The Last Jedi – Comments

A Long Movie

As I said before, I saw this movie five times in the theater, with a different group of friends each time. All of my friends noticed the same thing that I did when I saw it for the first time: this is a long movie – in actual time and – more importantly – in what it feels like.

Really, two and a half hours is not a terribly long movie. The bigger problem with this film is that it really feels much longer than the amount of time it takes to watch it. The story jumps around a lot and is very abrupt – there are intense scenes that are quickly followed by lighthearted ones. It also seems like it’s going to end about six different times.

The scene on the casino planet could have been removed almost entirely. It’s in the film in order to give Finn something to do, give some backstory on Rose, and introduce the idea that there may be Force-sensitive kids elsewhere. I bet Rian Johnson’s trilogy after this will use the kid from the end of this movie, and he wanted to create a backstory on him. But it’s just not necessary for this film. We still could have seen the kid at the end even without seeing how Finn and Rose end up with Mr. Code Breaker.

Fix these problems and it wouldn’t have seemed as long. Long movies can still be good, but they still have to be well-crafted. I’ve seen plenty of movies that were longer but I enjoyed a lot more.

Dead Characters

More evidence that Rian Johnson wanted to wipe the entire slate clean and start over – several characters died who really didn’t need to.

This one doesn’t bother me at all. It was the right move to have Kylo kill Snoke. Kylo’s character development depended on it. But I’m also glad that Snoke is dead – I hated his character and it’s a relief that he’s gone. I sure hope Abrams doesn’t bring him back in any form or fashion in the next film.

Snoke is treated as a character all of us should know already, but honestly, why do we care about him? I would have liked it better if Kylo Ren had turned to the Dark Side all by himself – or if Snoke wasn’t even a Force user at all. It’s like his only purpose is to be this trilogy’s version of the Emperor.

Snoke has obviously had many years of experience using the Dark Side of the Force, so where was he when Luke says there was balance after ROTJ? And where was he when the Emperor was in charge? So many unanswered questions exist about a character that nobody cares about.

Captain Phasma
I’m also glad Phasma is gone. Talk about another useless character. I never really understood why anyone liked her or why she was even necessary. Who cares that she has chrome armor. And since her armor can deflect blaster shots, why don’t all the stormtroopers have the same armor?

Vice Admiral Holdo
Honestly, I wish they had re-done this part of the film after Carrie Fisher passed away. I would have preferred to have Leia pilot the cruiser and not Holdo. And I’m surprised they didn’t do that. But Johnson probably didn’t care since for him to reboot the Saga, he’s going to kill everyone off anyway.

Luke Skywalker
I’m not really sure why Luke died in this movie. It certainly wasn’t from old age. The only clue I have is when Rey shoots Kylo the first time she sees him. Snoke was using the force to connect them and when Rey saw Kylo, she shot him and he felt pain. It didn’t kill him, but he seemed to have felt something. Kylo also tells Rey that she couldn’t be doing this because the “effort would kill” her.

Likewise, when Luke was tricking Kylo at the end of the movie, Kylo slices him in half and then stabs him with his lightsaber. Maybe this is what caused Luke to die right after that.

What a stupid Force power that would be. If just using it at all is enough to kill you and it also leaves you vulnerable to being killed while you’re on some other planet, that’s just stupid. Maybe Luke really wanted to die after all. Yet another reason to not like Rian Johnson’s decisions about this Saga.

Luke Skywalker

At the start of the Force Awakens, it says Luke has disappeared. Then we spend all this effort to try to find him, and we then discover that he’s been wasting time on Ach-To, deliberately separating himself from everyone.

In the Last Jedi, Luke says it’s time for the Jedi to end, and he backs that up by saying the Jedi have always failed. But I honestly can’t believe he would have cut himself off from the Force and allow his nephew to destroy the entire galaxy.

I see why Rian Johnson decided to take the film in this direction, but what he came up with just seems like character assassination. Luke had to be out of the picture at the beginning of this movie, but why couldn’t he have been using the Force to train new Jedi remotely?

I actually wonder what JJ Abrams intended when he chose to put Luke in hiding at the beginning of Force Awakens. Surely he couldn’t have wanted to make Luke a wuss. Here’s all this buildup from the Force Awakens to find Luke, and in this second movie it turns out to be a giant waste of time since he’s been sitting around feeling sorry for himself like a loser. And when Rey comes to him with a message from his sister, he ignores it. Only when R2 plays Leia’s message again does Luke decide to get involved. But then he has to go off and die. Sheesh. This is not the Luke I expected to see.

Luke and Ben Solo
The entire basis for this film and the Force Awakens was that Luke went into hiding after losing Ben Solo to the Dark Side. It would have been great if we could have seen how the Jedi are supposed to deal with trainees who are tempted to join the Dark Side. It’s unbelievable that Luke’s first thought was to try to kill Ben.

Maybe the ancient Jedi texts contain instructions or at least suggestions about what to do when someone is going over to the Dark Side. By now, we have seen at least three examples of Jedi who have turned to the Dark Side (Count Dooku, Anakin and now Ben Solo), but we have never seen a single example of a Jedi Master who tried to prevent a Jedi from turning to the Dark Side except by just fighting with them.

We’ve also never seen anyone turn from the Dark Side to the Light Side. Has this never happened? If it has, how do the Jedi convince others to come to their side? The Last Jedi was the perfect time to see this process, or at least the attempt, and yet we saw nothing here. It’s a missed opportunity, but maybe it will be corrected later. Doubtful, but possible.

Rey’s Parents

In my review for the Force Awakens, I discussed my thoughts on Rey’s parents. At the time, I thought there was a lot of evidence pointing toward Luke as her father. And honestly, I still think so. In the Last Jedi, however, Rey is told that her parents are “nobodies.”

Taking the entire film as a whole, it looks like Rian Johnson is saying that anyone can be a Jedi, and that your parentage doesn’t determine your destiny. I agree. Not everyone follows in their parents’ footsteps.

But on the other hand, I really hope in the next film that this will somehow be reversed. Why go through all the trouble of keeping Rey’s parents a “big secret” and then dismiss it so casually in this film?

Destroying Rey’s parents is just more evidence that Rian Johnson wanted to destroy what was created before so that he could start his own trilogy with a clean slate.