Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review
As many of you may be aware already, we here at Life of Films are not big fans of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we appreciated the foundations it had laid with the new characters like Rey and Finn. There is a good mystery around these characters such as who Rey’s parents are, and how Finn managed to defect from the new evil force looming over the galaxy - The First Order, ran by another mysterious figure in Supreme Leader Snoke who seemed like he had an interesting background. It also left us with questions about the original characters, especially Luke Skywalker, and why he has exiled himself. If, like us, you were looking forward to finding out more about these characters in The Last Jedi, then like us you will have been sorely disappointed.
With Snoke’s army somehow at full force again, given what happened at the end of The Force Awakens, and The Rebellion being down to as few as about 400 people, the fate of the galaxy was in Rey’s hands, to get her to persuade Luke to come back and help with the fight, so that he can inspire more people to join and fight against The First Order. The problem is that Rey is on a clock, due to the First Order locating The Resistance and are in pursuit of them, waiting for The Resistance fleet to run out of fuel, so that they can destroy what is left of them. I don’t really believe that a starship would just run out of fuel but I suppose it made for good suspense.
With Rey trying to bring Luke back, it left us with Finn and Poe on the ship with Princess Leia. Each character had their own little story on the ship:
Finn’s being that he desperately wants to leave so he can go find Rey and warn her not to come back to the ship which is being hunted.
Poe is having a weird life lesson about being a leader, not a hot shot.
Leia seems to be finding her Force roots, learning to wield rather than just feel.
Let’s start with Leia and her new found strength with The Force. Now, I don’t mind Leia being a Force-wielder, it makes complete sense for her to do so. What doesn’t make sense is when the bridge of the ship is blown up, and she is sucked out into space, how she is not killed instantly. Instead, she uses The Force like a giant magnet, which pulls her back in through the exploded hole to the airlock. Poe then opens up the door on the other side but isn’t then sucked out himself. I literally laughed as I saw ‘Super Leia’ fly through space. It was borderline embarrassing. At least it put her in a coma, which meant floating in space had some kind of affect on her.
Before Finn can leave the ship he is caught by ”Rose Tico”, a maintenance worker who takes it upon herself to guard the escape pods so that no one could flee. In their meeting they come to the realization that The First Order are tracking them through lightspeed, and that they would need to sneak onto the mothership and turn off this tracking device. This mission made sense to an extent, if it didn’t then mean that Finn and Rose had to fly to a random planet called Canto Bight, where they needed to find a hacker to help them. They find, via Maz’s intel, the hacker they are looking for, however they bring back Benicio del Toro’s DJ instead, who can hack, but inevitably betrays them, in turn making Finn’s story completely redundant as all they do is makes things worse.
During Finn’s mission, Poe is appointed to distract Vice Admiral Holdo, the new person in charge whilst Leia is in her coma, so that Finn has enough time to complete his mission. With Holdo creating her own plans for the crew to flee the ship and take refuge on the nearby planet Crait, she decides to not tell Poe this and allows him to keep on creating stupid distractions and thus has to continually punish him. If they had just had a chat about everything, the fleet would have been better off for it.
This leads me to Rey and Luke’s side of the story, and boy was this the most disappointing part. The Luke Skywalker I grew up with was the epitome of a hero. Putting others before himself, and always seeing the good in people. Here, that was all thrown out the window. This Luke we get is old, and none the wiser, and only cares about himself. I actually think the Luke in Return of the Jedi is wiser than that of the one in The Last Jedi. In the very last scene in The Force Awakens, we see Rey standing there holding out Luke’s father’s lightsaber, waiting for him to take it. This is the lightsaber that was with Anakin when he became Darth Vader, which is then handed to Luke by the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi, for then Luke to then lose, along with his hand, during one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. So, you would expect this scene to be dealt with carefully as this lightsaber holds a lot of emotional weight to the character and audience. Apparently not to Rian Johnson, the director, as he directs Mark Hamill to toss it over his shoulder and walk away because Luke is done with the being Jedi. This, for me, is the all the proof you need that Rian Johnson doesn’t care about Star Wars, and nor do Disney. I have never seen such disrespect shown to an object that is a part of something so loved, by so many. He uses something so important to get a cheap laugh, and this set the tone for much of movie - cheap laughs. In any scene where there may have been some kind of emotional weight, it was cheapened by a quip, gag, or someone doing something stupid, like brushing off their shoulder after being bombarded with blaster shots. Yeah, Luke actually did that - *eye roll*.
Throughout the whole film, Luke is nothing like I remember him to be. He's miserable, uncaring, and even had a whiff of evil. This is shown during the flashback to how Ben Solo turned into Kylo Ren, as Luke explains he saw evil in his nephew and for a second, whilst he was sleeping, he went to kill him so that Ben couldn’t hurt anyone, only for Ben to catch him just after Luke realises what he was doing was wrong, but Ben reacts and pulls down the walls on Luke with a Force pull. He then unleashes his anger on Luke’s school, which is what causes Luke to give up his faith and go into hiding, as he feels responsible for all that is happening in the galaxy now under Snoke and Kylo Ren’s reign. The fact that Luke’s first thought is to kill his nephew when he senses conflict in him shows Rian Johnson hasn’t really paid much attention to the original trilogy, as Luke risks his life to bring Anakin back to the light side of The Force, as he could sense conflict in him as well.
Now that we are onto Kylo Ren, I can talk about some of the positives of the film. Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren is, without a doubt, the best character in The Last Jedi. There is so much depth in his character, keeping the audience on their toes in regards to whether he would fall deeper into the dark side or come back to the light. The bond between him and Rey is a key factor to this story, and probably the highlight. Rey is so quickly fed up with Luke and his depressive state, she tries to resolve matters herself by going to see Kylo Ren and try and bring him back to the light side of The Force. As she goes to Kylo, he inevitably takes her to see Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke reveals that anything they have felt for each other has been manufactured by him, using his incredible strength with The Force. Due to this manipulation and the harsh treatment Snoke has given Kylo, Kylo decides to turn on his master, and kills him in the most stupid way. With Rey’s lightsaber sat next to Snoke, Kylo uses The Force to twist it and turn it on so that the blade shoots through Snoke and chops him in half. Not only do I find it odd that Kylo is able to turn a lightsaber on with The Force, as I have never seen that done before, but it completely undermines Snoke and the amazing power he has just demonstrated. On top of this, he is killed before we even find out who he is, and how he became so powerful, as well as disfigured. This power and disfigurement deserve to be explained, they need to be! Snoke was reduced to nothing more than a device to bring Rey and Kylo together, but with the aforementioned power, it seems a ridiculous decision.
With Snoke now dead, the scene directly after is a great highlight of the film, as we see Rey and Kylo team up to defeat Snoke’s guards with some epic teamwork. This is certainly the scene I can’t wait to watch again and again. Once Rey and Kylo finish defending themselves, Kylo tells Rey his plan to rule the galaxy himself and how he wants Rey to join him, as she is damaged, like him. He goes on trying to persuade her by telling her that he knows who her parents are, and that she herself has known all along. This conversation automatically gets everyone on the edge of their seats, waiting for Kylo to reveal that it is Han or Luke, maybe even Snoke, who they have just killed. But no, it’s nobody, just some wasters who sold her as a child to get an extra buck so that it could fuel their addictions. I mean, come on? The two characters we have been creating fan theories about for two years both turn out to be nobodies?! Disappointed just doesn't cut it.
Now that the Resistance/Rebellion are on Crait, and Ren is in charge of The First Order, he sends his army to go down and finish of his mother Leia, and what’s left of her rebels. With minimal time to escape it seems as though the galaxy's last hope is about to come to an end, until, by no surprise, Luke Skywalker appears (looking a lot younger than what we’ve seen in most of this film) to save the day. He has an emotional chat with Leia and apologises for his wrong doings, which was nice, and I enjoyed seeing them back on screen together. Luke then goes out to face this entire army, giving the rebellion time to figure out an escape.
The reason for Luke’s return is because he is visited by Force-ghost Yoda, which was probably the best scene in the film, even if Yoda did look a little off. Just seeing our beloved little green friend back on screen again, teaching us more about The Force was great, and a real highlight within the new era of Star Wars.
So now that Luke has come back, he walks out to take on The First Order. With their first attempt at killing Luke with a ton of blaster shots failing, complete with ridiculous shoulder brush, Kylo goes out to fight him. Finally, the scene I’ve been waiting all movie for, but boy does it disappoint. It’s not a fight at all. We just see Luke dodge two of Kylo’s lightsaber swings, for him to then finally get a hit, but only because Luke let’s him, by almost imitating Obi-Wan’s famous line “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”, only for Kylo Ren’s blade go straight through Luke, revealing to the audience that Luke was simply just a Force projection.
With Kylo Ren failing to quash the remainder of the Rebellion, ultimately allowing them to escape, the film goes to Luke over on his lonely planet Ach-To, where we see him weakened by projecting himself over to Crait. As we watch him look out to a the infamous twin suns, just as we see him do in the legendary scene in A New Hope, with his famous theme playing behind him, Luke fades away, granted a Jedi’s death. This was somewhat a very touching scene, but sadly it just followed on from a very awkward and pointless fight scene, as well as a very disappointing and out-of-character portrayal of his character we all know and love.
There we have it, an extremely long, spoiler-filled movie review of The Last Jedi. I really wanted to love this film, but sadly it has well and truly been corrupted by Disney. I am a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the one thing that has always bugged me is the cheap gags which always took away from the seriousness of the scene. It upsets me to know that this same format has seeped its way into my favourite film franchise. I think I have to come to the realisation that Star Wars is gone.