Thoughts On TLJ (Spoilers, Duh)

TLJ is in my very soul tormenting me.

This is a strange, polarizing film. It’s one of those things where there are many problems with it yet whenever something was done right, it was as great as anything in Eps I-VI or the best episodes of The Clone Wars.  I’ve only seen it once so far and I plan to see it again soon, but it’s left me so conflicted.  And this review will reflect that conflict.

Let’s look to the dark side first, shall we?

TFA’s nihilistic aftertaste continues primarily in Luke’s characterization.  I’m not surprised by how he initially treats Rey.  In some ways it’s similar to how Yoda treated Luke in TESB, testing a new student’s seriousness.  In fact, the scene where he trolls her in their first lesson was genuinely funny.  But Luke has shut himself off to the Force and forsworn ever training any more Jedi due to the monstrous act he nearly commits on Ben Solo that drives him into Snoke’s waiting arms.  Luke comes off as bitter and cynical for most of his time onscreen.  I suspect this is the single most controversial thing about the film and for those of us who have followed Luke’s journey for 40 years, this was very hard to watch.  I understand what Johnson was trying to do; it calls back to Anakin attempting to prevent something only causing it to happen anyway.  But it still seems a little extreme (later on in the review I’ll get to a theory that might get Luke and Johnson sort of off the hook) and Luke is not the kind of person who would give up on anyone.  His optimism and dedication to those he loved defined him.  But it’s par for the course with TFA giving us a Han Solo who walked out on his wife and never apologized, and a Leia who fared better but for unknown reasons never became a Jedi and outsourced bad son confrontation to the one guy without magical powers.   Then hardly anyone seemed to care when Han ended up dead.  He didn’t even get a funeral.


                                                       Life sucks, then you die

The people who cooked up the story seem to feel the best way to continue the saga is to make the heroes of the original trilogy into failures whose triumphs meant nothing.  TLJ may have revealed why that is in Kylo Ren’s speech about “killing the past,” the odd burning of the tree and presumably Jedi books (though I think Rey saved them), and the film’s ending with a random kid instead of the main heroes.  Whenever you bring JJ Abrams onboard a franchise, his first impulse is to change it.  His mantra seems to be “everything must be different.”  He and Disney know how to work the nostalgia factor, but it’s in a very shallow, window-dressing kind of way.  (Yes, I know Johnson wrote this film but he was basing it on a story that Abrams and co. have already worked out.)  I agree there needs to be a new order so to speak but there’s also something to be said about tradition in how these films are made as well as in-universe.  You might not care there wasn’t a lightsaber battle or that no one says “I have a bad feeling about this,” but it adds to the suspicion that they don’t care if their films work with Lucas’s films or not. There’s just something bizarre and sad about Star Wars films that borrow the saga’s iconography, its galaxy, and some of its characters but don’t pay attention to how Eps I-VI worked.  For example, both TESB and AOTC advance their trilogies’ middle chapters in a particular way while TLJ is circular.  It ends basically where it started, with the exception of little woke kid.  Sure there’s character development in the middle act and some departures but not a heck of a lot changes narratively from the end of TFA to the end of TLJ.  Another example is the rather contemporary dialogue in the film.  Say what you will about Lucas’s “stilted” dialogue but it at least gave the films a sense of being in their own time and place.  Certain lines in the script, like Poe referring to a “big ass door” or Finn calling somebody a “bastard,” just seem too Earth 2017 instead of long ago in a faraway galaxy.

The worldbuilding is just as wonky this time around as with TFA.  Who are the First Order?  What do they want?  This film at least drops a hint that war profiteers are in part behind the First Order’s aggressions.  Who are the knights of Ren and how are they different from the Sith other than glowing red eyes aren’t required to join?  Why do they keep fluctuating between “resistance” and “rebels,” even though it’s basically the Republic playing defense against a coup?

The biggest millstone though is this continues the feeling the Skywalkers have been sidelined in their own story.  Too much time is taken on the side plots, especially the jaunt to Canto Brite that doesn’t accomplish very much besides some character development for Finn, a plot hole involving sleazy DJ, and a chance to briefly bring back then permanently dispatch nothingburger character Captain Phasma.  Oscar Isaac is a really good actor who does the best he can with brash Poe learning to be humble Poe by not questioning his middle aged women superiors, but in the grand scheme of things, he’s basically Wedge Antilles with a bigger role.  Finn learns from Rose about serving something bigger than himself and he decides to become the hero he’d always imagined himself to be, but really, what connection does he have to the whole?  The OT and the PT were about the Skywalkers, their friends, their lovers, their mentors, their students, their co-adventurers, and their enemies.  This is about a collection of people who might bump into Leia every now and then, or can play six degrees of Kylo Ren.  I get that ultimately we’re nearing the end of the Skywalker saga but bringing in woke kids and granting importance to random people this soon is jumping the gun, as though they’re really eager to get those pesky problematic Lucas heroes out the door.

Then there are the film’s bizarre, WTF moments.  Force Ghost Yoda makes an unexpected cameo where he looks like his OT era puppet self, only a lot worse.  His “we don’t need no texts, let the mo-fos burn” remarks were strange; the Jedi messed up in the past not because their teachings were wrong but because they got too embroiled in galactic politics and failed to adapt to changes in the Force.  They destroyed the tree without us knowing very much about it and as mentioned, I think Rey saved the books anyway.  I’m glad they finally showed us Leia’s abilities with the Force but the “space angel” bit is staged too awkwardly and too reminiscent of Data’s silly space jump in “Star Trek Nemesis.”  My mom and I burst out laughing.   Did we really need to see Luke grabbing that big space walrus teet and milking it?


Obligatory porg photo.

Again, would it kill them to show us one familiar alien?  I’m all for coming up with new ideas but a Zabrak here, a Togruta there, a Quarren, etc. would do a lot to remind us we’re in the same galaxy we’ve been visiting for four decades.  I guess that violates the current “kill the past” policy too.

On the light side, I’ll say this first:  at least Johnson has the sense to know the difference between mirroring or callbacks and flat out pilfering scenes from other films.  If you were worried this was going to be karaoke TESB, you can breathe a big sigh of relief.

For all of Luke’s stroppiness, Hamill kills it in his performance.  His finest moment comes toward the end where he displays how powerful he really is when he opens up to the Force and his related death as the sun sets on Atch-Ooo or whatever it’s called was pitch-perfect.

I can see why Lucas has said this was a beautifully-made film.  In this sense it is absolutely superior to TFA, which was sometimes ugly, flat, and cheap-looking.  Johnson has a magnificent eye and an artist’s soul.  Canto Bright looked amazing.  Atch-Ooo was beautiful.  Snoke’s throne room was amazing in its simplicity and symbolism.  The space battles look as good as anything from the OT or PT.   The symbolism in multiple shots were great too.  For example, Rey standing next to a panel of light while Kylo is standing next to a panel of mostly dark, or the red just beneath the surface of salt on Crait.  There were great visuals to go with Rey describing how she perceives the Force early on in her training.  Originality like that is very welcome in my book.

Williams’s score is also far better than his TFA score.  It still lacks a knock ’em out track but it is still beautiful to listen to and fulfilled more of the part-of-the-story function performed in the other Star Wars films.  I detect some influence from his AOTC score.

To my great relief, Johnson seems to care a lot more about the relationships between characters and thankfully doesn’t waste any opportunities.  Luke and Leia are reunited; it’s not in the orthodox sense but he’s present enough for their scene to have power and poignancy.  Especially with Carrie Fisher gone now.  When Luke kisses Leia on the forehead and gives her Han’s old dice from the Falcon, it’s acknowledging the love and history among all of them.  Amazing scene.  I also loved the part where Artoo–who is hidden away too often for some reason–shows Luke the old holo of Leia from ANH to remind him of his old self.  And Johnson has the decency to make sure Leia embraces Chewie this time around!

The porgs were cute but stop well short of overkill.  I’m sure people will complain about them anyway but they were effective comedic relief.  The foxes on Crait were cool and actually served a purpose in the plot.

My favorite thing about TLJ though shocked me and shook me to my core:  the Kylo Ren and Rey arc.  When I walked into the theater, I wasn’t a big fan of either one of them.  Rey to me was the Mary Sue-ish usurper of the Skywalker story who had things handed to her too easily in TFA, even though I do like Daisy Ridley as a performer.  Kylo Ren was Han and Leia’s idiot a-hole of a son who clearly had some mental/emotional issues.  When I walked out of the theater, they were what mattered to me the most.  That sneaky Johnson managed to slip in a romance that’s more than a romance.  It’s a relationship with cosmic consequences and if you know me, two things are my Star Wars catnip:  angsty love and mythological stuff.

(*Uh oh, did lazypadawan go Reylo on us?   Quick, everybody back up toward the exits.*)

When I first saw TFA, I noticed there was some kind of connection between them but I didn’t realize the sexual overtones until I saw it a second time several months later.  The connection between them in this film is still sexual to some degree.  When they start “Force Skyping,” Kylo appears shirtless and a flustered Rey asks him to put on a shirt, which he ignores.  It’s like the Force version of sending a naughty selfie, heh heh.  But there is far more to it than desire or foeyay sexual tension popularized on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” or “Smallville.”  Their scenes together were searingly powerful and heartbreaking in every aspect.  They are literally the only people in the universe who understand each other because there is no one else like them; I’ll get to my theory on what they are in a moment.  Kylo/Ben is estranged from his family and she never knew hers but wants answers.   They explore their issues together and he ends up baring his soul to her and by extension to us.  Whether he meant to or not, he revealed the Ben Solo hiding inside of him.   He experiences her first rainstorm with her, his hand getting wet on Snoke’s ship parsecs away in space.  The scene where the two reach across the Force and touch hands, was beautiful and intimate.  I hadn’t seen anything like this since Anakin and Padmé’s connection in ROTS.  It really touched me.  And then Luke busts in and freaks out as though he’d caught the two of them in flagrante delicto.


                                                        ALL. THE. FEELS.

Kylo/Ben has fallen in love with Rey and Rey in turn develops compassion and love for Ben.  This leads to her undergoing a mission similar to when Luke left Yoda too soon in TESB to rescue his friends, complete with Luke warning her this wasn’t going to turn out the way she expects.  What she says of course is true.  But since we’ve got one movie to go, we know she probably isn’t going to succeed and that Luke is right.

My other favorite Reylo moment was the incredible fight scene in the throne room.  If Snoke thought he won the lottery he guessed wrong.  The bond between Rey and Kylo/Ben was real and I still can’t figure out if she killed Snoke or he killed Snoke or perhaps they both killed him.  Anyway, Snoke deserves to die for being a cheap wannabe Palpatine and for having the stupidest name in the saga’s history.  The bonded pair then engage in a battle with guards against the passionate red backdrop of the throne room.  Together these two are unstoppable.  They move in perfect harmony and never take their eyes off each other.  It’s brilliant display of yin and yang, light and dark, man and woman, anima and animus, balanced together and powerful.

And then Kylo had to jack it all up when it’s over.  Rey finds out the hard way she was too naive about the nature of the dark side and the severe emotional issues Kylo has.  She gives her own version of “you’re going down a path I cannot follow,” begging Ben to come back to the good side as he is asking her to join him and rule the galaxy together.  Note to Skywalker men:  this never works, stop asking.  Kylo then follows it up with what you kids call “a total d*ck move,”  going right to her deepest vulnerabilities to hurt her (“you have no place in this story”) and yet he also tells her in his weird way that he loves her (“you are nothing…but not to me”) that’s right out of Pride And Prejudice.  But the damage is done and they fight over the family lightsaber that splits in half.

Let’s break this down.  Kylo/Ben and Rey each had visions about the other they were certain were to come true.  Kylo’s vision is Rey will be “by his side” which he interprets to mean that she will become his queen and rule the universe with him.  Rey’s visions were about Ben’s great future which she interprets to mean he’ll turn and become a hero for her side.  What neither of them realize is that while the future’s always in motion both visions are true but instead of trusting the Force, they tried to impose their own agendas on these visions.   The other problem is Rey went to Kylo out of compassion for Ben but also to help her side “win.”  That’s not why Luke went to Darth Vader.  This break between them has tremendous consequences.  Thanks to Kylo and Rey’s inability to reconcile, a zillion beings are going to die in a galactic war because both have subscribed to “might makes right.”  Sure, the First Order is horrible and they need to be stopped but there shouldn’t be any joy in a new Rebellion or whatever forming either.  If there is any hope for peace in the galaxy, there must be atonement between Ben and Rey.  I promise you that the opening of Ep. IX will show them so far apart and Kylo so trapped in his own guilt, rage, trauma, and pain that we will doubt it’ll happen.  But it has to happen.  Think back to TFA where they duel on the Starkiller.  The ground cracks between them.  Why?  They were never supposed to be enemies.

Let me explain.  I think that Ben and Rey are something totally new since they were conceived after the Force was balanced in ROTJ.  This is why Luke feared him just as the Jedi feared Anakin in the prequels; he didn’t understand what Ben was, so Luke reflexively attempts to stomp on “darkness” the way you’d try to stomp on a bug.  I don’t think Ben was fated to be Kylo but I think he was part of the equation of the balanced Force.  Rey is the other half of the equation.  As the saying in the film goes, as darkness rises, so does the light and vice versa.  Together they are the balanced Force and they must lead the new Jedi together.  Now I don’t know where Rey came from and I don’t think the “your parents were drunks” story was the full story.  For all we know, Anakin created her in the Force and sent her a la Laura Palmer in the eighth episode of Twin Peaks:  The Return.  I suppose we’ll find out in IX.  Maybe.


                                                       I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me…

But what has to be destroyed is Kylo and the only person who can do that is Ben.  I think he’s going to find that heavy is the head that wears the crown as he always has to sleep with one eye open to watch out for General Rick Astley.  He will be alone in a hell of own making.  He’s going to have to realize that violence and death will only make his pain worse and that no amount of killing will erase the past.  For her part, if Rey ever approaches Kylo/Ben again it has to be purely out of unconditional love for him and not for any other reason.

Bravo to Johnson, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver for this fascinating arc.  They’re the balloons that help lift this house off of what mired TFA.

Overall TLJ is a confounding experience.  I’m kind of surprised Disney went with along with this after its meddling in Rogue One and making the super safe TFA.  I can understand why some people loved it and I can understand why some people hated it.

You’re tearing me apart, movie!

The question is will IX be worthy of what Johnson set up or will it go it with a whimper instead of a bang?  The ball is back in J.J. Abrams’s court.

To quote the very last line in Plan 9 From Outer Space, “God help us in the future.”

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121 Responses to “Thoughts On TLJ (Spoilers, Duh)”

  1. mes520 Says:

    In Leia and Resistance’s defense, they really haven’t had time to throw Han or anyone else a funeral.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      The plot didn’t make time for one.

      • Samuel Coats Says:

        The Episode 7 Prequel novel “Bloodline” by Claudia Gray answers some Questions. But I’m not sure if they will make you happy. I mean, you thought that Han and Leia only broke after Bens fall? Nope. Early on in their marriage they discovered that their lives were too different to be living together, so outside of visits and travel stints, Leia would continue her work in the Senate while Han jetted off… becoming a starship racer, apparently. There are some nice Pt references – like the novel Begins with a honoring of Bail Organa, there are some gungans around etc. Luke and Leia found out about Padmé and so on. There is a intersting site that tells us about the most important parts. Just put ““All the Major Star Wars Secrets Revealed in the New Novel Bloodline” and you will find it. But isn’t it weird… Granted, I haven’t seen Episode 7 since the first viewing in 2015. But I clearly got the vibe that Han an Leia had a happy, long running marriage that only broke after their Son fell to the dark side. But now Disney said: “Well, it’s not as if they were happy couple drifing apart after their son became evil, it’s more a case of they were never a real couple to begin with.” What? I mean, for all the Prequel references in their extended universe, the Sequel trilogiy is obviously pendering to the “real” Fans who disliked the Prequels. But now they erase the romance these people charish so mutch??

        I didn’t like that at all. I don’t count these books for very much even though they’re telling us they’re canon. Pfft.

  2. Andy Wylde Says:

    That was a very great post LP. I personally didn’t care for the film. But your analysis was very good and well thought out. You gave me some real good food for thought about things I didn’t even realize at first. But I absolutely appreciate the time you took out to do such a beautiful analysis.

    My hat is off to you 🙂

  3. Anticitizen One Says:

    Excellent as always LP. I’m torn myself between actually liking this movie or not. So many missed opportunities. Why do that to Luke? Why all the nonsensical crap? But then, there’s so many interesting themes that haven’t been seen before in Star Wars. But these movies are about the Skywalkers. The protagonist should be one. As you said, it’s like they’ve been pushed out. I can’t stand that Disney seems so intent on “deconstructing” Star Wars. “Let’s dial everyone’s powers to 11, no one ever needs training, and everybody knows what to do immediately.”
    It’s interesting you called Rey a usurper, that’s exactly what I called her to my sister (who’s seriously shittalking this movie) and that’s what she is. Unless she becomes part of the clan, like Padme. The relationship developed between Rey and Kylo was one of the high points of this movie to me and your analysis was great. I hope they go in that direction, because I think that would be a good way to go. To fall for the bad guy when he already is the bad guy, instead of before and bring him back. That would be cool.

    RIP Admiral Ackbar.

  4. ljones1966 Says:

    I didn’t like it. Nor did I like “The Force Awakens”. It’s interesting that the first two movies of the Sequel Trilogy are the only two Star Wars movies that I DID NOT LIKE. As for “The Last Jedi” . . .

    I had hoped that Rian Johnson, who had made “Looper” would make a better film. He didn’t. One, he copied so much from the Original Trilogy films. Too much, as far as I’m concerned. J.J. Abrams has nothing on Johnson. Worse, the latter even used his Cid character from “Looper” as a template for Kylo Ren. Who, by the way, STILL came off as a second-rate Anakin Skywalker. Rey not only remained a Mary Sue, but also became something of an idiot for allowing herself to be manipulated in that way. Hmmm . . . perhaps she is no longer a Mary Sue. But the character of Marie Tico seemed to be one.

    Judging by the addition of Rose, I gather the Disney suits are determined that Rey, a white woman and Finn, a black man, will never become romantically involved. As you can see, I’m not a Reylo fan. This story arc involving Rey and Ren seemed so contrived. It probably would have worked if they had known each other a lot longer than they did or if the time span between “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” had been more than a day or two. But that didn’t happen. And because of the very shot period of time between the two movies, this scenario DID NOT work for me. And yet, fans are squealing over the possibility of a toxic and rushed relationship like Rey/Ren as if it was the ultimate sci-fi romance.

    Poe Dameron proved to be an even bigger idiot than Rey. Johnson turned him into a cliche of a hotshot pilot, straight out of “Top Gun”. Rose annoyed me because she continually undermined Finn’s choices by being self righteous and controlling. Snoke is just as big of a mystery as he was in the 2015 film. We know nothing about him. And he came off as a second-rate Palpatine. I also noticed there were two situations that seemed straight from “Thor: Ragnarok” featuring the death of a major supporting character and a small group of survivors. Is Disney creating basic narrative situations to be used in many of their movies and different franchises?

    Anything good from this movie? Well . . . visually, it looked good. The music was well handled, but I don’t recall anything particularly memorable. John Boyega gave his usual first-rate performance. Benecio del Toro was amusing. And Domhall Gleeson actually made me feel sorry for General Hux by the end of the film. The character realized that he was stuck with the whining man child as his “supreme leader”.

    • Samuel Coats Says:

      To be fair: Episode 7 actually got a prequel novel by Claudia Gray that answers some questions. But It’s really debatable how good they are. The Force Awakens novelization already confirmed the fact that Han and Leia were married, but Bloodline fills in a little more of their relationship, explaining that the two got hitched shortly after the fall of the Empire. Bloodline delves a lot into Leia’s complicated feelings for Han, although Han’s presence in the book itself is kept to a minimum.
      What Bloodline tells us instead is that Leia and Han mostly live amicably apart. Early on in their marriage they discovered that their lives were too different to be living together, so outside of visits and travel stints, Leia would continue her work in the Senate while Han jetted off… becoming a starship racer, apparently. Meanwhile, following the liberation of Kashyyyk, Chewbacca retired to his home planet, but keeps regularly in touch with both Han and Leia. Well, the Bloodline Information is kinda weird, right? Granted, I haven’t seen Episode 7 since the first viewing in 2015. But I clearly got the vibe that Han an Leia had a happy, long running marriage that only broke after their Son fell to the dark side. But now Disney said: “Well, it’s not as if they were happy couple drifing apart after their son became evil, it’s more a case of they were never a real couple to begin with.” What? I mean, for all the Prequel references in their extended universe, the Sequel trilogiy is obviously pendering to the “real” Fans who disliked the Prequels. But now they erase the romance these people charish so mutch?? Why? And did they even consider this while writing the new trilogy? The publishing of a novel can take around a year atleast. Is that the reason they didn’t include an annoucment flyer for the novel in the Episode 7 dvds? So that they could make the general public believe that they were a couple until Ben’s fall? I’m really confused. Normally I would say it’s best to read it (or listen to the audiobook), but the really important Information was summarized here: “All the Major Star Wars Secrets Revealed in the New Novel Bloodline”. This has of course more weight then ever, since Disney is trying to build one giant universe of “canon” novels and Comic books around The films, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I don’t have rose colored glasses about Kylo and Rey. Like I said, she was naive and impulsive and Kylo can be a manipulative a-hole because Snoke was a manipulative a-hole. The movie makes a point of keeping them apart at the end because with this impasse, taking things any further would be toxic, like Luke deciding to become Vader’s apprentice in TESB or Padme choosing to remain with a newly-minted Darth Vader.

      I wasn’t a big fan of TFA. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it and I had a tough time understanding why people were gushing over it. This is one of those things where I understand why this movie was polarizing. And I really doubt they’re bending over backwards to avoid an interracial relationship when there kind of was one in the film anyway. It went out of its way to show “representation” even among bad guys. Say what you will about the First Order but they take their diversity programs seriously, heh heh.

      • Jacobesico Says:

        What little enthusiasm I had for TFA evaporated when the Media started bashing the Prequels in order to promote the movie. It was hard to look forward it when everyone was aggressively banging the drum for it. The movie as alright, but that was about it.

        Thanks for the review by the way. I had zero enthusiasm for TLJ. I’ll probably wait for it to come out on DVD or something.

  5. Moose Says:

    LP, thank you for you analysis of the movie in general and the Rey/Ben bits in particular.

    The fairy tale/grand mythological epic ethos is what has always set Star Wars apart from all other action blockbusters for me. These Disney versions feel more hard-edged and modern as we go along. It may not even be fair to criticize them for their failure to “tell an old myth in a new way” because I do not know that Disney is aware of/interested in/able to accomplish this in any great measure. Anyway, it just makes me sad to see that this aspect of Star Wars is mostly gone.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yeah. I agree with Mark Hamill; they should’ve kept George Lucas around as a consultant.

      • Natalie Says:

        George left because they didn’t listen to him. And I’m glad, because you know the fanboys would find a way to blame him for this debacle.

    • maychild Says:

      @Natalie They’re blaming him anyway. They’ve been hating on him so long, it’s like they’re addicted to it. And to be fair, he doesn’t escape blame. He’s the one who sold the whole shebang to Disney in the first place.

      • Natalie Says:

        Well yes I always said it was a mistake. But the fanboys rejoiced that George’s role was reduced to a consultant. They didn’t mind when he walked. It’s only now, when they realize there’s no Star Wars without Lucas, they blame him or “forgive” him for his crimes (seriously…)

  6. Anthony NN Says:

    I respectfully disagree on Reylo. All these little stares and caresses led to nothing. At the end the two characters haven’t really evolved. A true relationship would have been more interesting

  7. jonedney124 Says:

    I definitely need to see it a second time, as I am similarly conflicted. I thought it was better than The Force Awakens (from the standpoint of liking that but not loving it) as it had balls to do something a bit different and I felt a bit better coming out of LJ than FA (still not exactly euphoric though). The acting was great and there were some impressive set pieces. Your analysis of Rey and Kylo Ren is interesting, I had considered some of that but you have taken it to a new level and it was definitely an interesting part of the movie, leading up to that ROTJ homage scene. I also liked the end of Luke and as much as it was weird and difficult to see him being so obtuse, his final moment was, as you say, pitch perfect and having read Johnson’s comments about the ending, I think it is a nice way of using Luke (plus he could come back as a Force Ghost in IX).

    I think you are incorrect on one point though, apparently Rian Johnson had pretty much free reign to do what he wanted with this movie, there was nothing set in stone from FA that he had to incorporate plot-wise. He did discuss it with Abrams who was on board with it (he may now be thinking ‘well, damn’ now he is the one finishing the trilogy). I read some interesting comments yesterday saying that they felt LJ was a good movie but a bad sequel, as it threw away various questions from FA that were set up as important and here were treated as largely irrelevant. Two of my biggest gripes are Snoke and Phasma, both set up as villains with significant roles and yet both were dispatched far too early in this trilogy. I understand Johnson offing Snoke to give Kylo Ren the role of leader but it seems odd to destroy the new Dark Lord of the Sith so quickly, with little to no information about how he came into power. What angers me more is a few things I’ve read trying to justify this by claiming ‘we knew nothing about the Emperor when ROTK came out and then the prequels ruined the mystery bla bla bla’. NO! The Saga is enriched by us seeing how Palpatine came to power and his final scene in Jedi is all the more powerful and satisfying when we have seen its counterpoint in Sith, not to mention Ian McDiarmid (I swear even those who don’t like the prequels would argue his role is one of the best things about them). One author of such an article was Digital Spy, who as far as I’m concerned are just covering their backsides after their ‘ranking of the Star Wars villains’ which placed Snoke as no 1!?!? With right to swap Snoke and Palpatine (no 2) depending on the movie. I think Snoke should be in the middle at the highest after LJ, his legacy is questionable compared to even some of the one-hit wonders like Maul and Grievous. Sadly, the usual petty ‘well at least it’s better than the prequels’ is rife, even with those who dislike LJ. As for Phasma, poor Gwendoline Christie, who does lots of press saying how revolutionary Phasma is and yet the hard truth is: the role could have been played by a man and it would have made no difference to the story whatsoever. So much for a triumph for feminism.

    Then there is the matter of Rey’s parents, which again people made a big thing out of (perhaps more than FA actually suggested honestly) and the revelation about her parents being nobody is clever and interesting subversion on the one hand but also feels a bit cheap on the other when they know how much people have been theorising about it. However, similar stuff happens in Doctor Who and I usually give that a pass (not least because I don’t spend endless hours theorising about these things) as long as the subversion is interesting and has a thematic point, as I feel LJ did. That point does undercut what we previously knew about the Force and how its powers are handed down through generations but then, the Force had to start somewhere in a family line and Anakin’s origins are mysterious, are they not? Another article made an interesting point about the Jedi and their use of midichlorians being a last attempt to maintain control of the Republic and only allow those with ‘the right ability’ in to the Jedi Order. Anakin destroyed the Jedi so that Luke could redeem them but now Luke acts as a beacon of hope for others to use their abilities with the Force without subscribing to a specific exclusive Order and I think that is something George may approve of, as it ties into his ideas about what the Jedi had become in I-III.

    I didn’t hugely care for Leia’s Force ability, as it felt a bit OTT. I understand their arguments about untapped power suddenly bursting forth but something more low key might have made that point better and maybe could have been worked into a narrative arc for Leia in the film. Instead, she supercharges through space and is then in a coma for half the movie. We don’t know what her supposedly bigger role in IX would have given us but at least they didn’t kill her off (as I thought they had done for a split second when they got shot out into space and would have been really angry about another undeserved offing of a beloved character). The Porgs were cute, amusing and not really worthy of hate like some people are saying but they served no narrative purpose at all whereas the same cannot be said for other ‘hated comic relief characters’ like the Ewoks and Jar Jar, who both served a narrative purpose by ultimately helping to fight the enemy in I and VI but also serving a thematic purpose of unlikely creatures from a natural home that can actually help to overcome a mechanical, military threat.

    I also feel the humour was too quippy, I know Han had his quips but they still felt part of his character and in keeping with the old school tone of the movies (even in FA for the most part). The style of one liner and its placement in certain scenes was a bit jarring and seemed to be a reflection of other blockbusters of the modern age (particularly Marvel and to an extent Pirates of the Caribbean, both of which I like). I saw a comment wondering why the directors of the Han Solo movie were fired for incorporating this kind of humour in the movie when it is evident here and I am wondering the same, although Kasdan was the instigator there so maybe it was the more improvised aspect he disapproved of? It again highlights how these movies represent Star Wars: The Next Generation to me, I don’t think I can ever love them and connect to them the way I do with I-VI, Still, I am intrigued to see where the story goes next if not wholly emotionally invested. I can judge my opinion of a movie if I want to see it again and buy the DVD the moment it comes out, with this, as with FA, I want to see it again but simultaneously would be happy if I didn’t.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      You made a lot of good points. I don’t think anything will surpass Eps I-VI for me. Even my mom the movie critic says these movies lack Lucas’s touch. I just hope IX wraps things up in a way that’s satisfactory.

      • Natalie Says:

        Hell, no, now that Disney is a freaking monopolist we’re not going to see anything truly original ever again (God forbid if people remember what good storytelling really is)

        I think Clone Wars was a good side dish.

  8. Sarah Says:

    If it helps any, though there was no funeral that we saw – the visual dictionary points out that Leia’s hairstyle is traditional Alderaanian mourning braids. 😦 Plus, her dark clothing.

  9. Darthqui-gon Says:

    I’ve read mixed reviews and how rotten tomatoes has fixed there reviews I still have 0% to see this. TFA has ruined Star Wars possible for ever. TLJ from what I’ve seen, and it’s been quite a bid, I don’t care about spoilers and it looks horrible! I enjoyed Rouge One but even that didn’t have the heart and soul of Star Wars and nothing from here on out in less Lucas is involved. I’d love to read hid his episode 7-9 treatment. According to Hamill it’s drastically different and he wishes Disney and Kennedy kept him on board. As do i!

  10. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I don’t mind if Rey’s parents were “nobodies from no where”. But where does she fit in the Skywalker saga? If the Sequel Trilogy is supposed to be a continuation of the Skywalker family saga, then why do the trilogy’s two biggest protagonists – Rey and Finn – have no blood connection to the family? Why not simply claim this trilogy as something completely separate from the Prequel and Original trilogies? Why? I suspect that Kennedy and Lucasfilm wanted the old characters – Luke, Han and Leia – as a nostalgia factor to draw in the established fan base and nothing else. I could have accepted Rey’s background a lot better if this third trilogy had not been specifically connected to the other two.

    I get the feeling that Kathleen Kennedy wants to break away from Lucas’ work as much as possible. Or that she’s trying to reshape the Star Wars saga into what she wants by slowly eradicating Lucas’ work, while exploiting the nostalgia factor at the same time. Does Disney’s purchase of Fox mean that the studio, along with Lucasfilm will finally have the opportunity to reshape or reboot the first six films?

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I’m not 100% convinced Rey will walk out of this with no connection to the Skywalkers besides meeting and hanging out with them. But she would be the only one who does. Nobody else will and like I said, that’s not how Lucas’s movies are structured.

      These feel less like sequels to the hexology and more like spinoffs.

      • Tez Says:

        “These feel less like sequels to the hexology and more like spinoffs.”
        I agree completely with this!

      • Christopher Fusco Says:

        “more like spinoffs” – wholeheartedly agree. I would like these movies more if they weren’t specifically ‘Episodes 7 + 8’. (Though with how little attention they pay to the established rules of the SW galaxy, I still wouldn’t like them all that much.)

        That they seem to actively be moving away from Skywalkers leads me to believe they have no intention of stopping the series at Episode 9. This is setup to just keep going and going.. Hope I’m wrong.

        Being done with Skywalkers isn’t itself a sin, but rebrand it slightly and leave I-VI as a complete work.

        On Rey’s parents being ‘no one’ – I don’t think it’s a great idea in general, but it’s even less so having introduced it in TFA as a mystery/guessing game. If you’re going the ‘no one’ route, be up front about it, and don’t create false drama around it only to later wave it off.

        Imagine watching a murder mystery in which, at the end of the story, the culprit ends up being some new character unseen until now… not very satisfying.

        I hope they have something up their sleeve, but my gut is that the series is lurching in the individual director’s direction, and there isn’t too much of a long-game being applied.

  11. phen Says:

    i loved the film for it’s focus on the force, and Luke. I understand peoples problems, many carrying over from Episode 7. I wish teh End of ROTJ had actually been a victory. Luke’s running away made more sense to me than Han’s. Luke is basically the Pope or Moses, think how lonely leading a religion is. Then they all die. That is Hell. i was also glad that the saber fights were trying to be cool again, in TFA they were trying to be OT fights, which were emotionally powerful, but slow. The fight in Snokes room was great.

    i love luke. I loved his end. i honestly don’t know where the series can go from here, but i hope Jar Jar Abrahms can do something good. I tend to not enjoy his movies.

  12. Kim Says:

    Nothing can ruin Episodes 1-6 for me, and I prefer to just ignore what Disney has done because I feel nothing but rage when I think of how they have butchered the characters of Luke, Han and Leia and the beautiful tale we got from The Phantom Menace through Return of the Jedi.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      If nothing else we will have that.

    • Doug Brown Says:

      I agree completely, and I have chosen to see any Star Wars movie without the involvement of George Lucas to be apocryphal and not part of the true story. I thought TFA, while visually very interesting, was nothing more than a clumsy rehash of A New Hope – done in Abrams’ usual scorched-earth style of trashing everything fans hold dear. From what I have seen of TLJ I have absolutely no interest in these further chapters whatsoever and prefer to imagine how Lucas was planning to do Episodes 7-9. I was on the fence about Rogue One, especially since it was at least somewhat sensitive of the prequels, but I still can’t find it in me to say that anything after ROTJ is really part of the Star Wars story. Count me out of the rest of the Disney-fied version of what was once a great saga.

    • Darthqui-gon Says:

      I wholeheartedly agree

  13. Tez Says:

    I think this film is just what the franchise needed: something that blows open our expectations of a Star Wars film, and something that frees up future writers and dircetors to do things that aren’t merely riffs on past glories.
    Personally, I don’t like what TFA’s version of what happened to the heroes after Return Of The Jedi, and I think it limited what Rian Johnson could do with the characters. But I do like what he was able to do – something original, and something unexpected.
    We all have our own criteria for a successful Star Wars film, and TLJ matches a lot of mine. It’s also a film that rewards the attentive viewer; I recommend a second viewing!

    In the interests of not blasting the thread full of my thoughts, I’ll simply provide a link:
    https://observaterry.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/forced-entry-at-last/

    • lazypadawan Says:

      A lot of people are telling me I gotta see it at least a second time. I will, my space Darcy and Elizabeth (LOL) are calling me.

    • Natalie Says:

      I already knew the major spoilers so I doubt I’ll change my mind because it’s both the overall story and the execution that just doesn’t work for me. And I don’t understand why subverting expectation means taking a dump on the existing characters and lore instead of adding to it. Non movie content like the games and animated series did a better job at building off canon than the trilogy that’s supposed to wrap up the Skywalker story.

      • Tez Says:

        I think Rian Johnson was severely restricted in what he could do by The Force Awakens. It was that film that establishd that the victory in Return of The Jedi was all for nothing; it was TFA that had Han and Leia split up; have their son as a weak villain; kill off the Jedi a second time; have Luke run away; set up about a dozen contrived little mysteries (or plot holes) that will never get answered (like a map to an unfindable planet; how does that work?).
        Ironically, a complaint I’ve seen in negative reviews is that the two new espidoes are the result of Disney corporate meddling and writing-by-committee, when bot JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson had free rein.
        I agree that the animated shows show a better understanding of how to build on the existing material. I think the new trilogy would have been a lot better if they’d gievn it to the Lucasfilm Story Group to sort out.

        The best comment I’ve read that sums up my feelings to the new episodes:
        “These feel less like sequels to the hexology and more like spinoffs.”

        So, given what he had to start with, I think Rian Johnson made the best possible film he could, and has left things as open as possible for future film-makers. And along the way, I found myself entertained.
        (Your mileage may vary!)

      • Natalie Says:

        I don’t blame Johnson or even JJ but rather the Disney corporation turning storytelling into a product with no message (other than nihilism I suppose). I agree that it was in TFA where we found out that the heroes have accomplished nothing but this could have been mitigated somewhat with proper characterization. What if Luke trains Rey properly with perhaps some initial hesitation (similar to Yoda) and then goes with her to help his friends (like Obi-Wan) and has a showdown with a villain (or villains). I don’t even care who he fights or how and what’s the outcome is just let him do something truly meaningful and in person, not through some cheap hologram. Since they love to ape the OT so much, why not borrow things that are actually appropriate? I’m pretty sure the would’ve been a lot less discontent among the fans had they handled Luke with more respect.

  14. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I tried that with “The Force Awakens”. I saw it more than once. I still don’t like it. I understand what Rian Johnson was trying to do. But he failed, due to certain circumstances and details of his story arcs.

    I think this film is just what the franchise needed: something that blows open our expectations of a Star Wars film, and something that frees up future writers and dircetors to do things that aren’t merely riffs on past glories.

    We’ve already had that with both “The Empire Strikes Back” and the Prequel Trilogy. The latter really turned the saga on its heels in regard to fan expectations. Which is why it’s not that well loved. But Lucas didn’t make a muck of it, like Johnson did. I think the real problem is that this isn’t really Johnson’s story.

  15. Eduardo Vargas Says:

    Oh wow- you really changed my perspective on Reylo lol.

    Then again I don’t have much emotional investment in the next movie- and I’m not sure if JJ is smart enough or has the balls to pull off what you wrote there.

    But we’ll see.

  16. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    And I really doubt they’re bending over backwards to avoid an interracial relationship when there kind of was one in the film anyway.

    Actually, Finn and Rose is probably a safer potential interracial romance, because it does not involve anyone who is white.

  17. joe Says:

    what are your thoughts on yoda being a puppet again? one idiot on screen rant in the comments said f*** cgi yoda that p***ed me off i fired back at him using language i shouldn’t have used when will these fans get it? a puppet yoda wouldn’t have done the things a cgi yoda could more whining about cgi and practical effects i guess he doesn’t think yoda shouldn’t fight like that scumbag simon pegg and rey took the books and have you heard any yoda bashing?

    • Jacobesico Says:

      The thing is they don’t want to get it. They’ve been brainwashed by the Geek media to hate on the Prequels and these people just don’t care about facts. They are just hateful people that want to ruin everyone else’s enjoyment of Star Wars. I don’t even go into the comments section of those Geek sites. They are just clickbait fests.

      Anyway, I agree with you. The CGI Yoda in the Prequels was just phenomenal. And considering how much trouble the Puppet Yoda gave George during the filming of Empire, it’s great to see the technology help him see his vision. I especially love the CGI Yoda in the Phantom Menace. I have to admit that the Puppet Yoda was a bit out of place after Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith came out. (But still brilliant) I think that it was a great improvement for the 2011 re-release.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      It’s in the body of my review…

    • Darthqui-gon Says:

      What Yoda isn’t cgi! wtf!!! That’s the only way to do Yoda. Whenever I watch ESB and ROTJ he screams puttet, although I’ll say he’s the best puttet used in any movie but, he looks so fake just like Jabba. Cgi makes them like living breathing characters. Not static puttets. Another reason not to see this movie!

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      The ESB and ROTJ puppets still hold up IMHO and are great. On the other hand, the GCI Yoda has for instance the advantage of more elaborate facial expressions.

      It is not a black-and-white matter to me, both Yodas probably have their advantages. However, this is also a reason why I have issues with the “CGI Yoda sucks because it is CGI” comments.

  18. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I never had a problem with CGI Yoda.

    I have noticed that the media tends to excessively praise nearly every Disney film, regardless of franchise, that has been released in the past two years or so. I find this rather odd.

  19. Matthew Says:

    I did not get far into the movie before I mentally “checked out.” After the opening routine with Poe “on hold,” I was rolling my eyes. Once Luke tossed aside the light saber from Rey, I was done. In fairness, the prequels had humor a little different from the OT; however, they still felt like Star Wars movies.

    I cannot get over what they have done to Luke Skywalker. I personally don’t believe that Luke would ever run and hide the way he did. However, even if he was so destroyed that he exiled himself, I can’t believe that he would become the crotchety “get off my lawn” old man that we saw. Luke Skywalker converted Darth Vader and surrendered his weapon when facing the emperor; he can handle Ben Solo’s troubles. Also, I will never believe that Luke considered killing Kylo during training. It simply did not happen.

    The fact that Yoda remarked that the old Jedi texts were completely useless and that Rey already had what she needed was a disgrace. Whether you are an athlete, carpenter, computer programmer, or priest, you need training and you need to have understanding of the past. This is especially true if you have the power to almost single-handedly influence the fate of the entire galaxy. I saw a great article today that has influenced my thinking on this, and this type of thinking is rampant today.

    I was disappointed at first that Luke’s battle with Kylo was just a mental projection; however, I think it’s an interesting interpretation of Luke’s power. That being said, the fact that we witness the battle through Kylo’s point of view and it takes us completely by surprise was a needless manipulation by Johnson. I would have preferred to see it through Luke’s point of view so that we can stay in the emotion of the moment. I really don’t like “gotchas” like that.

    The media reviews of the movie are ridiculous. Some hail this as the greatest Star Wars since TESB. Others have poignant criticism but then throw in the clincher that makes me throw it away – “they are not as bad as the prequels.” I don’t understand why every criticism has to be balanced with a knock on the threads. This thread is the only balanced review of the movie that I’ve read.

    I wish Dave Filoni was in charge of Star Wars. I feel like he is the only one qualified for that task.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yeah. I get all of your points. Like I said, there’s something to be said about tradition.

      • Matthew Says:

        Yes! Tradition informs who we are, for better or worse. Plus, history repeats itself and human problems are timeless.

    • Doug Brown Says:

      I appreciate your points Matthew, and I’m wholeheartedly in agreement with your comments about the prequel-bashing we’ve been hearing. I know that we are used to dealing with that sort of thing here, but lately just about every freaking review I’ve read says something about “the clunky prequels” or “at least these movies are better than the awful prequels ever were.” TFA and TLJ aren’t even fit to be compared to the prequels at all, and any time I read a review or comment that bashes Episodes I-III I immediately stop reading and move on. As far as I’m concerned the Abrams/Johnson fiascos aren’t Star Wars at all and never will be.

      • Matthew Says:

        I agree Doug! I’d be ok with criticism that’s intellectually honest, but not outright demagoguery. And yes, the new ones are just not Star Wars!

  20. Jacobesico Says:

    I’m hearing a lot of rumblings about a backlash against the movie. I don’t know what to make of it. Part of me despairs the mainstream Star Wars fans, but another part of me can’t help but chuckle at how Karma has bitten Disney in the butt.

    • Natalie Says:

      They can survive it. The OT fanboys are already realizing any sympathizers they might have in the mainstream media (and even in big online blogs) aren’t gonna have guts to go against the dark empire of Disney (Lucas was a much easier target)

  21. Natalie Says:

    I’m glad some folks enjoyed TLJ at least on some level. For me, it’s hands down the worst Star Wars movie and possibly one of the worst blockbuster movies I’ve seen (in those franchises that matter to me anyway). Not even Peter Jackson hollywoodization of Tolkien’s wonderful work has pissed me off as much. I literally hate pretty much everything about this movie.

    The story – what story? They take a chase sequence from TESB, mix it with one of the Battlestar Galactica episodes resulting in something outrageously absurd with one smaller ship fitting an entire Resistance running away from a bigger ship only at two speeds allowed (with the First Order now apparently controlling much of the galaxy but lacking extra ships to intercept the Rebel ship). Remember the Clone Wars? The Galactic Civil War? Welcome to Disney Wars, as epic as it gets! Why couldn’t they go to some base to refuel, why couldn’t they send someone to bring a refueling ship to them, why tracking in hyperspace is suddenly a new technology when it was mention in the first ever Star Wars movie (and the prequels, too). Of course, it’s littered with ridiculous scenes and concepts: Leia’s Mary Poppins flight, the completely useless and very un Star Wars like subplot on Canto Bight, a new unlikable admiral of gender studies behaving like an idiot (but having a meaningful sacrifice instead of, say, Admiral Ackbar whose death is not even acknowledged or even Leia herself).

    But maybe the protagonist had a meaningful journey? Lol right… Rey has maybe one lesson with Luke, get a download of all the Jedi knowledge like Neo in the Matrix and even manages to get a drop on Luke. Her relationship with Kylo had a potential but didn’t go anywhere (honestly, most of the fan theories were more creative that what we get, yet). Kylo vs Snoke had a potential, too, but, again, Snoke is gone with no mention of his backstory.

    And Luke… oh Luke WHAT did they not get wrong with him? Luke considering murdering his own nephew in his sleep, even for a second? Not trying to bring him back? Not training anyone else? Hiding somewhere “unfindable” – hello, why did he leave a map then? Refusing to help his friends, not properly training Rey, letting her to beat him, cutting himself from the Force, deciding to burn the Jedi books (why then did he go there in the first place?). And finally, the writers didn’t even let him to be physically present when he faced Kylo and actually have an awesome duel (regardless of the outcome). And then he dies because, apparently, Rey already knows everything there is to know to lead a new Jedi generation? Seriously? Luke Skywalker, a noble hero of our childhood, died having accomplished absolutely nothing (and not leaving a legacy or family of his own) and leaving the galaxy in a worse state than when he was born? There’s no way Disney didn’t know they’d piss off a significant portion of the old fans. I think they’re just trolling us, plain and simple.

    I honestly can’t think of anything good to say about this movie other than some visuals and some of Luke’s scenes (Mark was good, of course). Whereas TFA annoyed me with the anti-PT campaign and undoing of everything the heroes have accomplished by the end of ROTJ, TLJ destroyed everything that remained left, including all the lore and everything that made Star Wars special in the first place.

    • Moose Says:

      Well said Natalie.

    • Anthony Says:

      I think Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies were a lot better than ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’. At least he treated the material with respect in the first trilogy. He had ‘checked out’ by The Hobbit (not surprising, considering he wasn’t even supposed to be doing it in the first place. It was Guillermo del Toro’s project, and there was all that BS with the studios.), but at least he treated that one like a serious story. The truth is, a lot of Tolkien’s work is just not suitable to be adapted, period. The characters are too perfect. They have no flaws. Tolkien is much more focused on surroundings, not events that take place in them. Tolkien didn’t know how to write women, and admitted as such in his letters. It works beautifully on the page, but falls completely flat on screen. And this is from someone who tried to read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ after watching the movies, having read both ‘Dracula’ and ‘Dune’, which are lengthy books. I just could not get into it. The poetry and songs alone would have the characters laughed off the screen if they did them properly. The themes are great, don’t get me wrong, but the details are written for a very specific person type of person in mind. There’s nothing wrong in catering to a specific audience, and Tolkien knew who he was writing for – himself. He was creating a background for his Elvish languages, which he had invented, and beautifully brought to life. And trying to give a native mythology to England, comparable to the Greeks and Romans, which he felt it lacked. That’s admirable.

      That being said, I enjoyed ‘The Last Jedi’ for what it was – an alternate reality look into what happened after ‘Return of the Jedi’, where everything went wrong. 😉 just like Marvel has alternate universes, and DC has Earth 1, 2, 3, etc., this is Star Wars universe 381, as opposed to 380, where the original movies take place. 😉

      Now I see Mark Hamill’s objections about the film, though.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Prior to the LOTR flicks I thought that stuff was un-filmable. It’s much too dense. Jackson did a decent job of it though I was never as much of a fan as a lot of people were in the ’00s.

  22. ljones1966 Says:

    They are the embodiments of this battle in the Sequel trilogy. This is their journey.

    I don’t feel it. I just don’t. This whole thing with Rey and Kylo Ren could have worked if the time span between the two movies had been longer than a few days to a week. Or if their characters had been better developed. Watching Rey rush toward the First Order command ship in order to bring Kylo Ren “back into the Light” was the dumbest thing I had ever seen. What made it even more ridiculous was that Rey managed to sweep away what Ren’s past actions to her, Finn and Han and make excuses for him because of what Luke had done. I can understand her being angry at what Luke had done. I cannot understand her being so stupid as to head straight for the First Order command center like that. She had no real emotional bond with him before this movie, other than his attempt to mind rape her in “The Force Awakens”.

    As for her being the embodiment of “the Light” and Ren being the embodiment of “the Dark” (massive eye roll) . . . oh please! This is a morality play for fifteen year-olds. I thought Rian Johnson could do better than this. Apparently not. George Lucas did. Hell, Johnson did better in “Looper”.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      People have said SW was nothing but a simplistic morality play for kids since 1977. That’s nothing new. In regards to Rey, she is naive and extremely impulsive.
      I think that was the point and the lesson she learned. Are there things I would’ve tweaked a little differently? Sure. Is Lucas better at it? Yup.

    • Darthqui-gon Says:

      The star wars saga ended with Revenge of the Sith! Anakin brought balance to the force end of story. One of Yoda’s last words to luke was pass on what you have learn. Great job he did hiding out on an island for 30 years only to die. Great story Disney and Kennedy! They don’t have a clue on how to make a Star Wars film or how Star Wars works. I’m done with Star Wars with the exception of the saga 1-6 and Clone Wars! Star Wars is dead!!!

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        A valid criticism IMHO.

        Anyway, it is interesting how different people see Luke’s decision. Some do not have a real problem with it, others say that it is completely against his character.

        The SW fandom obviously faces another fracture… On the other hand, a huge fandom cannot avoid being split. I even read an article on a SW fan page some years ago claiming that SW has been split since 1980 (“ANH is better!” “No, ESB is better!”) and especially 1983 (“Ewoks!”) The perception of the PT was probably not different (which still does not excuse how some fans [fans?] have behaved since TPM).

      • lazypadawan Says:

        No, you’re right. There have always been fractures among fans but I think the internet greatly exacerbated it with the PT and now with social media, it’s a hot mess.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Apparently Luke hiding out on the island was originally Lucas’s idea for Ep. 7. *Shrug.*

      • Natalie Says:

        I’m sure Lucas had a better explanation for Luke’s hiding out. Maybe he did rebuild the Jedi Order but a personal tragedy occurred and forced him to leave. Also, something tells me he wouldn’t have Luke contemplating killing his relative.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        That part of it, no.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        “I think that Ben and Rey are something totally new since they were conceived after the Force was balanced in ROTJ. This is why Luke feared him just as the Jedi feared Anakin in the prequels; he didn’t understand what Ben was, so Luke reflexively attempts to stomp on “darkness” the way you’d try to stomp on a bug.”
        I find LP’s hypothesis better than other explanations. We’ll see whether it is true.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        I know it is (more or less) off-topic, but I am surprised by the social media reactions/geek site articles vehemently(?) defending the decision that Luke went into hiding.

        Interestingly, I have seen Mark’s statement that he would have done it differently shrugged off because it is not up to him to decide how the character is written (fair point, but still…)

        For me, this discussion seems to get out of hand. I would welcome more “balanced” articles/social media comments that acknowledge that the other side has a point. But it’s still the internet, so pigs will rather fly than this.

        Anyway, I still stand by my comment above: as someone who belongs to the “Luke would not go into exile (at least not like this)” team, LP’s take is still the best one I have read to justify it.

  23. hansolo1138 Says:

    Hey, everyone. I haven’t been on here in a long while, but I have to get this off my chest. Maybe I’ll stick around, who knows?
    Anyway, I want to talk about Luke’s arc in this movie. I think it was handled brilliantly. I especially love how Luke’s flashback treatment of Kylo drew a lot of parallels to the Jedi Council’s treatment of Anakin. In both cases, the leader/teacher reacted out of fear toward their promising pupil and caused their pupil to rebel against them and turn to evil.
    The difference between Kylo’s fall and Anakin’s is twofold. First, Anakin was motivated by several factors in his fall to the Dark Side as opposed to Kylo. In addition to his declining faith in the Council, his fear of losing his wife, his desire for a more ordered galaxy, and his loyalty toward Palpatine all contributed to his fall. Ben rebelled against Luke because of one drawn lightsaber. Second, Luke’s reaction to his vision of Ben’s future was just that: a reaction that he immediately regretted. The Council, OTOH, consciously and continuously decided to hold Anakin back because fo their fear of him.
    Because of that difference, Luke was able to learn what the Council never learned until it was too late: If one acts in the present based only on their fear of the future, they will never be able to move on from the mistakes of the past. Because Luke realized that Rey did not have to fall the way Ben did, and regaining his hope for the future, he was finally able to move on from his failures and become one with the Force.
    I thought it was amazing, personally. Just my 2¢.

    • Natalie Says:

      Interesting thoughts, but the problem is, we never see any of it on screen. In TFA, they started with Ben already being Kylo, we never see why or how he was being manipulated, what Luke was like as a Jedi Master, none of it. We only have Luke being the opposite of what you’d expect based on the Jedi Masters of old and his own persona in the OT where he was always ready to help his friends and family and never gave up hope.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I welcome your perspective!

  24. lazypadawan Says:

    Hey, everybody, wherever you fall on the sequels thus far, check this out. It’s VERY interesting (and sigh, I wish they kept those designs):

    http://www.slashfilm.com/george-lucas-sequel-trilogy/

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Interesting that a recluse Luke may have also been featured in GL’s ST… Or not? Unfortunately, we will probably never know.
      Anyway, the designs remind me a lot of the “myst” game series.

    • Natalie Says:

      Wow this looks more Star Wars than what we got with the movies (dreamlike and otherwordly but also somehow familiar). And I’d be ok with Luke as a recluse as long as there’s a good reason for that and he actually helps those who seek his guidance.

    • jonedney124 Says:

      Has anyone seen this? I half wondered whether this would happen once the movie came out, given Mark had already made some initial comments along these lines. He ultimately accepts the movie and Rian Johnson but nevertheless had/has issues with Luke’s story…

      https://www.avclub.com/watch-mark-hamill-reject-and-then-accept-the-last-jedi-1821502813

      • lazypadawan Says:

        He’s been more or less saying this for months. TBH, his candor in advance made it a lot easier to sit through in the film instead of going in cold.

  25. Stefan Kraft Says:

    Excellent and entertaining review, LP. I have not managed to see TLJ yet, so I will definitely not enter the movie spoiler-free. I must confess that this is due to my impression how Lucas’s ideas were neglected by Disney… but I am also aware that my “spoiled” viewing may be quite disrespectful to the hard work Johnson & Co. have put into the movie. :-/

    What bugs me are some commentaries and social media reactions that seem to be popular at the moment. It is acknowledged that TLJ is divisive, and people should respect differing opinions, especially because of the backslash TLJ is getting (see viewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes). That’s good, but honestly: where were these comments during the last 18 years, i.e., since the release of TPM?

    Obviously, there’s also a lesson in this for me: should I not enjoy TLJ (or just not come to terms with its portrayal of Luke), I will state it if asked (respectfully – I hope!) and let others who like or love TLJ be happy.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yup.

    • Anthony Says:

      Yeah. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s a nice sort of ‘alternate universe’ take on what happened after ‘Return of the Jedi’, if the characters never got their act together, and learned from the lessons of the past, imo. And I’m already seeing the extremely reactive comments on both sides, which is surprising, since the film doesn’t seem to care about pleasing any side in particular. It just wants to tell its story, whatever that is. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed the previous Star Wars films like ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’, obviously, and like how I enjoyed ‘Wonder Woman’ this year. I’ll respect those who liked it, but I also won’t go out of my way to attack those who didn’t, because I think the best thing we can do is be civil with each other. 🙂

      I’ll still write my fics where Anakin didn’t turn, or they continued on after he turned and came back, but now they may include them counseling an alternate universe including a certain bearded Jedi Master recluse and a fracturing Republic on the brink of defeat, occasionally. 😉 Giving them some advice on how to pick up the pieces, from a much more successful Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Order.

  26. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I don’t think Rey’s naivety could explain her ridiculous decision to “save Kylo Ren” from evil. It would have worked if “The Last Jedi” had been set a year or even longer after “The Force Awakens”. But the events of this film happened . . . less than a week after “The Force Awakens”. I’m supposed to believe that Rey became attracted to Ren DAYS after he had kidnapped her, tried to mind rape her, murdered his father and maimed Finn? This didn’t make Rey naive. This made her incredibly stupid.

  27. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Even after the negativity of “The Last Jedi”, there are people who still believe that this new trilogy is better than the Prequel Trilogy? Good grief!!

    • Natalie Says:

      To be fair, the trilogy is not over yet. But I think it’s clear to even many OT fanboys that does not add anything to the saga.

  28. Pedro Felipe Says:

    I really enjoyed the Last Jedi and, in my opinion, what Rian Johnson managed to pull off was incredible. Yes, there are several problems with the movie , like: it’s still rebel underdogs vs Empire, Luke’s hiding instead of helping his friends, etc. But the thing is, these things were really set in stone at the end of the Force Awakens. I remember I ripped that movie up and down because of these things. At least the reason The Last Jedi gave for Luke’s reclusion restored, at least partially, his heroicness for me.

    The Movie is visually pleasing, with really great shots, a massive visual upgrade over the eyesore, uninspired, fanboy pleasing, grain infested, badly lit, rushed CGI, TV show like framing of several shots, out of focus 35 mil film mess that was the Force Awakens.

    John Williams’ score is also much better this time, with clear references to the Prequels. It’s funny how the haters keep saying Williams’ score for Force Awakens and Last Jedi “has what that of the Prequels missed” and “goes back to the roots”, when in fact is obviously the work of a more mature John Williams and, in many ways, because of factors like the types of instruments used and flat out borrowing, much closer to the Prequels. After all, why shouldn’t it be based on all the evidence we have?
    He’s the one person that doesn’t hold his references at all, he was always very passionate about his work on I, II, III and I never saw any hints that he cares about “geek opinion” (He said he never actually watched any of the finished movies, so it wouldn’t even make sense for him to discriminated the use of previous scores based on that). Also, as Rian Johnson himself said, they basically just handed down the movie for him to score it and he had complete freedom (sadly, gone are the days of George Lucas overseeing until the last minute the subtleties of sound mixing or deciding whether or not to have a chorus on Duel of The Fates). Those references were already present in Force Awakens and they’re more evident here. For example, the Attack of the Clones “Mystery” cue shows up more than once, and listen to those drums as Kylo Ren exits his ship to confront Luke.

    Speaking of Prequel references, obviously it’s far from ideal, but still an undeniable and significant improvement over Awakens. In addition to the Sidious reference, there’s a focus on the Balance of the Force. There’s a mosaic in that water pool on the Jedi Temple cavern, showing a Jedi meditating and representing Balance, using imagery that resembles the yin yang symbol. Terms matter, pay attention to how “The Jedi Order” is mentioned by Rey and Snoke, whereas they were only referred to as “The Jedi” in Force Awakens. Canto bight looks gorgeous, obviously evocative of The Prequels, and guess what! It really ticked of the Prequels haters over at “screen rant”
    (https://naboonews.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/screen-rant-complains-that-the-last-jedis-canto-bight-looks-too-much-like-a-prequel-planet/). I just can’t stop laughing how ludicrous this piece is and how much it confirms what we already knew and have being saying all along: that the haters are a bunch of intellectually dishonest liars who don’t know a thing about making movies. Look how they call a ton of practical effects “CGI”. They don’t even know what is CGI!!! They don’t get one of the creatures right!!! How the hell did they get this job!!!! But they keep gnashing their teeth at anything that’s not “dirty, desert” or “dark and gritty” as “bad CGI”, just like in their “analysis” of the Prequels.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Thank you for your take, Pedro. I would not be surprised if I agree with you when I have finally watched the movie.

  29. andywylde77 Says:

    Now that I have seen TLJ again, there is a lot more that I actually liked about it. I still have some issues, but the new directions they took really were done well.

    It really tugged at my heart strings when Luke faded away. Right after he had a tender moment with his sister. And I really like the idea of Rey and Kylo having a strong bond with the force. And the throne room sequence was very good. It was definitely a huge call back to ROTJ, but I think how they handled the end part was great. I loved how Kylo and Rey were fighting as a duo!

    And I have seen a lot of people whining about the Canto Bight scene. Because it reminds them of the prequels. Good grief! Give me a break. I personally liked that scene because it was showing the glitz and glamour of the SW universe. It had a very Coruscant feel to it. And I love the Canto Bight cop uniform. I would definitely rock one of those as a costume.

    But Luke’s humor is what really made the film for me. He wasn’t just being Luke, but he was also displaying Mark Hamill himself. Like how he walked past 3PO and gave him a wink. Something Mark would do in real life no doubt. But did anyone notice when Luke first sees R2 on the Falcon and he takes his hood off in the same manner as Ben did in ANH when he saw R2?

    Though the scene with Luke staring off into the suns before he faded away was one of the best moments in the series. That sequence held so much weight to it. Luke had now gone full circle. But I will miss Luke. And it was weird watching Chewie in the Falcon every time without Han there. I kept expecting for him to just pop up on screen 😦

    And yes…the Porgs are adorable. Sorry I can’t help watching those lil critters. If they were real I would no doubt have them as a pet. They won me over.

  30. Sithlord666 Says:

    This is not only the worst Star Wars film but one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in general. There is a Matrix sequels rip off. Kylo Ren is an evil Neo and Ray is a good Agent Smith. “I knew as my Apprentice grew stronger in the Darkness his equal in the light would arise.” This explains why Rey is so powerful however it does not explain how she knew the Jedi mind trick in force awakens. Also where did Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber come from? Why did the lightsaber give her visions? Who is snoke and where is he from? How did he come to power? How is Yoda able to use lightning to interact with the material world? How is Yoda able to make Luke feel his stick when he Jabs him? How is Luke able to have the dice materialize across distances and disappear? How did Ray get to the Millennium Falcon after escaping on snoke shuttle? Why did the purple hair lady refuse to tell po or plan? How did snoke seduce kylo Ren to the dark side? Why did the beacon that knew Rey location just so happen to fall out of Princess Leia’s possession in front of Finn after she gets sucked in space and fly back and goes into a coma? Why after only one day of training does Ray qualify to be the next Grandmaster of the Jedi Order?

    The Rose and Finn storyline was unbearable I walked out every time they were on the screen. When she said I love you after knowing fin for only 4 hours it made me want to kill myself. Luke Skywalker the man who believed there was good in his father even after he was a murderer would never kill his nephew proactively over a vision. It contradicts the character from the original trilogy. Also this film feels very anti prequel in the sense that they have getting rid of midi-chlorians because now the force awakens in people whenever just as it did with Ray in her late teens early 20s as seen in the force awakens. The lightsaber battle was horrendous. They just stood around pointing their lightsabers for 5 minutes talking. This movie isn’t a story. It is a non-story. Because it doesn’t explain nothing. It is just a bunch of random scenes and pointless action

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Don’t hold back, tell us how you really feel.

    • Natalie Says:

      I agree, the movie is complete garbage. And WTF is the “Force awakens” shit? Everyone was connected to the Force before anyway but some people had more potential (not necessarily hereditary, the Skywalkers are the only Force sensitive family we actually know from the movies and it turns out the Force even created Anakin). If everyone is special, then no one is. Don’t forget your participation trophies on the way out.

  31. fundhund Says:

    I had pretty mixed feelings while watching it, but as it stands right now, I like it better than both The Force Awakens and Rogue One. And with Laura Dern´s Vice Admiral Holdo, it even introduced the first character of this new trilogy that I actually like!

  32. Sithlord666 Says:

    This film made Me embarrassed to be a SW fan. I threw away all my shirts, threw away my posters, and gave away my model x wing and jengo fett helmet. Disney Star Wars is like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place to me and I wouldn’t be caught dead affiliating myself with that lame corny nonsense…now I feel this way about SW. Star Wars is dead. Episodes 1 to 6, clone wars, and the Old EU are all that matters. Time to move on and I say this sadly…grow up. I will never let on that i like SW or even talk about SW ever again. I hate Disney, Kathleen Kennedy, rian Johnson, and JJ abrams with all my heart. It’s like they murdered my wife and got found “Not guilty” Thanks for all you have done lazy padawan. You are a true keeper of the holocron. Farewell my friends…

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I think this is overkill (uh, killing your wife?) but sorry to see you go.

      • Natalie Says:

        I think he has a point: Star Wars is becoming a joke. It was never the case before, despite what the prequel haters would you to believe. It’s not even Marvel, it’s closer to the Transformer level now.

  33. emmasrandomthoughts Says:

    I liked the movie, though it is flawed.

    The bond between Kylo Ren and Rey is certainly the most compelling part of the movie. I shipped Reylo from when I saw the film (technically before. I saw the film after it came to DVD. Before I saw it, I saw Screen Junkies’ Honest Trailer for the Force Awakens. When I saw the image of Rey swooning and Kylo Ren scooping her up, my jaw dropped. I could not believe that they included that image. I had to go back and watch it again to make sure I saw what I saw.) They did a good job with the Force Bond, but I felt they could have used two more to make the scene in the hut feel believable and earned. I think they also made a lot of people who want Rey and Kylo Ren to team up and work together.

  34. ljones1966 Says:

    I am beginning to believe that it was a mistake to make this new trilogy a part of the Skywalker family saga. I mean . . . Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and the Disney suits could have used this new trilogy as something separate from the Skywalker family saga. They could have used the occasional character from Lucas’ two trilogies as minor characters. Which they did in “Rogue One”. Only in that film, I think they made the mistake of giving that particular movie a story arc that had strong connections to “A New Hope”.

    Then again, Abrams might reverse what Rian Johnson had written about Rey and actually make her a part of the Skywalker saga in “Episode IX”. I don’t know. I’ll have to see how I feel about the new Han Solo film. If I end up liking it, then I can only surmise that Disney should stick to stand alone films. If I don’t . . . I don’t know. I just don’t know.

  35. Von Lewis Says:

    it’s kinda funny and sad at the same time that they’re bashin’ the hell outta ep1-3 so they can praise TFA and TLJ, even though I liked TLJ. They bashed the SE for that Han shootout, but they okay with Han bein a deadbeat dad, failed racer,failed husband, and just a damned joke of a man?

    They hate midichlorians [even though they’re translators of the force], but they okay with clickin your heels 3 times to be a god/goddess in the force?

    Don’t get me started on Luke as well.

  36. Pedro Felipe Says:

    I just thought I would ask you that are around here: What’s up with all that Canto Bight hate? It was one of my favourite parts of the movie and I see it get trashed by Prequel haters everywhere. I think the real problems with the movie are the whole context of the plot “The Republic is Decimated” and the handling of Luke’s character (I think Rian Johnson pulled off something incredible like I said elsewhere though, I expected much, MUCH worse after the total train wreck they did with The Force Awakens, at least he found a more or less coherent way to “redeem” him for abandoning his friends, even tapping into a major theme of I, II and III, the flaws of the Jedi Order, to explain the mystery).

    • andywylde77 Says:

      I really liked the Canto Bight scene because of the visuals and atmosphere the most. The story element of that part was pretty weak though But I enjoy seeing the different sides of life in SW.

  37. ljones1966 Says:

    I think a lot of people didn’t like the Canto Bight sequence because the mission there proved to be irrelevant, aside from Phasma’s death. Personally, I rather liked it. But I could not help but wonder if Vice Admiral Holdo had not been so secretive with Poe Dameron, the whole mission could have been avoided.

    • Natalie Says:

      I think the problem with it is that it was very Earth like. At least Lucas adds robots and aliens when he uses mundane settings. It was also very in your face with the cruelty towards animals and children. Compare it with Lucas’s subtle handling of various forms of slavery in the first I-VI

  38. andywylde77 Says:

    Did anyone else notice the scene with Maz where she said she was in the middle of a :union dispute” and no one wants to hear about it? I guess that was a dig at the prequels. But done in a joking way. I believe it was anyway.

    And I was really happy when Luke brought up how Darth Sidious was the one who set the Empire into place and created Darth Vader. And then Rey brings how the Jedi played a part in it as well. A pretty good scene. But the fact Luke brought up Darth Sidious by name was great.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yeah, liked that too.

    • Pedro Felipe Rabelo Almeida Says:

      Nah, I think your’re reading too much into Maz’s line. To me it sounds nothing like a dig because it’s in a typical “this is ugly”, “Gangster Dispute” kind of sense, if you know what I mean. This is supported by all the blaster fire and her use of a jetpack in the hologram if you play close attention, and the witty way she delivers it sugests a very contextual reference. Believe me, I am very hypersensitive to even the tiniest sugestion of Prequel bashing, specially after the trauma of the “Jar Jar’s bones in the desert” routine back in the marketing campaign for Force Awakens.

      • andywylde77 Says:

        No I saw it as a light humor type scenario. I don’t think it was done in bad taste or anything. Maybe I did see too much perhaps? But I just saw it as a little humor connected to the PT with trade DISPUTES. But either way I didn’t mind it.

  39. ljones1966 Says:

    Kylo/Ben has fallen in love with Rey and Rey in turn develops compassion and love for Ben.

    I’m sorry, but I cannot deal with this. The above strikes me as wrong in so many ways. I’m supposed to accept that Rey is now in love with the man child? A few days after he had committed a series of crimes against her, which included him trying to penetrate her mind against her will? That’s like Shmi Skywalker falling in love with one of her Tusken captors to me. I hope and pray J.J. Abrams clear up this matter and make Rey a Skywalker. If not, I’m through with any of the Disney Star Wars films if the company is going to support this kind of misogynist romance, which I find utterly repellent.

    • PegliOne Says:

      I totally agree, though I frankly can’t expect more from Disney, the creators of Beauty and the Beast and more or less identical (if not more misogynist) Beauty and the Beast remake. Their recent attempts to be feminist feel so fake and profit driven.

  40. PegliOne Says:

    I honestly dislike the film. I’ve only seen it once, so I might grow to tolerate it with time, but I don’t think I’ll ever see it as a Star Wars film.

    First of all, here are some things I liked;

    1. The visuals: They weren’t as unique or interesting as the visuals in the prequels, particularly Revenge of the Sith, but they were still cool. I liked the porgs and crystal wolves even if they didn’t add much to the story. The rich people planet (Canto Bright, I believe) also looked cool as did they caves with the red crystals.

    2. The critique of economic inequality: Though the political themes were poorly incorporated into the film, I’m a proud leftist, so it was nice to see those themes in there. I can understand why non-leftists would get annoyed, because it felt kind of preachy.

    3. Most of Kylo Ren’s scenes (with the exception of the scene where he was shirtless, which I felt was an inappropriate way to force humor and sexuality into the story): I liked seeing his moral conflict and the hints that he’s going to ultimately turn good (I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t since his return to the light is so strongly set up).

    Now onto the things I really didn’t like.

    1. The insistence on destroying the past: In this case, the past is the Star Wars saga, so it felt like Disney was saying screw you to the franchise that George Lucas had established. Everything from Luke tossing the lightsaber (and generally being a cynical jerk) to Yoda burning the Jedi texts because they weren’t “page-turners” (it was a funny line, but Yoda is meant to be a wise, patient 900 year old, not a millennial with no attention span) to Luke dying having taught Rey very little about what it means to be a Jedi aside from a cliche “believe in yourself” message (in particular there was no reference to the importance of emotional peace and discipline).

    If Disney wanted to make their own sci-fi franchise they should’ve just done so instead of taking over and later killing Star Wars.

    2. The cynicism: It’s not just that Luke is a cynical asshole in this film. The entire film has a cynical tone from its opening title scroll, which basically says that the bad guys have won. Luke is described as the only hope for the resistance and when we see him, he refuses to help them.

    From then on, hopes keep getting set up and then smashed. We’re made to think that Kylo Ren has come back to the light, he hasn’t. The Resistance sends a signal to the Outer Rim for help. Nobody answers. Those sorts of scenes weighed on me in a depressing way so that when they ended by trying to evoke a sense of hope, it felt weak.

    3. The Kylo Ren – Rey pairing: Kylo Ren proudly identified as a monster and did monstrous things throughout the Force Awakens, not because he was overwhelmed with anger as Anakin was, but because Kylo Ren just wanted to (for some reason that isn’t really explained, beyond showing the incident that apparently pushed him over the edge). Despite this, a romantic relationship is set up between him and a woman he mentally tortured.

    This makes it feel like a cliche story about a good girl fixing a bad man with her love (which isn’t what Anakin and Padme’s relationship was). If they had just wanted to reference the way Luke redeemed Vader they should’ve kept the relationship platonic and not had Rey act so nice and naive.

    While Luke believes that Vader can be redeemed, he has a tougher approach towards him, by saying things like “then my father is truly dead” and ultimately defeating him in a duel and cutting his arm off. He proves that he’s stronger and wiser than Vader. Rey on the other hand is completely at Kylo Ren’s mercy.

    I feel uncomfortable that their romance has already implicitly begun at this point (while the only time we see real intimacy between Luke and Vader is after Vader comes back to the light) and would’ve preferred it if Kylo Ren had come back before either of them expressed a romantic interest in each other.

    4. The humor: This ties in with the first point. The humor in this film, while at times funny, is disrespectful towards all that Star Wars is. Both the prequels and the original trilogy had goofy comic relief characters, but the more powerful characters, both heroic and villainous got to maintain their dignity.

    Prequel haters may dislike Jar Jar and the low brow humor associated with him (which I can’t say I’m a fan of, though it didn’t ruin the movie for me), but what if Anakin or Obi-wan or Qui-gon or Padme or Darth Maul or Palpatine had been subjected to it instead? That’s basically what the Last Jedi does. Hux and Kylo Ren become the butt of childish jokes, while the other important villains, Snoke and Phasma, are easily killed off. Luke and the Jedi Order also suffer a loss of dignity for the sake of laughes.

    It boggles me how people can freak out over Vader screaming at the end of Revenge of the Sith and be okay with everything that’s deliberately done to make us laugh at dignified characters in the Last Jedi. How is one moment like that worse than similar moments occurring deliberately throughout a film?

    I’m sure I’ll have more to say at some point, but I feel the backlash is justified and it bothers me that the media thinks only right-wingers against social justice hate this film. There are plenty of other reasons to be angry at it.

    • ladylavinia1932 Says:

      While Luke believes that Vader can be redeemed, he has a tougher approach towards him, by saying things like “then my father is truly dead” and ultimately defeating him in a duel and cutting his arm off. He proves that he’s stronger and wiser than Vader. Rey on the other hand is completely at Kylo Ren’s mercy.

      I have a little problem with this. I have never regarded Luke’s act of chopping off Vader’s arm as a sign of him being stronger and wiser than Anakin. That act, along with the duel, was driven by Luke’s anger and fear, when Anakin taunted him about turning Leia to evil.

      • PegliOne Says:

        Fair point, Luke chopping off Anakin’s arm wasn’t the most virtuous of acts, though that reinforces my claim that Luke and Rey behaved differently. Luke is forgiving enough to believe that Anakin can be brought back, but not so forgiving that he isn’t angry at him for everything he’s does (or could potentially do). By the middle of the Last Jedi, Rey seems to have forgotten that Kylo Ren has ever done anything bad.

        It disappoints me that Rey isn’t allowed to really struggle with the darkside like Luke did. Yes, there’s that scene where Rey meditating and she feels the darkness calling her, but it’s very much an external pull, while Luke and Anakin were drawn to the darkside by their own internal flaws.

        The only time when Rey feels anger within her (and her feelings are associated with the darkside) is when she calls Kylo Ren a monster in the Force Awakens and that incident is discussed here, but within the Last Jedi film itself she shows no signs of having character flaws that could draw her to the darkside.

        This makes it hard for me to relate to her as a character. Darkside traits like anger and aggression are seen as unacceptable for women in our culture, so the sequel films don’t really dare to show them in Rey. Nor does she seem to have any other serious flaws, unless you count not knowing who her parents are. Even after she finds out her parents are nobodies, this doesn’t make her doubt herself. She is an ideal woman from the standpoint of liberal feminism, but I think should would be more of a genuine inspiration to women and girls if she had real problems and overcame them.

    • Natalie Says:

      The casino scene is silly regardless of your politics. Basically, Rian Johnson asked himself: how do I show evil rich people so that it screams evil and indulgent? Why, I’ll just show them having fun in a casino which looks exactly like your typical Las Vegas or Monte Carlo. Well, here’s the thing: I’ve stayed in Vegas a couple of times and even played a little bit and I’m not a weapons dealer 😉 And, I’m sure, neither are the majority of visitors.

      Then, Finn and Rose are arrested for parking violation. Maybe it’s meant to be a satire but again, stupid in the Star Wars context. Being in the same cell with a code breaker who just waited for them to show up so that he could break out of the jail is another big contrivance.

      Then, they just have to make sure the viewers know that animal and child abuse is bad just in case they didn’t. Although, it seems rather strange they seem to care about animals more than about children. They also seem to forget the animals they freed could be easily rounded back again after they left.

      Just think back to the more nuanced portrayal of various forms of slavery in the I-VI and even the corporate plutocracy in the prequels.

      Of course, the fact that it’s made by Disney, makes this whole nonsensical subplot even more hypocritical.

  41. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Frankly, I’ve been more impressed by the chemistry between Rey and Finn, who is somewhat of an ambiguous character himself.

    • PegliOne Says:

      I agree. Finn was a stormtrooper and since has a somewhat cowardly character. I liked seeing that acknowledged in the Last Jedi. Not everyone is a fearless hero. It would’ve been cool to see the film to build on a romance between two established characters, instead of throwing in a character who’s mostly there to be a feisty love interest and fill ethnic quotas. I’m not in any way opposed to positive inclusions of ethnic minorities in Star Wars films, but they need to feel like a natural part of the story and be interesting characters.

  42. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I don’t regard Finn as a coward. I think he simply wants to start somewhere fresh, away from the First Order and where he can be at peace. Especially after spending his youth and early adulthood forced to be the minion of the First Order. I can understand his desire to escape. Also, his willingness to help Poe find a code breaker so that the Resistance can escape the First Order fleet , along with his willingness to sacrifice himself to sabotage the enemy canon does not strike me as the actions of someone with a cowardly nature.

    I’m not in any way opposed to positive inclusions of ethnic minorities in Star Wars films, but they need to feel like a natural part of the story and be interesting characters.

    Yes, and that is one of the few good things to emerge from “The Force Awakens” – the Finn character and his relationship with Rey. I don’t know what Rian Johnson thought he was doing with Rey and Kylo Ren, but I hope that J.J. Abrams will fix the matter.

    • PegliOne Says:

      Yeah, Finn does show heroism later on, after he tries to escape in the beginning, so he’s an ambiguous character like you said and feels more real than other characters who are represented as fearless (or at least they pretend they are). I think he can be heroic when he’s pushed to be, but it doesn’t come as naturally to him as it does for the other characters. His character arch in the Last Jedi is one of the better parts of the film.

  43. ljones1966 Says:

    I think you’ve just explained why I find it easier to relate to Finn than some of the other characters. I want the characters to be real and simply “heroic”. Isn’t it important that we all be true to ourselves than adhere to some ideal created by society?

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