Picoreview: The Last Jedi: Eh.
The thing is, someday I’ll stop expecting to love Star Wars movies. They are not for me. I’ve never cared much. I didn’t see the originals until I was more or less an adult, and lack the rose-colored glasses most of my (and subsequent) generations view them with. Rogue One is the only one that’s ever managed to disappoint me because it’s the only one I thought was going to be different, but it was just a Star Wars film, albeit one in which rocks fell and everybody died. TLJ didn’t disappoint me, exactly, but my reaction to it was what my reaction to Star Wars films always is: eh.
I love Leia, but that’s an acquired thing, more born from loving Carrie Fisher than inherently loving Leia, although Leia really is the most disciplined and focused character in Star Wars, bar none. (Vader is focused but lacks her discipline.) And what I thought at the end of The Last Jedi was: fuck, the third one really should have been hers.
There were some AMAZING moments, don’t get me wrong. It had one of the best uses of silence and negative light I’ve ever seen in film, and THAT MOMENT WITH LEIA, and a few genuinely funny moments (although one of the funniest parts was a somewhat unexpected bit* with with Kylo Ren which caused my companion to say “WHAT!?” at the top of her voice and made the entire theatre burst out laughing, which wasn’t, y’know. Meant to be funny. :)).
This is neither here nor there, but I thought Luke as a character hadn’t changed at all except that Mark Hamill looked like a hobbit throughout.
*actually I kind of expected it but apparently she didn’t :)
Spoilers behind the cut.
I really did not like Poe Dameron in this movie. I thought he was an entirely different person from the first one; while I agree he’s a flyboy, I specifically did not believe he would disregard the chain of command to that degree, as I thought he had too much respect for *Leia*, personally, if nothing else, to do what he did. I felt like the entire thing was forced in order to Give Him A Character Arc, and it really did not work for me. And I frankly hate that he’s going to be in the General’s role for the final movie, because…
…because if it were mine, I would put Billie Lourd front and centre in the third film. I’d make her Leia’s daughter but not Han’s, and I’d have her take up the mantle. I know it’s fan service, but god damn it, that’s what I’d do, if she’d accept the role. And I don’t know if she would. I don’t know if *I* would, in her position. But that’s what I do, if she would.
I noticed they gave us the Leia/Chewy hug at the end that they had not done at the end of TFA. And OH MY GOD, they spaced Leia and she saved herself with the Force. OH MY GOD, THE THIRD MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERS. #heartbreak
I thought Hux was terrible. I know he was a scenery-chewing bad guy even in the first one, but I thought he was embarrassingly so in this one, with none of the smear of charisma/humor I’d remembered from TFA. Also I’d found him and Kylo to have a partnership in the first one that was entirely missing from this one, which disappointed me.
The thing that made my companion say “WHAT” was Kylo’s shirtless scene, which I thought was really bizarre in a Star Wars film (and so, apparently, did she :)).
I saw the whole Kylo/Luke backstory coming about five miles away. Actually, I saw half of it: I didn’t expect Luke to have had a change of heart, although that explains his self-loathing whiny farm boy exile to the Irish Isle Of Jedis. And once he started down the “change of heart” explanation I did kind of go “oh well yeah of course.” And while we’re on the topic of Luke, in the end I thought his was the only character arc worth exploring. I was proud of him, in the end, and actually liked him. ♥
Also, the flicking dust off his shoulder at the end of the barrage? 100% comedy gold. That was hysterical. :)
Although I was really relieved that we weren’t getting a Redemption Of Kylo Ren story, I was also just…totally unimpressed with “I’m gonna kill Snoke and just assume his mantle” thing. That was not…that was just meh. Meh. Meh. I don’t know what I would have done–actually, yes, I do, I would have gone for the Redemption and eventually had him betray everybody in the 3rd movie and not given him a Redemption at all, as it turns out, which is almost certainly exactly the opposite of what they’re *going* to do–but anyway, so much meh.
Honestly, I mean, I get that the point is “the good guys don’t always win, don’t give up hope,” but as I left I heard somebody say “if Luke hadn’t been in that movie it would still have been exactly the same film” (which I didn’t agree with, because he bought them time to run at the end, but I wasn’t going to argue with a stranger about it), and I kind of felt “if this movie hadn’t happened the Star Wars universe would still be exactly the same.” There are only six resistance fighters left instead of a thousand, but shit, half of those deaths were on *Poe*, so really, I didn’t feel like even the bad guys really *accomplished* anything–Snoke’s dead, yeah, yeah, but Kylo’s taken on the Supreme Asshole mantle, so eh, whatever, and the good guys accomplished even less, so it was a really long movie in which I felt really nothing happened. It was very character driven, which would have been okay if there’d been any character *development* beyond Luke, who died of his. (Eh, yes, Poe had character development, but since I felt he was forced into a situation where he could Develop Character and become the person I thought he was in the first movie anyway, it doesn’t count.)
Even Rey was just, like…meh. I mean, I get that the whole mirror/dark side/hole scene was to say “the answer is within, you come from yourself, you are all you need, you are the alpha and the omega, etc” but since they followed that up with a literal out loud conversation about the topic with Kylo, I thought the whole mirror scene was a ridiculous waste of time. A LOT of this movie was a waste of time.
Rose, however, was not. I loved Rose. I loved her passion and I loved her line at the end: we’re not going to win this for fighting against what we hate, but by fighting *for* what we love. And also because I desperately, deeply do not want Rey to have a romantic storyline at all, I am RIGHT HERE for a Rose/Finn romance. Except for the part where a Finn/Poe one would be better, but I’m okay with a Space Trio if I have to have one. Just, for the love of God, don’t have Rey hook up with Poe. Or Kylo. OR ANYBODY. Unless maybe she finds a nice Space Girlfriend, I mean, like, Rey and Rose would be good, I’d be cool with that.
Poor Finn didn’t have a lot to do in this movie. Running around with Rose was cute because they’re both cute, but I mean, honestly, the entire casino storyline could have been cut with “We have 3 gallons of fuel left but thank goodness Rose is a hacker let’s get over there and hack that thing O NOES IT HAS ALL GONE HORRIBLY WRONG”.
Admiral Purple Hair with the light speed jump, tho, holy shit. That was amazing. That was one of the most effective uses of light and negative sound I’ve seen in film and my hat is *off* to them for that moment.
Frankly, I don’t see how they can set the next movie any less than ten years in the future, and possibly more. They have a dozen resistance fighters left, and a little stable-boy with the Force on the other side of the galaxy. If they’ve inspired hope in the next generation, then they need to give the next generation some time to grow up, which really…they’re the spark. Fine. But that means this trilogy was never *really* Rey and Kylo and Finn and Poe’s story. It was still the old guard’s, and these people are just the bridge between them and whatever comes next.
And in that case, Episode 9 really should have been Leia’s. But we can’t have that, so…*sigh*