5.1 metascore by users, 56% audience score on RottenTomatoes, vicious criticisms saying that this is worse than the prequels, why is it literally impossible now to please a Star Wars fan? Yes, the movie has plot holes, yes it makes you suspend your disbelief too many times, I myself can even say I had some issues with it as I walked out of the theater and my nitpicks kept going on the next day. But overall, I was more than satisfied with what I got: a thrilling Star Wars movie that never has a dull moment.
In the group of friends I went to see this with, one of them had only seen a few Star Wars movies fully in her life, but her favorite character of the saga is Jar Jar Binks. Freaking Jar Jar! But she absolutely enjoyed The Last Jedi. That’s right: a non-fan thought the movie being mercilessly attacked by its most committed followers was great. If you ask me, I say that’s proof enough that Star Wars: The Last Jedi succeeds all it intended to accomplish.
First off, the bad. The amount of humor put in throughout the movie is way too excessive. The Force Awakens, pulled off some phenomenal humor but still knew when to be serious. This time around, the jokes are constant, even hurting the most touching moments with a quick snarky one-liner. It certainly succeeded in making me laugh quite a lot, but the already emotionally powerful story could have been so much greater without the Porgs.
With the characters themselves, their arcs are not as fully realized as they could have been. Finn’s arc could have been so effective here like how it was in The Force Awakens, but instead he’s pretty much just there to exist and move the plot along. He shares a weak romantic subplot with a new character, a young, eager member of the Resistance named Rose, who’s just there really to deliver the message in the end.
Then there are the other old flaws of the entire Star Wars franchise, such as expositiony dialogue, but newer flaws are unique to just this movie. One scene features a new world that looks like a steampunk Great Gatsby with a casino setting that feels very out of place for Star Wars, it’s literally another Cantina scene. So basically, I understand the hate from old fans: it’s difference in style alters what’s already established. But different is good! With everything this movie does wrong, there’s just as much, possibly more, that it does right!
First of all, the look to the film is gritty yet stellar. The casino looks lavish with spice while the space battles above the civil life bombards with grand explosions. The world of Ahch-To is absolutely gorgeous with its design of the strange life that lives there. It always seems to rain there, even when it isn’t, which complements the condition of Luke’s damp relationship with the force. A new planet with a crystalline design holds the base for the final battle, and it’s a visual splendor to watch as the ships glide over a vast salt bed over red dust. Beneath the surface of this planet, a space battle takes itself down under through a crimson geode. Even in the throne room of Supreme Leader Snoke, pure red overpowers the screen.
The much more intimate moments had so many moments when I held my breath in shock and anticipation, questioning what will happen. What helps is not just the question as to who Rey’s parents are or stuff like that, but the kinesthetic relationships with some of the more prevalent characters. While some of the character relationships needed work, others, such as the force sensitive bond between Rey and Kylo Ren, were mesmerizing to watch. You even get to see a bit more of Finn’s arc with Captain Phasma fulfilled in one awesome piece of combat! There are plenty of other lightsaber duels and battle sequences that are filled with fun moments and epic choreography.
I particularly like how Kylo Ren is far more complex than the typical bad guy, and you can see past his emo hair to empathize with the corrupted, scared little child he truly is. Rey’s little training sessions, as few as they are, also command your attention as Luke observes what she already knows, and how he in turn learns from her, a classic mentorship bond.
So guys, stop setting such unrealistically high expectations for Star Wars. All the flaws about this movie, as viable as they are, are not new to the entire Star Wars series. With all the fan theories and expanded universe that try to add ownership to the fictional world, we forgot one thing about this property we’ve now gotten so serious about: watching Star Wars is supposed to be fun! That’s what I did with my friends on Thursday night, we went to have a good time and we got it. I’m not usually one to tolerate talking during a movie, but I was sharing little verbal exchanges with my friend I was sitting next to while watching the movie, and we all cheered and laughed with the rest of the crowd. The result, we had a fun, memorable night that made my friend’s 25th birthday very special. So long story short, stop getting so worked up, have some fun!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Star Wars. Lucasfilm Ltd. Web. <http://www.starwars.com/>.
Wilkinson, Alissa. “Rian Johnson, the creative force behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained.” Digital image. Vox. Vox Media, 13 Dec 2017. Web. <https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/13/16761916/rian-johnson-star-wars-last-jedi-looper-brick-brothers-bloom-fly-breaking-bad>.