I don’t claim to be a Star Wars super-fan (I googled a bunch of names in the movie to write this post). I liked movies 4-6. They are good stories that introduce us to a creative universe and throw in some humor.
The Force Awakens was a home run, but I was disappointed by the The Last Jedi. It had its bright moments, and it wasn’t the worst Star Wars that has been made, but it is closer to the bottom of the pile than the top. I would give it a three out of five stars. What has surprised me is the varying opinions of this movie. Some loved it, others hated it. I can’t quite place my finger on why this is, so here is my explanation of my general disappointment.
It basically comes down to bad storytelling. Tell a good story and I can get past some of the bad scenes. Tell a bad story and the bad scenes become painful to watch.
It is not just super-fans who are let down, but regular movie-goers who are merely looking for some continuity within a series.
The Relationship to The Force Awakens
One huge problem was immediately apparent. Johnson didn’t care what happened in TFA. Usually the scroll screen at the beginning tells you what has happened when you were not watching Star Wars. But there is no time between TFA and TLJ. TLJ picks up where TFA left off. And if you remember, in TFA the resistance destroyed the First Orders’ biggest weapon. They should be scrambling at this point. But now the First Order is back in power again. What? It is almost as if Johnson forgot how TFA ended.
And this brings up a larger point. TLJ at almost every point took what was set up by the TFA and did something different. Now that is their prerogative, but this is a series and it teaches viewers to not care about the development in TFA. To me it says, don’t pay attention to our plot or character development, because we might scrap it in a flip of a switch.
The TFA made us think that Rey came from some important family and TLJ just quickly said, “Nope.” Again, it is not wrong to do this, but why the set up in TFA?
Add to this that they never explained who Snoke was, where he came from, and then they just killed him off. Again, TFA made me intrigued about who this figure was. TLJ said, “Let’s just cut him in two and move on.”
Plot Holes and Pointless Scenes
At the end of the day, movie had too many plot holes and pointless scenes. Here are a few of them.
– Fin just wakes up from his coma. So does Leia. So will Rose I assume. So space comas don’t matter at all is what they are telling me. Kill someone off for goodness sake. These near death experiences are killing me.
– They dropped bombs in space (enough said).
– The whole Canto Bight scene was worthless in terms of plot development. It felt off from the beginning. They had a few hours to get to a planet, find a person they didn’t know, and then break into the First Order. Fin was not developed at all in these scenes and the plot line fizzled into nothing.
– They find the robber for one second and then find another in jail? What? Why is the best hacker in jail? Why did Maz tell them there is only ONE PERSON who can do this and then they find another? And if this robber/cloaker is so good, why not employ them?
– They tried to throw in this Rose/Fin love angle right at the end. So now we have a love square going on? Rey, Ren, Fin, Rose. I am more confused than excited to see what happens next.
– Speaking of plot development, there were essentially two plot lines. One with the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren (good) and the second with the Resistance fleet fleeing the First Order (bad). I heard the Resistance storyline compared to the OJ White Bronco chase scene. Nothing happens…for hours. It is like a space chase in slow motion.
– Oh and side note: why didn’t they just put a robot on the ship and crash it into the First Order rather than one of their top commanders?
– Rey dropping down into the dark hole in Ireland was pointless. She went down there and saw herself and snapped a few times. Maybe the point was to show that she didn’t have a famous family past but it seemed an odd way to show it. That scene should have been huge as she struggled with the dark side, but it was just weird.
– The Porgs. The Ewoks worked before because we came to love them and they ended up being a big part of the final battle. The porgs felt thrown in just to have a silly creature in there. That is not the way to make a movie. Make every scene count.
– Why did Luke pole vault?
Trying Too Hard
The movie also tried too hard. It had one really good ending scene, but then added about five more to try to wrap too many plot lines together. But this isn’t the last movie!
I would have rather had them leave a few strings hanging like TFA did at the end with Luke, Rey, Fin, and even Kylo Ren. That was a good ending that made me really want come back for TLJ. TFA realized they could keep people on the edge of their seats. I walked out of TLJ not so interested in what was going to happen next. I just kept thinking they had about 10 chance to kill Leia and didn’t do it.
The good final scene that I am speaking about in TLJ was with Rey, Kylo Ren, and Snoke. That felt like the best of Star Wars to me and clearly a throw back to the Luke, Vader, and Emperor scene. I was at the edge of my seat during this scene because the most interesting plot line of the whole movie was coming to a climax.
But they also messed up this scene with Ren then flipping again immediately after he killed Snoke. At one minute Rey and Kylo Ren are fighting side by side and then the next they are battling for the light saber. What was that? Talk about a roller coaster. I understand they were trying to get across the divided nature of Ren, but the power of the Vader flip was that no one saw it coming. Now I don’t think they have to do exactly the same thing with Ren as Vader, but the flip in two minutes didn’t work.
They tried to have four epic endings, but they focused on the epic rather than the ending. Rey and Ren face off, Luke and Ren face off, the Empire and the Resistance face off, and Fin and Chromehead face off. Talk about overkill. I realize they needed to bring some of these to a conclusion but IT WAS NOT THE LAST MOVIE. Leave something to be desired.
It might sound like I thought The Last Jedi was all bad. It wasn’t. Here are a few of the things I liked.
– The storyline between Rey and Ren was well done. I liked the slowness of the relationship between Rey and Luke as well. That whole plot line was good.
– Even though I didn’t like White Bronco space chase plotline, I liked Poe a lot (Oscar Isaac). He is always a good actor. The best of the bunch in my opinion.
– Though I thought Ren flipped and flopped too much, I actually think he plays his part well.
If you enjoyed the move I don’t have anything against that. The point here is that it is not just Star Wars super-fans who had issues; the plot had issues. I was just hoping to see a good storyline continue. Unfortunately, I was let down and am not as interested in the next movie. Sure, I will still see it, but it this even fixable now?
Either Abrams goes back to TFA in Episode IX and this movie sticks out like a sore thumb, or they keep up with TLJ and TFA looks out of place. I think they put themselves in a hard place.
Maybe someone will tell me why all the scenes I described so negatively actually worked and continued the storytelling of the Star Wars saga.