(Part I here)
(For God sakes they’re eating pears for dinner in this scene! Give me every problematic scene in TLJ 1000x again before I ever have to sit through this again!)
I think majority of the hatred (Not all) directed at this film comes from screaming neckbeards who either a) didn’t have their reddit fan fictions comes to life b) don’t like it because it’s not the extended universe *shrugs* or c) hate seeing non-white folk occupy main character roles because the world is a shitty, shitty place (but don’t worry they’ll pretend it has nothing to do with that).
If you’re losing sleep over this movie I say move the hell on; it’s not that deep, fam.
And if you’re an MRA neckbeard, go fuck yourself.
This all said, “The Last Jedi” might be the most disappointing film of the year because of the problems I had with it and it sucks that the previously stated good things about the movie are ultimately bogged down by a thick layer of dumb that’s so rich you could butter a family of porgs with it.
I went in the second time, hoping maybe I was taking these issues too seriously or perhaps I missed some critical detail that made them work, afterall it wouldn’t be the first Star Wars film that’s improved for me on a second viewing and hell it’s not even the first film this year that got much better upon further review. But “The Last Jedi’s” problems are still problems and they’re unavoidably bad for me at least…
I find your lack of suspension of disbelief disturbing…
I know when dealing with science fiction, especially science fantasy with Star Wars, you have to give the physics and cosmic math some leeway from scene to scene but much like “The Force Awakens” Johnson pushes the buttons a little too much here and ends up with some pretty baffling sequences.
It all begins with a pretty bonkers opening scene where Poe single-handedly takes out all the sentry guns on the First Order’s dreadnought, which up until that point in the series, was the biggest most powerful looking ship not named the Death Star that we had seen. This giant marvel of evil technology gets bested by single ship which begs the question who the fuck engineered such a painfully vulnerable hunk of junk that can’t blow up one fucking X-wing?
And even still, I can only accept the argument that Poe is some super human ace fighter pilot so far. Not even Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica would attempt something that fool-hardy. It’s ridiculous! I get the film is setting up Poe for his big lesson in the story (more on that later…) but this was the first in a long line of on screen “fuck you’s” to my intelligence.
(*Starbuck after looking at the dreadnought once* “Yeah, frack that…”)
Later in the film, after Admiral Holdo’s plan gets foiled by the First Order, in a desperate attempt to save the remainder of the Resistance, she spools up the flag ships FTL drives and Kamekaze’s her ship through Snoke’s which, though cinematically beautiful, sets a weird precedent for the rest of the series.
It begs the question why this isn’t done more often throughout the series. Presumably, some auto piloted hunks of metal with FTL drives could’ve worked better as missiles to destroy the Death Star in the first movie than recklessly sending X-wing pilots on such a dangerous mission. Perhaps it’s too expensive and costly to do it that way but that still makes me wonder why they’re not more accidents in FTL jumps in Star Wars based on this logic? I always assumed this technology moves the ship so fast that it kind of de-materializes partly but no, it appears it’s a giant hyper speed rocket that can blow right through you at any time. The movie is again, asking a lot of question when it does crazy shit like this.
(Me trying to understand FTL physics after the initial “wow” of this scene.)
But all this ridiculousness can be really summed up in one scene and that’s when Kylo’s Tie Fighter wing men blow up the command deck on Leia’s flag ship shooting her out into space.
First of all if the shields are up as they seem plain to see, how the fuck did the missiles get through and blow up the comm?? Were the shields rotating shifts? How is the most important part of the ship so easy to destroy??
Anyways this isn’t the most bonkers part of the scene as Leia, seen plainly floating in the vacuum of space, manages to wake up and force pull herself back into her ship, somehow without busting the airlock and venting the rest of the crew into space.
Even if we accept the idea that Leia is more or less a Jedi of her own at this point in the series (I always interpreted the end of “Return of the Jedi” as the beginning of her force training and never bought into the idea that she’s only “force sensitive”) it still makes no damn sense how she can survive! Does the Force keep the blood and liquids of her body from boiling over or keep them from creating embolism? Does the force provide oxygen to her brain to allow her to momentarily think hard enough to use the Force to begin with?
And how does Leia come back from this tramautic moment in open space? Oh she just gets hooked up to a machine and takes a quick nap.
I know I just talked about how this film changes our understanding of the force in a positive way but if this is part of it too I will have none of that foolishness. It was so ridiculous to me that I could not stop laughing while I was watching it and honestly made the rest of the movie much more difficult to take seriously when the story basically establishes that the Jedi can survive in space without a suit now.
Other crazy and dumb moments occur throughout the rest of the film, including many a times where the First Order didn’t simply just shoot major characters while they were right in front of them or despite having 20 to 1 numbers on the field only manage to destroy a handful of resistance soldiers but this was really the big moment for me that made the film almost impossible to take seriously from that point on and in my opinion one of the worst moments in Star Wars history and that includes times where teddy bears managed to destroy AT-STs.
Who the fuck is Snoke??
Seriously who the fuck is he?! While I can accept who Rey’s parents are partly because we’re actually told what they are, we’re left still completely dumbfounded about who this deformed, force wielding goat testicle monster is.
Yes, I just made a post talking about how relevance doesn’t always matter to the story but sometimes it fucking does and with a being as powerful as this commanding this gigantic military we deserved to know SOMETHING about him and his motivation beyond being just evil.
(Me trying to make sense of this character after he gets waxed in the throne room.)
Look, I completely in the context of this film understand what Snoke’s death meant thematically for Kylo, again hearkening back to letting the past die (and I’m ok with that much of it) but again leaving such a powerful character without any context to who he is makes him feel almost completely wasted to the story. If they just wanted to Kylo to achieve his arc by becoming the supreme leader, make a character like Hux the guy who leads the First Order and kill him.
A lot of super fans have defended
this saying it plays on subverting your expectations but that doesn’t mean it’s
good! Telling me nothing isn’t subverting my expectations; it’s telling me nothing!
But alas, unless JJ Abrams writes him out of death, Snoke is left for
or worst dead and forgotten.
General Hux is God damn moron
In “The Force Awakens,” I kind of liked Domhnall Gleeson’s character General Hux mostly because he was delightfully hammy and over the top. He wasn’t all that deep of course, just some generic mustache twirling bad guy but that was part of the charm of his performance and at least he wasn’t put into too many situations that made him look really dumb.
This movie, however, seems to actively portray him as a dumbass.
Yes, being vain and overly confident in your evil plan is part of what makes characters like this amusing (also really one-dimensional…) but the decisions and actions Hux takes across this two and a half hour film (uggh) at times made me want to leap on to the screen and slap the shit out of him.
(What I wanted to do to Hux on multiple occasions throughout the movie…)
You can call it space hubris if you like but Hux is by far the dumbest character in this movie.
At the beginning of the film, before Poe began his one-man “let’s take on the dreadnought by myself” show, Hux mentions that he has direct orders from Snoke, to take no prisoners and squash the Resistance where they stand as they bomb their base. So Poe flies up in front of the juggernaut to buy time to upload a virus by pretending to “negotiate” with Hux about terms of surrender. Hux makes some grand decree about giving no quarter again to the Resistance but this begs the question why he didn’t just shoot Poe out of the sky the minute he started talking if he’s supposed to be giving them no quarter? Hell, why even entertain that? It’s war! Just shoot him out of the sky!
If this kind of scene happened only once I may have allowed it to pass without giving it much credence, after all these movies are made mostly for children and meant to be cheesy and nonsensical anyways but then it happens again later in the movie when the First Order drops right on the Resistance fleet. They quickly destroy all their X-wings and A-Wings and make it pretty clear they can’t escape through hyper space because they are being tracked and are low on fuel and instead of simply just finishing them off the flag ship stays “conveniently” at a range where their guns are less effective on their shields and Hux states he wants them to run out of fuel first then finish them off to give them a slow death or something.
Motherfucker, you just got fucked by your own hubris in the last scene! Just kill them! They’re more vulnerable than ever! 400 Resistance troops stand between you and conquering the Galaxy! Fucking end it! They have no fighters left! They’re low on fuel! They’re conveniently a little far out of the range of your guns? Fucking lightspeed three of your star-destroyers ahead of them and finish them off in a pincer! It’s not that fucking hard!!
We get it, villains are supposed to be vain and foolish, this dates all the way back to Grand Moff Tarkin not leaving the Death Star when it became clear the Rebels may be on to something but this is, again, pushing it to the point of absurdity and the whole sequence plays out almost as hilariously as this:
(Listen to Scott Evil, Hux.)
This is one of many cases of “the idiot plot” in action here but Hux stands above them all as the worst of the lot.
The big dumb chase across the Galaxy
Since this film premiered I’ve seen a lot of reviewers compare this part of the plot, where The Resistance slowly plods away from the First Order as their fuel reserves run low, favorably to “Battlestar Galactica’s” introductory episode “33” and even more absurdly the chase in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Don’t listen to them. They are all wrong…
(Describes a large chunk of this plot pretty well…)
Both those chases for one are much faster paced and much more tension filled. In “33” the Galactica has to jump every 33 minutes as the Cylons crash down upon each time they run away and we watch as the crew gets more and more stressed and weary from running for so long after 130 hours and 237 jumps. Part of tension comes from them not knowing how they are being tracked or how they always know where they are and you can feel that desire to just give up across the faces of all the characters in this episode.
I won’t even bother trying to mention how it’s different from “Mad Max” as this whole sequence isn’t even good enough to hold Immortan Joe’s jock strap.
This whole sequence really hinges on a couple absurd details:
1) The fleet is conveniently just fast enough to be outside the deadliest range of the Snoke’s ship’s cannons.
2) That, again, Hux is an arrogant moron who will delay just killing them… again.
3) That Holdo’s plan of a cloaking field is good enough to pass the naked eye test when peering out the window.
4) That apparently distress beacons only work on the ground and they can’t call for help from their ship instead.
5) That in 18 hours of fuel, the First Order would be content to just sit around and fire lasers from a distance forever instead of just, again, killing them.
The main plot of this all is set in motion though when Poe, in destroying the dreadnought, ends up losing all their bombers and half their fighters. He gets demoted, as he should (did not have a problem with that) and in conflict with Holdo decides to do something brash with Finn and newcomer Rose Tico played by Kelly Marie Tran.
(Before I continue, let me make a couple things perfectly clear: If you don’t like the character Rose because thematically she may not work for you that’s fine and fair, I’m not super fond of her either, HOWEVER resorting to racist and sexist insults and behavior lobbed at both the character and the actor is fucking dumb and loses any sense moral high ground you may think you have about this film. I have seen some of the most vile hateful shit written about this actress since the movie premiered and it makes me sick to my stomach. A lot of fans have seemingly chosen this character as the avatar for their hatred of this film and it’s fucking nuts. The character is mildly uninteresting at worst, y’all are fucking nuts. And again, I can’t say this enough; Star Wars has been poaching from Asian culture and ideas for decades! If you don’t think POC, particularly Asian folk, belong in Star Wars or think that this “agenda” is a problem you can kiss my ass. Mini rant over….)
Without getting into too much rambling (whoops), it ends badly with Finn and Rose getting a different codebreaker than the one Maz asked them to get to hack into Snoke’s ship, who ends up betraying them by somehow knowing about the Resistance’s cloaked field despite the fact that Holdo doesn’t even tell her own troops the plan.
All this is supposed to take place over the course of 18 hours, despite the fact that it looks like days go by on the planet Rey is on and it concludes with Rose saving Finn from going on a suicide mission like Poe attempted at the start saying something about “Saving the people we love” will win the war.
Look, it’s not lost on me what the story is trying to tell the viewer here; that being heroic isn’t limited to just beating the other side to a pulp, or blowing something up, that saving people is just as important in war sometimes buuuuuut this whole sequence is set up in such a poorly written way.
I can, to a certain extent, understand why Holdo would keep Poe in the dark, and the whole chain of command thing, it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to not just tell more people what she’s up to and thus save a bunch of nonsense from happening in the script.
(“Anyways how’s your sex life?”)
Holdo makes some gripe about (paraphrasing here) “Hope is like sun. If that’s all you need to see you’ll never make it through the night” which is perfectly fine, I think that’s a true statement, but she had more than hope; she had a plan! Just tell them the fucking plan! Or at least a few more people! If she was avoiding giving this away for fear of a spy then why wouldn’t they just tell the First Order the minute it became clear what they were going to do.
Also if they were going to make a point about respecting the chain of command (and toxic masculinity to a certain extent) then Poe, Finn and Rose probably should’ve been court-martialed at the end but whatever.
This scene, and its ludicrousness, might have been saved if it were actually fun to watch, ala 247 jumps and maybe some Cylons or Warboys chasing them, but it’s really just one long meander through space that has no tension that only works because Hux is a moron and Holdo is so stringent in her belief that soldiers should just fall in line that she tells NO ONE about her plan.
(Describes the pace of this part of the plot pretty well…)
You can gripe all you want about it explaining the bigger themes of respect, not doing brash things, saving people you love but this could’ve all been achieved with a much better written plot than the one Johnson gives us here. Too many dumb, pointless and honestly, unexciting things happen through this all and this is really the meat of my problem with the movie…
Anyways, I have again ranted too long but this is really what this whole film boils down to for me. While the enjoyable parts and twists on the Jedi lore I enjoyed, the dumb moments of the script are just too much for me to give this even a passing grade.
This is again NOT the worst movie of the year or even the worst Star Wars movie but the bad moments are just too many for me to spend too much time talking about the good things that go on in the movie. If you enjoyed the film, think it’s the best one of all-time, sure that’s you and you’re entitled to your opinion but given the flaws of the plot I’m just not seeing how anyone could fawn over such poor handling of logic, motives and just plain story-telling in general.
The fandom though needs to calm the hell down (says the guy who just wrote an essay about one movie) and really as much as ranted (and raved a little) about this movie it’s really not all that deep either way to me.
Oh well, I’m done talking about this film forever (not the memes though) and now that it’s 2018 lets leave this movie in 2017 and as Kylo says let the past die.
Kill it (preferably Hux) if you have to.
2.5 out of 5
Alright, we all done out there? Can we move on? Good…