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**If the intro text wasn't any indicator. This article does contain light spoilers. Nothing heavy world-changing ones.
I didn't enjoy Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Yes, I know some may think, "DA FUCK did you drink Zechs? THE MOVIE WAS AWESOME." I can see how some can enjoy it. Me? It just never took me. I tried to enjoy it. By the force, I tried to enjoy this film, and there were parts I did enjoy. But, something felt off. Really really off.
I tried to process what was making me not enjoy my experience. I thought of the Prequel Trilogy. "It's not the dialogue. This is witty. It isn't the acting. Why the fuck am I not enjoying this?" Then it hits me. My mind begins thinking of the problems with the overall plot.
The Last Jedi is full of plot holes, but this sort of thing is not unusual for a Star Wars film. But really, the plot hole is basically how utterly pointless Finn's (John Boyega) journey in this film is really just another retread of the previous film. It feels like he learned NOTHING from the other film. It also guts me in the fact you could take out his entire subplot, and the film wouldn't have suffered at all for it. It would have made the movie much smoother.
Oh sure, it cuts away an amazing fight he has with Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), but it just feels so flimsy. The only reason the subplot almost works is the fact that Kelly Marie Tran's Rose power of presence. But even then the plotholes are aplenty. How the hell did ____ know of the Resistance's plan when Finn and Rose didn't (they knew of another)? So how the hell did ____ piece that together when he had 0 clues to that?
Also, dear God does this film series seem to hate Phasma. I remember after the Force Awakens, they promised more Phasma (and she was billed as this ultimate bad ass) and-- we get two scenes then she checks out. Oh, sure she gets a better more badassery exit scene this time. For a character hyped to be this trilogy's Boba Fett/Darth Maul, they never give Phasma any real meat or stuff to be as meaty as Fett/Maul (thankfully that's fixed in the comics, but STILL).
The other problem I have is how the events of the First Order/Resistance plot takes place at the same time as Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) are doing their thing. I just don't buy that this is happening at the same time. And oh sure you can give me the, "Well, maybe it's because of the planet they're on. The time there is longer than the time the First Order/Resistance plot is going on." But then you have the additional subplot Rey is also in going counter to her plot with Luke.
But then it truly hits me why this film bothers me: the villains. They are nothing compared to what we've gotten in the past. Phasma I made my rant on already. Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is alright, but the moment we get a possible defining character moment for him, it's squashed to promote another. Snoke (Andy Serkis) has the look and presence right, but the fact we know jack or shit about his character's origin. Probably we'll never get any period on this.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is again the focus, and his stuff is half/half. I love where his arc goes in this but I'm still pissed that we've yet to a few choice things with this character. Perhaps the finale will give us that. But the main issue with Kylo is well, he's this Saga's Vader. Snoke wants him to be the new Vader. But never once do we get him being Vader.
And therein lies the problem. Last year in Rogue One we had this scene:
We didn't get anything new with Kylo, other than being a good snake to try and further his attempts to sway Rey to his side. We don't get that with any of the villains here. There are two scenes with Kylo that almost work, but it just feels empty in when we get to the end result.
I just never rooted for him secretly, like one does with Vader. Nor does he carry that presence as Vader did. I do like where his arc ends up, but it just feels everyone around him villain wise is nothing. Vader had Palpatine, Piett, Ozzel, Tarkin, Boba Fett to bounce off. You get a glimpse of that barely at the end with Hux along with again aides turning another way at another tantrum of his.
The First Order needs a seasoned military vet. A Tarkin or Thrawn type character. Someone to provide actual intimidation in a new way, compared to what we've got in the past. It just isn't working here. I felt more freaking intimidated by Lauren Dern's Holdo and she's on the side of good (probably my favorite new character out of this film and gets the best moment). I really hope the next film broadens Hux's role or gives us someone new to chew that scenery.
The other is the film just doesn't know when to end. It has climax problem. Just when one climax happens. You'd think that would be enough? Nope. We have another climax. WAIT! You think it's over? NOPE. We've got one more climax. It was a bit too much. I get why the film was trying to do, but JUST PICK ONE and move on. I don't think the people behind this entry knew where to end this.
Say whatever ill of Force Awakens, but J.J. Abrams knew when to end the film properly. He ended it on the perfect note. Here? The makers of this film just put on the tackiest of tacky endings. Along with the fact with so many climaxes, I just don't think they knew where to end this film?
The final thing that irked me is no answers raised from the prior film. Rey's parents? Oh sure we get a sort of answer, but hell if I'm buying it. Snoke? Fuck if we'll ever get anything to this fucker now which is more assinine because then it makes him a Palpatine-wannabe.
But the most criminal moment of all is that John Williams music in this feels neutered in this. Even in the Prequel Trilogy Williams was at his most experimental trying out new themes here and there (they were probably the most redeeming thing about the Prequel Trilogy). He continued with that in the Force Awakens, but here? I never got any of that here. No new themes stood out (if at all). The old themes he brought in worked. It just felt like his gorgeous music was drowned out by the movie save for three moments. There were barely times I could catch Rey or Kylo's themes. Da hell movie?
But there was good. The movie did have some good humorous moments, along with Rey/Luke plot along with the message the film gives. Anytime either character was on screen I was glued. Again, the new heroes Rose and Holdo were amazing. The other new character introduced in this film? Not so much which was a criminal waste of Benicio del Toro. Finn felt under-utilized and a step back. But on the plus, Poe was given some much-needed dimension.
The problem is everything I've said already. Which is a shame, because if I ever watch this film. I'll just find myself just skipping ahead to those scenes alone. There is a good movie in here. There's just a lot of bloatedness that could have been cut to tighten things up. Which is a darn shame to close out the year on a whimper than a high note.
2.5 out of 5