I finally made it to see The Last Jedi in the theater today. First off, thanks to those of you who provided the spoiler-free reviews. It was much appreciated. I’ll be dropping spoilers here though, so don’t hold back in the comments Getting that out of the way, why is this movie getting so much hate? I thought it was amazing.
Maybe this is unfair of me to do, but I have to compare it to Rogue One. The reason I’m doing this is because I notice that many of the same reviewers who liked Rogue One are also ripping on The Last Jedi. I’ll probably piss people off by saying this, but Rogue One isn’t even a real movie. I mean that in the sense that the story is weak, the characters are unsympathetic and forgettable, and it was totally dependent on the goodwill brought about by nostalgia for the classic characters. The whole thing sort of drags for a couple of hours just so we can get to watch Darth Vader go all Jason Voorhees on a bunch of guys. The movie had a great finale but in terms of story, it was nothing but fan-fiction.
The Last Jedi was as different as it could be and it was fantastic. Where Rogue One was a story that really didn’t need to be told, The Last Jedi is a continuation of the original trilogy and there’s new shit that happens. The new characters have depth, learn things, fall in love, and do a bunch of other stuff that the Rogue One characters didn’t and it wouldn’t matter if they did on account of them all being dead. The classic characters don’t carry the movie. One of the themes is that they’re moving on. Going away. We’re breaking with the past. Where the classic characters appear and do things, it serves the plot, not the “OMG! LUKE SKYWALKER GOTS HIS GREEN LIGHTSABER! SQUUUUUUUUEEEEEE!” factor.
What about The Force Awakens? Is anyone questioning that this was better than that? I liked The Force Awakens and I was perfectly willing to accept that it was effectively a remake of A New Hope (or Star Wars for the old people among us). A reboot-of-sorts was exactly what the Star Wars universe needed. Anyone who doesn’t get that is still clinging to the idea that the prequels weren’t terrible and hadn’t crippled Star Wars by demystifying the Force and turning Darth Vader into a crybaby jerkass. If Rogue One accomplished anything worthwhile, it was making Darth Vader scary again.
The Force Awakens reintroduced that world and set the basis for a new story with characters who, quite frankly, I like and find interesting (mostly Kylo Ren and Finn). The Last Jedi put them into a situation where everything has been turned upside down, the old tropes don’t work anymore, and the stakes are arguably higher than they’ve been since the final act of Return of the Jedi.
Yet somehow, it’s still hopeful. This is the biggest contrast with Rogue One. It went all “dark” and that’s fine, I suppose, but it was also joyless and depressing. The Last Jedi is more similar to my favorite movie (favorite movie, period, not just favorite Star Wars movie), Empire Strikes Back. Yeah, that movie was dark too but the difference is that there was humor (beyond one autistic robot), romance (beyond the two main characters who can barely stand each other for most of the movie holding hands on the beach before dying), and there were some legitimate surprises and plot twists (Rogue One had neither, except I guess I was surprised that everybody got killed). Empire and Last Jedi have all of this in common.
The Last Jedi was exciting and suspenseful for the most part. Admittedly, it ran on too long, but I remember watching Rogue One a year ago and being horrified to realize about 25 minutes into it that I wasn’t enjoying it at all. There was never a moment like that in this one.
So what’s the problem here, guys? Why does The Last Jedi have such a bad audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes? Was it that everybody sucked at their jobs? Couldn’t be that, because everybody sucks at their jobs in Game of Thrones and that’s popular. Besides, “failure” is the primary theme of the movie. Everybody fails. Then they learn from it.
Maybe you’re peeved because the character of Luke Skywalker was badly handled to the point that even Mark Hamill is mad about it? First, I’ll just say that I don’t agree with his politics, so I’m not obliged to agree with his opinion on the character he plays. Yes, Luke almost kills a young Ben Solo in a moment that his worst instincts almost took over. Unlike his father, he decided not to kill any kids. Yes, it was hard to see him as a jaded old man so different from the idealistic young man we remember. But I find it believable that someone like that could become more cynical over time, particularly in the face of (again) failure. He had forgotten what he was supposed to be, but he found it again and made it count. Was it the way he died? I thought it was every bit as dignified as Ben Kenobi’s or Yoda’s, honestly.
What did you really want to happen? Did you want to see Luke Skywalker show up and start Force-throwing First Order stormtroopers onto the ceiling in an extravagant and needless sequence that completely missed the point of the story?
Maybe it’s the feminism? I have seen a few complaints about this on the Web. Were the females too overpowered? I’d be happy to have that debate. I think the women all sucked at their jobs as much as the men did. By the end, Poe was commanding everyone and Leia was telling everyone to go along with him. Rose got rekt saving Finn because that’s what chicks do when they love you. Rey most definitely did not kick Kylo Ren’s ass this time. Men weren’t denigrated in this movie at all.
Set me straight here. What was wrong with The Last Jedi? It greatly exceeded my expectations. It was as beautiful cinematically as Rogue One was. The characters were strong and interesting. It was an exciting and engaging story. I’m an old school Star Wars fan and I legitimately rank it my #3 favorite of the movies, only behind ESB and ANH.
Why do some people hate it? I don’t get it.