And life is getting just a little bit better.
Star Wars, one of the biggest franchises to ever hit the cinemas continues with the latest installment of its eighth core-story. Boy howdy does this have some excitement building up for it and for good reason. Mark Hamill is returning to the franchise after a brief cameo in FORCE AWAKENS (2015) and now looks to be a pretty central character, furthering the path of Rey, Carrie Fisher’s final completed performance, may she rest in peace, and the hopes that this movie will be taken somewhere completely different from where we’ve seen the movies go before. After all, FORCE AWAKENS had a ton of repeated elements from the previous films, so it’s has to have some measure of originality to it. Not that it’s a huge complaint, as it was more or less trying to make up for the ill-received prequel trilogy, but now that the repeat is mostly gone, let’s see what this next entry has in store for us.
I’ve largely avoided trailers for this movie, so I really have no idea what it’s about. Thank God, ‘cuz I want to go in blind. All I know is that Rey is training to use the Force, and Luke’s had a change of heart regarding the existence of the Jedi. Very curious to see where that came from.
Let’s take a gander at the on-screen talent. Starring, we have break-out actress, Daisy Ridley (MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS , STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, and upcoming films PETER RABBIT  and OPHELIA ), Star Wars veteran and voice-actor legend, Mark Hamill (BRIGSBY BEAR , BATTLE FOR TERA , STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE , and the upcoming CON MAN ), the late, the great, the sorely missed, Carrie Fisher (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, AUSTIN POWERS , STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, and upcoming final film, WONDERWELL ), Adam Driver (THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES , WHILE WE’RE YOUNG , J. EDGAR , and upcoming films THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE  and TOUGH AS THEY COME ), and mocap legend, Andy Serkis (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES , THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY , video game HEAVENLY SWORD , and upcoming films THE JUNGLE BOOK  and BLACK PANTHER ).
Returning Star Wars veterans, we have Anthony Daniels (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE , STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE, video game STAR WARS MONOPOLY , and upcoming film RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2  and TV show STAR WARS: UNDERWORLD ), Tim Rose (STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS, HOWARD THE DUCK , and STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI ), and Warwick Davis (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX , STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and the upcoming SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY ).
Returning talent includes, John Boyega (DETROIT , STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS, ATTACK THE BLOCK , and the upcoming PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING ), Oscar Isaac (SUBURBICON , THE BOURNE LEGACY , THE LIFE BEFORE HER EYES , and upcoming films LIFE ITSELF  and ANNIHILATION ), Domhnall Gleeson (GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN , THE REVENANT , ABOUT TIME , and the upcoming PETER RABBIT ), Lupita Nyong’o (QUEEN OF KATWE , STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS, 12 YEARS A SLAVE , and the upcoming BLACK PANTHER), and Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd (STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS, and TV shows AMERICAN HORROR STORY [2011 – ongoing] and SCREAM QUEENS [2015 – 2016], and the upcoming BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB ).
New blood includes Veronica Ngo (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY  and the upcoming BRIGHT ), modern greats Laura Dern (WILSON , I AM SAM , JURASSIC PARK , and upcoming films JT LEROY  and DOWNSIZING ), Benicio Del Toro (SICARIO , THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE , BASQUIAT , and upcoming films SOLDADO  and AVENGER: INFINITY WAR ), and in an unspecified role, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (SNOWDEN , HAVOC , and ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD ).
A couple of rumored cameos include Justin Theroux (LEGO NINJAGO , MIAMI VICE , I SHOT ANDY WARHOL , and the upcoming THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME ) and Tom Hardy (DUNKIRK , MARIE ANTOINETTE , 2 episodes of TV show BAND OF BROTHERS , and upcoming films VENOM  and MAD MAX: THE WASTELAND, no release date announced).
Now for the talent behind the scenes. Helming the project and penning its screenplay is Rian Johnson, known for LOOPER (2012), THE BROTHERS BLOOM (2008), and BRICK (2005). Composing the score is the living legend himself, John Williams, known for THE BFG (2016), STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005), THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (1997), EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and upcoming films THE POST (2018) and STAR WARS EPISODE IX (2019). The cinematographer is Steve Yedlin, known for SAN ANDREAS (2015), LOOPER, and BRICK. Finally, the film’s editor is Bob Ducsay, known for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2016), VAN HELSING (2004), and STAR KID (1997).
I know I’m going to love this, but here’s what I’m hoping for out of this movie. I don’t want to see Kylo Ren be a whiny little child throwing temper tantrums. I want to see him calm, cool, and collected this time around. I want to see him work well with General Hux. I want to see Leia actually be a general and dish out battle tactics. I’m not expecting her to use the Force, but that’d be a bonus. I don’t want to see Luke be emo. I don’t mind brooding, but it better be for a reason. A good reason. I want an explanation for the relationship between the Republic and the Resistance. Where did the First Order come from? I can do without an explanation for Snoak and his identity. A lot of teasing about Rey’s family, so that’d be nice. A good lightsaber fight at the end would be nice as well. Like something along the lines of the prequel films. No more giant planet-destroying death balls! Please! Pretty please! I don’t want to see Finn asleep through half the movie. He’s a former stormtrooper, come on, he has to have knowledge of the First Order and its inner workings that he can give to the Resistance. I want to see more Poe Dameron. None of this “dead, not really dead” crap. Too much to ask for a Lando appearance? Probably. How about Maz and how she got Luke’s blue lightsaber from EMPIRE (1980)? What are the Knights of Ren? Don’t make Captain Phasma useless! Christie deserves so much better! And no more original cast deaths. My heart can’t take that.
Overall, do I need to say how excited I am? No? Didn’t think so.
Before I get to my review, and by extension, my summary, most everything that I’ll be talking about directly links to FORCE AWAKENS. So if you haven’t seen that, you’re probably going to get spoiled hardcore and I recommend watching it before seeing this. Spoilers that pertain to this film will be marked as usual.
This is my honest opinion of: STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI
Set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Despite the destruction of Starkiller Base, the First Order is still as strong as ever and have driven the Resistance on the run for their lives, a task not easily accomplished as every time they try to jump into hyperspace, the First Order somehow manages to track the remains of their fleet, something thought impossible. Their only option: keep Supreme Leader Snoak’s (Andy Serkis) enormous dreadnought at bay long enough while their fuel runs dangerously low until a proper plan can be formulated.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) has finally tracked down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but the meeting doesn’t go as planned. Due to the tragedies of the past, he has become bitter and no longer wants anything to do with the Jedi or dark side, not even the First Order. But Rey’s awakening Force abilities keep her around to seek training and to find her place in everything that happening around her. Things only get more complicated when she discovers an unexpected connection with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
It’s good. It’s… it’s good. If I sound a unsure of my response, it’s because I kind of am. On the one hand, I got almost everything I wanted from this movie, which makes me indescribably overjoyed. On the other hand, there’s an unsettling amount of choices that I really didn’t agree with. As in… we hit prequels territory. I won’t say the movie is that bad as a whole, in fact, I don’t think it’s bad at all, but… yeah, I can’t get over some of the decisions made.
As with my weird tradition reviewing these movies, I’ll start with the negatives.
My first red flag was the opening crawl. Yeah, weird place to start nitpicking, but it’s true. I don’t know what it was about the wording, but it seemed awfully repetitive of FORCE AWAKENS’ opening crawl. The First Order is powerful, the Resistance is having a hard time resisting, Luke Skywalker is gone, wasn’t that the gist of the last one? But hey, if this was the worst the movie offered, then this was a downright amazing film.
For one thing, the opening space battle handled poorly. No, I’m not talking about the epic trolling that Poe was doing to Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). No, that stuff was hilarious. I’m talking about the subsequent space battle involving the bombers and the dreadnought. Not that I’m surprised that the bombing run went wrong, but the way it went wrong was really stupid. Here’s what I mean. Each bomber was carrying probably a hundred little bombs. At the battle’s end, it’s shown that just one bomber could have destroyed the dreadnought. Meaning those are some powerful bombs. So question, why in hell were these bombers flying so close to each other? Did the concept of a TIE fighter pilot crashing, or going kamikaze seriously not cross anyone’s minds?! That seemed particularly dumb, and in the end, a contrived way to lessen the forces of the Resistance.
Other smaller problems that I had includes Luke’s caretaker aliens. Luke’s been apparently camping out in an old ruined temple of the Jedi and there’s these aliens that have been keeping it cleaned and in proper repair, at least to their best abilities given that it’s a ruin. Thing is, I really hate their design. They look like nuns. I know, the Jedi Code is sometimes referred to as a religion. Both Tarkin and Luke himself in this movie say as much. I’m not surprised that caretakers exist here to keep what semblance of the Jedi exist here intact. But isn’t the whole “nun” thing just a little too on the nose?
Is anyone else a little mixed about the porgs? I mean, yeah, they’re cute little love-children of penguins and owls, but the way they’re filmed is like the filmmakers knew they were cute, and forcibly spoon-fed us their cuteness whenever possible. It got to a point where I was a little annoyed with them. I don’t hate them, necessarily, but the amount of screen time they had rode up on me a little. Though I bet you a pound to a penny that whatever porg plush toys exist, you won’t find them for the life of you in any retail or internet outlet for next few months. All the kids and cute-things-loving girlfriends are going to scrambling for them. May the odds be ever in your favor, you savages.
I’m also really mixed about the inclusion of high society. I mean, okay, I guess we were bound to be shown what that would look like. We so rarely get to see such extravagant settings for the wealthy that I guess I didn’t really know what to expect when someone was going to offer an interpretation. The visuals are okay enough. It looks expensive and certainly feels obnoxiously lavish in all the right ways, but there’s a few question marks that I had. Slot machines? Horse racing? Okay, I know they’re not horses, but it’s… space horse racing. And did I see a roulette table somewhere? Again, doesn’t this feel a little too on the nose? I surprisingly don’t have a problem with card games. Sabacc and pazaak (a variation of blackjack) exist . Even holographic chess exists. But slots feel too… real-world for my taste. Seriously no imagination went into this stuff? It felt lazy.
And seriously, in the history of the Star Wars movies, has anyone ever heard the expletive “ass?” Hell and damn, yes, but “ass?” Poe at one point says, “big ass door.” Um… I don’t know how I feel about this one. I am quite bothered by this revelation. I’ve decided, I don’t like it. That was bad writing. I won’t legitimately dock a point, or anything, but… I don’t like knowing that “ass” is an expletive in the Star Wars universe. Bad, writers. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done. And explaining where the blue milk comes from? Just… no. I didn’t need to see that. What the hell, guys?
We can easily start with the villains. Snoak and Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) are the most useless villains in Star Wars film history. Like, holy crap, what a waste of characters and actors. While I didn’t have problems with Snoak in the first film, as there was a mysterious air about him, what he was capable of and all that jazz. But while the character was originally this towering figure that had an air of calm and collection about him, he has been reduced to a borderline cackling waste of screen time. Without actually reading anything, I still saw some headline articles around the internet that said things like, “Snoak is more powerful than Palpatine and Vader combined!” I bet those writers are feeling their credibility going down faster than Palpatine’s plummet to his death because there is nothing intimidating about Snoak. At least Palpatine had a cool look to him, those creepy yellow eyes, and a brilliant performance by Ian McDiarmid. While I usually love Serkis’ work, this was extremely sub-par. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not him. It’s the writing. Snoak is horrendously boring and so poorly written that not even Serkis can save it.
And depending on your point of view, be it a good or bad thing, Snoak is killed off in the middle of the movie. In a very RETURN OF THE JEDI moment, Ben has had enough of Snoak’s prodding and belittlement, or Rey’s getting through to him, he uses Rey’s lightsaber to cut him in half. On the one hand, if Snoak wasn’t going to get any better as a character, then it’s probably for the best that he died. But then what was the point in building him up so much? If he was only going to be in two movies, and only in half of the second one, don’t you think some time should have been dedicated to flesh him out more? Make him more of a threat? Ultimately, he does nothing. Sure, he tosses Rey around like a rag doll, but that’s not something we haven’t seen before in a Star Wars movie. He doesn’t kill anyone, he doesn’t accomplish anything, he’s no one.
Phasma is no better. Her appearance amounts to little more than ten minutes worth of screen time. Literally all she does is capture Finn and Rose, gets in a melee fight with Finn, which lasts two minutes, she loses, and dies. Well, my buddy has a theory that because he armor is so heat-resistant that she could have survived. Regardless Phasma does nothing. A cool design isn’t a character, guys. She’s closer to a joke than anything else.
It seems Disney just can’t get this right. It’s not enough that the Marvel films have a record for having bad villains, but that bad luck leaks into the Star Wars universe now? The villains of Star Wars have always ranged from iconic (Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine) to straight up cool and classy (Darth Maul and Count Dooku). But these new films have given us nothing but annoying and or useless villains. What the hell happened?!
As if lame villains weren’t enough, there’s some seriously terrible story elements too.
That mutiny that Poe orchestrates was insanely pointless. The Resistance has slowly been burning away their fuel. Up to a point, we just thought Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) was being a horrible strategist with no plan in sight. Later on, we learn that they’ve been crawling their way to an old and abandoned Rebel outpost that would be heavily fortified from the First Order ships blasting at them. But between all that time, Holdo never tells anyone what the plan is. Why? There’s never a plot point to suggest that the First Order has spies in their midst, or that they’ve somehow hacked into the ship’s comm systems or anything. No, she just doesn’t tell her splinter group of survivors what the plan is… for no reason. So much time and headache would have been resolved early on if it weren’t for this surprising bit of bad writing.
And in hindsight, why didn’t Holdo think to do her suicide hyperspace run earlier? While the dreadnought is destroying the escape pods left and right, dozens of people dying with each explosion, it’s a wonder why she didn’t try to, I don’t know, pilot the ship to get between the evacuees and the gunfire. In retrospect, she’s kind of just standing there in horror as this is happening, instead of being an Admiral and actually doing something about it.
Where did that forced romance between Finn and Rose come from?! When in their shared dialog did they have that spark? That tiny peck on the lips that she gives him would have been cute in different context, but Finn’s reaction to the kiss spoke with pinpoint accuracy. “What the hell, girl?! We ride space horses together and suddenly you wanna swap spit?!” I didn’t like that. I didn’t think it was justified.
Usually I’m a fan of Benicio del Toro, but I really didn’t care for DJ.
And we’re never going to get that answer, are we? Regarding how Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) got Luke’s first lightsaber. Luke’s dead. Maz barely had a role in this film. Hell, at this point, we the audience might as well just chock it up to a lame attempt to create mystery surrounding something that was a result of bad writing.
Before any of you die hard nerds start ragging on me, saying that I hate this movie, I really don’t. Yes, there’s some piss poor decisions that were made that brought the movie down and that I didn’t agree with. However, for as many of those decisions made, there were several things that done that I was unbelievably happy with.
Before going into the film with my two friends, one of them mentioned that Hamill went on record with Johnson and said that he fundamentally disagreed with what was done with his character, but was going to give it his very best and work with it. This had me quivering in my chair. One of the things that I really didn’t want to see was Luke be emo and depressive throughout the story. I had already gotten my fill of whiny children out of Kylo Ren from FORCE AWAKENS and I sure as hell didn’t want to see it again in another character. I am happy to report that this is not the case. While Luke is certainly angry and doesn’t want anything to do with the problems of the galaxy, you do eventually learn why and I found all of it to be satisfying reasons. I’ll discuss more of Luke in the spoiler section.
I also really enjoyed the structure of the first half. The Resistance is on its final legs, about to be obliterated by the First Order. The Resistance can’t jump to hyperspace because the First Order is somehow tracking them. Their vessels are fast enough to stay out of range of their bombardment, but the First Order has plenty of fuel, whereas the Resistance is slowly losing theirs, and they have to figure out how to escape. So this constant threat with the last few good guys is a really interesting set up and different from any other film in the franchise. It’s a gamble, but it pays off in my book.
The humor is outstanding. Probably one of the best aspects of the film as a whole. Among my favorite gags is when Poe, alone in his X-Wing, flies up to Hux’s destroyer and says that he has a message for him. Hux takes the call and goes on this long tirade, going all, “There will not be negotiations! We do not accept surrender! The time of the Resistance is over!” And then Hux smiles, thinking his words have injected unimaginable horror into the heart of the brave pilot, then the response is met with, “Uh, hello? General Hux. I have an urgent message from General Organa for you. Do you copy?” Confusion everywhere, the officers think he genuinely can’t hear, but then we’re made privy to the real situation: epic trolling. Damn, I love Poe Dameron! Oh man, and Chewy trying to eat a cooked porg, but a small flock of other porgs watch him try and eat in horror, and then one more porg gives Chewy sad eyes and a quivering lower lip. Jeez, the humor was dark, but oh so amazing. The one that still has me busting a gut is when Luke has Rey sit and tells her to close her eyes and reach out to feel the Force. She takes it a little too literal and reaches out with her hand. Luke rolls his eyes and starts tickling her hand with a leaf. Rey acts surprised and is like, “Oh! I feel something!” And Luke goes with it, going all, “You feel it?! It’s the Force! Can you feel it?!” And Rey’s getting all excited and then Luke slaps her hand with the leaf, opening her eyes and realizing what was happening. I can’t stop laughing at this.
Other small thumbs up includes seeing Lieutenant Connix, played by Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, having a more prominent role in the film as well. She doesn’t quite contribute a whole lot, nor does she have much of a character, but that she gets a fair amount of screen time is really nice to see.
I find it somewhat satisfying that so many people were saying online, “Oh my god, Rey’s gonna fall to the dark side! Kylo’s turning her!” Ha! Pansies, the lot of ya! Nope, in actuality, it’s the other way around. Rey spends the entire film trying to bring out the good in him, only to briefly succeed and fail. I love film prophets like that, trying to guess the film before seeing it and just losing themselves to the actual movie presented.
Speaking of which, let’s jump right into everything that I wanted and got. And since we’re talking about Rey and Kylo, I got my awesome sword fights. Two of them, in fact. Nothing on the same level as the prequel’s sword fights, but they’re awesome all the same. When Ben brings Rey to Snoak, and Ben kills him, the two team up and start fighting Snoak’s guards. I may not have always agreed with the slow-mo, but to see the two teamed up, kicking ass, getting their asses kicked, but coming out on top was really awesome to see. And the fight between Ben and Luke at the end? Man, I was cheering, I was squeeing, I was at the edge of my seat, I wanted to see what we were in store for. Luke barely does a damn thing and it’s wonderful to see him practically toying with Ben, who is desperately trying to beat him in a fight. I don’t know if I agree with Luke dying as a result of pushing out his Force-body, but I can see how it would happen. He cut himself off from the Force, plus he’s old, and he revealed that Force-body to literally everyone, which I imagine will take quite a toll on the body. Still, I wish he would have stuck around for one more movie to properly get into the fight. And I know, someone’s probably going to say, “But I thought you didn’t want to see another original character die!” Well, technically, I did just say that I don’t know if I agree with his death. But because his scenes were so well done, Ben was an improved character, and the emotional stakes were present and high, I think Luke’s death was a lot more justified and earned than Han’s. Besides, it’s entirely possible that he’ll come back as a Force ghost, so it’s not like he’s really gone.
And yes, you heard me right, I thought Ben was an improved character. I don’t think I got the professional, cool and collected character that I was hoping for, but his temper tantrums are more understandable this time around. Before, it was simply because something didn’t go his way, as if life owes him a bone. This time, he’s belittled and berated by Snoak, being told that he’s weak and not worthy and all that jazz. So, he bashes his helmet into scrap metal. From this point on, there’s legitimate drama with him wrestling with the light in his soul and maintaining the darkness that he wants he he interacts with Rey via their Force connection. The closest thing to a tantrum that he throws isn’t until the end when Luke shows up on the battlefield. We know why he hates Luke and why he tells his people to unleash everything they have on him. Luke did try to kill him after all. I still think there’s room for improvement, but this went in a satisfying direction.
I went on record somewhere saying that it would have been nice to see Leia use the Force, but it wasn’t a requirement. At first, I was about to be heartbroken like crazy because her ship’s command deck gets destroyed and several officers, including Admiral Ackbar and General Leia get sucked into the vacuum of space. Ackbar dies and they hold on Leia’s lifeless corpse floating around, frozen in space. This was exactly what I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to see another original character die, and to be killed off so early in the story and so unceremoniously, and that Fisher herself sadly passed away last year, this was jackhammering to my nads. But then… her hand twitches, her eyes open, and she starts floating toward the ruined ship and is escorted inside and treated in the medical bay of a new ship. Do I need to tell you how loudly I was cheering to see that?! Look, I get it. It makes sense. Luke’s a trained Jedi, Leia’s her twin, it stands to reason that she’s just as strong in the Force as he is, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that Luke taught her a thing or two. Still, she’s a General of the Resistance, and if I were to hazard a guess, a prominent political figure after the war with the Empire, and was most certainly a prominent military leader when the First Order came around. Where in hell would she find the time to learn how to keep herself alive in space and survive? This should be a negative, but I wanted to see Leia use the Force, so as she is immune to death in space, I’m immune to your facts and logic. LEIA USED THE FORCE!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!
I kind of and kind of didn’t get what I wanted when it came to Leia dishing out orders. She does before getting jettisoned out into space, but then she’s in bed unconscious for a good chunk of the movie, and those responsibilities are taken over by Holde.
I bought into Luke’s desires to stay out of the fight. He tried to rebuild the Jedi Order, but because of his brief impulse to try and kill Ben due to feeling the hurricane of potential dark side within him, and Ben in a fit of rage destroyed everything that he built, and killed the students that wouldn’t join Ben in leaving. He blames himself for Ben’s eventual turn to the dark side, not Snoak. And it’s not like he failed a random student or anything. No, he failed his own nephew. The son to his best friend and twin sister.
I didn’t get my Lando cameo, but I wasn’t expecting one, so I’m not too bummed. At least, not enough to make it a legit complaint. But you know what cameo I did get? YODA!!! WOOOOOO!!! But not just any Yoda. His look is the exact design from EMPIRE and JEDI. Not the weird-looking one from Phantom, and not the CGI one from CLONES and REVENGE. And to make things even better, it’s the freakin’ puppet again! Yeah, it’s not a CGI recreation of the exact puppet from the original films, but it’s an actual puppet! Hell yeah!
Totally called it! Rey’s not related to anyone we already know! Well, “called it” in the sense of hoping that she wasn’t. There was just too much stacked against theories that she was related to Obi-Wan, Luke, or Han, none of it made any real sense to me. Obi-Wan was long dead before Rey was born. Rey was a child when she was abandoned on Jakku, yet the way she talks about Luke Skywalker and how he’s a myth, there’s just no way that a child would ever refer to their parent in such a strange way. There was no evidence to support any theory. Granted, the early connection with Kylo when he learns of Rey’s existence from that officer is a serious question mark. Like, why does he suddenly become obsessed with her? She’s certainly never heard of him. Turns out, Rey’s parents were awful people who sold her for drink money and never came back for her. In a way, this is an interesting spin on her backstory. And it’s dismissed in such a way that, I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind not ever meeting Rey’s parents in the films. They’re worthless deadbeats. Rey’s found kinship in the Resistance. Finn, Leia, Poe, her newfound abilities in the Force, she’s a bigger and better person. There’s almost no reason to care about the parents anymore. I wager we’ll meet them at some point in EPISODE IX, but I fear that might slow the plot down. As it is, I’m happy that I was right about this outcome.
And the visuals are wonderful as well. The cinematography is great when it needs to be, the ship to ship battles, both in the beginning and the Rebel base are awesome. Especially when Chewy is flying the Falcon underground with all the red crystals everywhere, that was really cool. And holy hell, when Holdo jumps to hyperspace to destroy a dozen First Order ships… dude, hell… yes. This is why I’m in love with Laura Dern. Girl knows how kick some serious butt.
I think it’s time to throw my two cents into the well with theories about, both about this movie and about the future installment.
Theory one, regarding Admiral Holde. When Leia and Holde bid each other farewell when Leia leaves with the Resistance to the Rebel stronghold and Holde stays to guide the ship, did anyone think that the goodbye between the two women seemed a little too close? Again, I never read the article, but I saw something online that went, “The tragedy that broke up Han and Leia wasn’t Ben turning bad!” Well, I’m looking at Leia and Holde saying a pretty subtle intimate goodbye. Could this scene imply that Leia and Holde were lovers? I mean, Han turning away from everything similar to Luke because his son became one of the most feared beings in the First Order would be reason enough, I guess, but I think this would make more sense why he doesn’t stay with Leia. Maybe I’m not supposed to look too deeply into it, but I think it’s a worthy topic to speculate on.
Theory two, regarding the Knights of Ren. The Knights of Ren are the students that swore allegiance to Ben after abandoning Luke and his teachings. Due to Ben’s age at the time, I’m guessing they all went around and did their own thing, giving themselves their name, before eventually getting found by Snoak, offering them a place in his First Order with promises of vengeance and greater power. Ben was the strongest of the students, so of course he carried favor, but that probably doesn’t negate the role the other Knights of Ren will eventually play. I assume they’re going to be his most elite soldiers of Kylo’s. They’re going to be assassins, or feared generals, something of that nature and they’re going to cause problems for the up and coming Rebellion. This is all pure speculation, mind you. I have no sources that confirm anything I just put out, but it’s something to think about.
Overall, should I say that the film is disappointing? Ehh… yeah, in some ways. A good chunk of that is the awful villains, which should be one of the best parts of any Star Wars film. Even the prequels, which I think are still worse than this film, had that down better than this. There’s a lot of moments that make zero sense, certain aesthetics, they’re not the easiest moments to sit through. But for every moment that I don’t agree with, there’s something else that makes me cheer or laugh. For every setback and frustration, there’s improvement and satisfaction. It’s not going down as one of the greatest Star Wars films, in fact, it’s probably the weakest comparing it to FORCE AWAKENS and the original trilogy, but it’s still much better than even the best of the prequels. So is the movie good? Objectively speaking, probably not all much. Having said that, there’s still a lot of good to be had and I thoroughly enjoyed myself when I needed to. I like it and I am still recommending it with some fairly high praise. The last Jedi are battered and bruised, but the Force didn’t abandon this film.
My honest rating for STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI: a weak 4/5, my first ever.