What Made 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' a Terrible Movie
Yes. I went there.
Before I delve into my own personal feeling of betrayal, I want to first state that I understand that some people did, in fact, enjoy The Last Jedi. Several of my friends went to see the film and said they thoroughly enjoyed it. I, however, had a drastically different feeling about the film. Ever since the film's release, there's been a divide in the Star Wars community over the film's reception. On popular review site Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Jedi scores a 48% audience rating, ranking it as the worst audience rated Star Wars film behind Attack of the Clones, which comes in at 57%. So even though some people, who are well within their right, enjoyed the film, here's why I feel it ranks, for me personally, as the worst Star Wars film. Yes, that's right. The worst.
Picture this. It's December 13th. A cold, snowy, Wednesday evening. I've just finished work and I'm headed to East Kilbride, Scotland (I live in Scotland) to park at my friend's house. I've booked to see the double bill for Star Wars. The Force Awakens and then followed by the midnight release of The Last Jedi. I walk for twenty minutes in the freezing snow to the cinema. My friend tells me he's going to be late from work and will miss most of The Force Awakens, so I go see that film myself. It's no issue, it's not like going to the cinema is that much of a social event in regards to talking to anyone or being social in any manner while the film is on. It's something you can do yourself. This stuff is important to know because, as I'm watching The Force Awakens, I realise that Star Wars films just aren't that good. In fact, they're pretty bad. Not just the new ones, but all of them. Even still, the Star Wars franchise has been entertaining people for decades now, reaching into newer and younger generations since its first release in 1977. My friend shows up, we enjoy the rest of the film, and patiently wait to be inspired by the latest Star Wars film. Instead, what ensued was two hours and thirty-two minutes of sheer disappointment.
Now I'm not some movie making expert. Sure, I studied to be an actor, and yes, I've delved sever so slightly into the art of filmmaking and hope to delve further, but I won't sit here and claim to know how this film should have been made. At the end of the day though, I'm a huge, full-time Star Wars fan, and I know for a fact that I was severely disappointed by this film. I spent around two years building up to this film's release, built on the exciting story that was established in The Force Awakens. So what went wrong?
The Overall Story Arc and Characters
The Force Awakens wasn't the best Star Wars film, however, I feel it really succeeded in reawakening the Star Wars franchise and set it up for a new wave of updated films. By the end of the film, we were all thinking the same things. Who are Rey's parents? Who are the Knights of Ren? What's the significance of Snoke? Is there any hope of redemption for Kylo Ren? And most importantly, what's going to happen to Luke? All questions we eagerly waited two years to find out the answers to. Instead, we get treated to The Last Jedi, a film that tried to continue a story that was built on questions we wanted answers to. The two years that followed The Force Awakens were met with hundreds of videos and articles theorising on who Rey's parents were and who Snoke was. When it came down to it though, it turns out that Rey's parents were just no one. They were just Junkers. They are completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This revelation isn't even bad in itself, it's fair enough that Rey's parents were no one, but it's the execution of it that really ruins it. First off, there's that weird tunnel hallucination sequence that Rey has where she stares at herself in an endless mirror for some reason, as well as falling into this random black hole that lies in the ground, of which the real significance of isn't ever really explained if it's it's a hallucination, some weird force trick, maybe it's Luke who's doing all this.
I don't know. It's probably some greater metaphorical thing that I've never taken the time to really think about. The film could have gone on to have Rey be a force baby like Anakin was, or maybe explain that Kylo Ren was lying in an attempt to get Rey to join him, even though that wouldn't make sense though, because according to Kylo, she already knew deep down the truth. Perhaps, the film could have even gone on to be some sort of message to kids that having poor parents, parents that came from nothing, or even parents that abandoned you as a child doesn't have to define who you are. If Rey had said something about that and became her own person, it would have been a completely acceptable excuse for her parents being nobodies.
This isn't even mentioning how conveniently quickly she becomes adept at using the Force, as well as fighting already trained duellists, including Kylo himself and Snoke's guards. That fact adds to the already hurtful truth that Rey is basically no one important. Sure, Luke was also trained in a short amount of time as well by Yoda, but remember he already had a little bit of training from Obi-Wan, and he was the son of Anakin Skywalker, AND he lost his first duel against Darth Vader.
Speaking of Luke...
Luke is probably the worst character in the film, mainly due to that fact there is a comparison to make between Luke in these new films and the original trilogy. In the original trilogy, Luke is clearly up beat, positive, and optimistic. He always believed there was good in his father, Darth Vader, despite the horrible, evil things he had done. However, when it comes to Luke and Ben Solo, Luke jumps straight to "I could kill him right now and be done with it" instead of trying to nurture and teach the young boy. If anything, it's really Luke's fault that Ben turned to the dark side. I mean, if my uncle tried to kill me in my sleep I'd be a bit torn up about it too. Everything about Luke just didn't make sense. If he didn't ever want to be found on the planet, why leave a map to your exact location hidden in your own R2 unit? Why throw away your lightsaber (completely out of character) when Rey returns it to you after all these years because "it's time for the Jedi to die" but keep the ancient sacred texts of the Jedi in prime condition? The only thing about Luke's character that I liked was how he passed peacefully at the end. It was nice to know Luke had passed peacefully, even though he wasn't surrounded by his loved ones, but he did become one with the Force. That said, it just didn't feel like his character had really amounted to anything by the end of the film. Sure, he showed up to fight Kylo Ren, but he didn't really show up, he manifested an illusion of himself. Even when he did fight Kylo Ren, it just didn't feel special to me. It was entertaining, but it didn't blow me away. Not like the end Vader scene from Rogue One. I would have thought that Luke would have at least trained Rey much better than he did. Surely he would feel responsible for Kylo Ren.
Speaking of Kylo Ren, he sucked. To be fair, he sucked the least. In The Force Awakens, the opening scene is a perfect way to showcase how evil and how extreme the villain for the trilogy is, and they nailed it. In that scene particularly, were introduced to Kylo Ren's voice. I thought it was quite terrifying. Jump to TheLast Jedi, however, and we see he's ridiculed by Snoke, his mentor, and in a fit of rage, he destroys his mask, therefore halting any future terrifying captives with the voice filter. Sure, it showed us that Kylo Ren is an angry chap, but we already knew that. There's also that random topless scene, which might as well have been titled "Kylo Topless Meme" in the script. It is clear, however, that Kylo Ren still has somewhere to go in terms of character. Now that's he's taken the mantle of Supreme Leader, the future for Kylo Ren looks interesting. That's where it ends though. For me, I couldn't care less about Rey's character, or even Poe or Finn, because I don't see where they can possibly go with it, other than where they've already been for the last two films. This does mean, however, that it's possible for me to be pleasantly surprised she the third film in the trilogy is released.
The other characters in the film was so butchered and randomised that I don't think I could possibly mention every detail about them. Let's start with everyone's favourite one though, Leia's incredible Mary Poppins moment. It's not even that she has Force abilities, we all knew she had a connection to the Force. It's the fact that it doesn't matter how powerful you are, in space, you die. Very quickly, might I add. Finn felt like he was just there. It's like he was such an important character in The Force Awakens and they didn't know what to do with him in The Last Jedi, so they just added Rose so he could have this forced love connection thing. Speaking of forced, the entire Canto Bight casino story arc, including Benicio Del Toro, was more forced than any Jedi powers I've ever seen. It was honestly like I'd started watching another film. Sure, it had a few elements about the Resistance, and a nod towards those kids being Resistance fighters or even force users (I swear that kid used the force to grab that broom at the end of the film) but it was so minuscule a detail it wasn't necessary. As well as that, they released those animals from the racing into the wild. The wild being about a mile from the casino. I don't think it'll be that hard for anyone to round them back up again.
Admiral Holdo was astounding. Mainly because her plan was all over the place. First, she wasn't listening to Poe, enough so that he had to start a mutiny. An interesting development in the story, until we learn that she had a plan all along, and now Poe's mutiny means nothing. Not only that, but she stays behind on the ship, waits until about half of the resistance are wiped out before saying "I could crash our ship into their ship." Why wait so long? She knew she was going to die on the ship anyway, why not blast through then with light speed in the first place? I don't even want to talk about General Hux either. What I like about that character is that he's the perfect way of showcasing a villainous person that fits in this world where certain individuals have abilities and powers, whereas he's just a normal man, yet still somehow intimidating. However, in TheLast Jedi, he's reduced to a punching bag for gags and jokes, and ridiculed.
My friend who I went to see the film with said that although he agrees on the points I've made about the characters and such, he does feel that although it is a bad Star Wars movie, on its own, it's a good movie. I, respectfully, disagree.
The entire storyline following the resistance not only seemed quite dark, but also very repetitive. It felt like, straight from the get-go, it was just a battle that resulted in half of the resistance dying, and then they regroup, and then half of the resistance fighters die in a battle, and then they regroup, and then half of the resistance fighters die in a battle. You get the idea.
Not to mention that the First Order seemed to think it was a good idea to chase the Resistance fighters at the same speed as they were moving, despite them running out of fuel. They could have just, you know, went faster and blew them up. Rey and Luke's entire arc felt like it could go lots of places, then just fell flat, with nothing to show for itself. It felt like Rey just thought "This might just be a waste of time" after spending 3 days with an old dude who drinks blue milk straight from the teet. Never before have I sat and watched a Star Wars movie and been bored. I was bored during this movie. After the first fifteen minutes, I felt like I was watching the same thing over and over, with a few jokes forced into the mix in between.
One thing that really burrowed its way into my soul was the fact that BB-8 was the one to say "I've got a bad feeling about this." This would have been fine if Poe had replied: "I've got a bad feeling about this too, buddy!" Or something along those lines, but it's just left there.
One main criticism of TheForce Awakens was that it was too much like the original A New Hope. I can see how, as it did follow a similar storyline. However, when The Last Jedi was released a few fans said they felt it wasn't like the original films enough for them. Honestly, I don't see how they think that because when you think about it, not only is The Last Jedi like Empire Strikes Back, but it's also like Return of the Jedi as well. Think about it.
The main protagonist travels to a distant planet to find an old, wise Jedi, who has gone into hiding, to train them to use their abilities better. The same as when Luke went to find Yoda. On the planet, Rey has strange flashes and visions about the dark side and her true self, same as when Luke had visions of Darth Vader on Dagobah. They have a ground battle on a white covered planet against giant walkers who progress ever so slowly towards the base to destroy it because the First Order and the Empire seem to have a fetish about proximity. It's so painfully similar, that Rian Johnson had a guy lick the white stuff and say "It's salt." Just so we wouldn't think it was snow. What if it wasn't salt? What if it was naturally occurring cyanide or something?
Moving into Return of the Jedi similarities were first introduced to the physical form of the greater evil behind everything, Supreme Leader Snoke after only seeing him in a hologram form, a larger version of himself, as well, same as The Emperor is the originals. Speaking of, they are killed by their apprentice, same as the originals. There are small annoying animals, the porgs, like the ewoks, which will probably come to define a new generation just like the ewoks did.
The only difference is that Kylo doesn't just turn back to being good like Vader did. He can't though because then there would be nothing to make a third film about. I don't know if I'll ever get by how badly I rate TheLast Jedi. I don't even think I've properly summed it up in this article. Here it is anyway, a couple of points on why I think The Last Jedi is the worst Star Wars film.