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A Poorly Plotted Mish Mash

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Pros:

1) Rian Johnson is clearly a better director than JJ Abrams and as a result the movie's flow and pace were much closer to what a Star Wars film should be.

2) A few genuinely good dramatic moments in the third act.

3) Of the OT stars, Mark Hamill aged the best and puts in a solid performance.

4) Not all of the humor is cringey. The movie did get a few chuckles out of me.

5) The light saber battle in the throne room was the first competent light saber action in Disney's Star Wars.

6) The Porgs were fun and cute. Surprisingly, I didn't hate them.

Cons:

1) Although Star Wars continues to improve on a technical level, the genesis of its plot and themes continues to be an abysmal mess.

2) Rey goes to get trained by Luke and, unsurprisingly, there's barely any training. What's the point? We already know she can do anything and anything she can't do now, she'll figure out in the moment she needs it.

3) Ham-fisted political themes are ham-fisted. (Funny how Revenge of the Sith took flack for this but The Last Jedi isn't.)

4) Most of the jokes in the movie are eye rollers. They were the kind of jokes I'd expect in comic book movies or a CW show, but certainly not in Star Wars. The audience seemed to eat it up, but it won't age well. Even if you liked the jokes, they don't match the tone of the movie at all. The Resistance is on death's door and Luke has been reinvented as a cynical, defeated hermit who no longer believes in the Jedi, but the movie can't go five minutes without someone cracking a joke!

5) What happened to Leia in a certain dramatic scene in space was more cringey than every misstep in the prequels combined.

6) The Snoke storyline was a joke. We know nothing about him, he becomes a Bond villain for 5 minutes, then he dies like a punk.

7) In the absolute worst use of Yoda ever, he shows up in ghost form, burns the old Jedi temple and tells Luke "Don't worry about Rey, she's got this." This is not at all a hypocritical departure from his insistence to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back of the dire importance of completing one's training before facing a Sith master.

8) Rose goes from "you're a traitor Finn" to "I love you" in 90 minutes, without even being on screen together that much. Talk about rushed, cliche romances.

9) Finn is now the dumbest character in Star Wars history. Jar Jar Binks has more character integrity than Finn. In TFA he went from "Not going back to Jakku!" to being trusted to complete Poe's mission because... ???, to wanting to leave the Resistance (again) that he never really joined, to sticking it out and fighting because he likes Rey and Poe, two people that he's only just met. That Rey, Poe, Han or anyone else trusts him when he keeps showing he can't be trusted is completely ludicrous. Similarly, in The Last Jedi he attempts to bug out on the Resistance at the first opportunity, then moments later concocts a plan to help save the Resistance (which fails) and that's the limit of his relevance. It basically amounts to the fact that you could cut Finn and Rose out of the entire movie and it would not make a single bit of difference to the plot.

10) Hoth 2.0 only with salt instead of ice (more copy catting.)

11) The force is evidently no longer a spiritual discipline that people train long and hard in order to master certain useful skills. It's now just magic that works because (reasons) and allows lazy writers to do whatever they want even if it doesn't make a lick of sense. This is true of not only the aforementioned Leia incident, but how Snoke links Rey and Kylo and what Luke does in the finale.

12) The parade of dumb titles continues. "The Force Awakens" made no sense because by definition the force is an energy field that can't go to sleep and to the extent it did "awaken" in one character, it was done in such a vague way that the title isn't pointing to anything tangible. "The Last Jedi" also makes no sense because it's specifically pointed out in the finale of the movie that Luke Skywalker will NOT be the last Jedi and given Rey's stance on the need for Jedi, there's no reason for us to assume that she will be the last either. Maybe start giving your titles some thought? Make SOME attempt to give them meaning? Oh, who am I kidding... it's 2017 and Disney is making Star Wars movies by committee.


13) Luke never gave up on his father even though Darth Vader was more manifestly evil and way more intimidating than a dozen Kylo Rens, but we're supposed to believe he gave up on his nephew that easily? What they did to Luke's character in this movie is a travesty.

14) So by the end of the movie we have a bunch of dead major characters: Luke (who apparently died from using the force too hard? lol), Admiral Ackbar, Commander Purple Hair, Snoke and Captain Phasma. The one major character who probably should've been killed off (Leia) wasn't. But in terms of the plot, what has changed? The Resistance is a lot smaller, their fleet was decimated and they no longer have a base. The Empire is still the Empire, but as a faction they literally only have two major characters left: Kylo and Hux. When the call went out, the Resistance got no support, so what are they going to rebuild with? What is all of this nonsense supposed to set up for the next movie?!? I don't envy the writer of episode 9.

The thing is, I liked The Last Jedi marginally more than The Force Awakens, but I can't give it a higher score because it has so many problems. I felt I was being somewhat generous in giving The Force Awakens a 5/10, but it feels like the perfect score for this film. The Last Jedi gets many of the forms right, but the substance of Star Wars is nowhere to be found.

5/10
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Added by Hereticked
10 months ago on 22 December 2017 11:49



Comments

Posted: 2 months, 1 week ago at Aug 11 20:13
Just watched this one last night. I was conflicted :-( One the one hand it definitely felt more like a Star Wars movie than the previous one (ignoring Rogue One for the moment), but something felt 'off'. It didn't sit well, and decided to sleep on it as to what that particular something was...

Just read this review and I think it NAILS IT completely. Plus, you brought up a lot of key points that I guess I totally missed. I agree, it had a better spirit than Abram's film, but my god--what a mess?!? The MAIN issue I had with the film was their treatment of Kylo Ren. I actually liked Driver better in this one than the last. Ok, an insecure emo Vader wannabe, that's interesting (I guess), we'll see where this goes...

My problem with the film's treatment of his character is actually an overarching critique I have of a LOT of these big money blockbuster franchises, a theme I've picked up on that's going around. The closest comparison off the top of my head is The Avengers (2012) treatment of the character Loki. Sure, Loki is no Bane in the Thor cannon, but he's not meant to be the comic relief to Thor's buddy cop narrative??!! WTF?! That movie spent the entire runtime basically just abusing him, embarrassing him, and there-by removing any sense of danger, threat, or overall opposition to the superhero faction, that we're meant to believe is Earth's last hope against an evil and all-powerful invading presence. Well, that movie was basically on auto-pilot, NON-ONCE did I ever sweat thinking any of the characters were in any real mortal danger... ...the same thing reoccurs here with emo-Kylo. By the end of the film they totally morph his character (Hux's too, and even worse in his case) making him out to be a childish brat in need of a spanking. I found myself actually ROOTING for the First Order to win by the end--just cause I felt sorry for the poor guy.

To use a common wrestling term, the entirety of this film, and a bunch of other franchises (The Avengers; The Expendables; the Ocean's movies; ect.) is the equivalent of a 'squash match'. Making the 'good guys' all powerful and capable of handling anything--on a whim--when the time comes, makes them completely unsympathetic or believable. Why should we worry, they'll get it done...
Posted: 2 months, 1 week ago at Aug 11 21:18
Thanks!

Yeah, it's unfortunate that the new Star Wars films have been so disappointing in a variety of ways, but I can't say I'm surprised, ultimately. For all the hate people threw George Lucas' way after the prequels, he was the driving creative force behind the franchise, and once it was handed off to Disney it was pretty much destined to become a "planned universe" of mediocrity like most of the creatively bankrupt comic book movies that make boatloads of money by recycling old characters and cashing in on people's nostalgia.

Oi vey.... at least we'll always have the original trilogy.

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