Not every movie is perfect and not-perfect movies can still be fun and enjoyable. I thought The Last Jedi was OK and said on Facebook that I’d rate it as a B-.
I’ve now started to collect hate emails (three in total)! The biggest of which was from someone who said they would never buy one of my books again because I didn’t say The Last Jedi was an A+.
Below is why I don’t think it is a perfect movie. There will be spoilers.
My three problems with The Last Jedi:
- Rose & Finn’s side mission lacks emotional impact
- Poe’s un-earned character arc
- The inconsistent tone
Rose & Finn
They go on a side mission. The side mission is pointless and fails. That’s fine. Characters are allowed to fail. However, there is no emotional impact or growth upon the characters having gone through that side mission. There almost was with giving Finn a new outlook on what war is, but it never pay off. He doesn’t really learn or change. Rose is an interesting character and one of the most likable characters in the movie, but all of the side-Casino-world stuff doesn’t connect emotionally with her sister dying or with her “sacrifice” at the end. The whole side-mission could be cut from the movie and the plot of the movie, as well as the characters, would be unchanged. For the whole sequence to be kept there needs to be some sort of emotional impact, and right now, there isn’t any.
Poe f*ed up. The whole movie is about Poe f*ing up again and again. He ignores Leia and gets people killed. He goes on his own and sends Rose & Finn on a mission. As a direct result of that mission failing, The First Order learns that the rebels evacuated their main ship. More people die. A few scenes later, the rebels are backed into a cave. It seems like the only option is to fight to the death, but Poe stops and is all like “Wait, let’s not just shoot people. Let’s think this through…” he then becomes a leader and leads the surviving rebels through caves to escape. The problem with the arc is that it’s completely artificial. Poe got hundreds, if not thousands of people killed. The weight of those deaths never sits on him. He spends the whole movie showing no sign of change and shows no hint of learning. When the change finally happens its because the plot demands it, not because it’s character driven. The arc is un-earned and feels forced as a result.
The Inconsistent Tone
The Last Jedi tries too hard to be Guardians of the Galaxy. The Last Jedi doesn’t know if it’s a more serious movie, a comedy, and it utterly fails at mixing in the humor. The tone is an inconsistent mess. It’s not that the jokes aren’t funny on their own, but the way so many of the jokes are used, they feel more like a Star Wars parody than actual Star Wars. Humor has always been a part of Star Wars, but the tone in The Last Jedi is so bipolar that it undermines the rest of the movie.
Bonus Topic: What They Did to Luke!
The version of Luke Skywalker that appears in The Last Jedi is NOTHING like the Luke from the original trilogy or even the now non-canon books. The movie explains it as Luke almost went Darkside and in doing so all of his students were killed or taken. Traumatic events can change people, but they did a bad job selling this in the movie. Instead of showing the same scene from three points of view they could have should more devastation, dead children, him having to tell Leia and Han what happened, or just about anything else. That being said… although this take on Luke may not be what many fans wanted the filmmakers were very consistent in how it was handled. They do a bad job explaining his downfall, but they did offer a reason. I understand why long time fans are upset about Luke, but only looking at The Last Jedi, his arc and how Rey reawakens him makes sense. Unlike Poe who has forced growth, Luke’s journey from the start of The Last Jedi till the end works and is earned.
Don’t Care What Others Think…
I don’t care if you LOVED The Last Jedi. Just like you shouldn’t care that I thought it was OK. Art is subjective. Each of us can go see the movie and either like it or not like it. That’s how Art works. If you loved it, that’s great! If you hated it, I’m sorry. Either way, you have the right to feel the way you do no matter what anyone else thinks about it.