What Are Your Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi? (spoilers)

This discussion involves spoilers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Over the last year, I’ve avoided all marketing content for Episode VIII. No teasers, no trailers…I wouldn’t even look at the poster. I truly didn’t want to see anything about the movie in advance.

After watching it on Friday, it looks like I made the right call (for me). The teasers and trailers included brief content in the final 20 minutes of the movie. I’m kind of in disbelief the marketing team would do this, but fortunately I was able to avoid those visual spoilers.

I really liked about 85% of the movie. There are a few specific elements I wasn’t a fan of, but I’ll start with what I enjoyed:

  • I LOVED the opening scene. It might be my favorite part of the entire movie, because to me, it’s perfect. Who wants to see an X-Wing take on a Dreadnought? Me, that’s who.
  • I liked that so much of the movie defied expectations, especially after all of the familiar beats in The Force Awakens (which I loved). Like, Snoke is set up to be the equivalent of the Emperor for the entire trilogy…but Kylo Ren kills him.
  • If Kylo Ren is telling the truth–and I hope he is–I love the idea that Rey is just an ordinary kid whose parents deserted her. It’s a big galaxy, and the Force is everywhere, so not everyone needs to have their lineage tied to the Skywalker/Solo/Kenobi families.
  • I thought the last scene was awesome. To me, it’s consistent with the theme that the Force is everywhere. It isn’t something that is relegated to a few people with special parents or access to old books/teachers.
  • I thought the move was full of beautiful visuals and memorable moments. The opening scene. Ren and Rey fighting off the guards. The battle on the salt planet. Luke’s little “no big deal” gesture near the end.

I did have a few quibbles, though–one big, and a few other smaller ones.

  • There were about 20 minutes of two subplots that I think could have been completely cut: The excursion to the casino city and the tension/mutiny involving the purple-haired lady. These subplots felt like something that might work in a 20-minute TV show for kids, but not a Star Wars movie. I highly suspect that this part of the movie wasn’t in the original script and that Finn and the engineer just went directly to Snoke’s ship, and perhaps it was changed for pacing issues. It had a pretty big impact on my impressions of the movie, though.
  • Leia floating through space just seemed weird to me. It was such a weird scene, because it was really good until Leia woke up in outer space and Forced herself back to safety. I’ll dearly miss Leia, and I kind of think that should have been her final moment. (Either that or destroying Snoke’s ship at the end.)
  • My one other issue with the movie was how things ended between Rey and Ren. I’m not sure what I wanted out of that, but I think what makes those two interesting is that neither of them is purely good or bad. Rey didn’t need to take his hand. But she also didn’t need to try to carve him up. At the same time, Ren didn’t need to continue to try to wipe out the Rebellion. There was a middle ground that might have been an interesting beginning of something new.

I’m left even more excited about Episode IX, though, as Johnson tore down a lot of the ideas that Abrams set up. There’s no Snoke. There’s some kind of kinship between Rey and Ren. The entire Resistance resides on the Falcon. Rey needs new motivations now that she (probably) knows the truth about her parents. And so on. I think it’s going to be a very different Star Wars movie than what we know, and I trust Abrams to finish it on a high note.

What did you think?