“I think I liked it, too,” I had replied to my friend as we walked out of the theater. Usually we’re off like a rocket talking about the movie but this time we walked in silence for a bit, trying to process what we just saw. Being big fans of Star Wars, we’ve seen all the movies countless times. But this was something different, something brand new for the saga. And I couldn’t quite place whether or not I liked it.
I had spent months reading into every little bit of The Last Jedi that I could – studying the images and listening to other people’s speculation based off rumor sites. And with Lucasfilm hyping it to be such an excellent film – I expected to walk out of the theater with my fist pumped, talking about how much I loved the film – but I didn’t. So what’s holding me back from adoring this film?
At 2 hours and 30 minutes, you expect a lot to happen and a lot of story to move forward. For the “Force side”, the plot and scenes were wonderful. They delved into the grey that comes between the light and dark. They explored new Force powers such as Rey and Kylo’s connection where they could see each wherever they were and speak to one another clearly. Luke was able to project himself planets away into a full, fighting figure, able to touch, speak and hear. Rey and Kylo’s connection was explored a bit more as they’re able to see each other’s futures, leading to Rey trying to help Kylo only for Kylo to take the opportunity to take leadership for himself. Their stories were incredible and the strongest of the film. Hell, I’ll even say it’s the best Jedi/Force story we’ve had. The acting from Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Mark Hamill were all spectacular.
But then there’s the Resistance. In essence, it’s a chase scene that lasts for hours. (And I want to preface this by saying one of my favorite films of all time is Mad Max: Fury Road, which is a 2 hour chase.) I felt that Rian Johnson really dropped the ball with their story. The chase isn’t really what bothered me – it was the characters’ decisions within that story. Why did Amilyn Holdo refuse to tell Poe her plan so he would calm down? Because she didn’t say anything – Poe let Finn and Rose off on a reckless quest to find a codebreaker. While there, they helped save some enslaved animals. Poe held a mutiny to buy Finn and Rose more time, only for them to be caught on the First Order ship before they could complete their mission. And because of Finn and Rose’s somewhat choice of codebreaker, they ended up leading the First Order to find out what the Resistance was doing and targeted their ships, blowing Holdo’s whole plan. This all would’ve been solved if Holdo just told everyone the plan. I felt Finn and Rose’s whole story turned out to be trivial and it ruined the movie for me a bit. It just felt messy.
Other gripes I’d like to talk about were some scenes I felt were handled poorly. Leia using the Force to save her life. This scene is one my friends and I have dubbed “Superman Leia”, seeing as she uses the Force to essentially fly back to her ship and be rescued in time. I couldn’t say if it was because of the presentation or just the action itself, but the thought of the scene always makes me cringe.
Rose rescuing Finn had a very, very strong message. “We’re going to win not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.” It’s a beautiful message – right after Rose took her ship and smashed it into Finn’s, potentially killing both of them so she could ‘save’ him. Right in front of The First Order’s walkers mind you. No one is stopping them for some reason though. I guess they’re just watching the pathetic pair, letting them go.
Before I turn into full tangent mode – there were some things I liked a lot. And I feel I need to emphasize that after my two paragraphs of essentially ranting. This movie had some of the best scenes in all of the Star Wars films, surrounded by some messy scenes, comedy that didn’t land, and pacing issues. So with all of this being said – does this film live up to the hype?
I’m going to say no, the film didn’t live up to the hype. And that is my own fault entirely. I dug into almost everything I could find about the film, I listened to podcasts that talked about film rumors and their own speculations. I listened to Disney marketing, telling me just how amazing this film would be. And it wasn’t. It was the first time I really speculated about a Star Wars film, the first time I listened to rumors. I let other people’s opinions on characters seep into my own opinion. And because of this, it brought the movie down a tier for me. Not because I was upset by things not happening the way I wanted to – absolutely not. What upset me most is that these rumors, hype and speculations of others narrated what I thought I wanted from the film.
What it all boils down to is that I thought I would love this movie and I don’t. I like the movie. And after my second viewing, I still don’t love it. Which is disappointing to me – but it’s okay. If I can convey one thing that I learned for myself – follow your instincts on how you approach Star Wars movies. You’ll be happier for it in the long run.
- 8 Powerful Women That Rule the Galaxy in STAR WARS - May 4, 2020
- May the 4th Be With You: 41 STAR WARS Characters That Made an Impression - May 3, 2020
- Toss a Coin to These Fabulous WITCHER Covers - April 15, 2020