No, the movie is not treading new ground. No, I am not annoyed by its casting, and neither am I impressed by it. I am not in any way emotionally attached to Star Wars. I used to be, but I also used to be a quick little milky tadpole.
If the 38% gap between the critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t tell you something is seriously wrong here, then whatever I type won’t be enough. But I’m going to do it anyway. Spoilers bigger than the gaping chasm of Goatse lie ahead. You have been warned.
Normally I would start by saying that this movie doesn’t make a lick of sense. Then someone would try to counter my statement by claiming that it is a film about people flailing laser swords and using space magic. Their counterargument would of course be utter rubbish. The fantastical can be as fantastical as it wants to be, but only under one condition: it needs to follow its own inner logic.
Supreme Leader Snoke has godlike power and awareness. Enough to turn Kylo Ren to the dark side by some kind of mega-telepathy. He is capable of reading his pupil’s innermost thoughts and feelings, but only up to the point where the plot wants him to lose this power. And who the hell is Snoke? I know, I know, the Last Jedi is about throwing away tradition and replacing it with something better. Great. Know what else it is? An example of bad storytelling. When you build up a villain, then not only not find a way of working him into the universe but also kill him with a handwave, your story disintegrates.
Rey cannot fail. She is phenomenal at everything. She instinctively waves a lightsaber as if she was born with it. She is better here than she was in the last film, so I’ll give her that. But only a completely amazing arc can salvage the character at this point. The way she was executed, she is not much more than a self-insert a fifteen-year-old would’ve thought up over the course of a sleepless night. And no, that isn’t okay. There is wish-fulfillment and there is handing out participation awards. This is the latter.
Kylo is the best character in this film, which doesn’t say much. I always found him hilarious, almost like a parody, but he is one of the few things this movie doesn’t outright fail at. However, he suffers from the same thing that afflicts Snoke: selective incompetence. The guy can freeze a blaster beam mid-flight, but gets beaten twice by our untrained heroine. Why did the people who made this go to such lengths to establish that our villain is weaker than our hero? Aren’t they aware that it kills all tension? Also:
Luke is completely wasted. He is only there to drag in the old fans so the film can spit in their faces. Which sucks because Hamill gives us an amazing performance. Even if the makers wanted to push him into the “mentor” role, he isn’t even allowed to do that, because Rey cannot get overshadowed by anyone, ever. And his final scenes are perhaps the worst example of directory fickleness I’ve ever seen. He’s there, then he’s not there, then he dies. A cheap attempt at an emotional jab.
Super-Leia was a completely braindead idea. The owl-gerbils were annoying but ignorable, so I won’t rage about them. Finn didn’t need to be in the film, he literally just ate up screen time that could be put to better use. The same could be said for Poe, albeit to a lesser degree (at least he got to impact the plot in some minor way). Rose’s mugshot should be put into the Thesaurus right next to the word “pointless.”
Pointless. Funny that I used that word, because it also describes this whole post. As of me writing this article, the movie has already raked in well over 494 million dollars. That money would be better spent if it were tossed into the gaping abyss of Goatse. The thought of that image alone is funnier than all the jokes in the Last Jedi, combined.
M. T Miller