I know this review-ish thing is coming somewhat late after the movie’s premiere, but I wanted to see it twice before making a conclusion on what I think of the movie. Now you’ve probably already read a thousand reviews by people much better at reviewing movies than me, so this is less of a review and more of my general thoughts and impressions of the Last Jedi.
I’ll start with saying that I don’t think my hype was up to the same standard as the Force Awakens was (which was high, very high). The Force Awakens was the first real Star Wars movie in a long time, and I think most of my enjoyment of that film came from the simple fact it was the first Star Wars film in ten years. But with the Last Jedi, I had been spoiled with the Force Awakens and Rogue One, so I had plenty of fill of Star Wars already. But perhaps this is a good thing, since my opinion was not going to be affected by sheer excitement.
Now I’m going to come out and say it loud and clear- the Last Jedi is not a bad film. It is in fact a very good one. But is it a good Star Wars film? Well, yes, but that is not a resounding yes.
I thought the first act or so of the Last Jedi was very good- it felt a lot like both the Force Awakens and the original movies. Mark Hamill, as always, does a great job and I have to admit (and hence disagree with a lot of the fanboys) that I quite enjoyed this more cynical, wiser Luke. Its clear that he’s learnt a lot from his original trilogy days and is starting to understand how the galaxy and the Force work. And the revelation that even Luke had flashes of instinctual violence was a good way to remind us that he is a Skywalker- a family prone to child murdering. Though his reluctance to help his friends was a little startling- I understand Luke has changed, but a key part of his character was his devotion to his friends. That was perhaps too much of a change in personality. But asides from that, I kinda dig old grumpy Luke.
I thought Rey was pretty decent in this movie as well, but she felt very similar to how she did in the Force Awakens. But I’d probably blame the Force Awakens for that for starting her off too competent and leaving her no where else to go. She does learn a lot about the Force in this, and a lot about Kylo. Speaking of Kylo.
The shining star of the movie. The light of my life. The one and only Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. Easily my favourite character in the movie, Kylo feels like he has the most development of everyone. Swinging from dark to light and back to dark, but with a slither of light, was a move I was not expecting. I expected a straight forward redemption arc but got something better. And his newfound relationship with Rey has opened up some interesting new possibilities. And on the topic of Kylo and Rey…
The best parts of the film for me were no doubt the interactions between Rey and Kylo. Their Force connection was done in an interesting and impactful way that has moved their relationship to new grounds. So much so that it made me, a once staunch opponent of Reylo into an avid supporter.
But now to go onto what I didn’t like, and unfortunately there was a fair bit. Just as I enjoyed every scene with Rey, Luke or Kylo, I disliked nearly every scene with Finn and Rose. Now Rose has stirred up a lot of debate in the Star Wars fanbase, and I’ll come out and say that I don’t think she’s a bad character in herself, but what she does in the film just seems kind of pointless and forced in. My biggest gripe with her is her barging in and ruining a perfectly good and emotion death scene near the end. What would’ve been a touching and impactful death scene was ruined for an unnecessary romance and some god awful line about pacifism that has no place in a movie series that literally has “Wars” in the title.
(credit: Star Wars Sithposting: a New Hope)
And the whole Canto Bight sequence, including the code-breaker was absolutely unnecessary and bloated the film’s run time. If done differently, it might have served well for some world building and characterization but instead it ended up being pretty pointless filler. The codebreaker was just kinda there and really didn’t end up doing much, and after that whole sequence with Canto Bight and infiltrating the ship, the plot was really no further along than it had been before.
Also, this is kind of a minor gripe, but it infuriates me that I did not see a single identifiable Star Wars alien in that casino. Would it kill them to have a few Twileks or Rodians knocking about rather than a bunch of aliens that look like partially melted play dough?
Just try and tell me you’d rather see that than a Twilek in a sweet cocktail dress
Also time to address the gold robed elephant in the room- Snoke. I don’t quite know how to feel about his death. On one hand, I’m incredibly annoyed we learnt next to nothing about him before his untimely demise. But on the other hand, we knew nothing about the Emperor at his death in the original trilogy. But to kill your main villain in the second film? Those writers better be going somewhere with that. But god those Praetorian Guards were awesome, and the fight scene between them and the Reylo dream team was the best. But also while we’re on the topic of deaths that shouldn’t have happened- WHY YOU GOTTA KILL MY GIRL PHASMA?!
Also, why did Snoke look like Goldmember from Austin Powers?
Just like I’m not sure how to feel about Snoke, I also don’t know how to feel about Holdo. My instinctual reaction to her was sheer annoyance- everything about her irritated me. I was waiting for her to turn out to be a double agent or something, but instead she was just incompetent at communication. Literally every problem that occurred to the Resistance could have been avoided if she had simply communicated her plan. While I agree that Poe was a tad rash in his actions, I understand why he did what he did. I’d be pretty pissed too if my commanding officer was holding back vital information. And Holdo, a character we’d know for like half a film got an amazing sacrificial death that probably would’ve been more deserved by an established character like Leia, or even Admiral Akbar.
The final act was probably the most enjoyable (asides from everything Rose does). Crait was a visually amazing final battle, and it was great to see Kylo really falling off that deep end back into the dark side. And while personally I would’ve liked to see a real Luke vs Kylo showdown, I understand that Mark Hamill is old and can’t be doing crazy stuff anymore. In fact, I thought Luke’s final scene was incredibly touching and a fitting end to perhaps the most influential character in the saga.
All in all, I am somewhat conflicted about the Last Jedi. I think part of me loves it simply because its Star Wars. It’s definitely a visually pleasing and well acted film. Unfortunately, its potentially great plot is hampered by some bad scenes and poor pacing. It’s absolutely no where near as bad as some people are making out, and is still a solid edition to the saga that I will commend for taking risks.
I will give Star Wars Episode VIII 7.5 Reylo Fanfics out of 10.
Or, alternatively, 7.5 abdominal muscles out of 10 cause Kylo is BUFF
Also Porgs are amazing and I want to hug them all. 10 Porgs out of Porg.