Star Wars: The Last Jedi literally split the fandom in two. Most critics and some fans loved it, while others hated it, going as far as to say that it's the worst Star Wars movie to date. Well, after watching the movie a couple of times and gathering my thoughts into coherent and objective sentences I feel like I get the gist of what the movie was trying to be and why it will change Star Wars completely going forward.
It's true that the Star Wars fandom is hard to please. I should know as I belong to it. To me, there are three aspects of how and why I love Star Wars that might not be true unless you are a die-hard fan. When it comes to the force, I love the more subtle way it's portrayed in the original trilogy but I also like some of the more epic and not so subtle uses of it in the expanded material like comics and games. Prequel trilogy with its many flaws still has some amazing lightsaber duels and larger than life characters, whether you like how they were portrayed or not.
So you see, there are three widely different interpretations of the same universe that create expectations so if you are a fan of the expanded universe, a movie that's trying to emulate the original trilogy might not sit well with you. I'm still forming opinions on what I like the most about the new trilogy and that's a question I'll fully be able to answer after Episode IX. For now, let's go over key themes, scenes, and revelations from the Last Jedi. A massive spoiler alert if you haven't seen the film yet.
Things I (ABSOLUTELY) dislikeD
First Order fleet chasing the Resistance fleet
The entire main premise for me is all bad. While Star Wars is by most accounts more fantasy than sci-fi, there are still some expectations for it to obey the basic laws of physics. While I admit that bending these laws sometimes can be in service of the plot – here, that's not the case. Bombs falling in space, people not being sucked out when an airlock is open, faster ships not gaining distance are just some of the things that painfully stuck out to me.
The entire "chase them until they run out of fuel" scene of the movie is the main source of plot problems that generates other unnecessary side plots, character drama and most of the film's inconsistencies. It also generates problems for the future of the franchise as the introduction of a technology that can track ships through hyperspace means that guerilla warfare is out the window if you were a fan of such tactics being employed by the rebels in the original trilogy. At least it hits home with the spoken theme of the movie of letting the past die, as this tech might change how war is waged or push the often criticized and stagnant Star Wars technology forward.
Canto Bight side story
In the side story, Finn and a fellow resistance fighter, Rose go to a casino planet called Canto Bight in an effort to find a master code breaker in order to get them onto the First Order ship that's housing the hyperspace tracking tech so they can disable it. The chase premise generates this problem by not filling in our heroes on the plan to ditch the resistance ships and move to an abandoned rebel base.
While I don't think that the supposed heroes of the story always need to be in the loop – here, it feels extremely forced. Especially when you omit said facts to Poe that just in the last movie became a literal rebellion hero by destroying Starkiller base. And no, I don't care how demoted he is since the resistance numbers in the literal dozens and every man should count. He is reckless, but he is on your side. Knowing that it makes perfect sense to let him in on the plan. Canto Bight story can't quite decide what it wants to be too. It tries to be a humorous lighthearted side adventure but then it delves into a story about the greed of the rich and abuse of both people and animals. By the end of the movie, it becomes absolutely pointless and feels like an excuse to put someone from the resistance on board a First Order ship for some face to face, questionably cool moments.
Mary Sue starring as Rey
Rey, for me, is the most uninteresting Star Wars protagonist ever. Not only is she incredibly blank as a character, the only half interesting thing about her was also thrown out the window. Her possible lineage. But let me make myself clear. I don't care that her parents turn out to be nobody, nor am I wowed by the sudden revelation that anybody can be special no matter their bloodline. I mean there were a million Jedi in the prequels and most them don't come from a remarkable or special bloodline. Even Anakin's mother was an absolute nobody before giving birth to him.
Rey is a bad character because of the fact that she is an absolute genius at everything with no struggle. She is an ace pilot, duels opponents more trained and powerful and wins, uses the force better than Luke when he was training with Yoda and wins everyone's affection at a first glance. Even if you take the half-assed explanation that she is the force's answer to the growing power of Kylo Ren, she is still untrained and inexperienced. It's established that the dark side is the quick and easy path to power while the light is the more difficult path of self-sacrifice and selflessness. Well, if you go by the new trilogy, the light side as used by Rey is the easy way while dark side by Kylo is the more difficult path.
THINGS I (ABSOLUTELY) LIKED
Evolution of Kylo Ren
I always found the dark side users more compelling and let's be honest, cooler part of the franchise. Ben Solo is actually the embodiment of the new trilogy for me. In the Force Awakens, we saw him struggle to kill his father in order to further immerse himself into the dark side and become more powerful. We saw him look up to Darth Vader and Snoke while offering Rey to be her teacher. Well here, just as Last Jedi takes bold steps, so does Kylo. After getting berated and mocked by Snoke he basically decides he has had enough. No more playing grandpa, no more being the errand boy, no more resistance, no more empire, no Jedi, no Sith.
Much like in the real world, you can't move forward if you live in the past and aligning yourself with and modeling new factions with old templates gets you nowhere. He wrecks his helmet, kills Snoke and becomes the man in charge, basically destroys the resistance and kinda sorta does away with his old master – Luke Skywalker. He does what Vader never did and while I certainly would have liked to know more about Snoke, I feel like his death really serves to move Kylo forward instead of rethreading the same original trilogy paths.
THINGS I BOTH LIKED AND DISLIKED
Snoke & Yoda
Let's talk Snoke first as he is probably the main focus of many fan complaints. While I was most certainly hyped to find out more about him in the Last Jedi, I don't really mind him dying as for me he was a carbon copy of the emperor and the new trilogy is already similar enough to the original as is. If you are disappointed about his death – consider the fact that you didn't know anything about the emperor in the original trilogy. Emperor wasn't hyped up to these massive levels because he wasn't the focus of the story, but I guarantee that he would be if the original trilogy came out today cause everyone and their grandma likes a good theory with the internet being the perfect breeding ground. Snoke served his purpose of moving Kylo Ren forward and that's it.
I was genuinely surprised to see Yoda in this movie. I adored the fact that the puppet used in the original trilogy makes a return here. What I didn't like about his appearance is the apparent power he commands as a force ghost. As if they didn't produce enough problems for Star Wars, now they are expanded to be able to do crazy things. I choose to believe that the fact that Ahch-To is a light side nexus enabled him to control the weather cause otherwise force ghosts are an even bigger complication going forward.
Luke Skywalker and his path from dumbass to Jedi Knight is easily the best part of the original trilogy. His incremental growth and hardships make him a believable protagonist and the appropriate time skips between movies explain some of his character jumps. At the end of the trilogy, he was a mature, powerful and wise beyond his years type of character that always put his family and friends first. A hopeful and hope-inspiring person. Force Awakens established how, after his failed attempt at a new Jedi order, he went off in search of knowledge, leaving a map to his location if he should ever be needed. While I found the whole map aspect of The Force Awakens a bit quirky, I hate to see it not pay off in the end.
While the end scene gave the indication of Luke being sad and nostalgic toward Ray handing him his father's lightsaber, Last Jedi throws it down the cliff. Literally. We find Luke who is broken, depressed and what looked to me, on the verge of committing a suicide. I disliked how they handled the road that led him to his state as it is a massive departure from the Luke we knew in the original trilogy. He saw the darkness in Ben Solo and for a second contemplated killing him. Young Ben caught wind of this, rebelled and with the help of Snoke turned to the dark side. Really? Luke who believed that the second most evil, cold killer person in the universe could be turned to the light wanted to kill Han's and Leia's child even for a second? I think not. Besides that, I understand and like that these events took a toll on him and raised all kinds of doubts about what he should do next.
In the final act of the movie, he appears on Crait and while I initially hated the fact that he was actually projecting himself and was not actually there for the final battle, I talked about it at great length with a fellow fan and the conversation changed my mind. I claimed that Luke should have gotten a fan service scene like Darth Vader had in Rogue One and his counter-argument was that using the force to project his image across the galaxy for a final moment with Leia, a face to face with Kylo Ren that buys the resistance enough time to escape and provide inspiration is the light side equivalent of what Vader did at the end of Rogue One.
I was wowed by this interpretation and figured that the expanded universe Luke spoiled me. His Legends interpretation had me expecting him to topple the walkers like dominoes and exactly that would be a disservice to his character and the force, no matter how badass it would actually be. He dies alone on Ahch-To, supposedly from the exertion that such a force projection had on him and presumably turns into a force ghost while watching two suns set, much like the ones on his home planet of Tatooine.
Crait last stand
The opinion expressed in this article is purely that of the author and is not representative of KeenGamer as a whole.