January 1, 2018

Thoughts on "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Yeah, I finally saw it. I waited for the crowds to die down a bit (although I guess they haven't died down that much, since the film just broke the $1 billion barrier at the worldwide box office). Still, my screening wasn't completely packed, so I suppose I can count that as a win.

Note: SOME SPOILERS, though I'll try to keep it as general as possible.

On Rian Johnson, writer/director:

I'm glad they gave this episode to him, as he's taken the franchise in some interesting new directions. I'm looking forward to the new trilogy of films he'll be developing. Unfortunately, I'm cringing even more at the thought of JJ Abrams writing and directing Episode IX, as I will bet money he'll yank all that progress back.

On the characters:

Poe Dameron: If I had any input into Episode IX, Poe Dameron would be Force-whipped by General Leia and thrown into the brig in chains for the film's entire running time. That arrogant flyboy prick is responsible for the nearly total decimation of the Resistance. The most satisfying scene of the film for me was a newly awakened Leia Organa shooting his ass out of that command chair.

And don't come at me with the "But Vice Admiral Holdo should have tolldddd himmmm!" whine. Bull-fucking-shit she should have. His place was to shut up, listen to, and obey his commanding officer. It all shows on his face when Holdo is introduced--he thought he would be the next one in line with Leia in a coma and the rest of the Resistance officers killed, and it didn't sit well with him that he wasn't.

(And Dameron had the unmitigated gall to announce, when Holdo finally clued him in to what was going down, "That might work"? Holy crap. Holdo should have knocked him down and yelled, "Yes! And it would have worked a lot better if you hadn't been such an asshole!")

(Needless to say, I am not a Poe Dameron fan in any way, shape or form, at least not tonight.)

Finn/Rose: Rose was an absolute delight, and Finn learned some valuable lessons as well. Of course, the only reason they took that Canto Bight detour to begin with is because of Poe's idiocy, but some very good character growth and scenes, including the film's wonderful final scene, came out of that misbegotten mission.

Captain Phasma: I'd rather they'd not have used her at all than waste the character like that.

General Leia Organa: I about bawled at every one of Carrie Fisher's scenes. Even more knowing what might have been, because I suspect that in Episode IX, she would have been the one to finally take Kylo Ren out. And that last scene with her and Luke was way too short.

Holdo: Oh, that wonderful, purple-haired, badass Vice Admiral. LISTEN TO YOUR FUCKING FEMALE COMMANDERS, FOLKS.

Rey: She may not be a trained Jedi, and certainly isn't a traditional Jedi, but she is a Jedi, even as Luke indicated. I'm not quite sure what to make of that weird scene in the Dark Side pool--is that when she finally faced up to the fact that her parents weren't coming back, and the only one she could depend on was herself? I really hope the deleted scenes in the Blu-ray release will shed some light on that.

Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill stole this show, plain and simple. Yoda made him face up to his failure, and he rode that failure to the bittersweet end.

Kylo Ren: He's a bit better as a villain now, and a lot of that is due to Adam Driver's commitment to the character. His and Rey's interactions were some of the best parts of the film. And, of course, the final showdown with Luke.

Overall: B+

Better than The Force Awakens, enough so that I really wish Rian Johnson was doing the final film. And, of course, tears for our dear departed General.

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