I can honestly say I was very disappointed with The Last Jedi. Let me be clear, it was a GREAT film, but it was just an “eh” Star Wars film in terms of the overall plot. I went in expecting to love it… and it just didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie to me. I want to like this movie, but I am still conflicted as to whether or not I can.
Besides Luke’s story arc, it felt like no characters grew or changed throughout the events of the movie, Ben Solo is still bad, Rey is still unsure and confused of her powers, and Finn… is still Finn. The characters are also in the same place at the end of the film as they were in the beginning: on the run (even more) outnumbered by the First Order, without Luke and his guidance, and uncertain about their future as the First Order gains more power.
Furthermore, every major plot thread that was created by J.J. has been dropped only for him to get it back for Episode IX. It gives the impression that Disney does not even know where to take these characters. Snoke and Phasma have now just become useless characters with no real in-film backstories. I get that Palpatine did not have much of a backstory in the OT, but we at least had enough information to piece together what he was and his role in the story. By leaving Snoke as an ambiguous character, we are just left with more questions as to what his role in this trilogy was. Maz Kanata also appears to be a waste as well. All the buildup for her character only to be trimmed out of TFA and only to be in a hologram in TLJ.
The scenes on Canto Bight (PETA advertisements) were totally pointless as in the endgame of the movie its content served no purpose. Finn and Rose’s mission solves absolutely nothing and appears as if it was written in hindsight to give the characters something to do. Benicio Del Toro is the Max Von Sydow of TLJ, a great actor wasted on a useless character. The whole "running-out-of-fuel’ plot thread felt strange too as it has never been a problem in any other film. I guess that just means the spaceship gas station from Spaceballs is now canon.
It also seemed to me that the movie only took place over a few days, and it just seems strange. So far this new trilogy has only spanned a couple weeks, the galaxy’s biggest month… ever! The writing was also strange as R2-D2 just disappears from the movie and Chewbacca is gone for quite a while with no explanation. Rey just appears on the Falcon with no explanation as to how she got there.
The editing just felt off. Where were the wipes? The pacing also felt weird, some scenes went too long and some felt way too short.
And lastly, the last shot of the movie is by far the most upsetting in the whole saga. I get what Rian Johnson was trying to accomplish by it, that the force is alive in anyone and that hope is still out there, but it just didn’t feel earned by the end of the movie and feels like it was a Marvel-style post-credits scene tacked on before the end of the credits.
The main positive of the movie for me was John Williams score, amazing as always. I was also very pleased with Luke’s story (expect that his green lightsaber was barely utilized… another missed opportunity!). The movie would have been much stronger if more focus was given to it. I am excited to see what Episode IX holds for his character.
I was so excited to hear that Rian Johnson was directing this film, but now, I am very nervous for what his new trilogy holds.
Onward to the unwanted Han Solo movie we go…