– by Campbell Clark

Warning (Heavy SPOILERS) discussed below, if you have not yet watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi, come back when you have!!!





It’s been less than 24 hours since I saw The Last Jedi, and since then I have been trying to resolve the conflict within me on what I truly thought of this movie.

I have spent some time discussing full spoilers for this movie with some fans online including one or two of my own friends.

One thing has become very clear to me: the film is hugely divisive.

I have seen people declare it the best Star Wars film of all time, and I’ve seen people declare it the worst one. How can there be such a swing between fans?

I personally still haven’t fully resolved how I feel about this movie and I don’t think I will until I have seen it two or three times. But let’s explore the big debates that are reverberating around the fandom. I am going to try and stay as neutral as I can throughout this article, I want to know what you guys think of the different views here.

Luke Skywalker

It seems that one of the key things sparking debate is the way Luke is portrayed in this movie. In it, Luke has essentially shut himself off from the Force and has no intention initially of coming back. As the character’s emotional arc is explored, we discover why he feels so guilty about the fate of Ben Solo. From Ben’s point of view, Luke betrayed him and was going to kill him. This is the push that ultimately turns Ben Solo into Kylo Ren. From Luke’s perspective events played out a little differently, but for a moment, he really did consider ending Ben Solo, his own flesh and blood, to prevent the darkness in him spreading.

For many fans, this has ruined Luke. They cannot get around Luke taking such drastic action as it’s not in keeping with the Jedi code or the character established for him in the previous movies. This was the guy who despite everything risked it all to bring his father back from the Dark Side. Luke saw good in someone whose actions were evil, yet here in this movie, he sees only darkness in someone whose actions were we assume at that point fairly measured.

The other side of this argument is that Luke, despite being briefly tempted to strike down his nephew, instead remains calm and the moment passes. Luke never actually went to that dark place, despite the briefest of temptations, and the choice to turn to the dark was still that of Ben himself. He just used his uncle as an excuse. Luke’s guilt over this then explains his absence and his reluctance to connect with the Force. This then drives his character arc in this movie so that finally when he does reconnect with the Force, his guilt can be resolved, and it allows him to make a heroic sacrifice for the future of the Rebellion (Not a typo, they clearly are now called the Rebellion) and Rey herself.

Of course there will also be fans unhappy that Luke has perished, the other side of that argument is that Yoda has clearly shown that being dead does not mean you cannot have an influence on the living world. The Yoda scene was far and away my favourite scene in the movie. Perhaps we need to remember that this story is not that of Luke Skywalker, even though his character got the most complete arc of the film.

The Plot

On one hand, we have people annoyed at the incompetence of the First Order, and wondering why they didn’t just send in more attack fighters. On the other hand, we have the tension of a race against time which allows our leads to have their own stories, and yet reconnect when necessary.

One of the things I’m not sure worked was Benicio Del Toro’s character, he was seemingly falling into the Lando Calrissian role of this movie, only to turn against the people who hired him when the opportunity arose. Subverted expectations for sure, but did that make it a pointless plot mechanic? On the other hand, one could argue that the main problem here lies with fans who are quick to want to categorize characters into little boxes. As a result, when someone acts “out of character,” it throws them off.

Johnson blurred the lines between good and evil very heavily in this story, almost painting the Rebels/Resistance in a similar light to the First Order… Almost… This is a galaxy that has allowed many individuals to grow extremely wealthy as they profit from the constant wars and power struggles. It’s once again clear that for many people this showed maturity and realism to Star Wars for the first time. But for others, it was a departure from the very clearly drawn lines between good and evil that Star Wars has always employed thus far.


Well, this is another contentious one, again if you are reading this you either don’t care about spoilers or you have seen the movie. Snoke is killed around midway through this movie by Kylo Ren, after being ordered to assassinate Rey in his throne room. The how is quite well done, as Kylo hides his intentions from his master and surprises the guy who says he cannot be surprised or deceived. Whilst this is a moment we know has happened many times before in the history of the Sith, it does leave a few problems for fans in this movie.

Who is he?

We still know nothing about Snoke, nothing, and for that reason alone many feel he is a wasted opportunity. We have no true idea what his motivations were other than to destroy hope. We are also shown just how powerful this Snoke is as he moves Rey and Kylo around like rag dolls at times, so why is he so powerful? But again you have people who think this was an impressive twist as essentially both Masters have perished in this movie, leaving Rey and Kylo to sort things out amongst themselves. If The Force Awakens had done a better job of establishing just who and what Snoke was, perhaps this wouldn’t have been as much of an issue. Whatever way you look at it, fans are leaving The Last Jedi confused about why Snoke was ever in these movies to begin with. I must say, The CGI and voice work of Serkis in this role was very well done and I still hold out hope that we will either see more of Snoke somehow in Episode 9, or that his story will be told.

The other issue regarding Snoke’s death is whether you feel that Kylo Ren and General Hux are an effective threat to carry the next movie, because neither are shown to be as effective leaders as Snoke. It might just feel like there is a big hole in the villain department, but I will let Jammer get into this side of things in his piece about what this all means for Episode 9 (which is set to hit later today).


They make quite a big thing of Rey’s parentage and then Johnson pulls the rug from under us as Kylo reveals that Rey has always known the true answer. Rey’s parents were nobody, she is nobody, they sold her to a junk dealer and drunk themselves to death and her connection to Kylo Ren was simply something Snoke orchestrated to bring Rey before him.

Now, I’m going to go away from neutral here and say that I actually liked the fact that the twist was… there is no twist. But many fans are annoyed that Rey is this extremely powerful being, who seems to just be a normal Force-sensitive person. To that I’d argue that Snoke explained this well enough in terms of balance. Snoke predicted that to counter the growing darkness of the extremely powerful Kylo Ren, an equal opposing force of light would challenge him, Snoke just expected that this would be Luke Skywalker and not Rey Noname. We’d also argue that Rey coming from a bunch of nobodies adds to the message of the film that anybody has the ability to be Force-sensitive (remember the kid from the stables on Canto Bight?).

They also haven’t really developed Rey much with the Force in this movie with her training from Luke focussed on showing her why the Jedi must end. She does learn how to connect with the Force and control it to a small degree. To steal the line from Darth Vader, the Force is with you young Rey, but you are not a Jedi yet. However, I’d be shocked if Luke does not appear in ghost form to teach Rey in Episode 9 and she is shown to have left with the Jedi history books from the tree as well. Does this film do anything to elevate Rey above being classified as a Mary Sue? That debates still rages on.


The argument here is simple. Some people loved that Leia got to show herself connecting with and using the Force to save her own life. Others think it was jumping the shark, and they should have either killed her off or simply not put her in that situation to begin with. If you haven’t seen the movie and came here for the spoilers, Leia is blasted out into the vacuum of space and uses the Force to float back into safety. I can see both points of view here, and I am as yet undecided. I always wanted to see Leia connect more with the Force than she has, but at the same time, this almost seems Yoda-like in power.

The other tragic side of this story is that Leia is left as the only one of the old trio still alive at the end of this film and we know that sadly Carrie Fisher passed away just under a year ago. It’s going to be tricky for JJ Abrams to resolve this issue in Episode 9. There’s a part of me thinks that Johnson could have changed the ending slightly to have Luke explain to Leia that to do what he does, he has to connect through her and use her power as well. With Leia having been injured and frail, perhaps this could have caused both of them to become one with the Force. Whereas now Abrams must deal with this ‘off-screen’.

Whilst there were many other moments of controversy and debate in the movie. The points raised above seem to be the ones that people are struggling to come to a consensus on, which is fine. In some ways, I have to commend the film for being willing to subvert expectations so wildly. I think we can also erase the rumour that Kathleen Kennedy rules this universe with an Imperial like iron fist. It’s very clear that Johnson was given the leeway to tell the story he wanted in his own way here.

These are the lines of debate currently taking over the internet, which side do you fall on? Let’s discuss this film in more detail below and let us know what you thought of all this.

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  • J-man The Great

    It’s divisive because it’s not very good. There are far too many plot points that simply make absolutely no sense at all. A real wasted opportunity here!

    • But that doesn’t make it divisive, there’s just as many fans on the other side of the fence. It’s intriguing to me

      • J-man The Great

        Yes it does because many people went into the theater with the expectations that it was going to be a good movie based on critic reviews, advanced ticket sale forecasts, etc. Then that was quickly thrown by the way side once the audience started to realize that the movie wasn’t very good. I saw it in a packed theater and there was very little fan reaction, a chuckle here and there, then the movie ended and people just left. No rousing applause like I witnessed after SW: TFA. I left not caring one bit what happens in Episode IX and I suspect many movie goers feel the same way.

        • What you are describing is a stinker of a movie. But online I. Forums across the globe I am seeing an almost 50/50 split. Remember I’m just presenting the arguments here. Not taking sides. But the fact there are sides tells you that our own opinion is not universally shared.

          Don’t you think this divisiveness is interesting in and of itself?

          • J-man The Great

            Read…I never made the assertion that my opinion is universally shared. I stand by my premise that a portion of the divisiveness is due to high expectations going into the movie that weren’t even close to being met by the actual final product delivered to movie goers. The audience score is dropping like a lead balloon on RT so while my opinion isn’t universally shared, I am by no means in the minority here.

          • Never said you were?

        • Deathstroke936

          Funniest part of the night was a group of fans all dressed up in Jedi garb, let’s just say they weren’t very pleased walking out… They weren’t using PG words…

          But same here, no crowd reaction, not unlike Coco and Justice League (there were actual cheers in those movies…)

          • Were the cheers in Justice League after the end credits?

            I kid, I actually had fun watching JL. But it’s still rubbish

          • Deathstroke936

            Actually, the biggest cheers were right after the end credits…

            Rubbish, let me guess, the bad CGI, the bad story or the throwaway villain… I’m thinking you probably need to re-watch it again…

            Hey at least, no one left the theater cursing …

          • There’s no story at all. It’s not a good film in any way, however it was fun watching superheroes punch things and there were some good Superman moments. One thing I will say is that TLJ was a far better crafted movie than Justice League. Whether you agree with the choices made or not. I don’t have to see it a second time to work that out.

          • Deathstroke936

            No Story vs boring story … Fun… isn’t that Marvel’s thing … (the forced humor in the TLJ had to be crafted, so you win that one)
            And you have it backwards… I don’t have to see it more than once to work anything out… That’s you my friend.

            And the argument wasn’t which was better, (although we seem to agree which was fun) is that, some of us aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade and some of us need to watch it four times to figure out if we “liked it…”

  • mhrinda

    This is a terribly made movie that was careless in storytelling and took risks and made jokes just for the wow factor. This director and its team of writers have seriously set back Star Wars and heres hoping JJ can get some experienced writers to get this trilogy back on track. A laughing Yoda burning the Jedi history ? R2D2 who prefers to stay off most of the time. A portrayal of Luke Skywalker thats hideous and of course he has die. We dont want any original trilogy fans being happy hes back in action even with a new cast of characters. And just stupid jokes everywhere. And whats up with the “ I am stupid “ character descriptions in the beginning. That alone just about killed the movie experience for me. Please Disney get Rian Johnson as far away from Star Wars as you can if you actually want to make money. This movie is terrible. And let me conclude with get your political progressive ideas out of entertainment. Yes we notice EVERY leader EVERY major character etc is a WOMAN. This doesnt make good entertainment having this forced down your throat every movie and tv show. Entertainment is suppose to be entertaining and make you money. Please understand this concept.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      You’re right. Women don’t exist in this world and have no place on screen. Hear, hear!

      • J-man The Great

        The agenda is clear in this movie…white men are evil (Kylo Ren, Hux) while the female and minority protagonists are good.

        • ATLDC

          Phasma is a woman. Luke is a white man. But never mind, sounds like you have some real issues with a positive portrayal of anyone with a vagina or dark skin.

          • J-man The Great

            Nice non sequitur argument there. Never even remotely made an argument for non female or minority leads. The portrayals here align well with Disney’s ultra liberal, progressive agenda just as they do in most of their movies these days.

            Phasma? Porgs had more screen time in this movie than she did in both Episodes VII and VIII combined. Luke…the grumpy old man? I was waiting for him to yell at Rei, “get off my lawn” through the entire movie. He was the worst character in this hot mess.

  • bickle2

    The Force Awakens was insulting, superficial, and stupid. This continues being superficial, drops Thr stupid, and simply wastes our time. Black Guy could have been cut out of the movie entirely along with Margaret Cho and saved an hour of screen time with ten seconds of footage. Put them in somestellar environment where the fighters won’t work, hell, asteroid field with a sun flaring so the ion engines don’t work (lets just ignore that ion engines are the last thing you’d put in a fighter. The very last, like Diet Coke and mentos first). The race against time mechanic where the more nimble republic starships can hide then the transports get away, one hits an asteroid, and boom, sensor lock, saved an hour and cut Black Guy out of the movie, plus saved $50 million probably. And no, I refer to them as such because they’re cardboard, superficial characters, not because I disapprove of any races participating

    The remnants od Thr idiotic force jesus tree are still there, it’s obvious they cut it out, and they cut out piles of the training stuff. Every time that could get interesting they run away from it. So now we have Luke, dropout of Ten Days To A Better Jedi teaching Be a Jedi in three easy lessons. Like everything JJ touches, Thr entire movie is focused on set pieces, and gargargantuan expensive setups to achieve s single shot that makes zero sense. Why are there skis? So he can get the plumes of red, same as why the enterprise is built on land which makes the least sense possible and contradicts every Star Trek before it so he can get one shot he thinks looks cool.

    I’m shocked no one is talking about the colloquialisms that are jarring. Yoda saying Page turner? Cringe worthy it was. You need your dialog to fit the movie, and having Not Han spouting modern dialog is weird, offputting, and out of place.

    Rian Johnson was obviously handed this bowl of diahrrea and tried to pick the corn out, which is why he refused to come back for episode 9, and only agreed to something he could control. He’s much better than this, but the real problem is that Kathleen Kennedy needs to stick to management and away from creative or hiring people, and someone with standards needs to be the Kevin Feige. And it’s time to get a restraining order preventing JJ from touching other people’s things.

    And the idiocy of the opening? Every bomber since 1977 has been a torpedo bomber, because THERE IS NO GRAVITY. So why was this a plan again? Why do they have bombers like that when orbital bombardment has proven so effective? It made zero sense in the slightest.

    Just more stupidity, more lazy writing, and all of it stinks of JJs doing. It’s exactly in his wheelhouse of lazy.

  • Nay sayer!

    Yeah I gotta go with the commenters on this. I did not enjoy this film. Only thing I enjoyed was Luke. Learning more about the Jedi Lore and his comments against the Jedi order were fantastic, killing him at the end was stupid and having Kenobi show up would have been a more effective “oh wow” moment, Yoda was just a laughing moron.

    There were again, too many fucking jokes in this film and they were terrible or out of place during serious scenes, it’s a very Hollywood thing they do and nobody fucking likes it. The only time any of us laughed was when Rey sliced the rock and it fell, swiping the caretakers barrow away. None of us laughed at the other jokes. Hux is terrible, Snoke was pointless. Kylo’s interaction with Rey was fantastic only to be ruined by revealing Snoke made it so. I feel him being killed off could have happened 20 minutes before the end.

    Rose and Finn were pointless could have cut them out completely, that forced non-romance bit where she saves him is so stupid, they barely had any chemistry and ultimately she was completely useless and just there to fill up the asian quota. Also I’d prefer in general that there’d be more aliens. Too many humans and given the First order is all humans, they’d be the last group you’d want leading a rebellion as well. Phasma pointless and dead. Poe great at the begining then just meh. Leah was bad ass good to see her using the force. Still no Lando. Everything that Abrams bigged up (not that episode 7 was any better, still better than this) was discarded by Johnson and they’ve given this mofo a whole new trilogy? I’d give it to Gareth Edwards whose Rogue One was phenomenal and personally my fave Star Wars film.

    If I was to give this a rating it would 3 out of 10. Mostly for Luke and the Kylo and Rey stuff.

  • Katie

    I hate to admit that I didn’t enjoy the movie much either. Maybe my hopes were too high? This did kinda ruin Luke in a way, Rey being a nobody meaning anyone can be strong in the force is cool but I had hoped for more and Snoke was a useless villain.

  • Kronx

    I was okay with Leia using the Force. It’s only natural that Luke taught her things after RotJ as he was hoping to rebuild the order. I just didn’t like the floating around in space bit.

    As for Luke, his arc made complete sense to me. Yes, he doubted Kylo and ignited his light saber, in a moment of weakness. But that’s always been Luke’s MO. When he defeated Vader in RotJ, it was in a fearful rage, not as a calm Jedi at one with the Force. He has always walked the line between Light and Dark. I also think it’s possible Snoke was manipulating him as well.

    One question I do have is what happened to Kylo’s Jedi trainee friends?

    To me this film feels like a collection of great character beats held together by a story that can seem a bit dubious at times. But that’s pretty much how every Star Wars film is. The Empire was never competent either. (Why take 30 minutes to circle a planet when you can shoot right through it?)

    My audience loved it and applauded several times.

    • AND right here we have the counter argument.

    • Re Kylo Jedi friends, perhaps they are now the Knights of Ren?

    • Danny B

      People seem to be so quick to defend the original trilogy as if it was a true masterclass of avoiding plotholes and ‘that doesn’t make sense moments’.
      As a kid i just fell in love with the movies, with its faults and all – the characters, the heroes, the villains, the lasers, the spaceships, the aliens. Not once did i question the gender issues, the forced messages or the corporate fucking meddling etc.
      The films are not made for the over sensitive fanboy that thinks Star Wars belongs to him only – my nephews loved the movie and had fun prepping to watch it and all the excitement of going to the movies, dressing up etc
      I loved the film, flaws et all, and enjoyed the experience.

      next episode…..Snoke/Clone – Luke/Force ghost – Rey/Kylo best saber duel ever…..

  • SC Polt

    Why fans are divisive: Because nothing happens. It’s a 2.5 hour slow motion escape. None of the characters really change (they flirt with change and then go back to their corners). The movie has its moments, but overall it was just an uneven mess.

    • People a de presenting genuine arguments about what they liked. Again your own opinion is fine. But these things tend to add up. I’m not seeing that here….Yet

      • SC Polt

        When you have a 2.5 hour movie, especially a Star Wars movie, you will of course have moments that will excite you. I agree this movie has some of those. Lightsaber fights will always be cool for SW fans. Seeing the Falcon will be fun. Seeing Luke again. You will also have cringe-worthy moments (Floating Leia, anything on Planet Casino etc.). So when you have an uneven and long movie like this, where a lot SEEMS to happen, but not a lot ACTUALLY happens, you will have fans picking many moments that they liked or didn’t, to come away with differing opinions.

        • Kratos

          the casino side quest? holy shit…so what am i watching here? a PETA ad denouncing cruelty towards and advocating animal “rights” message …an anti-child labor / human trafficking message…or a mega corporations are greedy and only out for themselves SJW message….or maybe all 3??

        • Yeah I see your point and perhaps that’s why we need to wait for the dust to settle. I certainly need a second viewing.

        • Trazy

          Don’t forget the milking!I think that wins as most cringe worthy.

  • Deathstroke936

    I can see that you’re trying to be “fair”, but there’s nothing wrong accepting when something is just bad…

    When you talk about Luke, you claimed he didn’t act on it… (like that exonerates him…). Imagine you’re a kid who knows you are “different” and you are staying at your uncle’s house and one night he pulls a gun on you… and you both know its because you’re different… Tell me any choice you make in the future will be squarely your own…

    And this isn’t Luke’s story…??? The whole TFA premise is about finding Luke, the cliffhanger was meant to be the highlight of … what’s next… (I’ll tell you what’s next … starts with s and ends with t…)

    How about you talk about Snoke, and all you can offer is that he looked and sounded good…???

    Just admit when bad is bad… you’ll live longer…

    • You are coming at this like I am defending the movie. All I’m doing is taking the debate raging across the net right now and trying to define it. Rarely is my own opinion mentioned.

      However Snoke just dying with nothing else about him did annoy me. If you want to know

      Luke’s moment of darkness did not annoy me. That’s just my personal view. There’s a lot of things I haven’t decided on yet.

      I get you are not happy, but even within this comment section we have very opposing views.

      • Deathstroke936

        I don’t have an issue with opposing views ( I welcome them…) What I do find highly hypocritical of this site is how you bend over backwards to provide a “benefit of the doubt” to this crap, while criticisms to movies like Justice League are true and fair, and those people that oppose are just “sad apologists”…

        For once I would like to see the same measuring stick being used… With the same “gentleness”

        • Well our editor in chief loved both BvS and MoS. Personally I liked the latter and disliked the former. We just report the news. We don’t decide what the news is. JL was basically to me like a Saturday morning cartoon. And don’t mistake that to mean I didn’t like it. But it’s hard to argue for it’s merits as a piece of cinema. Again just my personal opinion.

          Our staff have varying views on all media entertainment. We are fans, that’s all.

  • Kratos

    just caught a 9:15am showing….i don’t even know where to start…the floating leia thing…literally when that happened the guy sitting next to me (total stranger) looked at me as i turned my head and looked at him and he had the exact same WTF?! expression on his face that i know i had…i may chime in later…right now i need alcohol.

  • Deathstroke936

    One last observation… If you need time to figure out if you enjoyed a movie or claim you need to watch it again to make up your mind…

    Doesn’t sound like a A+ movie to me…

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      Don’t mistake my A+ as a consensus among the LRM staff. That was my personal opinion, and Cam has his own, less positive one. that being said, I don’t agree with the sentiment that wanting to see a film multiple times before making up your mind means you can’t really love it.

      • Exactly, it was so I unexpected that I feel I need to watch again whilst knowing what’s coming.

      • Deathstroke936

        You don’t agree…??? You realize that you can’t have a consensus if you haven’t reached one yet… You can’t love something if you’re making up your mind about loving that something… BTW…You can “want” to love something while figuring out if you love it… Nothing wrong with deluding yourself…

        Anyway… This is a movie, either you like it or you didn’t. Your opinion can change with multiple viewings, but you’ll always have the first opinion to build on. I’m sure none of you would ask for a second serving of a shit sandwich to figure out ” Do I like this…???”

        Whatever the reason ,if you feel that you need to rewatch in order to determine you liked it… the truth is after the first viewing … you didn’t. (And that’s OK)

        And from now on, now I know that whatever you consider a A+ film, in my scale it’s the shit sandwich equivalent… (nothing wrong with that either…)

        • 1. I never gave the movie an A+, Jammer did and he’s not confused. That’s his opinion and he explains why in said review.
          2. We don’t dont have a committee to debate what what each films score should be. It’s the individual writer
          3. You seem to care what we think and we thank you for that!

          • Deathstroke936

            You mean the same review that he has to clarify that all reviews are “biased” and now he’s seeing things a little differently since he spoke to “people”… (best part is when he mumbles the 2 seconds stating Luke wanting to kill Kylo as a kid, and tells us 50 times how big a SW fan he is…) Seems you need to revisit the review … just like the movie…

            And your last point is the worst attempt of judo I’ve ever seen… We really care what you think… It’s the biggest reason we post here. Telling you how great you are at your jobs… (I really miss El Mayimbe…)

  • Alex Olmo

    Has anyone read the essay “On Fairy Tales” by JRR Tolkien? It was written in 1947 and it explains and defends not only the genre of fairy tales but fantasy in general. The genius author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings explains how even fantasy has to have its own rules and that not everything can be possible just because it is fantasy.

    Fantasy, sci-fiction… has to make sense to some extent. Not all crazy ideas which are originated in the heads of the Hollywood writers can end up appearing in the final cut. That only causes a cultural impoverishment.

    Yes, I know that throughout all the Star Wars saga we have seen some crazy ideas but after seeing The Last Jedi… I’m sorry… but a flying Leia? A ghost Yoda using the force? A Luke Skywalker using the force to trick everyone at the end of the movie? Please, that’s too much….

    I didn’t like The Last Jedi and I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one.

  • Trazy

    Maybe Luke will be back to milk more alien animals as a force ghost for 9.So fricken stupid.I cant believe what Rian Johnson did to Luke in this movie,and he’s supposed to be a fan?I’d hate to see if he didn’t like it.Now I’m not hating on the whole movie just really what he did to Luke.And to kill him off,why?I always wished they’d make more Star Wars movies and now all I can think is “Be careful what you wish for”.I can go on and on about what else is wrong with this movie but why bother its not gonna change anything.Unfortunately there’s one more to go and I don’t even care.I really don’t want to see how they kill off my Princess.

  • You didn’t mention another very large complaint which is the overly on the nose jokes used bother verbally and visually in this installment. It became cringe worthy in a way that brought back Jar Jar Binks like feelings. Sarcasim is a wonderful thing and could have been used to much more effect. It sucks the air out of a sitution and makes it lighter but it also takes the seriouness completly away from the hightened situation in the story and makes you not care. It made a lot of the scenes feel more like a Young Adult novel.

  • Aaron James

    Here’s my take on these issues, and why some people might be upset by them:

    Luke: This is an issue that’s difficult to argue. If you feel that it was entirely out of character for Luke to even consider murdering Ben Solo, that’s understandable. However, I think the mental image of Luke as a blameless hero does his character a disservice. It’s essentially insisting that he should be flawless, and he was not a flawless character in the original trilogy. He should be allowed moments of weakness – even disastrous ones. And this film even has a scene explicitly pointing this out, when Yoda castigates Luke for forgetting that failure is the most important character builder.

    The Plot: This movie was overly long. And the casino sequence was…well, let’s just say that there was a whiff of the prequels about it. These two issues, though, aren’t enough to derail the movie. If you think they do, I’d urge you to reconsider, really. They’re, at worst, minor flaws. The casino sequence takes up very little screen time. The bloat does not somehow de-legitimize the individual scenes.

    Snoke: Now, this, I think, is a flaw of TFAs that TLJ is getting blamed for. If you think about this, what does withholding Snoke’s origins actually get us? What big reveal would actually serve to move the narrative forward, or affect the character arcs, in any meaningful way? If Snoke turned out to be Darth Plagueis (an idea which I think would be awful, but which many fans of the EU seem to have been rooting for), what would that mean? That he was a super powerful bad guy? We already knew that. How would this affect the characters? None of them would have any reason to care. If Snoke turned out to be Tarkin? That gives him a real reason to hate Luke, but why should Luke care? Why would Rey? Or Finn? Or anyone? Leia is the only surviving character who ever interacted with Tarkin, and her only plausible reaction upon finding out Snoke was Tarkin would be to say “Well, you were awful then and you’re awful now.” Anybody else? There’s literally nobody Snoke could have been that would have had any real impact on the plot. Not in the way that Luke discovering Vader was his father did.
    I do think making Snoke’s origin a mystery to begin with was a misstep. He’s too big a part of the story to leave unexplained. There’s now a Snoke-shaped hole in the narrative that I think needs to be filled (and not in books or comics or whatever – everything you need to know to understand the movies should be contained within the movies themselves), but not with some world-shattering revelation.

    Rey: This is one where I have less understanding for people who really feel that Rey should have had special, important parents. The reveal that Rey is a nobody from nowhere is a good one. It’s a great one, in fact. And it’s important to note that the movie was intentionally trying to evoke disappointment in that moment: Rey’s own disappointment, as a major pivot for her character growth. I think, though, that disappointment is a difficult emotion to convey without also making the audience feel as if the disappointment is theirs, not the character’s, given that they’re supposed to identify with the character.

    Leia: If you hated this moment, well, that’s fine. I didn’t think it looked goofy. I thought it was kinda cool. But clearly plenty of people did think it looked goofy. (If you want to get technical, Leia was weightless at the time, so even a very weak Force user could probably move herself in that situation.)

    But here is why I think a lot of people are reacting badly to his movie: it doesn’t feel particularly Star Warsy. It’s a dark, melancholy film. The heroes we loved from the original trilogy are dying off. And this is compounded by the real-world death of Carrie Fisher. I think it would have been better if she hadn’t died. Luke evaporates, but of course he’s going to be back as a Force ghost. And Carrie would have been around, so it wouldn’t have been so bad. Knowing now that Leia won’t be back, and that Luke’s ghost will be the only remaining member of the original trio, doesn’t feel great. And that’s not a feeling that a Star Wars film usually delivers.
    I feel this too. I just don’t think it’s a bad thing. Creatively, these were the right moves to make. And evoking these feelings was inevitable – especially in the middle film, where the heroes are supposed to hit their lowest points. It’s fine if you don’t like feeling that way, and if that makes you dislike the film, so be it. But I don’t think that translates to the movie being bad. If anything, it makes the movie very good. And I think a lot of people, once they’ve had time to process the feelings, will re-evaluate TLJ.
    Or they won’t. This is the internet. People stick to their guns past all reason.

    If you hated the movie for some entirely different reason I haven’t mentioned, let me know.