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?


8 Responses to “What Are Your Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi? (spoilers)”

  1. RodeoClown says:

    I had seen exactly two stills from the trailer (and even those were only for a split second or so), and the posters out of the corner of my eye (they are plastered along every surface on my route to work…). And I agree, any movie I’m already going to see, I don’t want to see trailers for (so I had to block my eyes/ears for the Black Panther and Infinity Wars trailers at the start of Jedi).

    I thought it was great too, but like you, I think the whole casino bit was really a waste of time. It seems like they had some other story written for there that just got cut out – nothing happens during that whole section that does anything to drive the movie forward at all.

    I thought the salt planet looked amazing (loved the red underfoot), but I thought Luke had already ‘ascended’, which is why he was untouchable. I thought that whole scene was fantastic though!

    At the end of the opening scrawl, I actually sighed, thinking “ok, Force awakens was just A New Hope again, and it looks like this is just going to be Empire 2”. I was very pleased that this was not the case 🙂 Definitely a good few unexpected moments, and some expected stuff that just didn’t happen.

    Much better than the last movie, and I’m very looking forward to the next one 😀

  2. Ray B says:

    I loved The Last Jedi. Seen it twice now. The defying expectations was a huge deal for me because even though I enjoyed it, I found The Force Awakens weak due to it’s mirroring of Episode IV. Rather than follow in the footsteps of Episode V, The Last Jedi walked a parallel path, serving as a wonderful foil to Luke’s story of seeking out a Jedi Master and the Rebels fleeing the Empire.

    I personally really enjoyed Finn and Rose’s trip to Canto Bight. While not as cool as the visit to Cloud City in Ep V, it really worked for me. Also, I loved the Fathiers (this episode had simply amazing space animals…more life and character in them than any of Lucas’s non-sentient beasties) and while I was bummed he turned on them, Benicio Del Toro’s character was *awesome*

    I was a little iffy towards the Leia scene as well. However, I’m happy any time they show how Leia is connected to the force despite not taking the path of the Jedi.

    I’m pretty baffled by the huge chasm of opinion on the movie. Nobody seems lukewarm to it. They either love it or absolutely despise it, and I honestly can’t understand the latter but, eh, to each their own.

  3. Jason Evans says:

    I loved it. One of my favorite SW movies. I need to see it again to place it for sure. I loved the humor “On hold still for General Hux.” I loved the shades of grey in Rey and Kylo. I loved the takedown of men (Luke, Poe, Kylo and Finn) by women with a plan (Rey, Leia, Holdo, and Rose). I loved the silence when Holdo rammed the fleet at lightspeed. I really loved the fight with Snoke’s guards and Luke’s dance-off with Kylo. I had a few quibbles also (why do the bomber’s bombs drop towards the Dreadnought like they were affected by gravity? ). Happy to know that Rian will be helming the next trilogy.

  4. Eric Fersten says:

    I thought that the movie didn’t disappoint and was definitely enjoyable. My first impressions are that it is one of the best movies of the saga, better than the Force Awakens and lightspeeds ahead of the prequels. There’s definitely a lot to process and I am still sorting things out. I saw the movie on an IMAX 3D screen and we were in the second row so it was not an ideal screening. I plan to see the movie again on a regular 2D screen later this week.

    The biggest thing to sort out is the story arc with Luke. I agree with Mark Hamill in that it is not what I would have done with the character but I don’t know if it was the wrong choice to make. The scene with Leia surviving and then steering herself through space really threw me off.

    My overall regret with the movie is that it really did not answer many of the questions we had after The Force Awakens. We don’t know a thing about Supreme Leader Snoke and we don’t know for certain about Rey’s parents as Kylo Ren may have been lying to her. I understand why things were left arbitrary, and it’s probably best that the answers are not spoon fed to us. However, there’s still one more movie left in this trilogy so maybe we will get some more definite answers. My biggest complaint about the saga is that the Jedi have these amazing abilities yet they run and hide whenever things go askew. Just because Luke failed as Ben Solo’s teacher doesn’t mean that Luke should have to live as a hermit for the rest of his life. Perhaps the Resistance would have stood a better chance if General Skywalker was leading the defense against the First Order.

  5. Interesting write up. First off, I loved the movie. I thought it was two steps above Rogue One and one step above Force Awakens. Your impressions of the scene to be cut match mine as well. My problem with the excursion to the casino planet is that so much time was invested in the sub plot and all of their efforts ultimately had no impact on the outcome. They ended up not destroying the tracker, getting caught and saved by the sacrifice of the commander. All of the time invested in their plot – finding the codebreaker, escaping the prison, etc.. a LONG while.. felt like a lot of investment with very little payout and no ultimate payout on the outcome of what actually no happened. Albeit the casino planet was beautiful to look at and the animals were stunning as well.

    I also feel like Ren is supposed to be a more complex character. Transcending the good and bad balance dynamic.. but he is failing to transcend it and choosing to be the bad. Is this what you think?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thank you all for sharing your thoughts! It’s been really interesting to hear different perspectives here and on Twitter.

      Trucker: As for Ren’s character, that’s in the realm of what I think. It seems like he’s been driven to achieve what he believes is Darth Vader’s legacy, and a big part of that was about killing Luke. Now that Luke is gone, I’m curious what his motivation will be and what kind of a ruler he will be. As much as I love Star Wars, it could probably use a little more nuance to it–as it stands, there are the bad guys and the good guys. The Last Jedi also introduced the idea of the rich and the poor, so maybe they’re heading in a more nuanced direction.

  6. dmvp says:

    I think I’m basically where you are Jamey. At the end of the movie, I really couldn’t decide what I felt. It was good, but not great, and there were so many parts that could have been left out. The casino bit I didn’t care for, too much time spent on “nothing”. I was also confused as to the connection between Ren and Rey, and how it kept changing. (though that’s probably common in a lot of “relationships” so I understand it somewhat. As for Leia, I think it the scene where she wakens in space had more of a “force” feel, it would have worked better. It looked “hokey” and I think that’s where they went wrong. (and I agree, since her passing, it would have been good to have her character die on one of the scenes)

    I’ll definitely need to watch it again, but I think it’s one that I left the movie just feeling “meh”. Now granted, I just flew back from Tanzania, so jet lag could have been a factor. It just wasn’t the movie I was hoping it to be.

  7. Joe Pilkus says:

    Jamey,

    It was entertaining…and sadly, not much more, but it does get a slight bump for the Star Wars franchise of which it’s a part. It tried too hard to be funny in too many places; the vocabulary of the movie is far and away sub-par compared to the more eloquent dialogue of IV, V, and VI; its pacing was far too frenetic…the heroes never get a chance to catch their breath; and as you stated there were two scenes/sections that forced me to suspend my disbelief. First, Finn and Rose were at Canto Bright for all of 90 min, and in that time, del Toro’s character gets placed in the cell, who had made a deal with the Empire…really!?!? Second, they could have done so much more with Leia and her use of the force than have her float back into the ship ~ energy field to protect just herself…or maybe simply perish in the blast.

    The scenes were beautiful; the starship battles were great (though I don’t understand why a Star Destroyer doesn’t simply catch up to a Rebel Cruiser (okay, whatever); and the characters are more than likeable…I care about them.

    Overall, a fine movie…and quite entertaining.

    Cheers,
    Joe

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