I’m sat here torn. I’ve just watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and my heart feels heavy. I am a huge fan of these movies. They’ve been an important part of my life for so many years, but now, here I sit, and I’m thinking; ‘The Star Wars I love is dead’.
I also know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Other Star Wars fans have begun to express their displeasure with the Last Jedi and once again it feels like those critics that have raved about it A) went and saw a completely different movie or B) were not Star Wars fans to begin with.
Look at the current Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics are on 93% in favour whereas fans are at just 57%. Were the critics all high or were they all receiving a payment from Disney or something? This disparity between critics and the general public seems to be a growing issue lately.
So, let’s get into it. Why was The Last Jedi such a massive disappointment?
This is not the story we’re looking for
The movie starts off promising enough with a pretty spectacular space battle that sees the Resistance fleeing a vengeful First Order. As usual, the dogfighting scenes are great, but my first niggle with the movie appears at this point.
Po Dameron’s X-Wing single handily destroys a First Order Dreadnought’s guns enabling some slow bombers to attack it. A) why hasn’t the First Order developed effective anti-fighter weapons yet?? Did they learn nothing from losing two Death Stars and Starkiller base? B) why are the bombers designed to manually drop bombs like a WW2 bomber?
We’re then taken back to Ach-to the planet at the end of the Force Awakens (read my review of that movie here), where Rey meets Luke Skywalker. If you’re hoping for a meaningful scene where he takes his father’s lightsabre (btw there is still no explanation as to how the lightsabre was found after Luke’s and Darth Vader’s duel on Bespin), you’re gonna be disappointed. He takes it and then promptly chucks it over his shoulder and walks off. This is one of the most obvious points in the movie where it plays for a cheap laugh that just doesn’t work. Throughout the film, there are cheap and unfunny gags throughout. Whereas The Force Awakens had some heart, the Last Jedi just doesn’t, and the attempts at humour feel forced.
Slow motion chase
So, let’s get back to Po, Leia and the others. Their story arc is quite simply terrible. Leia’s ship gets hit by a missile promptly killing everyone on the bridge (including Admiral Ackbar who deserved a far better ending than this) and sending Leia out into deep space. Now, due to real life circumstances (RIP Carrie), this would have been the perfect time to say goodbye to Leia as a character and would add something to Kylo Ren’s story arc. We even see him hesitate to fire on his mother’s ship, so when it gets hit anyway that could have added some real pain to his character. Instead, Leia uses the Force (did she receive training? Why is this never mentioned?) and somehow manages to fly through space like Mary Poppins (no, really, she actually looks like Mary Poppins) and saves herself.
Following this, Leia and Po’s storyline literally turns into a slow-motion space chase for the entire movie while doing absolutely NOTHING to advance the story overall. Finn meets some random chick called Rose and randomly hatches a plan to save the fleet by boarding a First Order destroyer and disabling its tracking abilities. They take a shuttle and jump away. (If it was that easy for them to get away then why didn’t the rest of the Resistance personnel just jump into transports and all jump away to different locations? The First Order wouldn’t have been able to catch them all!)
As for Rose and Finn’s storyline, it is a complete waste of time. Their little side mission is dull, and as I was watching it, all I wanted was to get back to Luke and Rey. Finn and Rose literally serve no purpose in this film. Their plot was all over the place, and their trip to the dull casino planet was a complete waste of time. I don’t think what they did there had any impact on the plot at all save for them doing more harm than good.
So, let’s get back to Rey and Luke. Well, Mr Skywalker has turned into a whiny moody recluse who has turned his back on the galaxy and the Force. His reasons for doing so are quite frankly lame and belittle the character. Eventually, Rey wears him down, and he basically tells her she’s wasting her time and is afraid of how powerful she is. The backstory that was teased in The Force Awakens about the destruction of Luke’s Jedi temple is completely ignored. We learn nothing more about the Knights of Ren; we don’t why Ben was such an angry douche or how Snoke had influenced him.
Who the hell is Snoke? No answers here
As for Snoke, well, to me this is by far one of the worst parts of the movie. Rey goes to confront Kylo and is then promptly captured by Snoke. Plot twist! Kylo kills Snoke. Right, but who the hell was Snoke? We learn nothing about his character at all, and then he’s killed off way too easily. Now, at this point the movie’s plot could have been saved if Rey took Kylo’s offer and joined him (or the other way around), instead the sagas main villain is now whiny Ben Solo who isn’t really all that evil, he’s just a bit of a dick. We also learn at this point that Rey’s parents were nobody special at all. I mean I’m ok with this except for the way this plot point was hyped up so much in episode 7. It’s like the director decided to remove all the mystery that movie had established.
I could go on and on with the number of bad story choices in this movie, but this review would end up being an epic essay. I’ll just bullet point the other issues:
- There is no real lightsabre duel.
- It takes a dump on much of the lore established over the past 30 years or so.
- Yoda appears and looks terrible.
- Luke Skywalker dies for no reason save that he overexerted himself (I’m guessing)
- They kill Luke Skywalker FFS!
- The new AT-ATs, the cool looking things in the trailer literally do sod all.
- The overall plot just feels like they were making it up as they went along
- It doesn’t feel like the second movie in a trilogy more like the conclusion
- No one suspecting Kylo of Snoke’s murder. What the hell?
- The first order destroying the republic so easily.
- The slowest chase movie ever. Why couldn’t the First Order send another ship far ahead of them to cut them off?
- Why can Rey do things with the force even Master Yoda struggled with, with zero real training and no effort?
- Why are those giant horse cats important? Why should we care about them?
- Benicio getting 3 mins screen time, so his betrayal means nothing.
- Phasma dying with zero development either. Her escape from Starkiller base in episode 7 is not explained at all!
- Roses ‘we fight for what we love’ bullshit.
- How did Rey get onto the Millenium Falcon in the final act?
- By the film’s end, the First Order Fleet is destroyed, and there is only a handful of ‘Rebels’ left alive. Episode 9 is going to have the smallest battles in cinema history!
- The last act is a betrayal of the entire saga.
A Betrayal of the Saga?
For all the hate JJ Abrams got from some fans, he managed to brilliantly create an endless amount of questions and theories about the characters he introduced. You could have literally gone 1000 different directions, and somehow Rian Johnson picked some of the most uninteresting and outright stupid resolutions and revelations. Rey is nobody. Snoke was cool and super powerful, but he died just like that so who cares about his backstory? Knights of Ren? Nope, doesn’t matter. Really no payoff for any character. The only backstory we got was how Ren turned against Luke. That’s all Johnson cared to think about. Luke dies for nothing. Suddenly Jedi can project their image thousands of light years away, and even have lightsaber fights with their projection. Why didn’t Yoda do that every time he wanted to help his men escape? You create these new OP force powers, and naturally, you’ll have people wondering hey, why didn’t they do this then, it would have solved everything.
Like why not drive a ship at lightspeed through the Death Star if you can just destroy Snoke’s Supremacy like that? The movie did have some good moments (space battles, some moments with Rey and Kylo, good acting by Mark Hamill), but overall a big waste.
I would have honestly been happier with JJ Abrams directing all 3, at least we’d get one clear direction. It’s like Johnson wanted to tell a full story in this one movie because you could easily leave it here and pick it up 10 years from now with a new trilogy. There certainly isn’t much left to explore; everyone’s dead, there is no big bad guy, just a Rey vs Kylo deal to look forward to. Frustrating and disappointing.
Apparently, Rian Johnson the director of The Last Jedi has been given the green light to do a whole new standalone Star Wars Trilogy. If this is the best, he can do then god help the franchise. It has well and truly fallen to the Dark Side. I think I’ll stick to the old Expanded Universe and regard these movies as non-canon from now on.
The Last Jedi is a well-shot movie with some good action scenes, but it shits all over the franchise that does no service to any of the characters. It had so much potential but threw it all away. A massive disappointment and what’s the point of episode 9 now?
Overall score: 5/10