Spoiler Warning: There are some spoilers, but if you’re worried about spoilers, why are you reading a review of the movie in the 1st place?
I did have some trepidation about this movie however. Based on how much of a requel (combination sequel and reboot) The Force Awakens was of A New Hope, would The Last Jedi be simply a re-hashed Empire Strikes Back?
Fortunately, my fears proved unfounded as, while there were plenty of nods to Empire Strikes Back, The Last Jedi was its own story. But was it a good one?
There was a lot of good!
From the beginning crawl (yes there was one, I don’t know why they opted to leave that out of Rogue One) this movie felt 100% Star Wars!
Terrific Space Action
The movie begins with a terrific space battle that had great action, wonderful special effects and even a little humor mixed in. Beginning a Star Wars movie with a joke was a bit of a risk, but paid off. The battle was an obvious nod to the trench sequence from A New Hope mixed in with some vintage WWII bombing raid battle footage. Laws of gravity aside, it was a great way to open the film!
Kylo vs. Rey vs. Elite Praetorian Guard
Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul had always been my favorite lightsaber battle, but it may have just been unthroned. Usually a battle with multiple opponents quickly descends into chaos, but this battle remained a ballet of martial arts violence.
The Samurai inspired armor was awesome to look at, the creative new weapons were impressive in combat and the martial arts was expertly choreographed.
From the ending of The Force Awakens, none of use could wait to see what the island had in store for us. What we got was the slowest developing island story that was not told over the first 5 seasons of CW’s Arrow.
I mean, I only remember like 1 scene of actually training. So much of the time spent on the island seemed like the same dialogue repeated over and over again. Aside from the need for Disney to sell pallets of Porg toys, I’m not sure why the island scenes needed to take up so much screen time.
Vice Admiral Holdo & Other Bad Leadership
I have watched The Last Jedi twice and I still have no idea what the point of this character was. Why not simply have Princess (General) Leia fulfill this role?
The character of Vice Admiral Holdo appears on the screen built up as a great tactician and the hero of a previous battle but looking more like she just came directly from a Cyndi Lauper concert.
But that’s cool. I like the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea, but then she turned out to be the most inept leader in a movie that also included the ginger General Hux.
She stays behind on the cruiser while the rest of the resistance boarded shieldless shuttles so she could “pilot the cruiser”, but then she didn’t. She simply stared out the window with the same sad longing that I do when I am staring out my window waiting for the overdue pizza delivery guy.
She didn’t even head to the bridge until after a dozen or so of the 30 shuttles had already been destroyed! I did love her Kamikaze maneuver…that she did after like 27 of the 30 shuttles were destroyed!
A: Maneuver the cruiser (with its working shields) in between the defenseless shuttles and the pursuing First Order. Or…
B: Once the cloaked shuttles were launched, use the last bit of fuel to jump to hyperspace to lure the tracking First Order with her and allow her shuttles to escape. Or…
C: Be on the friggin’ bridge so she could perform the Kamikaze maneuver earlier. As in, right after the First Order started blowing up the shuttles.
D: There really was no way to remote control the cruiser? Just how far behind Google in “self driving car” technology are the resistance?
Obviously no one could have foreseen Carrie Fisher’s death shortly after completion of filming, but even without that hindsight, why not simply have Princess Leia fulfill this role? What better way for her character to go out than by sacrificing herself to save the rest of the resistance?
And if we look deeper into it, the First Order only learned about the cloaked shuttles because Benicio Del Toro’s DJ character was on their main ship. DJ was only on their ship because Holdo didn’t share her escape plan with her commanders, as every previous rebel leader had down in every previous Star Wars movie.
Poe, Connix and the other commanders thought Holdo was simply leading them on the slowest high speed chace since O.J. and A.C. gave the world a guided tour of L.A.’s highway system. Which is why they sent Finn and Rose for the a splicer (hacker) in the first place.
And Hux had like a dozen Star Destroyers in his pursuing fleet. Why wouldn’t he have one make a short hyper jump ahead to cut off the resistance?
I totally get why Mark Hamill reacted the way he did when he first saw Rian Johnson’s script for The Last Jedi.
In an interview with Vanity Fair. “I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character,'” he said. “‘Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision,'” he reportedly told Johnson.
When I first heard this was Mark Hamill’s reaction, I was worried that Rey would be revealed to be his daughter and our favorite Jedi would be revealed to be the galaxy’s greatest dead beat dad. While, thankfully, this did not turn out to be true, what they did with Luke wasn’t all that much better.
They left him to wallow in self pity on his private island after his student fell to the dark. He essentially became a dead beat dad for a whole generation.
I will say, however, that I did like what they did with his character towards the end.
Are Johnson And Abrams On The Same Page?
The J.J. Abrams helmed The Force Awakens was a “requel” (combination sequel and reboot) of the Star Wars universe and introduced some great new characters and concepts, but did Rian Johnson agree?
It seemed as though Johnson purposefully undid some of the elements that Abrams introduced. Snoke ordering Kylo to “take off that ridiculous mask” sounded like it summed up what Johnson thought of it.
Much of The Force Awakens was spent building up the character of Snoke. Will we ever learn his origin, how he became so powerful or even if he was a Sith or something different? It is worth pointing out that neither him or Kylo took on the title of “Darth”. And what about the “Knights of Ren?”
And what of Rey’s origin? Do you think Kylo was telling her the truth? Or could Snoke have implanted false impressions of Rey’s parents in his head?
J.J. Abrams will be helming chapter IX in this trilogy so will we see him bring back some of what he introduced in chapter VII?
I had to Google this because the significance of the gold dice to Luke and Leia went over my head when I saw the movie.
The gold dice were a set decoration that first appeared in A New Hope and appear to have some kind of special meaning to Han.
After A New Hope, the dice disappear. They don’t appear in another Star Wars film until The Force Awakens. According to Vanity Fair, “[Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Pablo] Hidalgo says it’s possible the production team simply forgot about them between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.”
Nods To Previous Movies
From the re-enactment of the Battle of Hoth to the Millennium Falcon somersaulting through tunnels, there were plenty of nods to previous Star Wars films. I did like the parallels between Anakin’s fall to the Darkside, his burning of the Jedi Temple and slaughtering of the padawans to Ben Solo’s fall, his burning of Luke’s temple and slaughter of the students. I especially like that the writers didn’t insult us by referring to Luke’s students as “younglings”.
Billie Lourd’s Expanded Role
It was great to see Carrie Fisher’s daughter with an expanded role in a Star Wars tale. While Billie Lourd’s character of Lieutenant Connix was not overly pivotal, it was nice to see the Star Wars tradition of strong female warriors continue.
Foreshadow To The Next Trilogy?
Disney recently announced that The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson will be taking over a new Star Wars trilogy and that it will not be Skywalker focused. Did we see a foreshadow of this new trilogy with the small force sensitive slave boy that helped Finn and Rose escape the stable and watch the falling star at the end?
At the end, The Last Jedi was very enjoyable and I would love to be able to give it a 5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating, but with all the character flaws and unexplained plot points, I can’t.
The special effects and action sequences were just as spectacular as you’d expect in a Star Wars film. There was a good splash of humor without being silly or distracting (as Thor: Ragnarok sometimes bordered on) and the Porgs were fortunately much more Ewok-ish than Jar Jar Binks-ish. Lil’ G-Man loved them!
From what I have read, the director’s original cut of The Last Jedi ran about 3 hours and Disney ordered it to be cut to 2 hours 30 minutes. From a fiscal point of view, this makes sense as it allows for one more showing per business day at the theaters (more showings = more tickets sold), but did this sacrifice the storytelling at all?
One thing is for sure: When the Director’s Cut gets released (it is Lucasfilm, so you know there are going to be multiple editions), it should be one of the best selling Director’s Cuts of all time!
Overall, I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a 3.5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating and a Fairly Kid Friendly on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Scale.