In this Star Wars: The Last Jedi review, we take a look at the sci-fi behemoth that opened last week to a fantastic turnout and great critical reviews…
But why? Rivaling The Force Awakens for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is indeed an entertaining and visually stimulating addition to the new trilogy. But does it have any real value? And if so, does its value outweigh its problems?
Well, let’s take a look with our Star Wars: The Last Jedi review. This is a completely subjective review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that, if nothing else, might make you laugh. It’s peppered throughout with the funniest and most savage online reviews I could find because they make me laugh. For example:
I honestly didn’t think it was possible to make a completely craptastic Star Wars movie, Rian Johnson proved me wrong … the Last Jedi was so bad that a cameo by Jar-Jar Binks would have made it better … Rian Johnson should consider buying a chipper shredder and making his only possible positive contribution to the planet – as fertilizer.” – Michael M.
(All of the reviews were taken from either Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB and were not edited for spelling, language, grammar, etc. so that you can get the full experience.)
Warning: Lots of spoilers.
Before the Show… Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Going into this movie, I refused to read any reviews or ask my coworkers their thoughts on The Last Jedi so that I could go in with a completely open mind.
Regardless of whatever follows, I am immediately sucked in by the opening crawl and that powerful, triumphant Star Wars music, and feel like a giddy little kid watching Star Wars for the very first time. Like many Star Wars fans, I LOVE that feeling, and Disney knows we love that feeling, which I believe is why they continue to incorporate little nods to the original trilogy (which we’ll discuss more in depth later).
So, despite my jaded preconceptions and the unavoidable influence of the outside world, I went into Star Wars: The Last Jedi filled with innocent, childlike excitement.
The Force Awakens took me back to my 11-year-old self, watching A New Hope in my hometown’s one-screen theater and thinking it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. The Last Jedi made me remember that theater is now a parking lot for an abandoned Wal-Mart.” – Mike P.
First Impressions of The Last Jedi
To start with, The Last Jedi was a visually stunning film, and all Star Wars movies just kill it with the soundtrack.
One of the first things the film does is initiate the world’s slowest space-chase, soon followed by mutinous actions by Poe and his buds. The space chase is a product of the First Order’s secret research technologies mentioned by Jyn in Rouge One while she was cracking into their computers: hyperspace tracking. The Rebels made a hyperspace jump, wasting a ton of their already-low fuel supply as they discover the First Order can and DID track them through hyperspace. The only thing saving the Resistance from destruction is the convenient fact that the First Order’s massive(ly terrifying) flagships’ weapons only work at close range, and the Resistance ship is just fast enough to stay out of range, but not fast enough to escape. This chase goes on for pretty much the rest of the film.
Not to spoil anything but this movie is so bad I’d rather be kicked in the testicles as hard as one can than see this TRASH ever again.” – Benjamin P.
This is the first of many convenient happenings that carry the entire plot on their back. It’s… not great, but something I can personally look past if the rest of the movie is engaging.
Right off the bat, it was obvious to me that all the engaging stuff would be coming from the Kylo Ren/Rey relationship, and I was totally right. Ren and Rey NAILED IT. Best part of the movie, by far. On the contrary though…
What’s the Deal with Luke?
Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi seemed to me more like an anti-Luke, especially compared to his first film appearance back in 1977 as the optimistic, always smiling farm-boy turned Jedi apprentice always asking questions and trying to learn more about the Jedi Order, his father, the Force, and in turn, his own identity.
In this film, Luke was angry, angsty, and completely unwilling to help Rey learn the ways of the Force for seemingly no good reason. Unlike the Luke from every other Star Wars movie EVER, this Luke was grumpy, pessimistic, hopeless, and completely unwilling to help. But why? Well, according to Kylo Ren, Luke tried to kill him when he was a kid. According to Luke, “Nuh uh! That’s totally not what happened.”
But then, later, he admits, “Well, yeah that’s kinda what happened.” Which doesn’t really make sense. Which leads us to the next point…
Some of The Last Jedi Simply Makes No Sense
Like the fact that Snoke somehow got his creepy mangled fingers into a young Ben Solo without ever actually meeting the kid. Apparently, Snoke (who is killed [in a super lame, cheap way] before we get any information about him, his background, his motivations- anything that would make him a compelling villain, actually) somehow corrupted the young Ben Solo to the point his Jedi Master, teacher, and above all, uncle, was going to kill him in his sleep.
Too many things went wrong for me… but the #1 thing was the story of Rey’s backstory and WHO THE HELL IS SNOKE. THE GUY WHO TURNED KYLO REN!? Oh, they’re just no one…??? Bull.” – Craig D.
That’s right: the benevolent Luke Skywalker who wouldn’t even kill Darth Vader (the baddest bad guy in cinema history) was poised and ready to slay Ben Solo while he slept peacefully at his feet. A little kid! Luke thought Vader could be redeemed after all the atrocities he committed, but he was ready to cut Ben down IN HIS SLEEP before he even did anything wrong.
In response to waking up and seeing his uncle and mentor standing over him, lightsaber drawn, Ben uses the Force to pull a wall down on Luke and then slay and burn everyone at Luke’s Jedi school. I have to admit, though both of these guys MASSIVELY overreacted, the parallel between the conflicted Kylo Ren wiping clean a Jedi school and the less-conflicted-but-still-conflicted Anakin Skywalker exterminating a whole Jedi temple was nice. And yes, not even the younglings survived.
Also, two more things that disturbed me deeply: the blue milk scene, and the Mary Poppins scene.
First, the blue milk scene, which is a euphemism for “the scene where this huge alien creature sitting upright with sagging… ‘udders’ (boobs, they were totally boobs) is aggressively milked by an aging Jedi Master who then slurps the glowing blue fluid as it dribbles down his scraggly beard” was creepy and pointless. I don’t think I need to explain why it was so creepy, but like… ew. And with a budget of $200 million and a 152 minute run-time, we can estimate that this creepy scene cost upwards of $1 million to produce ($200,000,000/152 minutes=$1,312,789.47 per minute).
You know what I would do with a million bucks? NOT THAT.
And the Mary Poppins scene. This scene was a roller coaster of emotion. First, I was afraid this would be the last glimpse of the late great Carrie Fisher on screen: drifting off into the abyss without so much as a “Yes… anything.” Then, as Princess Leia (or General Organa) begins to wake up, I felt a surging hope! Maybe her strength in the Force can keep her alive long enough to be rescued somehow! But then… she holds out her hand like Mary Poppins’s umbrella, and floats gracefully back into the airlock from the inescapable vacuum of space. At this, my eyes narrowed and I shook my head slightly. Really? I remember thinking. This is how you illustrate her strength in the Force? After so long? So many movies? THIS is how you do it? Ugh. And then, it’s never mentioned. I could be remembering incorrectly, but I’m pretty darn sure literally no one said anything about this miraculous use of the Force. I mean, shoot, even Rey and other Force-sensitive characters can’t just do crazy stuff like that right off the bat! Can we see Leia struggling to lift some rocks or something first?
It’s possible not everyone feels the same way about the Mary Poppins scene, but if someone tries to convince me the blue milk scene was good or even that it had a purpose, it’s very possible I would smack you with the Force. And by the Force, I mean the back of my hand.
Callbacks to the Older Star Wars Films
The Last Jedi is a beautiful disappointment. It simultaneously tears down the Original Trilogy while it copies from it. The story in a nonsensical mess that could have greatly benefited from proper editing. The cast while generally well acted is filled with unnecessary characters who bring nothing to the film. In some ways, it acts more like a parody of a Star Wars film than an actual Star Wars film.” – Anonymous
The aforementioned parallel to the Revenge of the Sith scene was undoubtedly the best callback in the movie, but there were a few others, like the Porgs, that were effectively useless but still kind of fun. A couple examples:
The Porgs, a useless version of Ewoks, these cute puffin/guinea pig/pug creatures were screaming and glaring all over the Luke’s island, which would be totally fine, but they also stowed away on the Falcon so the Porgs got way more screen time than they deserved.
Force Ghost Yoda, a shimmery blue ghost version of Yoda who appeared just in time to not really do anything at all. Luke was going to burn down the ancient Jedi texts and the little temple that held them, and Yoda appeared and burned it down with lightning. Other than the fact this really didn’t accomplish anything because Rey stole the texts, it made me happy that they used the original puppet Yoda as the framework for the Force ghost.
If you strike me down… As Luke began this phrase, I’m sure I’m not the only one in the audience who got giddy with anticipation and mouthed the words I hoped were coming: “…I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Unfortunately, that’s not what actually came out of Luke’s mouth, but it was close enough to foster a fleeting moment of nostalgia.
Slavery comes up in many of the Star Wars films, but the prequels talked about it quite openly. On Canto Bight, the wealthy slavers and arms traders profited from both slavery, abuse, and animal cruelty. Just like Anakin, at the end of The Last Jedi, a young slave boy is shown using the Force to grab a broom. Apparently, some moviegoers were upset by the whole Canto Bight thing, because they saw it as Communist propaganda. I don’t mean to get political here, but if you think being against slavery and animal abuse means you’re for communism, you should read a book or two. But I digress.
Final Thoughts from my Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review
I didn’t leave the theater after Star Wars: The Last Jedi feeling like I wasted my money. I was happy I saw it, and it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. On the whole, the plot left a lot to be desired, as did character development and backstory. The Last Jedi seemed to subscribe to the “quantity over quality” mindset: we got tons of new characters, but none of them are really interesting or fleshed out, and the preexisting characters weren’t given the attention or backstories I felt they deserved.
Further the director seemed bent on taking a stab even at the continuing unhappiness from the harder core fans surrounding the thirty years of back story being tossed out by Disney by having Yoda himself destroy the “history of the Jedi” with a laugh. It was essentially a vehicle for making fun of the die hard Star Wars fan and letting them know in no uncertain terms how stupid they are.” – Jason J.
Despite some really weird, pointless, and generally disconcerting scenes, the movie was entertaining and worth a watch. Lots of longtime Star Wars fans were offended by the films flippant attempt to modernize the franchise through its quips, witticisms, and literally burning the foundations of the Jedi religion to the ground. So… If you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan, I’d save your money and wait ’til it hits Redbox.
Featured image by William Shatner, found on comicbook.com