The Last Jedi, released on the 14th December in the UK, has been possibly the most divisive Star Wars film to date. The general consensus seems to be that fans loved it, hated it or were disappointed. I fall into the latter category. Although, to me no Star Wars film will top The Empire Strikes Back, I had high hopes for this film as the trailers impressed me by seemingly taking a darker tone. In some ways, this did deliver, but I couldn’t help but feel that the film was empty. In fairness, I saw the film twice and preferred it the second time where I didn’t have these expectations. Therefore in this review I will cover the main points I liked and main points I didn’t like and give an overall rating.
As I mentioned, the film is divisive. The critic approval rating on critic site rotten tomatoes currently stands at 91% whereas the fan rating is 49%.
The main thing that disappointed me in multiple ways was the writing. I felt that too many parts of the film were ridiculous, unnecessary or unexplained. By this I will focus on character deaths, the code breaker story line and Leia in space… I still can’t wrap my head around that.
Firstly, I was infuriated with the unnecessary killing off of Snoke, Luke and Phasma for different reasons. To me, Snoke was so unknown that I almost didn’t care. I felt that he made a compelling villain, but hardly anything about his background was known which I’d hoped they’d elaborate on in this film. This also makes me question where exactly the next film is heading (probably some dull feud between Rey and Kylo) without the masters present… which leads me onto the next. I was so annoyed by Luke being supposedly killed off. Although it is heavily implied that Luke did die at the end, I desperately hope not because Mark Hamill completely stole the show for me (I am not trying to be biased as I am a big Hamill fan). A lot of criticism was to how Luke was portrayed as dark and pessimistic which seems conflicting to his original character. I personally had no problem with this because I’d expect Luke to be damaged and broken during the rise of Kylo Ren. However, I felt angry that he was brought back simply to be killed off. I’d hoped he would see it through to the end. Finally, I was disappointed with Captain Phasma being killed off. Similar to Snoke, she had so much potential but had so little screen time it made me not really care. Gwendoline Christie is a terrific actor so I am disappointed that the screen time was use in unnecessary places.
Another element of the writing I didn’t like was the unnecessary use of time on the ultimately meaningless code-breaker sub-plot. so much time is spent following Finn and Rose on a plan that ultimately fails so is pointless. Although it is good to include failures, time seemed wasted by focusing as much time on this as there was. I found the unexplained circumstance of Leia ‘flying’ through space to be odd. Although she is force sensitive as we have seen before, this seemed rather random. I wouldn’t have minded, but it was never actually mentioned again by any characters.
One aspect that really irritated me was Rey beating Luke in the ‘dual’. This to me just seemed so unrealistic. In general Rey’s Mary-Sue character annoys me. Although I like Rey on the whole, her ability to somehow be good at everything without really trying is a cliche I wish wasn’t present. This was mainly reflected here, where Luke a Jedi Master with years of experience got beaten by a girl with next to no experience. Although I understand that they are trying to show that Rey is powerful, this just didn’t make sense to me.
On the other hand, I did like a handful of other aspects of the film. For example I was pleased to see an appearance from Yoda which to me just made the film feel like original Star Wars no matter for how long a time. I felt this was a warm appearance seeing an older Luke with his wise master which to me, served as a reminder to ourselves of Luke’s power and to act as a reassurance to Luke. I liked all of Luke’s reunions with characters such as R2-D2, Chewbacca and Leia.
In general I liked the introduction of the animals such as the Porgs, Vulpatex and Fathiers and the underlying criticism of animal cruelty of the Fathiers in the code breaker sub-plot. However, I am glad there wasn’t too much of the porgs or it would have taken away the darker tone of the film.
One major thing I was impressed with was the fight where Rey and Kylo worked together to defeat Snoke’s guards. The action was unique and it was good to see a full-flow lightsaber fight again. On a similar note, I did like the development of Rey and Kylo’s characters throughout the film, notably Kylos Ren’s ambiguous character and tormented soul. I am interested to see where this goes in the following film. I personally do see a possible romance between Kylo Ren and Rey, I feel that both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver have a solid chemistry which works well to give a convincing performance.
Finally I loved the dedication to Carrie Fisher and hope they do her justice in the next film.
Overall, I rate Star Wars: The Last Jedi 6.5/10.
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See the trailer here:
R.I.P Carrie Fisher, Our Princess