The Last Jedi: A Mockery of Star Wars?
The following will have spoilers for the Last Jedi
It’s not often that I see a movie make a mockery of its source material. It’s one thing to adapt things here and there but to rip it apart completely and render previous films mute. Is certainly something you don’t see quite often. The Last Jedi could have been a great movie on the visuals and soundtrack alone, instead, I left the cinema feeling empty. Not quite sure how to interpret what I had just watched. It was subversive but not in a good way. It goes against everything I’ve come to learn as a writer. And reaffirms my fear that a lot of films care little about the story they are trying to tell.
Subversion works when it’s a standalone film but when it’s the eighth in a series. It’s unnecessary and destroys what immersion you might have. The first warning sign was how they depicted the First Order. For our supposed antagonists they are so incompetent I’m amazed they lasted this long. Losing Starkiller Base then failing to destroy one rebel ship despite having the ability to track it through hyperspace. It’s borderline insulting to the actors that must play up the First Order. Even Phasma is once again made a mockery of. Her appearance in the Force Awakens was borderline insulting. In this one, she’s given less screen time than the two other irritating characters that for the life of me serve only to advance an already terrible plot.
Admiral Holdo or Gender Studies or Tumblr — take your pick because she’s only here to create tension with Poe. Poe might have been reckless but if not for him you’d all be dead, and this would be a short film. And don’t get me started on how these ships are made with even more fatal flaws than the Death Star. Apparently, one set of bombs can destroy a single dreadnought. Oh, and gravity. I’m no expert on space but I’m pretty sure the bombs wouldn’t fall like that especially without propulsion. Also, oxygen just magically exists as irrelevant plot lady can breathe despite two holes clearly showing the empty blackness of space. None of this is remotely explained. I read on twitter that I have to suspend my disbelief.
No, the writer should be able to that. And if they can’t and others mirror that point of view then maybe just maybe Rian Johnson might be doing something wrong.
The dynamic between the characters in this film makes you wonder why even bother casting men if all your going to do is make them out to be idiots. I would have liked to see Luke and Rey bond over their similarities and have him guide her away from the same recklessness that nearly killed him in Empire. But that’s too much to ask. When people complain about social justice it’s not because they can’t support these characters. They just can’t stand when a writer has to portray them in such a ham-fisted way.
Which leads to the worst character I’ve seen since Jar Jar Binks and even he is redeemable to a degree as he directly impacts how Palpatine rose to power. However, like Holdo, Rose exists entirely because space lady at the beginning dies and they are somehow related. There’s no introduction, no build up, we are just expected to accept her. I’m not asking to be spoon fed, I’m asking for coherent storytelling. And so far, this film just falls on its arse so many times. Subversion works in doses, it should not be the whole damn film!
The way scenes are set up implies quite often the exact opposite. When Poe discovers Admiral, Purple Hair is filling the transports. I thought holy shit, the Resistance is so broken that its leaders are abandoning ship… oh, I forgot to mention. Holdo doesn’t tell anyone the plan. I mean at least show me she’s competent. Because all your doing is making her out to be a hypocrite. If she was planning to betray the Resistance I would understand that. Self-preservation is fine against impossible odds, but no. Poe gets tasered later on by Leia.
Ah, Leia. Do I even need to explain the scene where she gets blasted out into space and still manages to do something that defies all logic? And then Rian has the audacity to show them open the door and nothing happens. No depressurisation or anything. Apparently, the vacuum of space doesn’t exist. So Dead Space you got it wrong clearly! That transition is arguably one of the clunkiest scenes in cinematic history. Almost like Rian is telling you to your face to ignore what you just saw.
This film has so much inconsistency that it single handily redeemed the heavily criticised Prequels. Yet somehow this film is praised as a damn masterpiece. I don’t know what to say to critics but please pull your head out of Disney’s arse for two seconds, please.
Rose and Finn’s little subplot to disable the tracker also is irrelevant. It could have worked if we saw actual fucking teamwork by the rebels. Having two plans to escape just in case one failed would make sense. It would at least show that despite their situation they are exhausting as many options as possible and are prepared to work together to succeed. Instead, we see a stupid mutiny and fucking Twilight-style romance that is so jarring that I’m amazed that Finn is still alive. He literally takes a lightsaber to the back in Force Awakens and then some. In this film that trauma is pissed on. It boiled my piss and threw it back at me. Because Finn for his imperfections and more was one of the redeemable parts of the Force Awakens. Here the ex-stormtrooper regresses to comic relief. And it’s insulting. I would have liked to see him progress or actually have to recover. Has Rian actually watched the Force Awakens or did he not give a fuck?
This film just mocks Star Wars in every way possible. Between ripping off Empire and Return of the Jedi. This film struggles to know its own identity. The comedy is forced and Snoke is reduced to a pointless bad guy whose death only shows how Rian Johnson just wants to piss on everything set up in the Force Awakens. That’s how I felt at end of this train wreck. There are no stakes and the set up for nine is –
I don’t fucking know. How J.J Abrams can salvage this at this point I don’t know. The Sequel Trilogy is a mess of bad characters, recycled plots, and misrepresentation of the lore. The Force is no longer this mythical thing. Anyone can do it, or tap into it. Training — Fuck that says, Disney. Is Hollywood assuming its audience to be incapable of observing character development or something because these two films have next to no time frame at all?
This leads me to Luke Skywalker. A hero for many, it didn’t matter who you were Luke’s journey is one of failure and then success. Redeeming his father, and saving him from the darkness that had consumed him. It’s what makes his character so memorable. But here he’s reduced to nothing. Whether Hamill likes this depiction or is simply saying that. The way they treated Luke is just a regression of his character. Everyone referencing Empire and I’m just sitting there thinking he’s done that. He doesn’t need to go through it again. I could buy that in the aftermath of Ren’s betrayal that he would do a little soul searching, and maybe isolate himself from the force. But outright going against previous depictions. Rian, what the hell were you smoking?
Luke should have been the one to mellow Rey and advise her on how to control that power in her. Maybe Luke came to realise that the Jedi made the mistake of hiding from the darkness instead of trying to understand it. Instead Luke drinks milk in a scene that just makes you feel sad rather than laugh at the poor guy’s expense. And even regarding Kylo. Him attempting to strike down his apprentice just doesn’t make sense. This guy redeemed Darth Vader, a man that has butchered thousands and brought down the Jedi Order in mere hours. He should have tried to temper Ren and maybe that backfires and Ren attacks him under influence from something unknown. That might have made sense. But no Luke dies because of force projection and Rey didn’t really need training but she is without a doubt. A damn Mary Sue. She acts like a self-insert character, there’s nothing more to be said.
Kylo Ren and Snoke in this film mock the intimidating presence brought out by Vader and Sidious. Snoke is killed in a scene that looks good but on further inspection makes no sense since he could apparently read Kylo’s mind. He also set up a connection to Kylo and Rey. What’s even more mindboggling is how Rey wants to save Kylo despite only days earlier killing Han and nearly killing Finn. I guess I’m supposed what? Ignore the entire setup in the Force Awakens?
Kylo could have been a good character but he’s just the same as before. An overly angsty teen yet the only flawed character in these movies. Even Hux is reduced to comic relief. Making the First Order look weak.
I guess my conclusion is that this film just doesn’t care. It’s trying to be clever but instead makes the viewer cringe. I’m amazed so many people have seen this more than twice. I can understand liking it but looking past its flaws. Just seems like deniability to me. I guess you could say that this isn’t the Sequel Trilogy you’re looking for.
Now if you don’t mind, I feel like indulging the Expanded Universe. Because honestly. I’m at the end of my tether with Disney’s handling of this franchise. Good luck J.J Abrams. You will bloody well need it!