My Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Guess What, I Didn’t Like It)

Reviewing Star Wars films objectively is an impossible task. They have baggage. Whether it’s preconceived notions of how the audience thinks events should unfold, or whether it’s just getting a glorious nostalgia bomb, no one is watching these films objectively. No critic and no fan can watch these films with a completely open mind. Many of us weren’t even alive when the first one came out, so Star Wars has always been with us. That being said, I’m going to try to lay out my thoughts on the newest film in the series, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi. I’ll probably do a terrible job, and you’ll probably think I’m a virgin moron, but hey, let’s give it a shot anyway.

The greatest crime a film in a franchise can commit is rehashing things that were already done. Case in point, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was little more than a remake of the first Star Wars film. Sure, it had a few cool moments, and yeah Kylo Ren was a good villain, but generally it was a giant waste of celluloid. The Last Jedi, at least, is not a remake of any of the other films in the series. Because of this, it is automatically a better movie than The Force Awakens. But does that mean The Last Jedi is a good movie? No, far from it.

The Last Jedi suffers from terrible plotting issues, pointless scenes, useless characters, woeful editing, gaps in logic, dumb humor, and it still cribs from the original trilogy. I suppose most of the blame should lie with Rian Johnson. The instant the movie ended, John Williams’ score boomed into the theater along with the text that said, “Written and Directed by Rian Johnson.” So, since he’s taking full credit, he should also get full blame.

First, the plot. It was an extended, low-speed chase sequence. The bad guys’ armada is in pursuit of the good guys’ lone remaining spaceship. It felt like an odd choice for a film series that prides itself on high-speed, frenetic space battles. Just sitting there, watching two ships lazily floating across a starfield was perplexing, like it belonged in a different movie. The ships move at sub-light speeds because they are low on fuel. It was jarring hearing them talking about fuel shortages. What do you even fill a space ship up with, regular unleaded or diesel? The characters freak out about this particular plot point, because once they run out of fuel, the bad guys are going to catch up to them. Except that couldn’t happen, because there is no friction in space, and their ship would move at the same speed forever on its inertia. Anyway, the entire backdrop for the film felt slow and bizarre, and it certainly wasn’t exciting. It was like watching the O.J. Simpson white Ford Bronco chase in space.

Second, pointless scenes. There is an entire subplot to this film that is completely pointless. The leaders of the good guys have a secret plan for escaping from the bad guys. It is so secret that they don’t tell anyone, not the officers, not the heroes from the previous film, no one. Therefore, Poe and Finn concoct a plan to sneak aboard the bad guys’ space ship, and disrupt their tracking mechanism so the good guys can escape. This subplot probably gets a good thirty minutes or more of screen time dedicated to it. It takes us through some of the lowest lows a Star Wars film has been on since The Phantom Menace. Finn and Rose go to a casino planet, meet some scrappy young kids, save some horribly rendered CGI animals, and get involved in a fake-as-hell, not to mention cheesy, chase scene on said CGI animals. Ultimately, their plan fails, and they get captured by the bad guys just as they are about the save the day. This failure, however, is not what makes the subplot pointless. What makes the subplot pointless is that if the good guys’ leader had divulged the secret plan, none of this would have been necessary. In fact, far fewer of their comrades would have been killed in the process. Keeping this secret plan hidden serves no purpose other than it being a surprise for the audience. It is exactly this kind of disdain for the audience, treating them like morons, that I hate in films these days.

Third, useless characters. There are so many useless characters in this film, I’ll just have to break them down quickly. I could probably write a paragraph about each one, but neither you nor I have the time nor stamina to write and read all that. Rose – contributes nothing except for one “inspiring” line at the end of the film; she does save Finn’s life, but his sacrifice would have been pointless, so she still remains pointless. Finn – since his subplot was pointless, all his actions were pointless, and his attempt at a kamikaze run at the end would not have stopped the battering ram, so even that would have been pointless. Poe – he is an ace pilot, and with the exception of two scenes, doesn’t get to do any flying; even his flight scenes are abbreviated; he mostly gets to yell at people and hijacks the ship, which, once again, is a completely pointless scene because Leia had a secret plan all along, and none of this garbage would have been necessary if she just told him about it. Leia – is unconscious for most of the film, and does nothing except talk about “hope;” completely pointless.

You know, the entire plot of this movie could have been avoided if the characters just talked to one another. The Last Jedi’s plot is just like the plot of a romantic comedy or a TV sitcom, where everything could have been resolved in five minutes in someone had just apologized or told the truth. The Last Jedi’s writing is at the same level of a TV sitcom. I’m not claiming Star Wars has ever handled its writing with any incredible depth or insight, but at least it hasn’t stooped to TV sitcom levels before now.

Fourth, woeful editing. The movie is 2 hours and 30 minutes long. It is at least 30 minutes longer than it needs to be. If you cut out the entire Finn/Rose subplot, then the movie would have been lighter, less stupid, and better overall. Where was the editor here? Who was telling Rian Johnson that he needed to cut shit down? Did no one think that the movie was excessively long or dumb? Did everyone really think the shitty CGI animal chase was amazing and needed to stay in the film? Did they think Luke drinking green milk from space alien tits was a great storytelling choice? Who the fuck edited this thing?

Fifth, gaps in logic. The only place the film is consistent is with its inconsistency. Sometimes it chooses to obey the laws of physics, and other times it doesn’t. In the opening scene, the good guys drop bombs onto an enemy ship. When the cargo bay opens, the bombs fall out, but a human does not get sucked into the vacuum of space. Later in the film, the bad guys blow a hole into the good guys’ ship, and Leia gets sucked into the vacuum. The bombs fall directly onto the enemy ship, but last time I checked that would require gravity, which space does not have. Maybe the bombs had inertia or something from the bomber’s internal gravity, but that seems pretty far fetched. The greatest sin against logic is Leia somehow surviving in space. She is just chillin’ in space, in her robe, not freezing to death, not suffocating from a lack of oxygen, and able to float her ass back inside using the Force even though she’s unconscious. And that scene in particular was the dumbest single scene in Star Wars history. CGI Leia floats her way through space like Mary Fucking Poppins. Holy shit, which geniuses thought this was a good idea? It was just a plot device to allow the subplot to be carried out (because Leia couldn’t tell them not to go on account of her secret plan). But that could have been done, just by having Leia knocked unconscious by an explosion or something, she didn’t need to be in space and make the movie be as goofy as all hell. There are more gaps in logic like why don’t the bad guys use their giant cannons to destroy the good guys’ ship (instead of taking pot shots at them), and how are the good guys at such a disadvantage even though they wiped out the bad guys’ superweapon at the end of the last film, and how Rey is an even more powerful Jedi master even with no training on any specific skills, and I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

Sixth, dumb humor. The humor felt entirely out of place. Star Wars has never been devoid of humor, it has always managed to have a few jokes here or there, and that is totally fine. But the humor was misguided at best. The film starts with Luke tossing his light saber away without a second thought, and drinking gross green milk. Poe’s “conversation” about being on hold with the bad guys felt like it should have been in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It’s just that the jokes weren’t organic to the characters or the scenes, they were just shoehorned in for the sake of having jokes. It was more akin to the humor in Marvel movies than Star Wars movies. Maybe that’s a product of both companies being owned by Disney, but who knows? In any case, the vast majority of the humor did not work.

Seventh, it still cribs from the original trilogy. As if everything above wasn’t bad enough, this movie still steals from the original trilogy. People writing reviews about this movie’s “bold new direction” and “turning the series on its head” are idiots. The Last Jedi tries to shake things up, but doesn’t feel comfortable enough being original. It still clings to stuff from the older films, because it isn’t confident to be its own thing. Rey goes to find Luke who is in hiding in a remote backwater planet, just like when Luke finds Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Rey goes into a dark cave and faces her greatest fear, just like Luke did during his training. Dark side apprentice Kylo Ren betrays his evil master in order to save his friend/Rey just like when Darth Vader betrayed the emperor in Return of the Jedi to save Luke. Even Luke steals a famous line of dialogue from Obi-Won when he battles Kylo Ren. Poe/Rose are betrayed by the guy they thought was helping them, a la Lando from The Empire Strikes Back. The good guys are under attack from more powerful bad guys, using AT-AT walkers, on a white (salt) planet just like in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back on Hoth. They can’t even let their imagery be original, they still cling to the best/most memorable parts of the original trilogy.

And what about the acting, how did that fare? I liked the acting for the most part, especially from Luke and Kylo Ren. They had the two standout performances. Leia’s performance was slightly less wooden than in the previous movie, but not by much. The other characters like Poe and Finn had casual, comfortable performances. Rey’s performance was decent, and certainly not bad, but nothing to write home about. The worst performance was probably from Laura Dern, whose folksy charm and rubber face was just too distracting to be a part of Star Wars.

There were a few parts of the film I actually liked. The action was well staged, the special effects were generally good (except for the CGI animal chase), Yoda’s surprise guest appearance was fun, Kylo Ren’s murder of Snoke was inspired, and the mini-Rashomon device of showing what happened between Luke and young Kylo was interesting. Plus, that battle with Kylo and Rey in the red room was easily a top five all-time Star Wars scene. So, I will give credit to Rian Johnson for those triumphs just as much as I give him credit for all the film’s failures.

Overall, The Last Jedi is an average Star Wars movie. It’s better than The Force Awakens because it’s not a direct remake, and it’s better than the prequels because it isn’t total garbage. But it’s worse than the original trilogy and Rogue One. It makes a lot of boneheaded decisions, and tries to pass them off as edgy, but really just is the result of poor filmmaking. Rian Johnson is not a good storyteller. He might be a good director if he let someone else call all the story-related shots. On its own, The Last Jedi is a bad movie. Without the Star Wars moniker, it would be a festering turd no one would enjoy. So, at least it has a pedigree going for it.

Verdict: Bad

9 Responses to “My Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Guess What, I Didn’t Like It)”

  1. December 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

    So cynical! No love for Star Wars, even at its jokey best? Pshaw!!!


  2. December 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    ” It was like watching the O.J. Simpson white Ford Bronco chase in space” HAHAHAHAHA

  3. December 30, 2017 at 9:22 am

    “Poe’s “conversation” about being on hold with the bad guys felt like it should have been in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie”.
    You hit the nail on the head there.

  4. 7 Dober
    December 31, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve watched it yesterday and I can pretty much agree with everything. When you start your movie with a “your mother joke” your movie has some serious problems in the writing department. I liked several occasional scenes throughout the film and I overall liked the ending, but that didn’t make up for the pile of garbage the rest of the movie was.

  5. 8 Iain Aschendale
    January 9, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Late to the party, just discovered this blog, but am I the only person who noticed that while it’s “impossible” to track a ship through hyperspace, Finn has to get to Rey because they have matched friendship bracelets that allow them to track each other anywhere in the galaxy? And if he doesn’t warn Rey, she’ll track him right there and drop into the middle of the enemy fleet? It’s in the same conversation after Rose tasers him to stop him from stealing the pod or whatever (only saw it once, in the theater, so my recollections might be off.)

    Entertaining blog, by the way, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • May 16, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts. I’m glad you like the blog. I hadn’t noticed your comment on the movie, but it’s just another problem with it. I doubt time will remember this one kindly.

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December 2017


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