My FIRST The Last Jedi Review!
Don't read any further if you've not seen The Last Jedi yet!
There are lots of spoilers in my comments. LOTS.
If you don't want the movie spoiled, don't read any further!!!!!!
December 16, 2017
Okay, it’s been a couple of days. I’ve had some deep
thoughts. I’ve allowed myself to look at dozens of reviews by critics and fans
It seems people are as deeply conflicted about this movie as
Kylo Ren is conflicted about his emotions.
First of all, I liked it a lot. I may even grow to love it
as I grew to love The Force Awakens after multiple viewings, despite its
obvious flaws. I was very entertained with The Last Jedi. I had fun. I laughed,
cried, cheered, and all of that and so did the rest of the audience at 6 pm on
Thursday December 14 at the very first public screening in Toronto.
Yes, there are some things I did not like.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
And weirdly, I have no excitement or expectation for the next
installment of the saga. There was no cliff-hanger as all the other movies had with the obvious example that we may or may not know who Rey is and a couple of things like that.
George Lucas himself said way back in the seventies when I used to hang on
every interview that I could find that he had based Star Wars off the old
westerns, the cliff-hangers, with the very obvious good guys and bad guys, and
lots of action. All the movies left you wanting more. Sure, they blew up the
Death Star back in 1977 but the movie ended with Darth Vader hurtling through
space while the heroes were being recognized (well, except for Chewbacca). Was Vader
going to live or die? Would he be back for more villainry? We didn’t know. (And there's a homage to that scene with Kylo Ren spinning around in his ship.)
In The Last Jedi ending, there’s no real sense of urgency or
wonderment about what’s going to happen next and with whom? There are no
questions we are waiting to hear the answers about. Rey and the gang ran away
from Kylo Ren who was still having a bad day as this is still the same day for
some reason, or at least, going into the next day. I believe it’s supposed to
be about 18 hours later and the whole nearly three-hour movie takes place over
about ten or so hours.So we know Kylo will follow them and likely get crushed by the rocks when then come down. Or perhaps he'll force-hold them up himself. But it's more of the same and perhaps less urgent for the audience. Hopefully, he'll turn around, go back to the ship, and do something else.
Since I’ve only seen it once, I’m writing this review with
that impression. I’m sure after I see it again, some things will become more
clear to me, and others will be less clear.
Star Wars Fan Leaves His Own Mark
I will say, it’s obvious that Rian Johnson loves Star Wars.
It’s also obvious that he’s chomping at the bit to create new ideas, new characters,
and new sagas.
I’m not sure that he respected the icons that those of us
who were teenagers lining up for Star Wars in 1977 really wanted to see and
I’m just going to mention a few impressions and they will likely
be out of order.
Luke and the Lightsaber
I’ve spent two years crying and wondering what happened to
Luke. I’ve spent two years wondering what his first words would be, and how he’d
train Rey, and how much like Yoda and Obi Wan had he become? Was he still brash
and impatient and whiney or was he a mature, wise old guy who’s all screwed up because
his nephew is a psychopath like his dad.
We see Luke, Rey gives him the saber, and he throws it away.
I laughed. It was startling. It was funny and very
unexpected. However, upon reflection, it was more like a Saturday Night Live
gag (think Undercover Boss with Kylo Ren) than the Next Chapter of Star Wars. And
so the wacky high jinks began.
We all know I love comedy. And Star Wars has always had
corny comedic moments but they are usually from Laurel and Hardy or rather,
C3P0 and R2D2 and their new pal, BB8. The droids are the comedic touchstones or
at least used to be.
However, the movie opens with Poe crank calling Hux and
again, it’s like an SNL skit, not a real SW movie. Yes, I laughed, but setting
Hux up as a doofus doesn’t make the bad guys seem really bad.
Milk Does a Body Good
My number one complaint: I HATED how they had Luke milk a
creature in her breasts for his drink. Yes, I get that they were riffing on the
blue milk from the first movie, but YIKES. That scene was horrible and I'm an erotic horror writer! I bet once Mark
Hamill saw what they CGId in there for him, he was horrified too. That was NOT
Star Wars. Not for Luke’s character. Maybe a minor character or a droid collecting
the milk but not our Luke.
It also reminded me of the milk bar scene in Clockwork Orange, when Alex gets milk from a boob. Although, I guess it foreshadows Luke's dark side.
What's Your Age Again?
I didn’t mind Luke being a crusty old man even though age
wise, he and Leia are supposed to be younger than I am right now but they feel
like my grandparents in this movie. They are very old for late forties, early
And how old is Kylo Ren in THIS movie? He aged backwards.
They make him look like a teenager now. In The Force Awakens, I thought he acted
about 18/19 but I figured he was late twenties since Adam Driver is now in his
thirties. I didn’t think he and Rey could be twins because they looked about
ten years apart in age in The Force Awakens. In The Last Jedi, Rey is almost
older looking than Ben though it’s just the next day and it felt like they were
setting them up to be twins like Luke and Leia.
But of course, Rian won’t let
us have that joy or obvious plot point. He had Kylo Ren tell her that she’s a
nobody. I hope that Kylo is lying and I don’t doubt when Abrams comes back for
9, he’ll make Rey be who he had in mind all along, whoever that is. It still felt
like that she is Leia and Han’s daughter in this movie though Ben Ren says no.
The Money Shot
I am torn about the shirtless Adam Driver scene. Of course,
I loved it since Kylo Ren is my favourite character but it didn’t feel Star Wars, it felt exploitive even though I'm the target audience for that lovely exploiting.
Also, when Rey was disgusted by his hotness, that threw out any Reylo romance some
of us were wondering about in the back of our minds, but of course, she might be protesting too much, it's hard to say since Daisy isn't the strongest of actors. There is still something
between them and that will be played out in 9.
I don’t think any Star Wars
character has been shirtless like that, I don't think, ever. Or maybe I didn't pay attention. The only main character I can think of that
comes close is Leia running around in that bikini for a whole movie. But in the
seventies/eighties, all movie women ran around in bikinis, so it wasn’t like it
was a strange idea. But Kylo in his muscular hotness, whoa!
Was hoping the doctor would come in and check on that lower hip wound...
I loved the mind stuff between Kylo and Rey. Love it so
much. It was totally Star Wars and what I was hoping for.
I was confused about the Snoke stuff. I guess Rian hated the
character and killed him off. We never got to see what training Kylo was supposed
to get or even what Snoke wanted at all? So bizarre to toss away a villain like
that. Not good story-telling in my book! Unless THAT Snoke was a hologram as well and he'll be back in 9!
We never saw Maize tell us about Luke’s saber or anything
else that we thought we’d see. She just appears in a bubble for a minute. Maybe
she’ll tell us stuff in 9 but we won’t care by then because everyone is dead.
Oh, My Darling Luke...
I’m torn about Luke’s storyline. I think that drama should
have been saved for 9. Much of what was in 8 seemed like it should have been
dragged out for 9 instead of dismissed or ignored. I hope Luke comes back as a
Force Ghost at least. Who knows? Maybe he’s not dead at all? Maybe JJ Abrams
will figure out how to make him Not Dead. Maybe that was the plan all along, that we think he dies and spreads the Force out into the Universe, or maybe he's not dead at all and comes back stronger.
I agree with many fans that this is not how Luke should have died. This is not
how Luke should have evolved. But it’s Rian’s movie and he gets to do what he
wants regardless of us emotional old
people who loved Luke since we first saw him run out of his hut on Tatooine in
1977 and our expectations.
Like seriously, it was weird.
Gotta Keep Killing in the Family
Luke was facing off against his own nephew. He couldn’t kill
him when he was a child or so the convoluted storyline went which may or may
not have been lies by Snoke or Luke or Ben so why does he do it now when Kylo Ren is an adult and even stronger? And why wouldn’t Luke go and try to talk to Ben
instead of trying to kill him? Why didn’t Luke at least go see his sister and
comfort her over the death of Han?
I have soooo many questions about that motivation of
Hologram Luke VS Kylo and the Bad Guys. Yes, I heard Luke say he couldn’t go by
himself in person and do it, yet somehow he could do it as a distant hologram?
I don’t get it at all. There was no indication that Yoda and Obi Wan and
perhaps even Anakin were mists in his cells who helped him battle.
Maybe I’ll figure it out better when I see it again.
Porgs and Others
I thought I’d hate
the porgs but I didn’t. They were used wisely.
Captain Phasma was wasted. I had looked forward to seeing
her climb out of the trash pit and perhaps facing off against Finn but nope.
I teared up every time Carrie Fisher was onscreen. I didn’t
really like the superman bit but I’m sure it will grow on me.
I really liked the mother/son connection stuff.
I was pleased to see Billie Lourd in there quite a bit. I
wonder if they’ll expand her in 9?
I could have totally done without the Finn and Rose subplot.
There were too many stories. I like Finn and Rose but man, it was too much when
we want to see what’s going down with Luke/Rey/Kylo.
I saw it in 3D with AVX sound and it was fantastic! But I
love 3D so can’t speak for people who don’t love it. I thought it was well done.
Certainly this was an amazing spectacle with tons of action and creatures,
planets and ships. Very cool!
I was thoroughly entertained although, like I said, a few
moments of boredom or “man this is taking too long.” I went to the bathroom near
what I thought was the end, around the time they got to the sandy place. Dorian
filled me in after the movie and I hadn’t missed any plot.
There was a spot where I thought for sure they were going to
end it, and I was going to scream and cry like when Rey held the lightsaber out
to Luke in TFA, but then it kept going. I was happy it kept going but then was
on edge because I knew it wouldn’t be long before it was over. But like I said,
no real cliff-hanger.
Mark Hamill Had Great Acting
I thought Mark Hamill was amazing with some of the best
acting of his career though I will admit I laughed at one spot inappropriately
because his acting was so over the top in one tiny shot and that with the 3D it
was like he was the Joker having a meltdown. I’m sure on my TV and not in 3D, it
won’t look so manic though he certainly portrayed going mad with excellence!
So, I was conflicted when I watched the ending. I need to
see it again because I was so overwhelmed with emotion and spectacle and 3D and
see how I feel. I wanted Luke to hang around longer. I wanted him to train Rey,
see Leia, give Kylo shit and so on instead of just hanging out on the mountain
Or was he dead all along?
Instead of giving us a side plot that wasn’t
necessary with Finn and Rose, Rian could have spent more time with us watching
Luke unravel after he tried to kill his nephew.
So Many Questions
When did Ben leave the Academy? What did
Ben do? Did he get up right away after he saw Luke standing over him and burn
the place down? Did Ben come into Carrie-like rage powers and things blew up
around him? When did he become Kylo Ren? When did he get his helmet? Will we see the metamorphosis flashback
in 9? Maybe we’ll never know. This is, after-all the second part of a three-part
story so there will still be unanswered questions and more mysteries.
Adam Driver was amazing. I was worried he’d overact or be
too sucky or something, but he was spot on as the spoiled son with anger issues
of Leia and Han.
Mark Hamill and Adam Driver play my favourite characters in the
saga so it might be bias but I think they did the best jobs in the whole movie.
They were really immersed. I never felt like they were just sitting around the
Craft table moments earlier before stepping into their scenes, though they
could have been, I don’t know.
I totally get why Driver isolated himself from the rest of the cast during filming. It's still the same day/next day/day after so Kylo is still angry and humiliated and now he's without a teacher and only partly trained (whatever THAT means!) so he can't be joking around the Craft table with Hamill who had tried to kill him and then who will try to kill him again in an uncle nephew standoff. Kylo has to keep his rage intact and it totally shows on the screen. So good job, Adam Driver for staying isolated, it paid off.
If the story had gone how I had hoped, which was Rey spending weeks training with Luke and Kylo spending weeks training with Snoke, then that would be different. But this was all intensive, still the same day story stuff.
I was disappointed that there were no Knights of Ren. I
wanted to know what had happened, who Ben left with and why and how they formed
the Knights of Ren. I guess we’ll discover that in 9 since it’s only the next day.
I’m sure when Kylo gets to make some kind of pompous speech to Rey, he’ll tell
her about the Knights and we’ll discover if they are part of the First Order or
Science and Stuff
I’m not really nerdy enough to care about all the bad
science and massive plot holes and logistics of space stuff. However, even I raised
my eyebrow at a couple of things.
I’m going to wrap this up for now. I could go on forever
about what I loved and what I’m conflicted about in The Last Jedi.
At the end of the day, it’s a great movie but merely one person’s
vision of how the saga continues. If I hadn’t been looking forward to some
answers, I would have enjoyed it more. If I hadn’t been losing my mind about what
happened with Luke for decades, I wouldn’t have that sense of disappointment I
have right now. I bet they edit that breast milk scene and it will never be
seen again. I guess they have to smack us in the head that Luke is still a
whiny baby. Jeeze, then everyone wonders why Kylo Ren is a whiny baby. Look at
his uncle and grandfather.
Why did Snoke demand Kylo Ren get the map to Skywalker in
TFA? What business did they have that they didn’t do? Or did he just want to
kill him? Why? It seems like Luke is just sitting around doing nothing for the
past couple of years or however long it was since Ben ran away. I’ll have to
look up these timelines. Maybe Snoke's kid was at the academy and was killed and now Snoke wants revenge on Luke. I'm not convinced that Snoke is dead.
The more I think about
it, the more I’m sure that Kylo Ren is lying to Rey about her parentage. He’s
just trying to put her down like when he sneered, “You…A Scavenger…” in TFA. That was my first thought when he said it in the movie as well. He's lying. Why should he tell her the truth?
know that Rian is trying to change our vision of what The Force is and tells
us, in true Disney fashion, that anyone can use it, but in the end, I think
Abrams will take the story back to Rey being a Skywalker and Jedis being
trained how to master The Force in a proactive manner.
That’s tonight’s musings. I’m sure
I’ll change my mind in an hour.
May the Force Be With You!