Review: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you want to, just scroll down to the bottom for my rating, watch the movie, and then come back.

 

 

 

For those of you who don’t want to see the movie, or have seen the movie and want to see what I have to say, welcome! My name is Steve, and I’m about to tell you something very few people are willing to tell you:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a boring, self-absorbed, pointless, boring movie.

 

Honestly, I’m impressed. The post-George-Lucas Star Wars movies seem to go out of their way to underwhelm me. The Force Awakens was an entertaining ripoff, and Rogue One was the definition of mediocre.

But The Last Jedi is the first of the films that is going to get a negative rating from me.

 

And don’t worry, I am going to be very meticulous in explaining how and why this movie is bad. (so that means Spoilers, in case you didn’t catch my warning in the first paragraph).

 

First off, the movie is dreadfully boring.

The reason why it’s boring is threefold: Rey and Luke’s circular conversations on Boring Island, Finn’s might-as-well-have-stayed-in-a-coma pointless plot line, and the film’s overall insistence in making every single hero a dumb, flailing robot with almost no ability to communicate.

 

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REY AND LUKE: The entire time we spend on the island, I was thinking “Oh okay, so this is how The Empire Strikes Back would’ve been if Yoda was a whiny, mopey dolt, and if Mark Hamill was a bad actor.” Seriously, the biggest reason why this movie is so boring is because when Rey FINALLY meets Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, he’s a depressed hermit who has no wisdom to pass on, no skills to teach Rey, and literally no reason to be on screen.

So why is Luke so depressed? Because the Jedi need to die. Why do the Jedi need to die? Because Luke made one bad mistake.

The movie never gives enough weight to justify Luke’s descent into abject cowardice. Not enough weight is given to justify his abandonment of “The Resistance”. And it’s certainly not explained why Luke lacks the cognitive dissonance to know what abandoning the good guys means. Thus, every single scene Luke is in feels like a test of patience.

Meanwhile, half of Daisy Ridley’s lines at the island are astoundingly robotic. In fact, for most of the movie, the sheer charisma displayed from Rey in The Force Awakens is nowhere to be found in The Last Jedi.

 

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FINN: Finn and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) literally have no weight in the plot whatsoever. They think of a plan to break into Snoke’s ship, they light speed off to Rich-Peoples-R-Us planet, find a guy who can help break them into Snoke’s ship, the guy then betrays them to The First Order, and then Snoke’s ship gets destroyed anyway, no thanks to either of them. If you took Finn and Rose out of this movie, absolutely nothing about the plot would have been lost. Later, Finn charges into the enemy’s laser weapon, sacrificing himself to save The Resistance, and then Rose rams her ship into Finn’s so that Finn doesn’t sacrifice himself.

It’s sure a good thing that The Resistance was able to escape anyway, otherwise Rose would have doomed them all.

And holy crap, when Finn asks Rose why she stopped him, she says something like “Because we aren’t going to win this war by killing the things we hate, but saving the things we love.” And I audibly gagged at the sheer cheesiness and stupidity.

 

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NO HEROES: The movie seems hellbent on making every single character unlikable and uninteresting. Not only do they waste Rey on Luke’s self-loathing, and not only do they waste Finn on an inconsequential subplot, but they also dick around with Poe Dameron, who needed to learn the valuable lesson of not always being a hero. And he learns this by setting up a useless plan (i.e. Finn and Rose), and then he reasonably questions discount General Leia (Laura Dern) on her sketchy tactics.

These questions could have easily been quenched if Laura Dern just took thirty freaking seconds to explain why she was doing what she was doing. However, there needed to be a big reveal, and they needed to make Poe look like a jackass for the third or fourth time in the movie, so I guess let’s just sacrifice the story so we can surprise the audience.

 

In fact, I think a reoccurring theme in this movie is “Cowardice is virtue. Heroism gets you killed.” What a damned exciting premise for a space adventure for all ages!

 

 

And guys, I just finished explaining my first point: why the movie is boring. I’m not even close to being done with my critiques.

 

 

So the Rich-Peoples-R-Us planet was an absolute disaster. Not only is it useless filler to the general plot, but the film uses these scenes to preach to you about why rich people are bad. The film gets so cartoonishly unsubtle about why rich people suck that it reminded me that these Star Wars films are made for children.

The movie uses this time to throw so many poorly delivered messages on the evils of riches. Nothing about it was clever or sincerely nuanced, and almost all of it was embarrassingly preachy. It was bad dialogue by Star Wars’s standards.

 

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Well, apparently my extremely low expectations of Disney’s Star Wars couldn’t even have been met in that regard. They are literally only in the movie for comic relief and to sell merchandise. There is no plot importance that porgs play in the film.

 

Speaking of unimportant, there’s very little reason for Chewbacca to be in this movie either.

 

They somehow made Captain Phasma even more useless in this movie than The Force Awakens (bravo on somehow accomplishing that).

 

The film frequently forgets minor plot points, established universe rules, and general story continuity whenever it was convenient.

 

The dialogue in this movie is at least 50% awkwardly delivered exposition.

 

In pure Disney fashion, they tried to shove in comic relief at every conceivable opportunity.

 

I also thought it was funny how halfway through the movie, the film forgot that the good guys were called “The Resistance”, and they started calling them “The Rebellion”. I freaking wonder why?

 

But the worst part about this movie? It brings this crap sandwich to you while simultaneously having this stench of self-importance to its own story. The film is practically commanding you to realize just how great its story and characters are, and it made the film all the more worse.

 

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Is there anything I liked about the movie?

Sure.

 

Some of its incessant comedy does work well.

I thought Rey and Kylo teaming up together to kill those red guys was really cool (despite the fact that it made me wonder why they forgot about their force powers during the fight).

I thought when discount Leia light-speeded into Snoke’s ship, I thought it was a fantastic demonstration of light speed that has never been done before (though it would’ve been better if she didn’t wait until half of The Resistance were slaughtered).

 

Oh would you look at that? My list of compliments ends up having more critiques about the film.

 

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This movie broke me. I was prepared to go into this movie expecting “Eh, it was alright”, but hoping for a “I thought it was great!”

Instead, my reaction was “How in the world did director Rian Johnson manage to botch this story so horribly? How did they find a way to make this movie so boring?”

 

This film is an impressive demonstration of just how much leeway people are willing to give Star Wars. If you took the Star Wars out of The Last Jedi, then people would be treating this film like they treated Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

No, even that’s not true. At least Valerian had some semblance of ambition and a few unique ideas.

3 out of 10