So, I haven’t written anything here for a while, mainly because I lost interest. I was reviewing Game of Thrones episodes, and if anyone has seen those they may notice I stop reviewing after episode 4, this is no accident, because the rest of the season highly irritated me and I couldn’t stomach the process of saying, ‘this is wrong, this is wrong, oh and this is wrong too”. However, here I present another review, about one of the most divisive movies of the year. Why is it one of the most divisive movies of the year? I have no idea, but if I were to guess political extremist hacks on both sides are over-analysing what is in fact a pretty standard, inoffensive space adventure film that just so happens to be called ‘Star Wars’.
If I could sum up Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in one sentence it would be, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi subverts expectations, a little too often”. So did I like the movie? Yes. Do I think it’s the greatest thing ever? No. This movie reminds me a lot of Return of the Jedi, half of the movie is pointless and goes nowhere, and thus should’ve been cut, and the other half is gold.
So where do I start, positives or negatives? A few little nitpicks out of the way first. This movie also had a similar style to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and no, not just for that one scene. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I must give a big fat SPOILER WARNING from here on out, you have been warned, if you scroll past this I take no responsibility.
This movie, like Guardians, overdoes the humour at times, and no the humour itself is not the problem, the problem is that it undercuts serious moments that should be left to breathe. The climax of the film cuts back and forth between the ground battle (a serious tone), and Chewie and the porgs for comic relief. This is not the right time for comedy, but whatever, it’s just a nitpick. Oh and yes, porgs are cute.
The golden heart of this movie is in the arcs of Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren. Her connection to him, and Luke in the middle. I can’t help but feel Tumblr is going to love this aspect of the movie for entirely different reasons. The excess fat on the steak, however, comes in the form of the Finn and Rose subplot. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this is in this movie. It honestly feels like an episode of a sitcom like the Simpsons, you have the ‘A’ story, and a ‘B’ story that doesn’t effect story ‘A’ at all. What I mean by this is the lack of consequence or impact from these plot threads, and this isn’t the only one. All this side quest does is get Finn and Rose onto the First Order ship, and shoehorn in a chemistry-less romance that’s capped off by one of the most awkward kisses I’ve ever seen in a film. Here’s the problem though, this could’ve been achieved through other means. It’s a plot about animal rights – got it. It’s a plot about the war machine, and how both sides do shady things – got it. How is this at all relevant to the story though? This movie goes for almost 3 hours, the longest Star Wars film ever, did it really need to be this long? The rule of thumb is, if it’s not necessary, cut it. This plot takes up a large chunk of the middle of the movie and doesn’t yield enough impact to justify it’s existence.
This leads me to Poe’s mutiny. Why is this in the movie? I’m asking myself this question a lot. I said earlier how this movie subverts expectations too much. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about Snoke not being an important character, dying half way through this movie, or that Rey isn’t a member of any important family, no relation to anyone that we know. To that I say, those a good changes though. This trilogy is clearly about Rey and Kylo, Snoke is just a plot device, our expectations have been subverted in an interesting way. Same can be said about Rey, people were theorising from the moment The Force Awakens dropped, only to find out in this movie everyone was wrong. This is a curve ball and I love it. The mutiny on the other hand doesn’t yield consequence, positive or negative. He lives, he doesn’t get punished, his mutiny doesn’t change the plan, it has no impact on the story at all, which is a shame because Poe is a really fun character. I could nitpick again and complain about how the replacement commander after Leia goes into a coma should’ve just told everyone what their plan is, this on the other hand is a massive blotch on the entire movie.
These two subplots are ultimately pointless, chewing up time which could’ve been spent elsewhere. I would’ve loved more time with Rey on Luke’s island, learning more mysteries of the Force. All of that was gold, the connection to Kylo, etc. Perhaps there could’ve been more focus on the First Order – Rebellion chase.
In the end Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a pretty mixed bag, of mountain highs and cavern lows. It has some of the best moments from the entire saga, but also has some of the most pointless. The stuff that was great sticks with me more, and so I give this movie a 7.5/10. The characters of Rey and Kylo are still the most intriguing, and what I’m looking forward to most in episode 9. I am however cautious about the hype, now that the old director has been fired in favour of bringing J. J. Abrams back, apparently over creative differences between the director and the studio. I really hope they continue with this change of pace and not go back to nostalgia. The Force Awakens gets a pass because it’s in part a reboot, it’s the only movie that gets a pass for retreading and nostalgia.
This movie however has become incredibly divisive, and I have no clue why. This is a Star Wars film, people should stop over-analysing it. It’s good, not great, certainly not bad. Better than the Force Awakens, miles better than Rogue One, and light years better than the trash prequels.