Guys, this took me a long time to write, and this is really hard to get off of my chest… I’m gonna be real with you for a bit. Obviously anybody who’s followed me for a while knows that I hated The Last Jedi.
When my wife and I went to see it, we both hated it.
She hated it because she’s a massive Star Wars nerd who studies the lore set out through not only the films, but also the hundreds of de-canonized Star Wars books (as well as many books from the new canon), and she believed that The Last Jedi spat in the face of everything with abject disrespect.
I hated it because I have objective standards for movies that demand that they make sense and not cheat their way through the story, and I didn’t believe The Last Jedi met my standards.
But people kept telling me, “Steve, you need to watch The Last Jedi a second time.” The apparent rule is that things get better the second time you watch it. But I ignorantly pushed those people aside and decided that seeing the movie once was enough.
But last night, I decided I should actually go and watch it again. My wife and I rented it from Red Box, and we sat down and watched it again.
Wow, how ignorant we both were. The Last Jedi is a masterpiece.
I can’t believe how stupid we were.
My wife was stupid because she was obviously looking at the movie through the painstaking, finely-crafted lore of the books, and had unrealistic expectations for the movie. She forgot that one of the messages of The Last Jedi is “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” Such wise words. I finally understand their meaning. Never mind that Kylo Ren said them to justify his brutal murdering of hundreds of innocent lives, including his own father, letting the past die is an important lesson. There is nothing to learn about from the past at all.
And that’s kinda the whole theme of this trilogy, isn’t it? Everyone lets the past die. That’s why no one learns anything of substance within the thirty years after the original trilogy. It’s a stunning and brave tale.
As for me, I was stupid because of my ridiculous “objective” standards. Guys, here it is: all film criticism is subjective, because film is art, and art means that you shouldn’t have rules or standards for the art of storytelling. If Rian Johnson made a two hour movie of Mark Hamill doing the neigh-neigh while Adam Driver twerks shirtless, The Last Jedi would still be a masterpiece, because story and universal rules and narrative don’t matter. Art is art. Art is art even when considering farts.
And if anyone tells you differently, just accuse them of nitpicking, and you will no longer have to worry about those pesky people who have these stupid things they like to call “standards”.
My favorite character in the The Last Jedi is honestly a tie between Admiral Holdo and Rose Tico. And thank God for that. All women are queens. We need more strong female characters in every film in existence.
In all honesty, I think my wife and I only hated The Last Jedi because of our severe hatred of women. No joke, every night, my wife laments to me about how much she wishes she wasn’t a stupid woman. But I don’t listen to her, because she’s a woman.
Guys, The Last Jedi cured me of my misogyny.
I digress. I’m sorry. Admiral Holdo is a very fleshed out character who has loads of character development. I thought it was really interesting that she never told Poe Dameron her plans. Upon first viewing, I thought this was just some sort of cheap way to stretch the plot and the conflict, but I now honestly see it for the brilliance it is.
“Steve, how is Admiral Holdo not communicating with her subordinate officers brilliant?” It’s brilliant because Admiral Holdo doesn’t need to tell her subordinates anything. When you’re a commanding officer, a lack of communication is key. And ESPECIALLY if that commanding officer is a hot head, am I right?
Speaking of hot heads, boy is Poe’s story-arc really fleshed out. Poe initially started out as a hot head who not only landed a massive win by destroying Star Killer Base in TFA, but he also destroyed a Dreadnaught.
But silly, ridiculous Poe should’ve realized that doing both of those things caused casualties to The Resistance as well. It doesn’t matter that it helped the rest of The Resistance get away, Poe needed to realize that strength comes from retreating and blindly following authority. When he decides to back away from their last-ditch effort to save The Resistance on the “Salt Hoth” planet, he decided to retreat and leave everyone to their fate. What a character arc.
One of my favorite parts of the The Last Jedi is when Leia and Holdo were laughing about Poe, and Holdo reminisces on how much she likes Poe. This is despite the fact that he tried to mutiny against her because of her lack of communication.
When I first saw this scene, it made me mad because it trivialized an already weak plot conflict. But I love this line now because it shows that not only is Holdo in the right, but she’s also benevolent.
However, Finn, and after repeating his character arc from the The Force Awakens, still tried to disobey orders and sacrifice himself for the greater good. Thank God Rose Tico stopped him.
And when I first watched The Last Jedi, I thought this was an illogical scene that Rian Johnson made to not only perpetuate Finn’s existence, but also to make an emotional scene devoid of substance. However, that ignorant thought was only because I wasn’t listening to Rose’s line:
“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”
Guys, this is the single best line in not only Star Wars history, but in all of movie making history in general.
In fact, I almost want to accuse Rian Johnson of plagiarism, because every time I watch a WWII documentary, they always talk about how we won the war against the Nazis by saving them with love (but I won’t accuse him of plagiarism, because The Last Jedi is so perfect). Going to war while hating an opponent’s ideology or actions is nonsensical. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is simply toxic masculinity.
Now that we’re talking about the all-powerful Rose Tico, and the super weak Finn, let’s talk about one of the best scenes in the movie: The Canto Bight world.
The Canto Bight world is the best part of The Last Jedi not only because it has Rose in it, but because it is a glaring, well needed message against rich people, most of which are evil.
The Canto Bight scenes show just how evil capitalism is. They also have amazing messages against animal cruelty. When I watched this movie a second time, and they saved all the animals (but not the stinky slave children), I gave the movie a standing ovation.
Now some ignorant people (myself included) said ridiculous things like the Canto Bight scenes “are too preachy” or “don’t have an effect on the overall plot”. These people are fools. Canto Bight is perfect because it demonstrates the theme in this movie: the idea of failure. Bravo. This puts it all into perspective: when you’re developing a theme, that negates any sort of critical analysis of the importance of that scene.
There was no possible way that Rian Johnson could have developed the theme of failure without making scenes that have no effect on the plot, no way at all. As long as you have a theme to develop, it makes the movie a good movie.
One of the other great things about The Last Jedi is how much of a laughingstock the villains are. General Hux is a whiny beta-male (and also a compelling villain! How do you do it, Rian Johnson?!?!). Kylo Ren is honestly the best character in all of Star Wars, and the fact that he’s taking up the mantle of the lead villain makes perfect sense, because GUYS WITH SNOKE GONE THERE IS NO INTIMIDATING VILLAINS! ALL THE OTHER BAD GUYS ARE INCOMPETENT JOKES! THERE IS NO COMPELLING REASON TO THINK THE RESISTANCE HAS ANY CHANCE OF LOSING…
Sorry, guys. I just got hushed Mark Hamill style.
But what I loved about the movie the most is The Last Jedi’s treatment of Luke Skywalker. One of things I really loved about The Last Jedi was showing Luke Skywalker’s fall from grace interlaced with slapstick comedy. Every single scene that Luke is in, and we see one of the most iconic characters fall from grace, it frequently is followed up by something to give the audience a laugh. And honestly what a relief. What a brave new direction to take Star Wars.
Now most of the critics said that this was Rian Johnson dragging Luke Skywalker through the mud and disrespecting one of the most loved characters in nerd culture. But these people are missing the point: THE THEME OF THE MOVIE IS ABOUT FAILURE!!!
So when the theme of the movie is about failure, giving your hero a non-serious, jokey loss-of-motivation is the perfect send off.
And anyway, Luke was just a boring, perfect character with no substance or character development.
Also, my favorite character in “The Last Jedi” is Rey.
She’s tied with Holdo and Rose Tico.
I recently saw an ignorant tweet that came up with this terrible argument:
What a moron. A lot of people called him out on this, because we don’t want the same movie over again! A retreading of the standard formula gets you shit like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! What “Star Wars Tweeter” doesn’t understand is that you could not possibly make a new concept if you brought Luke and Han together to fight one battle. That’s what they did in all the other movies! Like when Luke tried to battle the death star without Han in “A New Hope”, or when Luke and Han are almost completely separated for most of “Empire”, or in “Return of the Jedi” when Luke and Han go off to Endor, but Luke leaves Han to go fight his father.
See? Exactly the same movie.
If Luke and Han fought together in just one scene, then you might as well call it “The Empire Strikes Back” (which is honestly the most overrated Star Wars movies of all time). We need a new movie that tramples on the heroes of old. There is no other option. LET THE PAST DIE. KILL IT IF YOU HAVE TO. STAB YOUR FATHER IN THE CHEST.
And that’s the thing! If The Empire Strikes back came out today, man would the internet be brutal to it. People just love hating things.
That’s why The Force Awakens and Rogue One were universally praised and only critically analyzed later. It’s also why almost all the Marvel movies are showered with praise with only a small handful of dissenters.
Also, personally? I’m glad we didn’t get a scene where Luke mourns the death of Han Solo. Way too cheesy, and if we got a scene where Luke cries over Han Solo, we might as well call it “A New Hope”. And if you idiots wanted a scene where Luke cries over Han, they put a deleted scene in The Last Jedi DVD! Buy it now!
There’s so many other nitpicks that I have no time to address, so I’m just gonna list them all here so you can laugh at them:
“Chewbacca has basically been condensed into a Porg companion and has no real weight in the story.”
“Why did Holdo wait until half of the resistance was dead before saving them? (Also, why did she not realize that she would win this war through love?)”
“Why are so many serious moments accompanied by jokes?”
“What was DJ’s motivations for doing any of the things he was doing?”
“How did Rose Tico and Finn even get back to the base after Rose crashed the ships?”
“Why are The First Order and The Resistance so bad at military strategy?”
“Why is Captain Phasma still so useless in these movies?”
“Why was Yoda acting like his crazy self (which was supposed to be a ruse for Luke during “Empire”) instead of his real character?”
If any of you hear any of these dumb complaints, all you need to say is one word:
No joke, one time, I once saw an angry Star Wars manlet curse at Rian Johnson, and I just walked up to his face and yelled “SUBVERSION”, and the guy literally ran home to cry in his mother’s basement.
The Last Jedi is a masterpiece. Anyone who tells you differently is just a nitpicker and just wanted the same movie over and over again. It is beautifully different while shockingly the same. It is breathtakingly subversive in how subversive it is.
It is the Star Wars we need AND deserve.
10 out of 10
(WRITER’S NOTE: Happy April Fools Day, everyone! If you didn’t pick up on it, which I’m sure you did but just in case, this is satire. However, if any of you think I’m straw-manning The Last Jedi fans in their attempts to defend the movie, the vast majority of “defenses” I used are ones that I’ve seen TLJ fans use. Some of my “defenses” are certainly ridiculous hyperboles, but the vast majority of them have actually been used (also, yes I have seen people say that people who hate TLJ hate strong women). Now, in any case, if you love the movie, and you somehow read all of this article, this isn’t me trying to get you to hate TLJ. In all seriousness (and I am serious this time), I sometimes wish I loved it as much as you did. Just realize that your criticisms of the critics are almost always bad, from what I’ve seen. Have a great Easter, everyone!)
(SECOND WRITER’S NOTE: My wife has read this entire article and approves of everything I said.)