It’s the big one.
In the follow up to the not at all controversial Episode VIII The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams brings us the supposed end of the Skywalker legacy. The Resistance are even fewer in numbers, Rey has to train so she can defeat Kylo Ren, and Emperor Palpatine has called from the shadows, threatening to unleash an even more sinister and evil empire. As the last remaining free worlds are targeted, the Resistance struggles to find people to fight with them, and Rey must face more visions of Kylo Ren, who is not only searching for her, but seeks to end any threat to his power- including the Emperor himself.
Now, I have some ranting to do. If you’ve seen the film, you may be able to guess as to what I’m going to rant about. So for now, I’ll do my best to explain my initial reactions, without revealing spoilers.
First off, I have another article I’m going to publish about why we need to chill. Our cries have been going on ever since The Phantom Menace, and quite frankly we all need to get over ourselves. The Last Jedi was proof that when people have very little problems in this materialistic society, we act like spoiled brats when a movie doesn’t end up how we like it. Instead of simply not liking a film, which is acceptable, we decide that we need to personally attack actors and directors, and claim that our childhood has been ruined. Yes, your childhood was ruined by a movie. I’m sure there are too many people who wish that was what ruined their childhood, not an actual issue.
This movie certainly has the potential to split the fan base yet again. Do I fault it for that? In some respects, yes, I do. But I’ll get to that in the spoilers below.
Secondly, I decided to enjoy the film. Hey, it’s Star Wars. I love Star Wars. I grew up with it. I’ve looked up to Princess Leia since I was a kid. I remember being little and the presence of Darth Vader onscreen intimidated and fascinated me. I respect both the Jedi and Sith traditions, dove into the Knights of the Old Republic games, and even went to a Star Wars Celebration dressed as Jyn Erso. That was why when this film did deliver, I marveled like a kid again. To see Princess Leia again, to watch Rey fight with all the determination in her little heart, and to watch how the Resistance is going to triumph over the enemy was why I went to see this movie, and it delivered a lot.
Personally, I’m a fan of Rey. I’ve loved her ever since The Force Awakens. I think she’s adorable, awesome, and I’m not ashamed to fan girl about it. From the perspective of an author, I also appreciate the way she’s written. She’s not like most female protagonists in my opinion, and I may publish an article about why. All this to say, that watching her throughout the film was the highlight for me. She grows, she learns, and she captivates. Daisy Ridley is an amazing actress, and it will be a genuine delight to watch her in other movies throughout the years.
I also thought the film did a good job with Carrie Fisher as General Organa. Her presence was sweet and they didn’t do too much or too little. My friend and I had tears in our eyes, as I’m sure many fans were affected by the legacy of her character. Bringing back Lando was…fun if not pointless? The additions of the other characters were also pretty pointless too.
The thing is, this movie moves fast. You jump in, and you can’t stop. If you’ve never seen the Journey to the Center of the Earth film with Brendan Fraser, there’s a hilarious scene where the characters fall and are quite literally plummeting towards the center of the earth. The fall is long, and they eventually stop screaming, and to fill the awkward silence, Brendan’s character yells: “We’re still falling!” And they proceed to scream some more.
That was this movie. You go right in, and it’s one jump to another. In fact, Poe does something call light speed skipping, which I think is also what this movie is. It kind of skips around. And like I mentioned before, it introduces some new characters, who are so rushed, so forced, the movie did not need them. I would have preferred more of Rose, but because so many cowards decided to attack the actress on social media, they got what they wanted, and she’s barely in the movie. Thanks, guys.
There are also a lot of clumsy explanations. Rey’s history is rushed, the reason why Emperor Palpatine is still a thing doesn’t even get an explanation, and the ending was also so quick, we don’t see a lot of reactions. The impact of what happens isn’t really felt by the characters as much as it should have been, in my opinion. Overall, it’s not quite smooth sailing.
So yes, it’s somewhat a mess. But for all its faults, it’s a fun Star Wars movie. There’s a lot of lightsabers, force powers, good vs evil, new worlds to explore, little twists here and there. Go see it for yourself. I honestly can’t say who’s going to like it, because some people I follow who I thought wouldn’t like it actually did like it, and then others who I thought would like it seemed to dislike it. Just decide for yourself. If you are a Star Wars fan, just enjoy a new Star Wars movie, and enjoy this Holiday season. We can only hope that if Star Wars doesn’t bring people together like it should, maybe the Holiday season can.
Spoilers. Go see the movie first, I beg you. Just go watch it.
Okay, so I’m going to start with the one that made the least sense to me. The Emperor claimed he “made Snoke.” So…was he controlling him? If not, and Snoke was loyal to him, the Emperor would have wanted Rey alive. Honestly, if Emperor Palpatine was behind this all along, that should have been revealed in The Last Jedi. Concerning Snoke, I feel like he was a wasted character. And even after killing Snoke off, they still didn’t need the Emperor in this film. Making Kylo Ren the main antagonist would have been perfectly fine. More impactful, even. Why the Emperor?
And for that matter, why was the Emperor alive? How? And how did he uh…well maybe his son was a clone or…I don’t know. I will say, after learning Rey was his granddaughter, I did feel some chills. It’s certainly not a bad idea. Again, that’s something that should have been explored as early as Episode VIII. Rey should have learned who she was on that island. Yes, the scene where she defeats Palpatine was amazing, and seeing Ben Solo redeem himself was amazing, and I finally liked his character. He should have been a force ghost at the end too, just saying. But it was so rushed. So fast. They don’t explore her backstory any more than just saying who she is.
Even introducing a new villain, General Pryde, was so pointless. He dies, so who cares about his story now? General Hux doesn’t matter anymore either, because he gets about two lines before getting thrown aside.
I was glad to see Luke back too. I would have liked to see him talk to Ben as well as Han Solo, but since they decided that Rey has all the Jedi spirits with her I guess that would have been pointless. I also thought it was interesting to see that Leia was once training as a Jedi, but she saw a bad vision of her son so she…decides to stop training? Yeah it was kind of the same problem as Luke. They just sort of give up because something bad might happen. Honestly, of all the spin offs we’re inevitably going to get, this is what I want: A video game where you’re a young Luke and Leia training as Jedi. That’s it. Just them using awesome force powers, with a little Ben Solo running around. That would be awesome.
As for the new characters, it’s so obvious that they are setting up a lot of materials for other outlets like books, video games, and Disney +. Hell, at the end of the movie, Lando literally should have looked into the camera and said, “We’ll continue this on Disney Plus. Start your free trial. We know you can’t resist, nerds!”
They’re opening up a lot of potential, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but to use a movie as important as this one to shove all of that in there…it just makes it all a big mess. I mean, I get it, they tried. They tried to add some backstory to Poe, and it’s an interesting idea that there were other deserters like Finn. And speaking of Finn, I always suspected that he was force sensitive, and the movie proves he is. But he’s kind of just pushed aside so we can promise more material with the new character named Jannah. She’s not a bad character by any means, but I wanted more Finn.
They wanted to fix the issues of The Last Jedi, but instead they opened up a lot of new ones. I get fixing one or two big problems, but when you’re creating something, should every step be about pleasing people? Maybe that’s just how movies are going to be now. I understand having little nods here and there, but sometimes people need to be careful what they wish for. Would you want every single author, producer, writer, and director to make exactly what you want?
Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to make demands.