Well, The Last Jedi certainly did have a different, non-Star-Wars feel to it through much of it, but I liked it.
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I’m still digesting the movie, but here are some thoughts:
Snoke: I didn’t really like Snoke as a villain in The Force Awakens. However, while watching The Last Jedi, the character really grew on me. I ended up liking the character so much that I’m a little upset that they killed him off.
Poe: I’m glad Poe got more of a focus in this film. I felt he got the short end of the stick in TFA.
Finn: Finn was almost a secondary character in this film. You could remove all of his scenes from the movie and it would have no real effect on the end product. It was a little disappointing. I really thought they were going to kill him off at the end. That would have been a pretty bold film-making move. Alas, he is robbed of a heroic sacrifice.
Rey: Again, Rey ends up being great.
Kylo Ren: I was please that Kylo saw more character development in this film. The character had great “story” potential in TFA, and a lot of it is realized in this film.
Hux: Not much happening with Hux, which was all right. He was entertaining enough for the bits he was in.
Leia: Leia’s few scenes were all right, but I felt the whole “coming back from the dead” thing was kind of lame. Even though that was all done before Carrie Fisher died, I couldn’t help but feel like Leia’s apparent on-screen death and resurrection was in bad taste. I know that’s not a fair judgment, however.
Luke: I really like what they did with Luke. The whole “failed master” thing was a refreshing change. Hamill did a masterful job.
- Chewbacca gets a couple of good scenes, but he’s out of the picture for the most part.
- The three main droids all see reduced roles, too.
- I liked the new Vice Admiral Holdo character, played by Laura Dern. It sucks that they killed her off.
- Benicio Del Toro’s character, DJ, was great. I’d love to see more of his character.
- I liked the few First Order officer characters with speaking roles, especially the captain of the new Dreadnought ship.
One new main character which I haven’t listed yet is Rose. I actually have a fair number of gripes with this character. I just did not like this new character, even from the first few still images I saw of her before the movie. At first it was just an unfair dislike just because of her haircut (an unfair criticism, I know), so I kept an open mind for the movie. I even started off liking the character a little at the beginning of the movie, but that gradually faded.
Rose and Finn’s part of the story were entirely unnecessary. In fact, it totally felt like the movie was written without them in mind at first, then they were hastily written into the story after it was complete — Finn being added in because the script writer just forgot about him, and Rose being added in solely to appeal to the growing market in China. It didn’t help that the character was so clichéd, either.
I don’t care that the character of Rose was played by an Asian actress; it’s just painfully obvious that that’s the reason Disney added the character to the movie (a similar thing happened with Rogue One, but at least we got two awesome characters out of that). Seriously, stop writing in characters for their race just so you can pretend you don’t care about race.
It also felt like half the time Rose’s character was CGI and/or had her voice dubbed over. That was particularly jarring. I don’t know if this is just my mind playing tricks on me or what. A similar thing happened in Rogue One with the character of Baze Malbus in one scene. I don’t know if the filmmakers are using CGI to “fix” issues with acting, lighting, or whatever in post, similar to the way Lucas was editing together the performances for different actors from different takes to make one “ideal” take in the Prequels.
I felt most of the space battles were pretty lackluster. Some of that may be due to the fact that I saw the movie in 3D (due to lack of options). Dogfighting scenes in these movies are ruined by 3D: everything looks muddied and blurry.
The ramming of the Raddus into the First Order’s flagship, the Supremacy, was particularly spectacular. This was one of the best scenes in all the Star Wars movies combined. Even when it became obvious what was going to happen, it was still shocking. It was just a masterful piece of film-making. You could actually feel the entire theater’s collective jaw dropping when it happened, which is something I haven’t felt in a theater experience before. For those few seconds people were left speechless — the only sound the odd person’s voice being able to make was a gasp.
Some people complain about the comedy, but I thought it was all right. I was worried at first with Poe and Hux’s interaction at the beginning (“I can hear you, can you hear me? Is he hearing me?”); if the movie had had that tone throughout then it would have been an awful, awful movie. In hindsight, it’s similar to Poe’s humor at the beginning of TFA.
There’s still more to say about the film, but I’m just tired of typing. Again, I enjoyed it, and I’ll see it in the theater again. I’d rate it maybe a B-.