***SPOILER-FREE Initial Thoughts***
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Directed & Written by Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Music by John Williams
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.
When I reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens (HERE), I wrote about it right after seeing it and before having time to fully process it. I didn’t want to put a rating on it right away & I didn’t want to go overboard on raving about how much I loved it just in case I was still too high on the feeling of having seen a new STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!
I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy and I can’t see ever loving one of the new films quite as much but The Force Awakens came very close. I knew immediately that I loved it, even though I tried to hold back a bit when first writing about it. With The Last Jedi, it’s a bit different. I’m again writing this too soon after seeing it, which I don’t really like to do as I like to think about a film first. However, this time I’m not worried about going overboard raving about my love of the movie. This time, I’m afraid of being too harsh. This time, I don’t immediately love the movie. At least, I don’t think I do. I hate to make a statement like that so soon as maybe I’ll change my mind. I hope I change my mind.
Don’t worry – this isn’t like the prequels. This is a good film. I think the problem, for me, is that it isn’t much like Star Wars. I didn’t feel that way about The Force Awakens. That film instantly felt like a part of the Star Wars universe. I love Rey & Finn & BB-8 and it didn’t take long at all for me to accept them as a part of that world. I don’t feel that way about any of the new characters introduced in The Last Jedi. In fact, I thought there were too many new additions and it took time away from further developing existing characters that I actually care about.
Okay – let’s do this a different way otherwise I’ll just ramble on incoherently. As I’m still processing the film, I’ll try to separate my thoughts out into the good stuff & the not-so-good stuff.
What I Liked:
Several Great Moments Linking To The Original Trilogy. Well, this is tough to talk about in any sort of way as I have to stay completely spoiler-free. I mean, I’m not Holly Willoughby (yeah, she spoiled something major live on TV. you can see a clip here if you really want a big spoiler. luckily, I don’t watch TV). There are a few really good moments involving original trilogy characters and those moments made me feel all warm & fuzzy. And I guess that’s all I can say. Let’s discuss this movie like crazy in the comments, though! My comment section can be a spoiler zone!
Again Seeing Characters I Know & Love. Obviously. How awesome to see Luke doing much more than just standing there & staring at Rey. And Mark Hamill does a fantastic job, by the way. Loved him! And Leia… I’ll forever be heartbroken about Carrie Fisher and hate knowing she can’t be in the final film. Luckily, she does have plenty to do in this one compared to the last one. R2-D2 (my personal favorite), C-3PO, Chewbacca… I adore these characters. I grew up with them. I’ll always love seeing them up on screen. And, of course, it was great to see Rey & Kylo Ren develop much more (especially Kylo, as he came across as a slightly whiny emo kid last time). Finn has a lot to do but I felt he was quite wasted and far preferred his storyline in The Force Awakens. Poe also has a much bigger role this time but I don’t really feel much of a connection with him. And BB-8 rules. I do care about these Force Awakens characters, even though it’ll never be quite as much as I care about the original trilogy characters. Unfortunately, I can’t say I care about any of the new characters in The Last Jedi (more about that later).
Porgs. They’re cute.
What I Didn’t Like So Much:
Porgs. They’re utterly & completely pointless.
The New Characters. Oh man. After the fantastic job they did with the introduction of new characters in The Force Awakens, I really was expecting to walk away from this one with at least a couple of new favorites. The best new addition is probably Rose. I liked her & Kelly Marie Tran did well in the role but it’s far too big of a part. We already have our main characters. I think this wasn’t helped by the fact that her storyline dragged a little and, by having so much time devoted to it, it was taking time away from characters we already know and want to see much more of than we do (I’ll get to this later – don’t expect to see very much of the “lesser” original trilogy characters in this). Laura Dern also does a good job, but… Why should I care about this character who has come from out of nowhere? There are other characters around Leia who we already know & who I’d have rather seen given more authority & screen time. Benicio del Toro was very Benicio del Toro. Meh.
Not Enough Of The Original Trilogy Characters. Maybe a tiny spoiler but don’t expect to see much of R2-D2, C-3PO or Chewbacca. I’m extremely disappointed with how little screen time they got.
Some Of The Comedy. I love the small bits of comedy in the Star Wars original trilogy & in The Force Awakens. There’s even more in this, which was unexpected as it’s a dark film but wasn’t totally unwelcome. We need bits of comedy that are done well & they worked perfectly in the previous films. I got a few giggles from The Last Jedi but I have to agree with the hubby when he said that the humor in this one felt more like what we get in a Marvel movie. Okay, fine. I guess. But it didn’t feel like Star Wars humor. It just didn’t quite fit.
Very Few Great Images. I’ve seen some comments already about how good this movie looks. I agree there’s some “pretty” imagery. The use of red works really well. But the whole film is so damn dark. And there weren’t really any moments where I thought “wow – that’s a great, artistic shot”. I can think of SO many images from the original trilogy that looked amazing and like something you’d hang up and frame as a work of art. I know not everyone cares about this sort of thing but it’s very important to me. It’s a big part of why I’m a weird girl who likes things like Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. They’re gorgeous. I want to see art up on the big screen. This movie feels more focused on telling its (somewhat convoluted) story. The story is important, yes. But so is everything else. Check out this video the hubby sent me of “The Star Wars: Concept Trailer“, which shows what Star Wars would look like if all of Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art had been used. Can we please get these students to work on the next Star Wars film??
The Shades Of Gray. This is something that people will either love or hate (mostly love). It seems there can be no simple good vs evil in movies anymore. Everyone wants shades of gray and conflicted characters and blah blah blah. And that’s fine & I totally get that. That’s exactly what I want from a lot of films, especially sci-fi. From things like Blade Runner 2049. From Star Wars? Not quite so much. Give me the Joseph Campbell hero’s journey thing. It was done beautifully in the original trilogy and the formula clearly works otherwise there wouldn’t be this massive Star Wars following. The Force Awakens started to follow the same pattern. Now? I don’t know. Just be prepared to see these movies go in a completely different direction now. And R2-D2 & C-3PO will clearly no longer be our “droid guides” through this journey. They seem to have been cast aside. Which leads me to my next gripe…
The Way It Feels Like The Original Trilogy Characters Are Being Cast Aside. I’m very happy that Luke & Leia are given loads of screen time in this. I don’t really have any complaints about how their characters were handled. As I said, though, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca and some other characters I won’t mention (not sure what’s common knowledge when it comes to others) are truly cast aside in this film. It felt almost as though Rian Johnson wants rid of them & to focus more on all new characters. I know times are very different nowadays and people are demanding that things be new & constantly changed, but this is the most beloved film franchise. Do it justice. Don’t throw it away. Did J.J. Abrams do too much “fan service” in The Force Awakens? Maybe. But this is Star Wars. The rules are a little different. Surely you can keep old as well as new fans happy.
I Can’t See Where They’ll Go With The Next Film Or Why We Should Care. I also can’t say much about this in order to avoid spoilers. Let’s just say that I’m less excited about the next film now. I think it’s going to be too “different” for my own liking. The hubby & I have discussed this movie quite a bit since seeing it (as much as I love it, he’s a far bigger Star Wars fan than I am) and I think we both feel similar in not yet knowing exactly what to think about it. It’s disappointing to not instantly love it. One thing he asked me is if I feel that these sequels are adding to the story in a way that feels right or if they’re starting to kind of ruin the magic of the original trilogy now. Okay – that’s not quite how he phrased it but it was something like that. At this point in time, I can say that I thought The Force Awakens was taking my beloved Star Wars forward in a way that would do no harm to the original trilogy’s legacy. After seeing The Last Jedi, I’m not sure if I can make that same statement. I guess we’ll have to see where Episode IX takes us and just hope that it doesn’t damage something that so many of us love.
Overall, at the moment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has left me feeling a little bit cold. Which is heartbreaking. I’ll give it my initial rating, which I may think is a bit too low once I’ve watched the movie a second time. We’ll see (and maybe it will change depending on what I think of the next film & how it all ties in). But I can’t see my rating going up by more than half a point.
My Rating: 7/10
Now let’s discuss this movie in the Comments! SPOILERS ALLOWED!!! I’m dying to discuss this. 🙂 Just try to still put a warning & a bit of a gap….
Wow, finally a not-so-positive and cold-blooded review. Really enjoyed reading it.
Thanks! Lol. CPD – the cold-blooded reviewer… 😉
Ha-ha exactly! 🙂
I must admit I’ve seen the film again & I do like it a bit more. 😉
Then can I expect alternative opinion review?
Hehe. Nah! I’m too lazy these days… 😉 I hated the things I hated even MORE but now kind of love the things I really liked the first time around. That’s the quick opinion. And I loved Hamill. He’s fantastic. 🙂
I think you nailed it in your review. I actually disagree with you on some points but you pointed out the stuff that stand out. Nicely done! I’ll get back to writing more of my thoughts after writing my own review (that I didn’t want to do too soon).
Thanks, Satua! Sorry to hear you mostly agree with me, as I didn’t love it. I have to say I did watch it a second time and it HAS gone up in my opinion a bit… 😊
Is this the one where they introduce the Borg??
Yes. You will be assimilated. To their cuteness. 😉
I read all the spoilers because I have no self control and I can see how this might be split. I’m still looking forward to it though, especially the Kylo/Rey stuff because that sounds awesome.
Yeah, it’s interesting to see that people seem to either love or hate this. As I saw it so early before reading any reviews whatsoever, I really didn’t know what the reaction would be. I do like it a bit more now after a second viewing.
It’s funny that this is exactly how I felt about The Force Awakens. I still admire it as a worthy continuation of the originals, but it will always be “The One Where Han Solo Dies,” which left my family semi-traumatized in the theater. I wonder what this one will do to us. 😉 Can’t wait to see it, though.
Ha! My kid was quite upset over Solo. But she now tells us that The Force Awakens is her very favorite. I’m assuming you’ve seen The Last Jedi by now… Hope your initial reaction was better than mine. 🙂
Hmmm… all the things you didn’t like where the bits that I did like.
For instance I like that they’re building a new group for us to invest in and that there future is new exciting. The original crew are now older or sadly not with us so it makes sense to create new heroes for the current generation to grow up with and support. 😛
True, but as this is a continuation of the original trilogy, I think our beloved characters need a fitting end instead of all just being killed off. I’m fine with them setting up new characters for the new generation but thought The Last Jedi went a bit overboard on that. Johnson can do that with his spinoffs or whatever. For these, the focus should be on the main characters. The more I think about it, the more I hate just HOW much screen time was devoted to minor characters in this one. Why?? A spinoff can be “The Finn & Rose Show” instead. And I’d watch it. I love Finn. But hopefully that won’t be two hours in a cheesy looking casino. 😉 And… Now that I’ve had a mini-rant… I’ll say that I’ve watched this a second time. And I do like it a bit more. 😉
Well, the series is called Star WARS – people die in wars! And people die when they get old too, so it’s not much of a stretch in my eyes! 😛
The casino scene appears to be the biggest bone of contention for many people. I can see why they felt it was bloated compared to, say the cantina scene in Ep IV which achieved a similar goal, but I guess they wanted to also give people a fun ride with the chase sequence too, because Hollywood 2017! 😉
Plus it sowed the seeds for the Finn-Rose coupling when everything thought it would be Finn & Rey, so plot wise I think was valid, while the execution was a bit clunky in hindsight. 🙂
I love the passion in your reviews for Star Wars! Mutey, as you’ve known (maybe) for the longest time I have kind of resisted the universe, but I am pretty sure now the Force has grabbed me by the man-parts and tempted me. Inappropriate comment? You bet. But hopefully it just underscores how crazy a turn-around I’ve had with these movies. Last night I finally caught back up with A New Hope (it’s gotta be at least 10 years since I’ve seen it!) and was reminded of why this shit is great. I still have issues with some of George Lucas’ writing — he can imagine these amazing concepts and write the hell out of those, but the dialogue and character motivation is at times lacking for me — but holy hell. I can’t wait to see this movie tonight. There’s quite a lot of controversy around it, apparently. I was NOT prepared for the audience reaction on Rotten Tomatoes, or around the blogs either for that matter. Very, very curious to see how this goes for me. 😀
Tom!!! I gotta know your thoughts on The Last Jedi. It’s interesting to hear what fans like you, who are newer fans of these (as they’ve grabbed you by your man-parts), think of this one. It seems to be the old, hardcore fans who are most disappointed. You may have had a different reaction. Have you reviewed it??? I’ll have a look later! I’m eager to discuss. And I’ve seen it a second time. My opinion has changed slightly. 🙂
Yeah I really can’t comprehend what everyone is so upset about with the new one. Honestly I thought it was great, and the hate for it has really started to make me think that hardcore fans just have no lives whatsoever. It is really quite pathetic. I will not be reviewing it, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and Im ready to move on to the next thing now.
People suck. I think that’s the main reason why people are moaning SO much. 😉
The online reaction to this has been crazy over the weekend! Such vitriol… Personally, I really enjoyed it. I can kind of see why the points you’ve written about are disappointing, but I also appreciate what they were trying to do with this film — push the saga forward in new directions, mainly.
I think a lot of people who were unsure about / disliked it will find it grows on them with repeat viewings — I don’t think it’s as “not Star Wars” as it can seem at first. I’ve read a few people argue that it’s only as different from what’s gone before as Empire Strikes Back was from A New Hope, and we all know what people think of Empire nowadays…
I’m finally getting to these Last Jedi comments after seeing it a second time and I have to say my opinion has changed slightly. I did like it a bit more the second time. The parts that annoyed me annoyed me even MORE. However, the parts I really liked… Well, I liked them a lot more. So they help balance out the annoying stuff (casino! and silly ending!). It was interesting to see this right away, before knowing what the reaction would be. As I wrote this, I thought people would think I was being far too harsh. I really didn’t expect SUCH a negative reaction to this movie. The movie doesn’t deserve that. It’s a good film, although it’ll never ever be my favorite Star Wars film. Hamill was amazing. The Academy will of course ignore this, though. Ridley & Driver as well. Fantastic. I have no issues with their scenes. It’s the extra crap thrown in that annoyed me. But, seriously – people need to chill. This was flawed but had some great scenes.
Definitely agree. It’s not a perfect film, but some of the things that have attracted criticism from fanboys aren’t things that are bad, in my opinion. But I think it’s a small but very vocal group that have been so outraged by it.
Yeah, I’m not quite sure who those super angry people ARE. My hubby is an old school hardcore fan and he’s… Sort of okay with the film. He’s still not sure how he feels but he’s not pissed off like some of these crazy fans seem to be.
I saw this the first time and really liked it, but then I saw it a second time and LOVED it. I’m definitely encouraging people to give it a second viewing (it’s also worth the splurge for IMAX).
Almost none of my predictions and guesses turned out to be true, but I’m actually okay with that. I’m glad I was surprised. The Last Jedi felt like a bold, exciting, different take on this universe that still felt like Star Wars. I’m glad they’ve treated original trilogy characters like Luke and Leia respectfully (I LOVED Luke’s story arc in this one, particularly the revelation of his cool new Force power, projecting himself across the galaxy), and I’m excited to see where Finn, Poe, Rey and Kylo go in the sequel. I really liked how they added more layers to Kylo’s character, and his Force connection with Rey was super interesting.
I will saw that a few of the humor moments fell a bit flat, though that bothered me less the second time since I was expecting them. I didn’t love “flying Leia through space” and the new characters like Rose and Vice Admiral Holdo didn’t connect with me in the same way that Rey & Co. did. But all in all, I loved it, and I’m still feeling buzzed. 😉
I’m glad you loved this, being a big Star Wars fan. 🙂 I know it’s the biggest fans who seem disappointed. I have seen this a second time now and do like it a bit more. I still have issues with them adding too many new characters that I can’t say I care about in the same way that I did instantly take to those in The Force Awakens. I want more focus on them & the original trilogy characters. I wish I cared more for Rose than I do. The problem is that she was in too many scenes plus that whole Finn & Rose storyline had WAY too much time devoted to it. However, I loved all the stuff with Luke, Rey & Kylo. And I thought these three actors were brilliant. Give Hamill an Oscar!!! (They won’t). Also not crazy about Leia flying through space but loved seeing her this final time. 😦 Overall, I’m happy with how Luke was handled in this one. That was most important to me. And I’m looking forward to seeing what Rey & Kylo do from here. I hope they focus on them in the next one instead of adding yet more characters.
Same here! I really don’t want anymore new characters – I think Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo are interesting enough, and I want to see more of them! 🙂
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Glad u could still enjoy this film despite its numerous flaws
Too many elements did not work for me, and I haven’t been back to watch a 2nd time:
Thanks! I’ve seen it a second time & I have to say I do like it a bit more now. Certainly flawed but has some scenes I really liked. Will check out your review later today. Interested in knowing your thoughts. 🙂
Finally saw this today. Came to a lot of the same conclusions. I don’t like that we have to stuff all these extra plots and develop all these extra characters. I thought, and wrote in my review, with Empire Strikes Back, the Empire and Rebel Alliance are virtually non-existent after the Battle of Hoth and really allow for main character development that helped drive the story.
They should’ve given Chewbacca all the porg screen time. I love R2-D2 and C-3PO, but they had limited time in The Force Awakens and Last Jedi, but I feel they made good use of their time in this one. Chewbacca can play a much bigger role in the story as a whole, and I think he deserves more screen time of those characters.
And I’m glad I didn’t check cast list on IMDb prior to because when that one character shows up on the island I was both surprised and pleased with how he fit into the story.
Hi. Sorry – I missed your comment! Yeah… Even now I’m not 100% sure how I feel about The Last Jedi. I saw it a second time and it HAS grown on me a bit. I liked everything with Rey & especially Luke. The addition of waaaay too many new characters still annoys me. I don’t know… Maybe I’ll know better how I feel about this one after the final film. And I’m glad Yoda was a surprise for me. LOVED that. 🙂
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