-->

– by David Kozlowski

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is already something of a unicorn: it’s that rare blockbuster capable of generating huge box office revenues and major love from critics, but also massively polarizes its audience. It’s usually the other way around (see: Blade Runner 2049, Justice League). There’s a clear divide between critical and fanboy reviews, on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic — many fans outright hate it. The growing fan backlash suggests that The Last Jedi might not have long legs at theaters (but when you open globally at $473 million, you’re already on-track for a cool billion).

Here at LRM we also have diverging feelings about The Last Jedi. Yesterday, Jammer posted his perspective — he loved it and agreed with critics — and our readers quickly snapped back in opposition (with a vengeance, I might add).

I differ with Jammer in a number of respects, so I’ll take a crack at counterpointing his assessments. (I might even make a few friends for a change!)

Related – Why Hardcore Fans Are Wrong About Star Wars: The Last Jedi [SPOILERS]

Critics universally agreed that The Last Jedi was flawed but fun, and stayed true to the spirit of previous Star Wars films. Most critics also agreed that director, Rian Johnson, was solid (if unspectacular), and faintly praised him for “not screwing it up.” Fans, as you might have guessed, see things quite differently.

Fairly or unfairly, The Last Jedi will be forever compared to The Empire Strikes Back, which is a much better film, I think most would agree. Additionally, similar to The Force Awakens, this movie repeats several beats from both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which is I found jarring and yanked me out of the narrative.

Here are my biggest issues with The Last Jedi:


The First Order And Kylo Ren Are Weak Antagonists

Kylo Ren is a mess. His inner-turmoil was viewed by some as complexity, but I just found him to be annoyingly wishy-washy and flip-floppy. In The Force Awakens, he kills his father, Han, but in The Last Jedi, he hesitates to kill his mother, Leia… Why? We also see Kylo have another major temper tantrum, wrecking his helmet in the process, which makes him look weak rather than powerful. Throughout the entire movie, Kylo wavers between “will he or won’t he” fully embrace the dark side or come back to the light?

Additionally, the First Order received short shrift in The Last Jedi. While the Empire from the original trilogy was a sprawling, fascist organization focused on controlling the entire galaxy, I honestly can’t tell you what the First Order was trying to achieve in this movie. They seemed like bumbling idiots and comic relief more often than not — especially their leader, General Hux. Plus, their entire mission was solely dedicated to wiping out the Resistance, who was fleeing them in one long, desperate, low-speed convoy (don’t say Battlestar Galactica, even though we’re all thinking it).

Oh, that’s funny, I almost forgot about Snoke… and maybe the writers did too. Snoke is no Palpatine, that’s for sure, he’s not even at the level of Jabba the Hutt. Snoke is (was) an overconfident troll whose hubris and arrogance cost him dearly during a lightsaber/Force fight with Rey and Kylo — did anyone else feel like this scene was right out of Return of the Jedi?

The Rey-Kylo-Snoke fight was actually pretty cool, but I still don’t get how Rey learned how to fight so effectively — she’s had almost no training thus far, but she can take out a room full of Snoke’s Praetorian Guards (the guys in red armor)? C’mon, man! When Snoke is dispatched, the entire audience in my theater laughed, because it was so absurd and disappointing — this is the big-bad threat promised by The Force Awakens? Sigh.


Too Many Characters Were Wasted Or Under-Developed

Star Wars characters have never been particularly deep; in the original trilogy and the prequels, they mostly got by on charisma (Solo, Vader) or action (Skywalker, Obi-Wan). In The Last Jedi, most of the characters were a little more rounded, but they lacked the chippy, enduring personalities of Han-Luke-Leia from the original trilogy. Additionally, the performances in this film seemed driven by the needs of the script, rather than the needs of their characters. It all adds up to a sloppy, mish-mash of motivations and actions.

Take Poe, for example, whose arc took him from a cocky, headstrong pilot to a seasoned, trusted leader over the course of the film. The problem is, his choices and failures got a lot of people killed and he was an insubordinate ass at precisely the worst times — it’s hard to cheer for an idiot, which is how he often came across.

Also, many of the characters in The Last Jedi didn’t have a helluva lot to do. Snoke and Phasma were barely props; Laura Dern and Carrie Fisher’s characters should have been combined; Finn and Rose had an inconsequential (and forgettable) subplot; also, does anyone know what in the hell Benicio Del Toro was trying to accomplish with that stuttering accent?

The most compelling character dynamic was between Rey and Luke, who had a clear chemistry and shared some fun dialog together. Unfortunately, they spent too much time apart, and their pairing simply wasn’t as fun (or as engaging) as Luke and Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, unfortunately.


What’s Up With The Weird Force Powers?

The Force was an organic element from the original films that was restrained and personal — you can choke a guy, catch a blaster shot, or knock a droid across the room… but that’s about all. In the prequels the Force was a bit more enhanced and over-the-top, but still largely consistent with the original trilogy. In The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the Force is so overpowered and hopped-up on steroids that it seemed like a joke… and it’s not clear why.

For example, we see that Rey and Kylo can share a “mind-meld” (for lack of a better term) across the galaxy, which I could accept, until they’re shown physically holding hands in the same physical space. Oh, and apparently Force ghosts can also summon lightning, which is new. Finally, and this is the one that really yanked me out of the story, was the realization that not only could Luke could project himself across the galaxy, he could even cause non-Force enlightened folks to see him.

Do we even want to talk about that moment where Leia is blasted into space, only to subsequently float back into her ship via auto-Force-mode? No? Good, because that was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen (and spawned another uncomfortable laughing outburst from the audience in my theater).


Luke Skywalker’s Arc Was Uneven And Dishonorable

Star Wars is essentially a Samurai-Western in a Sci-Fi wrapper. Martial arts are a key, underlying element in these films, but almost entirely absent from The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker is the ultimate grandmaster of his fighting order, the Jedi, and he expresses a vaguely zen attitude about it that worked for me. I even liked his cantankerous, shitty attitude at the start of this film — there was still a bit of the younger, mischievous Luke shining through.

I thought Mark Hamill’s performance was amazing, even if the script constantly betrayed him. Basically, Luke was made to do things in this movie that didn’t fit his character. Take the Luke-Kylo backstory, which was slowly revealed throughout the movie (via a subtle nod to Kurosawa’s Rashomon). This flashback revealed a darker, weaker side of Luke that didn’t ring true to me, at all. When Luke realized that Kylo had been turned to the Dark Side, he decided to kill him before his inner-Vader fully emerged. However, instead of confronting Kylo straight-up, as Mace Windu and Obi-Wan had done with Palpatine and Anakin, respectively, in Revenge of the Sith, Luke snuck into his tent while he was sleeping and raised his lightsaber for a kill strike. Heresy!

This is NOT how a martial arts grandmaster would treat his top student; the choice is NOT true to Luke’s character, and it’s simply dishonorable. I realize that Luke was scared and emotional, but this is a cowardly act and without honor — this moment nearly ruined the film for me. And finally, during the final scenes of the film, Luke suddenly vaporizes into the ether — a parallel to Yoda’s demise in The Empire Strikes Back. Sure, Luke died while conducting the ultimate act of heroism, and while it certainly redeemed him from Kylo’s assassination attempt, watching Luke simply fade out… it just sat wrong with me and was the final straw that ruined the film.


Conclusion

There are probably another dozen things that I could bring up about this flawed movie, but it becomes needlessly nitpicky. For instance, the runtime was much too long given the events on-screen — The Last Jedi should have been 2 hours max! The Last Jedi is not a bad film; it’s polished, often beautiful, and contains several really exciting moments. However, it’s not the successor to The Empire Strikes Back that so many want it to be — nor should it, this film needs to stand-alone while remaining a connected experience.

Ultimately, The Last Jedi has the impossible job of living up to the expectations of three different audiences (the original trilogy, the prequels, and the post-Disney films). The Last Jedi moves the Star Wars saga forward, as it should, and I honestly have no idea where it goes in Episode IX. However, similar to Justice League, I left the theater with the sad feeling that I won’t remember much about this film in a month.

What are your issues or complaints about The Last Jedi? Let us know in the comments down below!

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.

SOURCE: Box Office Mojo , Rotten Tomatoes , Metacritic

  • Momitchell

    You nailed it… and I can’t state enough as to how the complete camp and goofiness made me feel so damn uncomfortable – it was so out of place and felt so, well – forced. I shook my head in disbelief so many times I stopped keeping note of what was so bothersome. I did have to wonder if this is how my parents felt when they were watching the original films with me when I was a kid, but I don’t think so, as I recall them loving those films seemingly just as much as I did. I thought TLJ was just a mess and pretty unnecessary, in the end. oh well… there’s always Rogue One.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Funny you should mention Rogue One. I never expected the last Vader scene of him ripping through the Rebels. I was hoping that Rey would inspire him to rejoin the fight and then we have Luke ripping through the Knights of Ren with his green saber.
      I think overall I just left feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.

      • DarkoCool

        Would have been great if the Knights of Ren even bothered to show up…

    • randomironicname

      Yeah, the humor messed me up too. Right off the bat as I was settling into the story I was distracted trying to figure out why 20th century phone humor was a key part of the opening battle.

      • Right? Poe’s lines were funny and clever… until you thought about them for a few seconds. That said, I still remember Han Solo “hot wiring” the Imperial bunker door on Endor in Return of the Jedi (it was dumb then, it’s still dumb now).

        • randomironicname

          You’re right but this was way worse. It’s all I could think about during the ill fated bombing run. I can’t imagine a group of writers thinking that was a good idea.

    • Yeah, the silliness and slapstick just yanked me out of the story. I was particularly annoyed at the depiction of the First Order and their low-speed chase of the Resistance fleet — why couldn’t these morons call ahead and position another Star Destroyer between the fleet and the planet? Logic holes like that drive me nuts.

      • Momitchell

        Not to mention how ridiculously slow and tedious that Rebel bombing run was – wth?! B-52 bombers in WWII were faster! Not to mention that after the bombs finally nail the thing and it blows to hell, the pursuit never stops, everyone seems to survive as if nothing just happened – this movie was so freakin weird, there’s just too much to even try to point out.

    • Moby85

      The forced humour was bad. But Leia’s force traction scene got awkward laughs from the audience. Seems like it did everywhere. Luke got lots of cheers though.

    • Rad4Cap

      ” the complete camp and goofiness made me feel so damn uncomfortable – it was so out of place and felt so, well – forced”

      Like the rest of the actions in the film, the comedy was there to undercut the drama. That’s why it felt out of place. Each time it is used, it’s to tell you ‘Don’t take all this shite seriously’ – which is the opposite of the intent of the franchise. It WANTS to be taken seriously. And this episode is just one big act of a Stooge poking a finger in Darth Vader’s mask. It is not humor to relieve (or heighten) dramatic tension, but to RIDICULE it.

  • claudiomario

    I have to agree with you I think this was really well written piece and hopefully people at Disney will read it. I really feel like the film did a huge Injustice 2 many of the characters and truly failed to develop many of the characters. I don’t know I am pretty sure because of this Reon Johnson was removed from episode 9 duties I just don’t know how JJ will fix this the pretty tall task. And this whole Jedi Master thing I mean we never really saw what a Jedi can really do. They can move things lift things with their mind and fight with a lightsaber but more than that what is this? When I saw that little kid grab the broom of the end I instantly thought about the Mickey Mouse cartoon and that’s when I bowed my head and cried to myself

    • I really have no idea where they go from here; Episode IX is a complete mystery to me (and that’s not a bad thing, really). The problem is, after watching The Last Jedi, I don’t really care.

      I totally agree w/ you regarding the character development and the strange uses of the Force — it’s one thing to move some rocks w/ your mind, but it’s quite another to project an astral version of yourself across the galaxy and fake a lightsaber fight.

  • Black_Ace

    Snoke clearly lays it out that the killing of Han wrecked Kylo’s resolve. That’s why he hesitates to kill Leia.

    • Fair enough. I kind of recall this during Snoke’s word salad monologue. In fact, this makes Kylo seem weaker to me — no one likes a wishy-washy bad guy.

  • Max

    Spot on. This just wasn’t a good movie. I don’t dislike it because it’s different. I dislike it because it isn’t different. All the “risks” were just surface-level and undone by the end of the film. We are left with the same status quo. Luke did the same thing Obi-Wan and Yoda did. Give up and go into hiding when the bad guy wins. They’ve made it a full-fledged Jedi tradition.

    • The Last Jedi felt like a really small story with consequences and stakes that really only applied to the handful of people in the First Order/Resistance fleet chase. I never felt that the First Order were a threat throughout the galaxy, as was the case with the Empire. What else is happening in the galaxy?

      • Games

        How did you feel that in Empire? They were on a planet and did battle. Check! They few to another planet and did battle. Check! The actually show more of the threat in TLJ then in Empire. Empire is a smaller scope story then TLJ.

        • Deathstroke936

          The Empire had influence in most planets, sent thousands of probes throughout the cosmos, they were pretty much anywhere there was any civilization, the influence of the Empire was vast.

          The majority of the First Order were on the giant Death Star when Hux used it to take out the republic, and they took a huge hit when it was destroyed….

          During the movie I thought, if a giant black hole had appeared and taken both factions, the War (Star Wars) was over…

        • Rad4Cap

          “The actually show more of the threat in TLJ then in Empire. Empire is a smaller scope story then TLJ”

          GIven that we don’t know ANYTHING about the Galaxy of TLJ, this statement is false.

  • TheFrank

    So, fellas, how’s that whole “We don’t need George Lucas to run the Star Wars franchise” plan working out for you so far?

    Let’s see… Episode 7… Greatest Hits compilation of Eps 4-6… Princess Insta-Jedi… Captain Chrome Boobs… Shish-kabobing Han Solo…Yet another Death Star… Darth Emo… None of the original actors sharing the same scene all at once (or, for that matter, ever again unless Disney CGIs it).

    Rogue One… Massive Re-writes and Re-shoots… Lots of tension on the set… Darth Vader Bruce Lee-ing his way down a corridor and creating a massive plot hole at the start of Ep. 4. Not to mention a lot of other things that I won’t get into.

    Han Solo (or is it now just “Solo”?) movie… Fired the directors… More re-writes and re-shoots… Opie takes over (hope he does a better job than what he did with “Inferno,” which I’m sure he will)… Lead looks nothing like Harrison Ford (young or old) except for gender and race…

    What does that leav… Oh, that’s right: Episode 8. Hey, how’d you like that epic lightsaber battle between Kylo & Luke? I bet George would’ve never thought of that, the whole “I’m just going to have Luke limbo his way through the fight” angle. That’s pure magic. Glad that the fans waited 30+ some odd years for that payoff. And how about Leia doing that “Carrie Poppin” thing through outer space? Man, that’s some “mind blown” out there stuff that George would’ve never thought of.

    In fact, there’s a lot of stuff in Episode 8 that George never would’ve done, like kill off that Emperor Palpatin-y Snork guy just out of the blue or Captain Chrome Boobs there… I mean, who are they going to kill off in Ep. 9? Chewbacca? Are they bringing Lando back just to kill him off? Oh, yeah, that’s right – Admiral Akbar’s also dead now. George would’ve never thought to have killed him off so arbitrarily like all of those “good” screenwriters you’ve got now.

    Well, anyway, good luck with Episode 9.

    Hey, if Episode 8 does really well, Disney will get Rian to do another THREE of these movies! Can’t wait to see what he has in store for you guys next!

    • Kay

      All of these movies have been leagues above anything from the prequels. . . Period. How is this even up for debate??

      • The prequels weren’t good, I agree. However, Lucas is really good at universe-building — his planets, locations, and feeling of a contiguous galaxy really worked… shame that Lucas couldn’t get better performances out of (most of) his actors or write an understandable narrative.

        • Jasper Oosterveld

          Lucas should not write dialogue, that is obvious looking at the prequels 😉

          • Dialog is not really a strength of any of the films. Although, I liked the writing in Rogue One and Empire Strikes Back, but it was often painful too (“Nerfherder”)

          • Jasper Oosterveld

            That’s true 🙂 Rogue One was great, really enjoyed that movie.

      • TheFrank

        Dredge up the Prequels all you want but I don’t remember George pulling a Carrie Poppins in any of the Prequels… And I’m sure Luke’s death was exactly as George must’ve envisioned it, right? From George’s lips to Rian’s editing room!

        Hey, I know – I’m betting that George would’ve at least had the decency to have had all three original actors in one scene together. Good thing THAT didn’t happen!

        You guys just can’t admit that Episode 8 is a stinker. That’s OK… Someday, you’ll come around to it when it’s socially fashionable to do so.

        • Kay

          Lmao. At this point I feel like it’s more socially fashionable to hate the new movie if you’re a Star Wars fan. Sorry, I’ve watched it multiple times now and it’s by far the best one of the series. That opinion isn’t changing.

          • DarkoCool

            You must be young…

      • DarkoCool

        After The Last Jedi it is certainly up for debate. The prequels are better. The light sabers battles alone are miles beyond anything we’ve seen in 7 & 8 among many other things.

    • Great points. Lucas was not a great with actors, but he loved his tech and was a solid editor too.

      The Leia-floaty-space thing made me laugh out loud (not in a good way). Most of the characters in The Last Jedi were boring or had barely anything to do. The space battles weren’t clever or interesting either — watch the space battle through the asteroid field in Empire, that’s how you make something old feel new again.

      • Ryan Johnson

        They would have been even worse if Lucas was doing them. God awful CGI, slapstick out the ass and wooden acting.

  • M@rvel

    Your perspective on why Kylo is a weak antagonist is, in my opinion, what makes him such a compelling villain. All of the villains in SW previously are very methodical in their actions(emperor, Vader). They have everything planned to a Tee. Whereas, Kylo is so fueled by his anger and inner conflicts that it really makes him unpredictable. And I really love the comparison TLJ draws to the original trilogy. Let’s remember that Vader’s original intent was to kill the emperor and rule the Galaxy with Luke at his side. He successfully overthrew the emperor but died in the process. Kylo, the new Vader, as Snoke kept referring to him as, really is the new Vader. He successfully overthrew the supreme leader but he didn’t die in the process. So he really has fulfilled his destiny. There’s no telling what he’ll do in episode 9. My only hope is that he teams up with the Knights of Ren to take on the remaining resistance.

    • Kay

      I too love how unpredictable and unstable Kylo is! It makes him much more interesting, intriguing, and entertaining to me than really, even Vader. I am so excited to see where he goes in the next film.

    • I totally hear what you’re saying, but Kylo just came off as a weepy man-child with anger-control issues. I never feared Kylo, he simply lacked menace in my opinion. By contrast, Vader always seemed a heartbeat away from killing anyone and everyone around him — Vader was scary, Kylo really wasn’t.

      • M@rvel

        Why does Kylo have to be scary to be a compelling villain, though? Sounds like you just want a rehash of the originals.

        • Not at all, I absolutely want new stories with new characters. My problem with Kylo is that he’s entirely reactionary; everything he does is a response to someone else, rather than taking overt actions that drive the narrative forward. He’s also a terrible leader — who wants to follow a guy that clearly isn’t very smart and has a hair-trigger temper; people feared Vader, they merely avoid Kylo.

    • Deathstroke936

      Vader wanted Luke to kill the Emperor. Vader couldn’t kill his master. It took the love of his son for Vader to overcome the power the emperor held over him. And his destiny was to bring order not rule the galaxy…

      As for villains, I believe there are two types that work the best … the sympathetic kind and the intimidating scary kind… Kylo is neither…

      • Games

        There are way more then two types of bad guys. And Vadar had been seeking a second against the Emperor for a while. He just need to take down the Master and that is part of the rule of two.

      • M@rvel

        lol you basically just said everything I said in a different way.. yes he wanted to bring order to the Galaxy…by ruling it lol. And I said Kylo fulfilled his destiny, not Vader. You’re putting words in my mouth…

        • Deathstroke936

          I’m pretty sure the only one who was destined or was part of any prophecy was Anakin. He was the one destined to bring order to the force. And by killing the emperor he fulfilled his destiny.

          What is Kylo’s destiny is all you… Your words leaving your mouth…

          • M@rvel

            You’re confusing yourself…. Please go back and read my comments again so you can actually understand what i’m saying. In TLJ, Snoke kept saying to Kylo, “fulfill your destiny as the new Vader”, and ironically, by saying that, he caused Kylo to actually carry out that destiny, just not in the way Snoke was thinking. Kylo overthrew him, so now he is the one in charge. And that is what Vader originally wanted. You can argue that all you want, but the dialogue in ROTJ proves you wrong. Vader says to Luke, “join me, and we can rule the galaxy together as father and son.” Did you miss that line? lol……

          • Deathstroke936

            The line is from ESB… But did Vader really want to rule with his son or that was a better alternative than having to kill his son… ???

            When the emperor first brings up the son of Skywalker, his intention was for Vader to kill him, he knew that Luke was a threat… Then Vader suggests that instead of killing him, they turn him to the Dark Side to become an ally.

            This is what made ESB such a good movie, because it was ambiguous what the true intent of each were… (at the time) The Emperor wanted to trade in a new younger more powerful apprentice and Vader wanted to keep his son alive as long as he could…

      • Well said! I agree. I have no empathy for Kylo and I was never scared or fearful of what he might do. He was ineffective.

    • Moby85

      Yeah I like all the development with Kylo too. He was great in The Force Awakens but Adam Driver really brought his A game to TLJ.

  • Kronx

    The mind meld thing was established in Empire. Vader talks to Luke while he is fleeing on the Falcon at the end.

    Had Finn and Poe’s stories been more concise, and maybe more of that screen time spent on Luke and Kylo, we might not be having these debates.

    And Luke, his story with Kylo is basically The Omen.

    As it is, the film is the equivalent of watching Bruce Lee beat down 50 guys while wearing a tu-tu. It can be awesome. It can be puzzling. You can find what you want in it.

    Yes, there are missteps, but there is so much more going on with the themes and subtext that it works for me.

    • Fair enough, Vader could speak to Luke in Empire Strikes Back… but they were both on Cloud City. In The Last Jedi Kylo and Rey were separated by entire solar systems. That’s too much of a stretch for me. If it works for you, cool, but it sure didn’t work for me.

      • Weresmurf

        Even then if we accept telepathy, which we can, and even if we accept it across a universe, fair enough, as we’ve seen Obi Wan ‘sense’ a planets destruction for example, why should we accept them physically touching each other? What’s stopping Jedi then assassinating people that way?

        • randomironicname

          Everything about their connection seems strange. My working theory is that it is a leftover from an earlier version of the script when Rey was a Skywalker or even Ben’s twin. At some point they got the idea to fuck with her lineage and shoehorned it in with whatever explanation Snoke babbled about.

        • Rad4Cap

          “What’s stopping Jedi then assassinating people that way?”

          Which is why this film is such an example of BAD writing. It’s not that such powers aren’t conceivable, but whether they are contextually appropriate. There were SO many things in this film that were done that simply didn’t give a DAMN about what it meant to the world as written or what had come before. It said to HELL with any coherence or logic established in prior episodes.

          It’s like having multiple authors writing a chapter each to a story and one arsehole coming along and saying to hell with everything else which came in all the other chapters.

          That doesn’t make him daring or inovative. It just makes him a right old basterd. He’s giving the world a quarter BILLION dollar middle finger.

          He IS the Joker. He just wants to see the world burn.

  • Wild Dreams

    Nice article….not much else worth adding that hasn’t been said. This movie definitely didn’t inspire much “hope” for the future of this franchise but I am seriously hoping both Disney and the director learn from this seeing as they have him lined up to do another trilogy.

    • Now that Han-Luke-Leia are gone, I just don’t have the same hope for Poe-Finn-Rey in the next film(s) — I like these new characters, but they don’t have nearly the same level of personality or charisma. It’s not fair to compare these actors, I know, but I can’t avoid doing so.

      I really hope that Rian Johnson’s new trilogy goes in a completely different direction. Frankly, I’m tired of the Skywalker family and the Empire/First Order vs. Rebels/Resistance storyline — 40 years of this is plenty!

  • Deathstroke936

    Amazing… It’s like David saw the same movie I did…

  • Games

    The whole theater clapped when they killed Snoke. Again the crowd loved the scene of Leia. But we get it, you see things the way you want to, not so much as it is. These were not just giggles like you said but outright applause. As for the Force, if they do the same thing every time the fans will whine about that they are the same movie. They change a few things, add a few things and now it is impossible that those things can happen. Yoda is part of the force. Is him being able to control that force by starting the tree on fire that far to imagine? Seriously? Luke did something no one else has done from what I know. That cost him his life. Amazing ending to a great character. And shut the heck up, you will be talking about this for years. Acting like that is not true is BS.

    • The laughter in my theater was uncomfortable and strained, it occurred at moments that I’m sure Rian Johnson didn’t intend to be funny. The Last Jedi is an awkward film.

      • Joseph Jammer Medina

        Except it isn’t.

        • Deathstroke936

          Or maybe it is… The telling factor for me was the “forced humor” and how badly it missed…

    • Deathstroke936

      No reaction from the crowd I went with on opening night… Well not true, there were some chuckles with the “milk” thing and after the movie, a group of fans dressed as Jedi left the theater using “Sith” words…

  • Darragh O’Connor

    “in The Last Jedi, he hesitates to kill his mother, Leia… Why?” – He panicked to kill Han Solo and his decision weighed on him throughout the entire film. Also, he was probably closer to his mother Leia.

    “Too Many Characters Were Wasted Or Under-Developed” – also very wrong. This film showed more multi-dimensional characters that Star Wars ever had. Character flaws were more apparent, real life contemplating and decision making was switched for the usually too-easy choice making. The characters were REAL. Stop focusing on the little action figures you used as a kid to have characters do exactly what you want, just like 90% of fans who didn’t like this movie. People complained because Force Awakens was too similar to New Hope, now people are complaining that this is too different?! They’re both great, Star Wars fans can be the absolute worst…

    “Unfortunately, they spent too much time apart, and their pairing simply wasn’t as fun (or as engaging) as Luke and Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, unfortunately” – If it was, you’d say “it’s too similar to Empire having that relationship!” (sigh).

    “What’s Up With The Weird Force Powers?” – You’re basing this argument on the idea of “I’ve never seen that been done in the films I used to love, so it shouldn’t happen here”… Do you not know the extent of the force?

    “Do we even want to talk about that moment where Leia is blasted into space, only to subsequently float back into her ship via auto-Force-mode” – Beautiful moment, you must’ve been at a screening where you had some real idiots. Did it look silly? Kind of, but how do you expect her to film that one buddy? CGI? Cause we know how much you’d probably slate the over-use of CGI there.

    “Star Wars is essentially a Samurai-Western in a Sci-Fi wrapper” – Who put you in charge?

    “This is NOT how a martial arts grandmaster would treat his top student” – Stupidly assumptions. Context is key my friend. If the student had the potential to ruin a galaxy in a damn karate class, then maybe yeah, his master would.

    “There are probably another dozen things that I could bring up about this flawed movie” – Then why not, isn’t this what the article is about??

    Bro… These reasons are not good enough to propel the idea of “why the critics are wrong”. Also, on that not… For one, it’s not just critics who love the film, why can’t people understand that?? I’m not a critic? “fans vs critics” so untrue. Also, these ‘critics’ would also be Star Wars fans most of the times! It’s not like they’re just opiniated robots who have no love for franchises…

    It seems to me like you’re being swayed and manipulated by those you went to see this movie with. You’re points are rehearsed and invalid and just don’t seem natural. It reeks of post-viewing discussions with cynical “fans” who want to bash a great movie just to be cool…

    Just my opinion on this not well thought out piece…

  • Felix Chan

    I’m not one of those people that say the prequels raped my childhood. I think they are silly and sub-par but I never truly hated the prequels mainly because they really didn’t affect the OT story-wise. Now i can say If anything is raping my childhood then TLJ definitely is. It’s as if Rian Johnson read all the fanboy theories and just say fxxk you I’m gonna do the complete opposite. Luke in TLJ is definitely not Luke. He knows that people are capable of change (he did change a minor character called Darth Vader from the dark side to the light) so instead of confronting Kylo to give him a chance to explain himself he just said fxxk it I’m gonna kill him in his sleep.

    Don’t get me started of the sub-plot of Rose and Finn. I have no idea how TLJ got 90%+ in Rotten Tomatoes. It is 70% at best.

  • Jasper Oosterveld

    Thanks for this amazing post. You literally mention all the issues I have with the movie. The new trilogy is really starting to be a huge disappointment. There is so much potential but they just can’t deliver. It’s a crime that we never had a scene with Luke, Leia en Han together. Why make a new trilogy, basically a sequel, and not include those characters all together.

    I also have the feeling that the writers of TFA and TLJ are completely different and have totally different ideas. Isn’t there a central writing staff with a complete story line? Or are they making it up as they go?

    • With respect to writers, in the original trilogy George Lucas held the story vision, and he worked with his trusted writers (Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan) to craft the screenplay. TFA was originally written by Michael Arndt and then re-written by JJ Abrams and Kasdan, while TLJ was written by Rian Johnson. I don’t know if they used writing rooms for the new films, but there’s something really uneven between TFA and TLJ — for me the story, characters, and plot points were really flat in TLJ (and I felt that TFA was way too similar to A New Hope, too).

    • Moby85

      I would agree on the inconsistency between films but I truly loved The Force Awakens. The Last Jedi was “meh” but not a mind-blowing disappointment.

      • Jasper Oosterveld

        I really like TFA as well even with some of its flaws 🙂 Han Solo was fantastic.

  • Jasper Oosterveld

    David, what did you think of the following:

    In TFA the biggest weapon of the First Order is destroyed. Huge defeat! This movie starts and SOMEHOW the First Order is stronger than before. That’s just ridiculous.

    • That’s a great point. We just don’t know enough about the First Order’s fleet or their manpower. Are they spread all around the galaxy or are they just isolated to this one collection of ships we see in The Last Jedi? How are the First Order recruiting troopers? It just doesn’t feel like the First Order really has any control established. The original trilogy clearly established that the Empire had been amassing power for years and that the Emperor had finally shut down the Senate, not so with TFA or TLJ.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      They just destroyed the government that rules the galaxy. Sure, their weapon was destroyed, but a huge blow had been dealt to the Resistance still, and now they had no benefactor.

  • Moby85

    I agree with David in most respects. Where I differ is Kylo, whom I thought was great. His outbursts I see as coming from his internal turmoil but lets not forget: he settled on darkness instead of light, which is perhaps not the cliched way to go. And he had no hesitation to try to kill Luke at the end.

    I also disagree on Poe’s storyline which I actually felt was the single best part of the film. I like Poe am quick-acting, rash, and aggressive. And yes, there have been times it hasn’t worked out for me and I end up confused or bewildered. Poe is my favorite new lead so his story made me feel a personal connection and take pause of how I live my own life.

    In the end though it is a below average Star Wars film.

  • Dermacka

    Laura Dern and Carrie Fisher’s characters should have been combined – BANG!!!!!!!

  • Kingsley Baconhausen

    Nerd alert!

    Yoda is one of only four Force Spirits. Qui-Gon Jinn was the first Jedi to figure out how to live on through the force after death, and he taught Yoda and Obi-Wan, and apparently Anakin figured it out at some point. Its a relatively new discipline, and Yoda would surely be the most powerful Force Spirit with 800 years of experience, so if he wants to throw a little lightning I’m good with it.

    Luke was the only fucking Jedi left, and he was trying to train a new generation even though he had never been formally and fully trained himself. I don’t know about you, but I’d be feeling the pressure big time. One wrong move and you create the next Sith Lord? No thanks. He had a single moment of weakness at the worst possible second (he said something like the darkness coming off of Ben was worse than he’d ever felt too, so if it scared Luke that bad…) and he paid for it with everything. His students were killed or (worse) turned, he devastated Han and Leia, cut himself off from the Force and exiled himself. That seems like fair storytelling to me.

    The force is an eternal, all encompassing energy that binds and flows through all living things…and all the Jedi could figure to do with it is jump around and move stuff with their minds. Even their mind control power is called a “trick” its so weak. I’ve been saying it for years, its about time Force users (and filmmakers) got creative with it. There is precedence for all kinds of creative in-canon Force use if you nerd out hard enough. That kind of thinking also relates to Luke’s criticisms of the Jedi Order and the need for it to evolve or die off. Its taken Kylo and Rey, two powerful Force users with no Jedi/Sith training, to find new ways to use the Force.

    I agree that there are a lot of holes and missed opportunities, but such is Star Wars. Thats why we’ll get novels, games, comics and whatever else to fill the gaps that even a 2.5 hour movie couldn’t handle.

    Honestly, my biggest nitpick is the Jedi texts. They should have been holocrons, would have been much cooler.

  • Rad4Cap

    “Fairly or unfairly, The Last Jedi will be forever compared to The Empire Strikes Back”

    Given that TLJ is an exact MIRROR of Empire – ie a film where EVERY SINGLE STORY BEAT is followed, but in reverse – it is completely fair comparison. It would be UNFAIR to treat it as different or original. It is follows the Empire template MORE SLAVISHLY than even JJ did with TFA.

    “The First Order And Kylo Ren Are Weak Antagonists”

    Indeed. Part of the reason is because they are not well-defined in terms of the rest of the Galaxy. Are they small-time warlords in some backwater – and Leia is standing up to them – but they don’t have much impact on the rest of the Galaxy? Why does no one care about the Resistance – if it lives or dies? Is it because the First Order is not much of a threat to anyone?

    There is NO identification of the ‘bigger picture’ and thus the actual nature of the ‘threat’.

    BOTH sides seem to have very limited scope. The Resistance is just these few leaders and soldiers. And the First Order is just Snoke and a couple of henchmen, plus lots of money to build ships and buy slave soldiers.

    That’s the problem with the whole ‘new’ trilogy. Unlike the very first film, none of THIS trilogy has established ANY of even the most BASIC of CONTEXT and thus the stakes are ambiguous at best.

    Additionally, as the saying goes ‘The hero is only as good as the villain’. Well, when – as you say – “They seemed like bumbling idiots and comic relief more often than not” that not only undercuts those villains and their threat, but it undercuts the hero as well.

    “Too Many Characters Were Wasted Or Under-Developed”

    Indeed. Snoke was both – as was Phasma.

    “Take Poe, for example, whose arc took him from a cocky, headstrong pilot
    to a seasoned, trusted leader over the course of the film. The problem
    is, his choices and failures got a lot of people killed”

    Actually, this goes back to the original gripe. Not knowing the context of his actions – limited war or last gasp before the galaxy is overrun by a new Empire (which is NOT in evidence given background action) – it is hard to call his first actions (the bombers) a failure. As to what he does aboard ship, that is because of BAD leadership on the part of Leia and Holdo. THEIR failures and their BAD plan (everyone go hide in ONE basket on ONE nearby planet and WAIT to be saved, rather than escaping over time in cloaked ships (like Finn and Rose did) to diverse locations) is what got people killed! The ENTIRE ‘plan’ was ridiculous and suicidal.

    And SPEAKING of bad planning and suicidal, at the end Rose stops Finn from destroying the mini-death star. She does this to ‘save’ him, despite the fact that her actions would NOT save either of them, but ONLY cause their friends to die. It was ONLY because of the Deus Luke Machina that did NOT happen. So she was DOOMING them all. She was preventing him from doing exactly what Holdo had JUST DONE.

    There is NO logic to this film whatsoever. Just BAD writing.

  • Rad4Cap

    I wanted to post this one separately:

    “does anyone know what in the hell Benicio Del Toro was trying to accomplish with that stuttering accent?”

    Yes. This ENTIRE movie was the anti-Empire Strikes Back. It was a SLAVISH reversal of EVERYTHING in Empire. So the betrayer, instead of being a respectable, suave leader was instead a sloven, stuttering criminal. Put simply, in EVERY decision made in this film, the question asked is “What did Empire do?” And the command was “So do the opposite.”

  • I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • DubCheezy

    Well all I can say is now Star Wars fans know how Star Trek fans felt after watching Into Darkness.

  • CrystalClearTruth

    The movie ruined the entire franchise for me. Absolutely no interest in anything else “Star Wars” related. None whatsoever.

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.