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The Last Jedi: Official Review and Opinions Thread ** SPOILERS ** — Page 262

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JJ completely kneecapped Rian before Rian could even shout action.

We never saw a movie in canon take place immediately after the previous.

In star wars it has always been easy to make a character grow simply by letting time pass offscreen. Rian couldn’t do that, & while it would have been great to see atleast a year pass like Hal mentioned in his commentary so the change in atmosphere & things could have felt a little easier to accept.


I am happy with TROS (Hal’s edit remedies alot of my initial issues) it is literally this generations Return of the Jedi, and when you look at the movies from a production stand point they are very similar, so i am okay, kids will grow up and look at it as their ROTJ and that’s nice… but there is a part of me that wishes JJ would give the audience the middle finger and subvert the formula.

JJ has never made something that makes the audience think past the surface, and star wars doesn’t need to be so deep at times, but i would have killed to see something that made me feel different with each viewing.

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Yeah.

Also, that Poe mutiny in TLJ is very interesting to come to mind about now. Everyone who felt personally attacked by the movie and overidentified with Poe… just interesting, that’s all.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Hal 9000 said:

Yeah.

Also, that Poe mutiny in TLJ is very interesting to come to mind about now. Everyone who felt personally attacked by the movie and overidentified with Poe… just interesting, that’s all.

Poes reaction in TLJ was completely justified, and a result of poor leadership. Im not sure theres any comparisons to be drawn to the terrorist act from weeks ago.

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NFBisms said:

I swear if no one said “subvert expectations” before this movie came out, no one would think the movie was actively trying to do that. It at the very least wouldn’t be The Buzzword for TLJ criticism. Take everything in the film at face value - not in conversation about director’s intent - and there’s not a whole lot about it that plays with conventions as much as people like to say it does.

Pulling the rug out from under people only to pull it back in is the kind of pretentious thing the film gets accused of. I don’t see how that would fix the issues people are dead set on wanting it to have.**

**not that the film doesn’t have real problems

That is absolutely not true, and it can be demonstrated.

TLJ is a rethread of TESB and ROTJ… except it has a twist on key points.
You have your dagobah system/ach to) scene with a reluctant Yoda/Luke. Except Luke doesnt train Rey (subverted expectations)

You have your relationship between the Emperor/Snoke and their puppet Kylo/Vader… except Kylo rebels against his master (subverted expectations)

You have Luke skywalker, a proven hero from the OT, passed around like this fake Legend whose heroic acts never happened. This point comes across in that line where he says “do you expect me to face the entire First Order feel with a laser sword?” … yes dude, we do. Because thats what you did before! (subverted expectations)

Again, Luke, probably the most generous and kind hearted character in the OT. Becomes this bitter old man who left his friends to die after considering to murder his nephew in his sleep. (subverted expectations)

Lukes over the shoulders saber throw like a cheap comedy movie, instead of realizing how important the passage of that Saber is (subverted expectations)

Rey, whose past is unknown but she clearly has had training in the force before since she can do everything. No, she’s a nobody and her powers and skill are of unknown origin (Potential in the force without training is a blunt knife) (subverted expectations)

Throne room scene, emperor/Snoke looks at the rebel fleet, while taunting Luke/Rey. Except Rey has no agency in the scene and instead Kylo Kills his Master (subverted expectations)

Rey, this beacon of light. Unwavering and pure hearted starts falling in love with a man who murdered the closest thing to a father figure she ever had in front of her own eyes (subverted expectations)

Continuity from The Force Awakens. No continuity, entire potential plot threads thrown out of the window. (subverted expectations)

Theres a lot more, but yeah, TLJ definitely does try too hard to subvert everyone’s expectations. In fact it sacrifices narrative and character development in order to do so.

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Hal 9000 said:

Yeah. I nearly had the opposite thought. It felt like “wow why is the scene treating Luke like he’s this angelic figure?”
But then it all made sense when I remembered… “hypocrisy, hubris.” This is the Luke that island Luke looked back on and felt embarrassed by. Not because he was altogether wrong, but because of his pride.

Agreed absolutely. Why would Luke bother to force crush a dark trooper instead of easily cutting it up, if not to demonstrate his own power? (And yes, I know the actual explanation for that is ‘It looks cool’) The Mandalorian’s Luke also compliments TLJ Luke by showing Luke’s effort to find students, and his saying “I will give my life to protect the child” - when he ultimately, indirectly, caused the deaths of his own students by mishandling Ben’s training - makes his self-hatred over that more powerful. I only wish Dave Filoni would talk about TLJ Luke in relation to his appearance in The Mandalorian, that might shut up a lot of people.

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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Wanderer_ said:

Poes reaction in TLJ was completely justified, and a result of poor leadership.

You think someone in the military can just refuse to obey orders unless someone walks them through the plan and gets their approval? How would Patton have reacted to Poe?

Holdo was justified in keeping the plan to her immediate staff. As soon as Poe heard it and blabbed it over the radio, DJ used the information to cut a deal with the First Order that resulted in many deaths.

Poe didn’t respect authority and a leader needs to learn this before they are ready to command.

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The character archetypes being used for their clash were incredibly simplistic, I’m not sure what there is to argue about. People feel frustrated because that’s the point, you’re only seeing his perspective. Whether Poe actually learns anything on the other hand, who can say. TROS threw out that development and he doesn’t really lead anyone or do anything important.

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Wanderer_ said:

NFBisms said:

I swear if no one said “subvert expectations” before this movie came out, no one would think the movie was actively trying to do that. It at the very least wouldn’t be The Buzzword for TLJ criticism. Take everything in the film at face value - not in conversation about director’s intent - and there’s not a whole lot about it that plays with conventions as much as people like to say it does.

Pulling the rug out from under people only to pull it back in is the kind of pretentious thing the film gets accused of. I don’t see how that would fix the issues people are dead set on wanting it to have.**

**not that the film doesn’t have real problems

That is absolutely not true, and it can be demonstrated.

i’m glad you proved me wrong. you did it you’re so smart and truly understand storytelling !

Your premise relies on the ideas (1) that TFA even had concrete themes and characters to adhere to (not vague questions and teasing), (2) that everyone has the same expectations, (3) that tropes/archetypes should only play out one way, lest you have a renegade film. You repeat yourself with the same reaching, subjective talking points like three times in this post, too.

In fact it sacrifices narrative and character development in order to do so.

Give me a break

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The Star Wars fandom should put a gag rule on the phrase “Subverting expectations”. It’s just something Rian said behind the scenes once, and then the marketing team plastered that one sound bite all over the sizzle reel and a bunch of other promotional material. It really wasn’t Rian’s governing principle dominating the production of the movie.

Death of the Author

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But it is a governing principle of online discussions that tired parroted catchphrases never go away on YouTube comments sections or Twitter threads.

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I entirely object to this trend in popular film discourse where there’s this objective, correct way to tell and pace a story, or that being able to please as many people as broadly as possible is what gives any film its value. There’s always this invocation of Basic Storytelling Conventions™ as a gauge of something’s “objective” success, and while there’s truth to a lot of techniques under that umbrella, media is still wholly subjective. The fake-concession of opinions with the classic “Well you have to admit…” makes me want to die.

What’s really happening is that we can always point to something we have liked or preferred, and compare, but we also have to recognize that those preferences aren’t a universal standard. They can’t be, when we haven’t seen or experienced every piece of media in and out of our comfort zones. Because a lot of the time one film will work for completely different reasons than another. Sure, like I’ve mentioned, there is overlap across many films’ endearing qualities and effective techniques, but that pervasiveness isn’t proof of their required inclusion across all media. You’ll probably find all our Personal Rubrics are different.

The faux-academicism that then comes from pointing at Campbell’s Hero’s Journey or other Basic Storytelling Conventions™ is fascinating to me, because whether or not some realize it, it doubles down in demonstrating willful ignorance. We learn these very specifically in the earliest parts of academia - “basic” in that they’re guides meant for students dipping their toes into analysis and writing for the first time. It’s a useful framework that teaches us how to break down a story, not necessarily a concrete one that should be reused eternally. Much less used to validate judgements or justify “objectivity” in emotional responses. They’re meant to be broken once you’re comfortable enough to do so, when you’ve found a voice.

So when The Last Jedi does something you don’t quite appreciate or enjoy, that’s totally fine. I enjoy reading people like Nev’s breakdowns of why TLJ didn’t land for certain audiences, or had pieces that didn’t entirely function for them as intended. Why some ideologically disagree with TLJ’s message. Analysis and discourse works to verbalize our subjective understandings and interpretations of the work.

I just can’t abide how much film discourse, on reddit or otherwise, has manifested this culture where we don’t engage like that anymore. Instead of trying to find a personal understanding within our opinion of a film, so many people seek to prove Why It Wasn’t Good. Or Why It Was. And not that those can’t be healthy discussions - exchanging different feelings - but it never is that. People simply aren’t engaging with the work. It’s always some other bullshit scapegoat, political or public, than within the work itself. “RJ is a pretentious hack” “KK is forcing feminism” “Subvert Expectations” “Here’s What I Would Have Done”. With a dash of whichever Basic Storytelling Convention™ of the week works in the argument’s favor.

“Let’s agree to disagree” should be the default implicit assumption to the I Like vs I Don’t discussions, not the end of one. And unless it is about the production of a film, discussions should be grounded in our personal engagement with it.

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NFB is right in everything he says so this is completely unnecessary, but I thought I’d nitpick some of your points, Wanderer.

Wanderer_ said:

You have your relationship between the Emperor/Snoke and their puppet Kylo/Vader… except Kylo rebels against his master (subverted expectations)

Vader also does this. I think it would’ve subverted my expectations more if Kylo had actually beheaded Rey.

Wanderer_ said:

You have Luke skywalker, a proven hero from the OT, passed around like this fake Legend whose heroic acts never happened. This point comes across in that line where he says “do you expect me to face the entire First Order feel with a laser sword?” … yes dude, we do. Because thats what you did before! (subverted expectations)

Where’s the suggestions Luke’s heroic acts never happened? The point is he is that legend - and the movie ends with him renewing it - but more than that he’s fundamentally a human being. Rey wants just Luke the legend, but she gets Luke the human. That’s because it’s Luke the human who creates Luke the legend; the two can’t be separated.

Wanderer_ said:

Again, Luke, probably the most generous and kind hearted character in the OT. Becomes this bitter old man who left his friends to die after considering to murder his nephew in his sleep. (subverted expectations)

If, after Han told the audience in TFA that “Luke felt responsible. He just walked away from everything.”, you were still expecting Luke to be a cheerful chap who had just isolated himself on an island for a quick vacation, then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s certainly tough to see Luke struggling mentally like that, but it’s extremely human, and I think it’s very inspiring how he overcomes it by the end of the movie.

Wanderer_ said:

Lukes over the shoulders saber throw like a cheap comedy movie, instead of realizing how important the passage of that Saber is (subverted expectations)

I’ll concede that TLJ plays a lot of things for comedy at odd times (see also: Rose kisses Finn; base immediately gets shot) but the idea that that saber is important was one that was only really created by TFA in the first place. No one cared much about it when it’d just fallen into Bespin, never to be seen again, right? Luke just made his own new saber and carried on with his life.

Wanderer_ said:

Rey, whose past is unknown but she clearly has had training in the force before since she can do everything. No, she’s a nobody and her powers and skill are of unknown origin (Potential in the force without training is a blunt knife) (subverted expectations)

Yes, potential in the force without training is imprecise - a blunt instrument. Luke makes this exact point about how dangerous her raw strength is, and the movie demonstrates it visually when Rey accidentally chops the rock in half because she’s not controlled or disciplined in her usage of a lightsaber. Star Wars has, for better or worse, pretty solidly established at this point that some people are just randomly born with a whole load of midichlorians. The origin of her powers is that she’s very force sensitive.

Wanderer_ said:

Rey, this beacon of light. Unwavering and pure hearted starts falling in love with a man who murdered the closest thing to a father figure she ever had in front of her own eyes (subverted expectations)

Yes, she finds a connection with Ben. That’s the plot of the movie. Rey isn’t ‘unwavering and pure hearted’ - she’s a good person, but like all of us she craves human connection, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. Ben gives her that when Luke doesn’t. Calling this one “subverted expectations” is a bit of a stretch; because you’d need to have extremely rigid and cliched expectations to begin with - did you think she’d just kill him, because she’s a goodie and he’s a baddie? That’s not even what happens between Luke and Vader in the OT!

Wanderer_ said:

Continuity from The Force Awakens. No continuity, entire potential plot threads thrown out of the window. (subverted expectations)

There’s something of a thematic/tonal discontinuity, sure. You can tell they’re movies by different directors and writers. But the only ‘plot thread’ that’s explicitly thrown away is the Knights of Ren, and RJ confessed he just couldn’t work out what to do with them - TROS demonstrates that, actually, neither could JJ; they were just there to look cool. Kylo Ren ‘completing his training’ is not really explicitly followed up on, only sort-of alluded to, but again, like the KoR, there was no substance to that to really build upon to begin with.

Wanderer_ said:

Theres a lot more, but yeah, TLJ definitely does try too hard to subvert everyone’s expectations. In fact it sacrifices narrative and character development in order to do so.

I think most of your points are pretty questionable, and just writing “(subverted expectations)” after them doesn’t really explain what expectations you had or how they were subverted.

Here’s two times TLJ does subvert expectations that I would agree with though:

  • Snoke is set up in TFA as a scheming, big-bad, final boss Palpatine knockoff (this is mostly just implied by him saying mysterious things and having a big hologram, though). TLJ kills him one movie earlier than Palpatine died in the OT, having had him come across as an angry and overconfident fool.
  • TFA very loosely alludes to Rey being some kind of Chosen One or divinely-picked successor - not because of her force-sensitivity, but because 1) the lightsaber calls out to her in particular, 2) Obi-Wan speaks to her, and 3) Star Wars has a history with mInDbLoWiNg LiNeAgE tWiStS - but TLJ then reveals there really is no hidden secret to her backstory, and she is just an abandoned orphan.

In these cases, I think TLJ makes the more compelling calls, though. Getting rid of Snoke broke free from the OT template and opened up the playing field for Rey and Kylo’s story. TROS does ultimately make it somewhat pointless by bringing in a new big bad, but at least Palpatine is actually Palpatine and not discount Palpatine. A cheap lineage reveal for Rey would’ve been tired and overplayed, imo - having her be a random orphan makes her more of a wildcard since there’s no real expectation for her. As soon as TROS reveals her to be Palpatine’s descendant, her arc in the rest of the movie autocompletes in the viewers’ mind.

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I agree with you, NFB, there’s no ‘right’ way to tell a story, and no story is going to appeal to everyone.

But TLJ is fascinating to me personally, because whereas the failings of TFA and TROS are fairly transparent, this middle chapter seems to have issues which are unusual, and no single explanation seems to fit. I think this is why there are so many essays and videos and complaints about it - a lot of people feel like something’s off, but nobody can quite articulate why in a way that’s satisfying.

There’s only so much to say about a film like TFA. Citiques can’t go far past the unoriginality of the Starkiller and the soft reset of the universe before coming to the realization that the substance of the film has turned to dust. Even solving some of the more surface problems, as I have tried to do in my edit, has made it less interesting to watch. It’s a case of superficial flaws obscuring fundamental flaws. TROS is even worse, to the point that I firmly believe that it is held together entirely by the audience’s bemused fascination with its logical absurdities.

TLJ however has a lot to say, and that makes it the only one that I feel is deserving of critical deconstruction. This is getting into my personal reasons, but I want to be a better writer and storyteller. The Last Jedi tells a story, but if I can’t see why it is disliked by so many people, then I might make the same mistakes.

This is not to say that TLJ is in need of fixing. Artists should be able to tell stories the way they want, even if it’s polarizing. But as a writer I would rather appeal to people than polarize them, and I apologize if people get the impression that I’m just ragging on TLJ because I don’t like it or don’t think its creator is worthy of respect. The reality is quite the opposite.

You probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.
Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Workprint V4 Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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I’m not really here to contribute anything, just applaud the last 3 posts for making such good points.

NeverarGreat said:

But TLJ is fascinating to me personally, because whereas the failings of TFA and TROS are fairly transparent, this middle chapter seems to have issues which are unusual, and no single explanation seems to fit. I think this is why there are so many essays and videos and complaints about it - a lot of people feel like something’s off, but nobody can quite articulate why in a way that’s satisfying.

This was exactly my thought after seeing The Last Jedi for the first time. It almost seemed like too much packed into one film, but that’s a more fitting description for TROS. I knew there was SOMETHING I didn’t like, but no idea what it was. I have a few ideas now what the flaws are.

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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Rodney-2187 said:

Wanderer_ said:

Poes reaction in TLJ was completely justified, and a result of poor leadership.

You think someone in the military can just refuse to obey orders unless someone walks them through the plan and gets their approval? How would Patton have reacted to Poe?

Holdo was justified in keeping the plan to her immediate staff. As soon as Poe heard it and blabbed it over the radio, DJ used the information to cut a deal with the First Order that resulted in many deaths.

Poe didn’t respect authority and a leader needs to learn this before they are ready to command.

Thats not how official hierarchy works at all, not in companies, not in the military. Poe was the second in command, Holdo came from nowhere and immediately engaged in hostilities with him. Thats not how a leader behaves. Let alone the monumental failure of communication. Can you imagine if a single authority figure withheld all the details of the mission to themselves?

Being a leader isn’t about issuing orders and commands, it’s about communication, guidance,…leading. Holdo didnt lead anyone to anything. she did the opposite, she acted like a fascist and a draconian head of state. so if you want to draw comparisons lets look at the context. She looked and behaved like a corrupt leader, so a rebellion is a consequence of oppression. He is a rebel afterall, and Holdo didnt seem any better than your imperial scum.

In contrast, the storming of the capitol was not justified, as they were working against a transparent and democratic transition of power. In rebellions context is everything, you are not automatically in the wrong to rebel.

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So uh, I disagree completely, but one of the things I feel I should mention, Poe was absolutely not second in command. D’Acy certainly outranked him, and she seemed informed of the plan. And Holdo ‘engaged hostilities’ with Poe because Poe killed their entire bomber squad by disobeying orders. This ain’t too complicated. I don’t think we’re meant to infer that Holdo’s leadership was excellent, but ‘a fascist and draconian head of state’? What?

reylo?

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sade1212 said:

NFB is right in everything he says so this is completely unnecessary, but I thought I’d nitpick some of your points, Wanderer.

Wanderer_ said:

You have your relationship between the Emperor/Snoke and their puppet Kylo/Vader… except Kylo rebels against his master (subverted expectations)

Vader also does this. I think it would’ve subverted my expectations more if Kylo had actually beheaded Rey.

Wanderer_ said:

You have Luke skywalker, a proven hero from the OT, passed around like this fake Legend whose heroic acts never happened. This point comes across in that line where he says “do you expect me to face the entire First Order feel with a laser sword?” … yes dude, we do. Because thats what you did before! (subverted expectations)

Where’s the suggestions Luke’s heroic acts never happened? The point is he is that legend - and the movie ends with him renewing it - but more than that he’s fundamentally a human being. Rey wants just Luke the legend, but she gets Luke the human. That’s because it’s Luke the human who creates Luke the legend; the two can’t be separated.

I just pointed out a key line from the movie. That line was very jarring and this theme is subtle but carried across the movie. Luke isnt who Rey thinks he is, Luke isnt the person to help her in this quest. Luke isnt the one who can help her defeat the New Order… while us as viewers are thinking to ourselves ‘Why not? thats what he did before!’ Luke in that island almost felt that he had amnesia. Does he not remember what rebels do? does he not remember he went up against a fleet of ATAT’s himself? with a ‘laser sword’ no less? Does he not remember his friends are in need?

Wanderer_ said:

Again, Luke, probably the most generous and kind hearted character in the OT. Becomes this bitter old man who left his friends to die after considering to murder his nephew in his sleep. (subverted expectations)

If, after Han told the audience in TFA that “Luke felt responsible. He just walked away from everything.”, you were still expecting Luke to be a cheerful chap who had just isolated himself on an island for a quick vacation, then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s certainly tough to see Luke struggling mentally like that, but it’s extremely human, and I think it’s very inspiring how he overcomes it by the end of the movie.

I dont know where you got that from my writing. Luke is kind hearted and generous, i said nothing about being cheerful after someone’s death.
Luke’s character would not let his friends to die, everyone fails and Luke himself has failed before in TESB. He is not attached to the Jedi code as demonstrated in the OT. He isnt Yoda or Obi Wan. He is a rebel that has the force, and he did what he needed even if that mean going against the Jedi way. Thats what made him special.
I dont mind Luke’s struggle in the movie, i can understand its hard to feel responsible for the loss of your legacy. But he isnt stranger to loss, and i felt it was weird to see TLJ focus so much on his losses and victories instead of the lead character -Rey.

TFA plays with the idea Luke went away to get away from it all, but it also suggests he went after ancient Jedi knowledge…for a reason. At the very least TLJ owed Ray the proper development she needed, and Luke should have been the role for that. Guidance, inspiration, not to leave her still in search of a father figure at the end of TLJ.

Wanderer_ said:

Lukes over the shoulders saber throw like a cheap comedy movie, instead of realizing how important the passage of that Saber is (subverted expectations)

I’ll concede that TLJ plays a lot of things for comedy at odd times (see also: Rose kisses Finn; base immediately gets shot) but the idea that that saber is important was one that was only really created by TFA in the first place. No one cared much about it when it’d just fallen into Bespin, never to be seen again, right? Luke just made his own new saber and carried on with his life.

I dont care about the Sabre, its the way that its done that represents the tone of TLJ. Its a parody. TLJ is Spaceballs II. From ‘yo momma’ jokes, every major character being comedic relief.

Wanderer_ said:

Rey, whose past is unknown but she clearly has had training in the force before since she can do everything. No, she’s a nobody and her powers and skill are of unknown origin (Potential in the force without training is a blunt knife) (subverted expectations)

Yes, potential in the force without training is imprecise - a blunt instrument. Luke makes this exact point about how dangerous her raw strength is, and the movie demonstrates it visually when Rey accidentally chops the rock in half because she’s not controlled or disciplined in her usage of a lightsaber. Star Wars has, for better or worse, pretty solidly established at this point that some people are just randomly born with a whole load of midichlorians. The origin of her powers is that she’s very force sensitive.

Its not the force amount that telegraphs her past training, its her abilities in everything. Padawans dont start off great at everything, whether you’re Luke, anakin, or some random dude with a broom. This was even made worse in ROTS.

Wanderer_ said:

Rey, this beacon of light. Unwavering and pure hearted starts falling in love with a man who murdered the closest thing to a father figure she ever had in front of her own eyes (subverted expectations)

Yes, she finds a connection with Ben. That’s the plot of the movie. Rey isn’t ‘unwavering and pure hearted’ - she’s a good person, but like all of us she craves human connection, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. Ben gives her that when Luke doesn’t.

First of all, this goes to show my point above, the movie failed Rey by going on a quest to yet again only develop Luke as a character. Second of all this is still not an excuse for her to latch on to Ben (and dont even get me started on that juvenile scene where gets the hots from looking at him without the shirt on…)
Kylo is a manchild, who has no real motifs to turn to the dark side and he is clearly a murderer. She craves human connection? she has Finn, Poe, Leia, an entire rebellion legion trying to survive and escape from his murderous bastard. Yet she acts like he is the only dude in the movie.

Calling this one “subverted expectations” is a bit of a stretch; because you’d need to have extremely rigid and cliched expectations to begin with - did you think she’d just kill him, because she’s a goodie and he’s a baddie? That’s not even what happens between Luke and Vader in the OT!

I dont think its rigid to not expect stockholms syndrome from a main character that just a few days before TLJ saw this guy Murder hands and slash Finn in front of her. This is absolute mental. She didnt have to kill him because she is good, she would want to kill him for revenge, ethics, loyalty to the cause. You name it, she had plenty of reasons to be against Kylo, and none to fall for him. Other of his muscular torso. Great writing! It’s like we are Twilight now.

Additionally, Vader and Kylo are very different. Vader turned to the dark side for love, it was a tragic tale of someone who went too far for love. And that love was the catalyst for anger, hatred and suffering. He became a puppet, he was in many ways a kind person than many of the sterile force users in that order. He became a monster, but its easy to see the human element in him thanks to Luke. People dont feel sorry for Vader at the end of ROTJ, they feel sorry for Luke.

Kylo was turning evil even before the scene with Luke in his hut. Till this day, even with comics, its not clearly explained why Ben turned to the dark side. Only that is a mentally ill punk.

Wanderer_ said:

Continuity from The Force Awakens. No continuity, entire potential plot threads thrown out of the window. (subverted expectations)

There’s something of a thematic/tonal discontinuity, sure. You can tell they’re movies by different directors and writers. But the only ‘plot thread’ that’s explicitly thrown away is the Knights of Ren, and RJ confessed he just couldn’t work out what to do with them - TROS demonstrates that, actually, neither could JJ; they were just there to look cool. Kylo Ren ‘completing his training’ is not really explicitly followed up on, only sort-of alluded to, but again, like the KoR, there was no substance to that to really build upon to begin with.

RJ could continue them, he just didnt want it. Its very clear from the comedic tones in the movie, and how detached it is in tone that RJ wanted to do something of his own. TFA plot threads were incredibly easy to follow. Luke went away in search of the first jedi temple, for guidance, for knowledge. Rey needs training as the main character of the trilogy, she needs to become someone of her own but she cant do that without a foundation. Kylo ren needed to finish his training, as he is unhinged and clearly unprepared mentally or physically (his duelist skills are trash) Finn needed to play a bigger role to give some deeper meaning to his insurgency to the Rebellion not to be sent on a meaningless sidequest. And so on.
Above all, the movie shouldn’t be a comedy where it undermines its darker moments with cheap laughs in every single sequence.

Wanderer_ said:

Theres a lot more, but yeah, TLJ definitely does try too hard to subvert everyone’s expectations. In fact it sacrifices narrative and character development in order to do so.

I think most of your points are pretty questionable, and just writing “(subverted expectations)” after them doesn’t really explain what expectations you had or how they were subverted.

I don’t think they are. I just don’t think you are looking at TLJ objectively. You need to really want to like it to overlook its many narrative dissonance moments. Ive seen TLJ 4 times in the theaters, the more i watched the more confused i became with some decisions.

TLJ is above all a star wars parody, its about flipping things inside out, every dark moment is followed with a cheap comedic one, this in of itself is subverting expectations too. Nobody expects this kind of silliness and goofiness in Star wars. The OT movies had fun in there, but they were mostly heartfelt movies that took each revelation seriously. I dont remember laughing to any particular scene of the OT, just some grins here and there. TFA was spot on with its humour, as it never undermines itself. TLJ does. Nobody needs to see BB8 shooting slots like a machine gun, or driving an ATAT (!)

Finally, another expectation subverted was the whole ‘Jedi must end’ theme of the movie. Its in the marketing, its in the trailer, and the movie starts off that way. Only to flip 180 degrees at the final moment. I do believe Luke was right, and i was genuinely excited to see what would come of it. Luke was never a real Jedi, he was more of a Grey Jedi that uses both dark and light. Luke was never afraid of dabbling into dark powers. In the ROTJ he uses force choke, a skill reserved to dark side users for example. The Jedi failed, they held on to power and they allowed themselves to fail. I was excited to see Luke show us a new order in things, to show us how different force users can be. Rian had the chance to kick the door wide open for all kinds of branching paths… yet he didn’t. Yoda showed up to tell Luke he is wrong once more, and that the JEdi must carry on through Rey. And in his last scene Luke conforms to the fact the Jedi will continue… unfortunately i guess.

That was the movie biggest failure. Not to Luke, but to the mythology. Rian had a prime chance to use Luke and Rey as a catalyst for a new way of looking at he force. But he chickens out and turns back to the same old Jedi vs Sith/dark.

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KumoNin said:

So uh, I disagree completely, but one of the things I feel I should mention, Poe was absolutely not second in command. D’Acy certainly outranked him, and she seemed informed of the plan. And Holdo ‘engaged hostilities’ with Poe because Poe killed their entire bomber squad by disobeying orders. This ain’t too complicated. I don’t think we’re meant to infer that Holdo’s leadership was excellent, but ‘a fascist and draconian head of state’? What?

Poe was the commander of the rebellion fleet, the only people above him were Akbar and Holdo (considering General Leia was out). When Holdo died he was the one that replaced her, hence the second in command. Poe became general of the Rebellion, not Akbar.

I agree that Poe was shown to be irresponsible at the start of the movie (which is another thing i dont appreciate in TLJ), but in reality he saved the rebellion with his choices, Holdo only had to convey the plan to him. Leadership is not about omitting, it’s about communication and how you handle difficult people.

I have leadership meetings every day, development meetings. And dealing with all kinds of characters is the center focus. Holdo failed miserably at that. A mutiny is a sign of that too.

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jedi_bendu said:

Hal 9000 said:

Yeah. I nearly had the opposite thought. It felt like “wow why is the scene treating Luke like he’s this angelic figure?”
But then it all made sense when I remembered… “hypocrisy, hubris.” This is the Luke that island Luke looked back on and felt embarrassed by. Not because he was altogether wrong, but because of his pride.

Agreed absolutely. Why would Luke bother to force crush a dark trooper instead of easily cutting it up, if not to demonstrate his own power? (And yes, I know the actual explanation for that is ‘It looks cool’) The Mandalorian’s Luke also compliments TLJ Luke by showing Luke’s effort to find students, and his saying “I will give my life to protect the child” - when he ultimately, indirectly, caused the deaths of his own students by mishandling Ben’s training - makes his self-hatred over that more powerful. I only wish Dave Filoni would talk about TLJ Luke in relation to his appearance in The Mandalorian, that might shut up a lot of people.

I think this analysis is Ironic, because people only bring up this narrative when discussing Luke, no one else in the force. Luke is the only one that is not allowed to show power, Anakin should, Obi wan, Yoda, and even the newbies - Rey and Kylo, showcasing immense abilities despite their lack of training. Everyone enjoys those, but when its Luke - ‘Hold on!’

The hubris Luke talked about was not the abilities that Jedi showcased in combat, it was very clear in the movie his critique was the fact that the Jedi held on to their influence and got too involved with politics allowing themselves to be puppets to a sith emperor. At the end of the day the Jedi were no different than the Sith. Its the fact that the Jedi held on to the code, which is flawed, and that prompted him to want to burn down the jedi books to stop that legacy from being passed on. its more of a shame that Rian didnt commit to that idea, and thew it out of the window before the end of the movie.

In a delete scene in Ach-to Luke mentions to Rey that the rebellion still needs someone strong like her to fight alongside them. He just cant be the one to do it.

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Wanderer_ said:

jedi_bendu said:

Hal 9000 said:

Yeah. I nearly had the opposite thought. It felt like “wow why is the scene treating Luke like he’s this angelic figure?”
But then it all made sense when I remembered… “hypocrisy, hubris.” This is the Luke that island Luke looked back on and felt embarrassed by. Not because he was altogether wrong, but because of his pride.

Agreed absolutely. Why would Luke bother to force crush a dark trooper instead of easily cutting it up, if not to demonstrate his own power? (And yes, I know the actual explanation for that is ‘It looks cool’) The Mandalorian’s Luke also compliments TLJ Luke by showing Luke’s effort to find students, and his saying “I will give my life to protect the child” - when he ultimately, indirectly, caused the deaths of his own students by mishandling Ben’s training - makes his self-hatred over that more powerful. I only wish Dave Filoni would talk about TLJ Luke in relation to his appearance in The Mandalorian, that might shut up a lot of people.

I think this analysis is Ironic, because people only bring up this narrative when discussing Luke, no one else in the force. Luke is the only one that is not allowed to show power, Anakin should, Obi wan, Yoda, and even the newbies - Rey and Kylo, showcasing immense abilities despite their lack of training. Everyone enjoys those, but when its Luke - ‘Hold on!’

Not really. Especially with Yoda. The Force should be used for knowledge and defence, I think someone said that somewhere.

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TLJ has a few unnecessary jokes but I don’t think that’s sufficient to claim it’s trying to be a Star Wars parody. It’s sincere enough when it needs to be - Kylo asking Rey to join him; Luke and Leia’s final scene; Luke’s death etc. In many ways moments like the BB-8 coin gag and the porg jokes feel like The Phantom Menace-style (or Special Edition Mos Eisley-style) humour to me, which I also don’t particularly enjoy in those movies, but is certainly a part of the franchise’s identity at this point. It’s also fairly straightforward to trim out, and I confess I am somewhat more sympathetic to movies which lend themselves to being easily tweaked via fanedit.

Yes, Luke on the island is not acting as the rebel we remember him as. This is because of his emotional trauma. The movie spends a lot of time on this, and I suppose if you just don’t buy in to it, you just don’t buy in to it. While TFA does say he went to the first Jedi Temple, it also very explicitly lays out that he “walked away from it all” - had TLJ failed to acknowledge or develop that, it certainly would have been guilty of ignoring TFA’s plot threads.

Having to deal with two sets of main characters, the new and the old, is one of the burdens the sequel trilogy always had to bear by virtue of being sequels to the OT - it would’ve been a shame if Luke hadn’t gotten some substantial chunk of screen time. I feel TLJ does a good job of finding a way for our new protagonist and our old protagonist to share a lot of that screen time and move each other’s arcs forward to make the most of it (and the force bond to allow Rey to also interact with Kylo is an excellent trick). Rey still gets plenty of development, and takes meaningful action to move the story forward when she decides to go try to turn Kylo, when she rejects his offer, and when she saves the Resistance. And Rey isn’t still in search of a father figure at the end of TLJ - like Leia says to her: “we have everything we need”.

Leaving so much of Ben’s backstory to out-of-movie material is admittedly one of the weaker aspects of the sequel trilogy IMO, since the audience is supposed to sympathise with his redemption in TROS. TFA alludes to it with the conversation between Han and Leia (“I just never should have sent him away.”) but we don’t get much of Ben’s perspective on his childhood or his life prior to collapsing the hut on Luke. Then again, the same is true of Vader in the OT - the audience didn’t have the full picture of why he turned to the dark side until ~20 years after ROTJ came out, right? He never even mentions Padme in the OT, and instead seems to wax on mostly about how much he loves “the power of the dark side”. Kylo Ren will never get his own prequel trilogy, but The Rise of Kylo Ren comic, the Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren comic, and bits and pieces in Aftermath, Last Shot and Bloodline sketch out the broad strokes. He is supposed to seem, to some extent, like a victim of Snoke’s manipulations, someone who’s currently on a bad path but isn’t fundamentally evil - but a lot of this is just conveyed in the movies by Adam Driver’s performance rather than anything explicit so I can see why some do write him off as a “mentally-ill punk”.

Yes, the TLJ marketing capitalised on the shock value of “it’s time for the Jedi to end”, and then in the movie itself Luke starts out espousing that rhetoric but stops doing so by the end of the movie. This is just the plot of Luke’s arc, right? Like how ROTJ’s marketing plays with the idea Luke might turn to the dark side, and then he doesn’t. It’s the story. The movie itself isn’t trying to convey to the audience that the Jedi actually need to end. That’s just what Luke tells himself to justify his exile. And once he emotionally tackles the real underlying reasons for that exile, he stops with the lie he has been telling himself, too. If anything, the intended “message” of the movie is the one delivered by Yoda, that we should learn from what’s good about the past (our “masters”) while seeking to progress beyond it. No point throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I disagree firmly with any ideas about grey Jedi, or using both the light side and the dark side, because Lucas was pretty explicit in the point that the dark side is inherently corrupting and a very slippery slope. Its whole purpose in the wider allegory of Star Wars is to represent difficult to escape cycles of negativity, like drug addiction, abuse, violence etc. It’s the temptation to do bad and selfish things. Lucas is a big proponent of people acting selflessly, since he believes that’s the way to real happiness. It’s a straightforward moral message, but that keeps it easy for kids to understand. While it’s tempting to see using the light side and dark side as some kind of integrating the shadow, best of both worlds, enlightened centrism thing, that’s not what Lucas meant by balance, because it just inevitably leads to more and more dark side usage. The dark side is the imbalance: if you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. That crack is really moreish.

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Today’s news about Rian Johnson’s SW trilogy still being in development is pretty reassuring.

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I was thinking just now about how Kathy said during the promo tour for TRoS that they weren’t sure where they were going next and that one of the questions they were asking themselves was “Do we go to a new Galaxy?” And honestly, that’s something I could see Rian wanting to do, especially since he even said he wanted his trilogy to be set “in a new corner of the Star Wars universe.” I even think a title like Star Wars: A New Galaxy would have a nice ring to it.

As far as release date goes; my theory is that Disney is waiting to see what happens with Avatar 2&3 before green lighting 4&5. If 2&3 fail, then Rian can swoop in and take up the spots that 4&5 were supposed to have (Xmas 2026 and Xmas 2028).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Budu1ux09Rs

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Knives Out was fun and it’s fair to say his film work is mostly solid. I guess there’s a sequel to that in the works. But if only he’d had more involvement in finishing this trilogy before be got handed another one.