, DJ reveals the Resistance’s plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are targeted with heavy losses; Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming Snoke’s flagship at lightspeed to stop the barrage. Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself new Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Rose and Finn, who escape after defeating Captain Phasma, and join the survivors of the evacuation. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose lead a charge with old speeders, but suffer heavy losses. Rey arrives in the Millennium Falcon and draws the TIE fighters away, while Rose saves Finn from a suicide run against the main enemy cannon, which then blasts a hole in the Resistance fortress.
Luke appears and confronts Kylo alone, giving the surviving Resistance fighters time to escape. Kylo strikes Luke with his lightsaber, but learns that he has been fighting a Force projection, and Luke is still on Ahch-To. Luke defiantly tells Kylo that he will not be the last Jedi, as Rey clears a blocked tunnel behind the base so the remaining Resistance fighters can escape. Luke, spent from the strain, peacefully dies and becomes one with the Force. The remaining Resistance fighters escape aboard the Falcon, and Leia reassures everyone that the rebellion has all that is needed to rise again. As Finn comforts the injured Rose, the sacred Jedi texts are briefly seen safely aboard the Falcon presumably taken from the Force tree by Rey before it was destroyed by Yoda. On Canto Bight, one of the children that helped Finn and Rose escape grabs a broom with the Force and hopefully gazes up into space.
- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
The big return of Luke Skywalker into the Star Wars story was a huge part of The Force Awakens, even if it lasted a few seconds. What we had built up for 2 years was literally thrown aside to give way to this broken old man who just wanted to be left alone to die and the religion that he joined as a teenager and spent his whole life devoted to die with him. This Luke is one who has given up on himself, the Force, and life in general. He doesn’t want redemption, he just wanted to be left alone. Instead of getting the redemption of Luke due to his failure with Kylo Ren, we just get a depressed guy who wallows in his own bullshit for 90% of the film, and then gets a cop out moment in what should have been an awesome fight scene, then disappears completely from the series for no reason. Way to piss on a legendary piece of Sci-Fi history… And no, Mark Hamill is not to blame.
- Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa
As Carrie’s final acting role before her untimely passing, it feels like Leia was more in touch and peaceful than she has been in previous movies. Gone is the badass women who will do anything to get things done, but a more war-worn and disappointed woman who has seen way too much in her life. We do see in The Last Jedi that she is very much more in touch with The Force, to the point where she is able to use Force Breathing to save herself from dying in the vacuum of space (Though the moment looks very out of place when it happens). A nice final moment for Leia in the movie comes with a moment where she speaks to Luke, joking about her hair and acting like no time has passed since seeing her brother. It seems like a nice farewell for Leia and Carrie that we all know is going to be stuffed up in Episode 9.
- Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren started out as an emo child, cracking the shits at a Father figure who was treating him like crap. Then he changes into some sort of romantic interest for Rey so that he can be saved by the power of love in Episode IX, only to have it all ripped away as Kylo becomes the new ultimate evil in the series. Too much flip-flop when it came to Kylo and his motivations in The Last Jedi for him to become anything more than just another ‘Mary-Sue’ character who can do what he does because “The Force deems it so”. While Kylo’s swap to the new main villain is a good twist and really makes him in the third act, the terrible crap he goes through for the first 2 hours makes it not worth going through to see the end result… Also minus 10 points for the pointless shirtless scene.
- Daisy Ridley as Rey
Where to begin with Rey… The invincible ‘Mary-Sue’ who exists just because she needs to. She can do everything without being taught, is immune to anything bad that tempted Jedi for generations, is as powerful or more so than everyone else in the film and has zero character flaws. In The Last Jedi we see Rey become the ultimate fan-fiction insert character, her big revelation about her parents? A couple of drunken nobodies. Her acclimation with The Force? Because The Force demands there is balance and she is the light side to Kylo’s dark side. There is no real rhyme or reason for anything to do with Rey’s background in connection with anything in any of these films.
- John Boyega as Finn
A complete waste of a character in The Last Jedi. After all the building Finn had in The Force Awakens, he is pretty much cast aside to being a B-Plot character, spending most of his time being captured and trying to find a mcguffin that never really plays out and then suddenly being thrown into a forced romance moment with the new Rose character so Finn is pushed aside in fans expectations of there being a Finn/Rey romance like it looked to be planned in The Force Awakens.
- Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron
Headstrong and trying hard to be a hero more than looking at the overall picture, Poe is more of the “new Han” in attitude more than anything. He constantly questions his leaders and thinks that the only way to handle things is to blow something up. You can see that he is being groomed to be the new leader of the Rebels in Episode 9, but in this one he is just annoying and shown to do practically nothing (Like most characters in The Last Jedi) most of the film.
- Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke
Another waste of a character. Snoke was built up to be the new Emperor, the ultimate evil driving The First Order into the subjectification of the universe… What we got in The Last Jedi was the over-confident and arrogant stereotype of a villain who gets pushed aside for the dark side Emo Mary-Sue character Kylo Ren. While getting rid of Snoke was a good move, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions about him from The Force Awakens.
- Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico
Another Tumblr-esq character come to life. The sister of a bombing pilot who dies in the beginning of The Last Jedi who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time to bump into Finn and create the B-Plot in the film. She comes off as a literal fangirl in the beginning, but changes from sympathetic character to Finn’s new love interest (Even though Finn doesn’t want her advances at all…) during a very boring B-Plot. I don’t even see why Rose is in this film at all since most people don’t even remember her name after The Last Jedi ends.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a movie about failure, removing the old to make way for the new. From the beginning of the movie we are seeing all the heroes get trampled while The First Order gains more and more power. This is very akin to Empire Strikes Back and is meant to make the audience feel like there is no hope so that when everything corrects itself in Episode IX and we go home happy.
If you’re one of those people who love a new universe where women are all the badasses and men are either do-nothing complainers or total scumbags, then you’re going to love this. Rey is the over-powered ‘Mary-Sue’ who can do anything and everything without needing to earn a thing, Leia and Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo lead the Rebellion at different points in the film (including Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo with an amazing Lightspeed Bullet moment of sacrifice), Rose being the amazing technical marvel who loves Finn. All the male characters like Poe, Finn, Luke & Kylo are mostly played off as idiots, do-nothings, complainers or just plain worthless.
Some of the effects, especially seeing Yoda back in puppet form, are amazing. There was a return to traditional practical effects and some CGI stuff for the more out there things like the dog/camel/horse things, which mixed well and didn’t look out of place like it did with the prequel movies. There were also call back moments, like R2-D2 replaying the original message from Leia to Obi-Wan which made me tear up and happy for a brief moment.
Ok, with that out of the way, what didn’t work with The Last Jedi… Everything. From Snoke being killed off, to the terrible drama of the ship fuel, to the killing off of everything we know and love about the previous Star Wars films; this was just horribly done. I know that in order to get the new characters over… excuse me… Rey and Kylo over with the new audience we needed to remove all the old guard, hand over the torch and all that shit. But the way it was all handled was like a huge middle finger to every single Star Wars fan in the audience, practically stating “You guys who have carried this franchise for 40+ years are no longer the ones we want as our audience”.
Rey and Kylo are now firmly established as nothing more than ‘Mary-Sue’ fan-fiction characters who are raw power and knowledge with no connection to anyone or anything established previously. Rose is looking to be another one of those new characters who is going to be a side-distraction for Finn so that the writer can concentrate on the “Reylo” romance plot that is being pushed slowly throughout The Last Jedi, though they do try to twist things around by Kylo becoming the new Supreme Leader of The First Order.
A lot of The Last Jedi looks like it was rewritten on the fly or changed to suit a ‘new’ direction that is more focused on Rey more than anything else. You could see a lot of things in The Force Awakens plot wise being thrown over the cliff in The Last Jedi and it really doesn’t sit well. Characters morals are changed or right up abandoned to suit the new narrative, characters removed from the story for no reason (Luke just literally disappears at the end of The Last Jedi for no reason at all), nothing is left from 40+ years of established canon… Gone… Why? Because a writer decided that there needs to be nothing left of the old universe in order to create the new. It sucks.
The final gripe I have with the whole of The Last Jedi was that it suffers from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King false endings. The Last Jedi has several points in the third act where it could have ended, leaving some battles to open Episode IX and save other moments for the greatness that the next film could have been, but instead we see moments wasted in a choppy and boring ending to The Last Jedi that really left me wondering why I should bother with Episode IX.
When The Last Jedi ended, my girlfriend who is an avid sci-fi fans and Star Wars nut; turned to me and said “I think I’m done with Star Wars.” I unfortunately agree with her. To me, the story of the Skywalker family, the balance between order and chaos, light and dark, etc ended when the Empire fell and Darth Vader was redeemed. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi are just side stories, extended universe crap that you do not need to see ever again. The Disney Era Star Wars films are going to end up like the Disney Era Power Rangers seasons, nothing worth giving a shit about and you can skip them completely. Which is fine since as we left the cinema, my girlfriend and I felt like we weren’t wanted as the audience… Well same to you Disney.
Abandon hope all ye who love Star Wars
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a ‘scorched Earth’ film. Everything you know, the 40+ years of established canon, the Sith, the Jedi, the Rebellion, everything here gets burnt to the ground in order to crate a new universe centered around the two ‘Mary-Sue’ characters in Rey and Kylo Ren. This was wiping the slate clean of everything the fans enjoyed in order to make “something new” with characters who have nothing and came from nothing. The whole film has a very “Star Wars fans are not your audience” tone to it just like the previous “Gamers are not your gaming audience” and “Comic Book fans are not your comic book audience” attitudes we have gotten from big companies in the past. Star Wars fans avoid this like Order 66, casuals will love it though.