I figure that I’ve waited long enough that anyone who really cares about the movie will have already seen it at least once. I’ve seen it twice. If you haven’t seen it but plan to, why are you still here? Turn the page already! Then go get your tickets.
Actually, if you’re not a big Star Wars fan, this is one you can probably hold out to see in home video. I’d like to see it once more in the theater, not because I liked the movie but because I’m that big a Star Wars fan. Actually, because I’m such a fan, I found this movie painful to watch. Director Rian Johnson was given free rein to do with as he pleases with the greatest film franchise in cinematic history and he left George Lucas’s empire in shambles.
I was just shy of my 12th birthday the first time I saw “Star Wars” in the theater. Ever since then I’ve dreamed of being Luke Skywalker, wielding my lightsaber and zipping across the galaxy in my X-wing fighter. In my mind I was the headstrong, adventure-seeking farm boy who rescues the princess and saves the populace from the clutches of tyranny.
Thank you, Rian Johnson, for turning the greatest hero in the galaxy into a decrepit, reclusive hermit and then needlessly killing him. Skywalker was so far out of character in “The Last Jedi” that I had to wonder if this was the same hero I grew up with.
On top of that, the movie was filled with so many plot holes and letdowns that you have to wonder what the Disney and Lucasfilm executives were smoking when they green-lighted this train wreck. Not only did they OK it, they gave Johnson the nod to make three more Star Wars movies! (I’ve got a bad feeling about this.)
Let’s take a closer look, shall we? First you have General-Princess Leia getting blasted into space and not only surviving, but also flying back to the ship to be rescued. Then there is the issue of gravity in space needed not only for dropping bombs but also the falling back of a spaceship out of gas.
The original trilogy of films gave us Force ghosts of fallen Jedis. Now they don’t even have to die. They can use their Jedi power to project themselves as some kind of Force avatar. If the Jedi had that power, why did they use holograms when they were at the height of their power in the prequel trilogy?
Don’t even get me started on how ridiculous the whole slow-speed chase was with the mighty First Order fleet managing to stay just out of range of the feeble remnants of the Rebel fleet when they clearly had the ability to not only catch them, but surround them and annihilate them in a heartbeat.
Speaking of annihilations, Johnson managed to give a lot of key characters some rather meaningless purposes and deaths. In one blast he eliminated Admiral Ackbar and other minor characters from the original trilogy.
Following “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” there was a huge build-up and a lot of speculation about who Supreme Leader Snoke is and who Rey’s parents are. They all turned out to be nobodies.
In a parallel to “The Return of the Jedi” when Darth Vader brings Luke Skywalker before the emperor, “The Last Jedi” gives us Kylo Ren bringing Rey before Snoke. Not only was the latter lacking the same drama and suspense, but both ended the same way with Vader and Kylo each vanquishing their masters. Snoke’s death came so quickly and easily that it reminded me of Boba Fett – a character with a big build-up but a small scene and little to no overall significance. The same thing happened with Captain Phasma. There was a lot of hype but all she had a cameo appearance and then died.
One of the things that really disappointed me was how Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 were little more than window dressing in this movie, providing nothing more than scant comic relief. Speaking of comic relief, I must admit that I do like porgs. That’s something Johnson did right.
Unfortunately, when you look at all the characters Johnson killed off (compounded by the passing of Princess Leia actress Carrie Fisher) plus the deflated suspense coming off of “The Force Awakens,” it’s a wonder that director J.J. Abrams has anything left to work with when he takes over for the ninth part of the saga. Abrams directed “The Force Awakens” and got a lot of criticism for killing off Han Solo. Still, he delivered a fresh and enjoyable chapter to the Star Wars legend.
One can only hope he can do better with Star Wars than he did for Star Trek. As the director of the rebooted “Star Trek,” he delivered a masterpiece but then followed-up with a clunker of a sequel.
In the meantime, we have “Solo: A Star Wars Story” coming out this spring. Lucasfilm gave its directors the boot midway through production and replaced them with Ron Howard, who is one of my favorite directors. I have high hopes for that one.
May the Force be with “Solo,” because it certainly wasn’t with “The Last Jedi.”