Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Actors: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Andy Serkis
Well, it's that time of year again when everyone goes out during Christmas time to watch the new Star Wars film. At this rate it seems like Disney is going to do to Star Wars what its been doing to Marvel all this time. Which is unfortunate since Star Wars is a very beloved franchise and seriously does not benefit from this style of production. This over saturation will kill the franchise and everything people loved about it. Nevertheless, Disney will continue to be Disney, and we will continue to go every single year and watch Star Wars during Christmas, because that's how it goes. Although I always repeat again and again that I'm not a big Sci-Fi fan, I can always appreciate when it's done well. Unfortunately for Star Wars, this isn't.
While watching the film, there came a point about an hour and a half into the film when I realized something. As Poe is waking up in the transport ship after being knocked out, he looks out and sees the carrier going further and further away from him. He realizes his plan has failed, and that he was unable to stall enough for Finn and Rose to complete their mission. As his hopes dwindle further, Leia comes up and simply explains the current plan to which Poe responds "That can work". I was just sitting there like, "Why didnt they just tell him the plan in the first place!?!". Literally the whole plot line of Finn and Rose was pointless in my opinion because it could have been avoided if Vice Admiral Holdo just told Poe about the plan. It's like half of this film just felt like a filler. You know what would have been a good use of time? Having some sense of the universe and how other planets and galaxies fit into this story. Giving us a taste on the politics of the situation. What happened that suddenly led to the dark side gaining power again, and how far does their power reach. This whole film is just basically Empire versus Rebels. There is no sense of this huge expansive universe that the original films gave. In those films you could sense the impact the Empire had on other planets and the diversity of the Star Wars lore. This film just feels like a microscopic cat and mouse chase of that dense and rich world. It's disappointing, because even as someone who isn't a fan, you can tell that there were compromises so that certain aspects are ticked off from the Hollywood checklist of things to do.
So as I just explained, I am really disappointed in the direction these films are taking. I feel like the creators have lost sense of what it meant to be a Star Wars film. I'm not saying that they should just stick to what it means to be Star Wars blindly, but this is not the way to innovate. My whole issue with this film just revolves around the plot. The whole film just did not gel well with me. I don't know if it was the hour long filler that I just talked about or the way they dealt with Luke, but the film just did not feel right for me structurally. As I already said, the film just felt like it compromised and didn't take full potential of this rich universe. Nevertheless, let me break down the main plot lines of the film. First obviously the whole Finn and Rose subplot as I explained felt pretty pointless. All it felt like was filler rather than actually contributing anything to the story. Other than that, the Luke subplot as well I did not enjoy that much. I sort of agree with what Mark Hamill stated in several interviews. That this character is not Luke Skywalker. I agree one hundred percent, this character does not seem like Luke Skywalker in any way. This is not how he would act, even if Ben went bad and all that, I don't think that is how he would have reacted. But what do I know. The last major subplot was of course that of Rey and Kylo. Although this was the most interesting one and definitely the most cohesive, it still had one major flaw which I will get to in a separate paragraph. But the way the plot was handled was interesting and their characters seem to work well together. They are perfect opposites which is appropriate to have them face each other.
So now I want to talk about a fundamental flaw that I have with this trilogy. The flaw is basically the inconsistency or lack of an intimidating villain. As in a villain that you can actually fear whenever they come on screen. I know what you are going to say, Kylo is a badass and he killed his own father and what not, but hear me out. The way they set up the character of Kylo Ren made it so that he is no longer intimidating and I dont feel like he can actually defeat the rebels. Which is not what you want with a villain. There are many reasons for this. First is that, we already saw from the force awakens that Rey is capable of battling with him (when she gave him the scar). And this was during a time when she just got a lightsaber. That is a very big problem because we already know that Rey is capable of defeating him, which takes out a lot of the tension whenever they are or will battle. The second reason is the continuing conflict the filmmakers show. I know that vader also had conflict but that was mostly towards the end. Anyway, with Kylo, them showing his constant struggles and conflicts that he has makes him seem weak. Although it humanizes him and gives for an interesting character, it ruins his villain status. This is especially true after Snoke was killed. While watching The Last Jedi, when Snoke was alive, I had a sense of fear whenever he was on screen and felt like the rebels had to fight hard to win this war. But after dying, all of that faded away and we are left with Kylo who is constantly being tricked, constantly struggling with his inner self, and being defeated really easily. All of this does not play well for future films. Unless they change something drastically, I don't know how they will be able to have him feel like a great villain in the next film.
So before going into some of the aspects I enjoyed, I will just take this time to rant a bit again about some small aspects that really bugged. First and foremost, that scene with Leia was literally the dumbest thing I have ever seen in any Star Wars film. The way it was done with the music and the lights felt so corny. I couldn't take it seriously at all even though the film wanted the audience to take it seriously. In the theater I heard at least 5 people laughing when that happened which is definitely not a good sign. Other than that, I really do not appreciate the need for every freaking blockbuster to have constant one liners at a regular interval. It seems like this is a must for Hollywood now, that films cant be released without sprinkling one liners across the film. It really devalues the film and just makes me not take it seriously. Especially when that first scene began with Poe and Hux going back and forth. I was so worried for this film because I did not want it to go in this silly direction. Granted it didnt fully commit but the one liners did not help at all. Just all around these little aspects really bugged me and I couldnt shake some of these corny things off of me once I left the theater.
Okay, now that we got all of that out of the way, lets talk about what I enjoyed. First the visuals. Obviously they aren't the greatest thing I've ever seen, but they were interesting to say the least. The final planet was really great to watch. The contrasting white snow with the red dust was incredibly pleasing on the eyes. Alot of the colors were done right in my opinion. Many contrasting and bright colors that just popped out. Especially Snoke's throne room, it was really eye catching. Also the scene when the carrier went to light speed into the dreadnought was just great. Having it with no sound especially gave it that huge impact that it needed. So overall I enjoyed the visuals, could be better obviously but still really good for a blockbuster film. Aside from the visuals, I really enjoyed the soundtrack. Especially during fight scenes. The strings were synchronized with the impacts of the light sabers and the guns. It just added a great flare to the film that made it feel like a Star Wars film. Especially in Sci-Fi, having a great soundtrack is key in my opinion to a great Science Fiction film. Basically the visuals and the audio were the only main aspects that I really enjoyed from the film.
All in all, I do not like where Star Wars is heading. It seems like Disney just sees dollar signs on this franchise and is not taking to opportunity to actually utilize this expansive universe that is available. It seems like we will be stuck with a Star Wars film being released every year with one liners, quirky characters, and corny dialogue. Which is unfortunate, because even though I am not a fan of Star Wars, I can certainly appreciate the love and care that went into the world and everything it encompasses, and its just disappointing to see that go to waste. Maybe they manage to redeem this trilogy with the last film. But I will still be wary of what they will release. This may have many people angry but