Some Random Thoughts on STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI! (SPOILERS)

30 Dec

Stewart here…

As the latest installment in the Star Wars series hits theaters, it’s clear that this has become divisive in a way that The Force Awakens wasn’t. Instead of complaining about the familiar steps that Force Awakens takes, some fans are now complaining about the exact opposite in The Last Jedi. For my money, and as I’ll discuss here, there are things about the movie that I have trouble with, but they are not deal breaking type things that some fans have lost their marbles over. I honestly loved this movie for veering out of just being a retread of the previous movies, while also doing something that’s been hard to do (at least successfully in my view): make an original Star Wars film. But let’s just get to some broad non-spoilers related stuff before jumping into all the spoilery goodness…

–First off, major props to Rian Johnson for somehow managing to do something several other idiosyncratic writer/directors attached to the recent Star Wars movies have failed to do (either by reshoot or just being let go): make a Star Wars movie their own. This is a movie more in line with Rian’s Looper or Breaking Bad episodes than just being an assembly line studio film. There are legitimately thrilling moments laid out, even with characters we only know for maybe one scene.

“Can I interest you in some cookies, sir?” “There are no Girl Scouts in this galaxy!”

–On just eyeball candy level, this film is so good it might send you into sugar shock. This is the most beautiful looking of the films, including some truly gasp worthy shots that will stick in your brain for a while.

–With the exception of one sequence that goes on maybe a bit too long (but is still important enough that it can’t be taken out altogether), this movie moves along pretty well, despite being the longest of the Star Wars movies to date.

–The Skywalker siblings have things to do in this installment, and for both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, they bring their A-game. This is true of the latter, as she’s given a few great moments that make this a lovely tribute to her.

–The new characters of this trilogy get to evolve in unexpected ways, while bringing in more new faces, like mechanic Rose, the rather untrustworthy DJ, and Resistance leader Holdo.

–We’ll discuss this in more detail later, but the handling of the mysteries brought up by Force Awakens is probably going to irritate a lot of the fans who spent the last two years theorizing the answers to them. For myself, I loved how they were handled, with maybe one exception.




And now, it’s SPOILERS from here on in…




–So, what this does for our new main characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe, is basically test their understanding of things, and forces them to realize they don’t know everything. Rey thinks she can turn Kylo Ren back to the light? Nope. Poe thinks he can lead the Resistance better than his superiors? NOPE. Finn thinks he isn’t a Rebel? Wrong.

An angry man-child, a sniveling toad, and a woman not allowed to flourish? This year in a nutshell.

–Grumpy sarcastic Luke was fun to watch. I know there’s some issues from fans regarding him here, but I disagree. This is Luke Skywalker, a man who became a Jedi Master by default, and reacted emotionally when he failed Ben Solo by hiding away. It adds up.

–Luke realizing he would have killed young Ben Solo rather reflexively was a rather dark place to take the character, but made sense. He saw what evil did the last time it was allowed to grow in the galaxy, and he considered destroying the problem before it happened again. Of course, it didn’t work out that way and maybe caused the First Order.

–And how long did it take for people to figure out the Luke on Crait was nothing more than a projection? It should have been obvious when you see Luke reappear far less disheveled than the last time we did.

–Leia pulling herself back into the ship with her Force powers? I’m sorry, but in retrospect, I really liked it. Of course, now I wonder how the next installment is going to go. Luke is probably now a Force ghost, and Leia is alive, but the actress playing her isn’t. I can see a time jump explaining the latter, but either way, it’s going to be awkward.

–Kylo murdering Snoke with that lightsaber was a nice twist. I never had interest in Snoke’s origins, and frankly, was fine with him being just some evil Sith guy who couldn’t see his pupil murdering him like that.

–Kylo Ren now running the First Order is not something I could have seen coming in this installment. In fact, Last Jedi really swerved from expectations by answering a lot of questions from Force Awakens instead of stretching them out for another movie. Snoke was just an unconnected to Star Wars lore bad guy, Rey was just a random girl with nobody parents, and Kylo was always a creep.

–Captain Phasma returns, only to die in pretty much the same scene she’s in. Seems a waste when I think on it.

–Between this and the Twin Peaks revival, Laura Dern certainly cements a banner year, and that’s before pulling off one the most badass things ever in a Star Wars movie by hitting that mega big Snoke spaceship by going into lightspeed with her cruiser. Just awesome.

–The Porgs weren’t annoying. That’s good.

–The stuff with DJ was actually a nice way to expand the universe by showing how gray things were once you realized people were profiting off both good and evil forces. And surprise, he sold Finn and Rose out, and probably got some of the Resistance killed.

–Rose was an interesting character, but I’m not sure I buy her transformation from mechanic to straight up Resistance hero. On the other hand, this is the same issue I had with Finn in the last movie, but both are negligible complaints.

–That lightsaber battle in Snoke’s red room. Yes.

–I hope Rey gets to have some more lighter moments in the next movie. There were too few and far in-between in here.

–Yoda, and in puppet form was quite a surprise, let alone used better than he was in the prequels.

–The idea of people not Skywalker being able to tap into the Force was always there in the series, but here it becomes obvious there are more of them arising than since the end of the Republic. That’s an interesting place to explore for the next movie. The Force democratized.

–That last scene threw me on first watch. I almost didn’t notice what that kid did.

Well, those are my brief thoughts, but hey, what did you think of The Last Jedi? Leave your thoughts below, and PLEASE, be civil…

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