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For starters it’s tough because I want to talk about it without giving away any spoilers but mostly it’s difficult because the general early consensus among critics for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it is great. They love it. “One of the Most Intelligent Blockbusters of the Year”, “An Explosive Thrill Ride Of Galactic Proportions”, “A Welcome Disturbance in The Force,” they’re saying. The professionals are unanimously gushing over it… BUT, according to Rotten Tomatoes and some other forums/websites, some of the fans have other ideas. I think a lot of them have been split right down the middle with their opinions.
You might have seen my live videos on Facebook from the midnight screening, actually no you didn’t. You were all asleep or doing better things. Anyways I was excited. PUMPED. I really REALLY wanted to like this movie. Sadly, I did not.
I came out of the cinema thinking, yeah that was good. I kept telling myself it was good all the way home but once the shock wore off, my reality gradually set in. There were a lot of moments where I had my hands up in the air going “what the fuck?”, but not like “gasp! what the fuck?” More like “what the actual fuck!?!?”.
Before I go any further I will say you need to see it for yourself. If you wanted to see this movie as bad as I did then you absolutely still should, do not under any circumstances let this butt-hurt, hack review hold you back.
I’ll start with the positives. It’s visually spectacular and the actors for the most part all deliver fantastic performances. Daisy Ridley is perfect, Oscar Isaac is excellent, Mark Hamill steals the show and Carrie Fisher is beautiful, it’s bittersweet being able to see her on the screen as Princess Leia one last time.
So why didn’t I like it?
Well, it’s as if Disney has left the cover off the Star Wars sandbox overnight and a big tomcat in the form of writer/director Rian Johnson snuck into the yard and defecated right in the middle of it.
Star Wars movies have a very distinct look and feel and while there’s a little bit of wriggle room in there, when you’re in the middle of a trilogy and you bring in a new director, and he wants to tinker with things you’ve got problems. I just feel like Johnson’s ego was such that he wanted to make his mark with his own Star Wars movie, whereas JJ Abrahms in making The Force Awakens was more focused on the fans and writing some past wrongs.
I think Johnson has zeroed in on newer and younger fans, which is probably smart business. A lot of people have seen this film as one that is pushing boundaries and taking risks but this old fan just sees it as him shitting in the sandbox. Especially when you get the not so subtle messages he’s put out there with lines like, “this is not going to go the way you think” and “let the past die, kill it”.
The continuity is broken between this movie and The Force Awakens right at the opening crawl and the knockout punch happens in the first scene between Luke and Rey. Even the creatures don’t look quite right, if you were worried about Porgs being a dumb and unnecessary addition you had good reason to, they’re rubbish.
Johnson takes the majority of characters from the prequel, tosses them around like a salad and sends some of them, like Finn, off on pointless story arcs. I was watching him go through his scenes thinking, I honestly do not give a shit about what happens to this character now. And the worst part is that the movie doesn’t really adequately address most of the big unaswered questions from The Force Awakens or when it does offer any exposition it seems tossed aside and we’re onto the next scene. These are the “what the fuck?” moments I’m talking about. Then there’s the “why the fuck?” moments—introducing either pointless or irritating characters, like Benicio Del Toro’s, DJ who looks and talks like a poor imitation of Brad Pitt’s character from 12 Monkeys or Lara Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, who seems to be repping the purple rinse brigade.
And then there’s the jokes, this film is jam packed with jokes. Some of them are very funny but a lot of them take the edge off the really dramatic moments. Most of them are made at the expense of the First Order and it makes them come across about as menacing as a stifled fart. Particularly Domnhall Gleeson’s General Hux, who has been relegated to slapstick comic relief, when you put him up against similar characters from movies past like Director Krennic or Grand Moff Tarkin, he just doesn’t make any sense!
Look, it’s not completely devastating, And I am still curious to know how things will resolve in the aftermath of the events that took place in this film, but I won’t be going out of my way to attend a goddamn midnight screening for the next one.
If you’ve been to see it and you loved it, I am sincerely very happy for you, I actually wish I was in that camp and if you’re like me and you hated you’ll get over it, either that or you might be able to make a fortune selling your toy collection. It’s just a movie, it’s not the event that previous Star Wars films have been, there was no goosebumps, no chills, just lots of jokes, a director with a big ego and a really poor interpretation of good characters.