was gifted the chance to watch “The Last Jedi” at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I have seen all the movies (including Attack of the Clones!) I even went to see Rogue One last year albeit not at midnight. I have concerns!
Some context very briefly. I like Star Wars. I will always try to see the new release at the Cinema. This proved slightly tricky with “Return of the Jedi” as Darth Sister stopped my ten-year-old self from going to see it. There was a local football derby on and my house was right by Somerton Park. Fear of the dark side was replaced by a more tangible fear of hooligans. Darth Sister was probably doing the right thing, but it was at this moment where I probably lost my chance to be a Star Wars fan. She wasn’t all evil. She bought me a glossy book with a massive poster of Mr Vader from “Empire Strikes Back” that did make it up onto my bedroom wall.
Final bit of context. I didn’t ‘hate’ “The Last Jedi” there were lots of great moments that I enjoyed. I agree with our Terrys official review. I’m nowhere near a leading expert so please educate me as I run through my mini list of woes.
The whole concept. As the rebel forces (or have they been rebranded as the resistance or are they rebels again?) slowly, slowly inch away from the First Order. I felt that the development of the story was moving at the same tortuous snail’s pace. I appreciate that there’s more to come but surely some questions had to be answered and some of the plot from “The Force Awakens” need resolving. I don’t think we got that. I didn’t get that feeling.
Supreme Leader Snoke. I was looking forward to finding out his back story and I felt thoroughly let down when this didn’t happen. Where did he come from? How did he become so powerful? Was he really responsible for linking Ren and Rey together? More importantly how could he be put down so easily after throwing Rey around the room with relative evil ease? I feel cheated as I would have liked to have seen Kylo Ren’s development to the dark side under this Supreme Leader into the next act. Which brings me nicely to…
Ren vs Ben. I found it slightly irritating in “The Force Awakens” that there is conflict within this character, but that’s fine as he’s developing. At the end of act seven where he murders his father I felt that that would have been his full conversion to the dark side. I did not expect to spend another two plus hours watching him agonising over what I saw as a done deal. Please in the next film make Ben a full-on villain of Vader proportions. And yes, he won’t need the copycat mask that he disposed of during this film as I thought that was a critical moment where he stepped out of his grandfather’s shadow. Let him stand on his own two feet and let episode nine be about his tyranny and the rise of Kylo Ren and the First Order. Let the bad guys win next time.
If “The Force Awakens” was a carbon copy of “A new hope” then I feel that the casino scenes were a poor (but posher) version of the cantina bar but with less charm. I’m not sure the purpose of this whole act, aside from giving Finn and co some on screen time. I’m thinking it was too obvious and a bit convoluted for my taste. Also the sub plot of the slave children and animal cruelty didn’t develop enough or seem adequately resolved in the end.
All the cute animals! I’m aware that any non-humanoid in Star Wars can be cinematic marmite. Think Ewoks, Yoda (and his controversial CGI alternative) or Jar Jar Binks. In “The Last Jedi” we had Porgs (that I think on the whole were successful due to a nice comedic moment with ‘Chew’bacca) but what were the Crystal Foxes all about?
My concerns about story development seem to be morphing into ideas around the lack of character development. Here’s my hit list.
Finn. I’m pleased that there was no hint of a conflict in this character’s nature. He’s a good guy and moved towards being a hero as he hurtled towards the cannon at the end. In the lead up to this he was a bit of a hapless foil for comedy in the film and that irritated me in the middle section.
Vice Admiral Holdo. What a missed opportunity. Her motives or lack of a plan were questioned by Poe and again this set up the character nicely for her ultimate demise. Hang on Star Wars fans. There could have been a natural hand over from the amazing General Leia Organo to the Vice Admiral if Leia stayed on the transport and sacrificed her life so Holdo could continue her work into future films. I felt that we needed more time with the Vice Admiral as her death, whilst heroic was not tragic for me.
Rose. A great foil and love interest for Finn. Only a small wobble for me on this one and that was she was left in the same state as Finn at the end of “The Force Awakens”. I think the writers could have been more creative as the idea of a character in a coma has been overused.
If the bad guys were not that bad then this good guys may have been not that good. Skywalker was back! A legend to those in the Star Wars universe and in this film a tad discredited over his treatment of Ben Solo in his own mind it could have so different. Luke could have had his confidence restored through teaching Rey the ways of the force. It could have been his redemption. Instead we had a grumpy old man that wanted to die on the island which is what happened. Luke for me is so much better than that. I would have like to have seen a partially trained Rey board the Millennium Falcon leaving Luke to raise his X Wing from the waters and fly to a final showdown with Ren.
I have the same criticism with Rey as I have with Ren. She is good. Make her the best of the best and heir to Luke. There should be no question of where she fits in. I don’t think she needs to have been from the same gene pool as previous Jedi. Going onto this movie there were questions of her parentage. I might have missed a point (please correct me if I have) but this was click baited in the build-up and throughout the film to end up being a steaming pile of nothingness!
This sets up my next issue. Do potential Jedi’s not need training anymore? Luke and Rey seemed to walk in circles around each other on a small island sizing each other up for the best part of the film. This adds to my frustration that the character development in this film fuelled (or the lack of fuel literally towards the end) stunted this episode’s development.
General Leia Organa…The Princess who didn’t die. I’ve heard the rumour that episode nine was to be her crowning moment. I understand that the film was wrapped before Carrie Fishers passing… but.
I’ve seen two “Transformers” movies where the main character (Optimus Prime) was side-lined for the vast duration and I had the same issue here. The beautiful scene where Leia was lost in space would have been a magical end for our heroine, but maybe a little too soon into the film. This led to her being out of the film for a while in a mock Snow White like state. On her return to correct the misunderstanding between the Vice Admiral and Poe, as mentioned previously she could have released all the resistance to remain the captain that went down with her ship. Even at the end she could have witnessed the death of Luke at the hands of her son (apart from the slight issue that Luke wasn’t actually there) and fallen heartbroken at the sight of this. It would have given Leia and Luke a perfect send off as he would have been physically with her at the scene in the cave. It would have given Ren something to think of seeing his mother pass away, not at his hands but because of his latest action. It also would have made more of his inability to pull the trigger earlier on.
Would all this stop me going to see episode nine. Abolutely not. Well as long as Darth Sister doesn't intervene and maybe not at midnight though.