I Finally Figured Out What’s Wrong With The Last Jedi (SPOILERS!)

Before you continue reading, please be aware that this post is dark and full of spoilers. Wrong reference, I know, but still. Do not say I didn’t warn you.

That said, on with the show.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT

Right. Last warning.

I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi last week. For the first time in 40 years, I walked out of a Star Wars film confused, uncertain of what the film made me feel.

Disclaimer: I am not the most reliable Star Wars critic out there. I walked out of Episode I excited and touting the many ways in which Star Wars was back and how this was the most perfect movie ever.

Little did I know, right?

I did a similar thing 2 years ago when The Force Awakens came out, and we all know how that turned out. In essence, 2 years later, I’ve come to appreciate the characters first set forth by The Force Awakens, yet I was still feeling a bit cheated by the fact that you can’t just change the name of the Death Star to Starkiller base, Tatooine to Jakku, and call it a new movie.

We’ve all gone through that grieving process I imagine.

So I went into Last Jedi cautious but optimistic, which I’m certain where Snoke’s last words as he was heading into this very important meeting he just couldn’t miss.

It’s taken me a week to process the “why” though. Why didn’t I leave that cinema glowing from having a new favourite character (Rey), one that had made me change my lifelong allegiance to the Dark Side for the Light Side.

So here I am. Finally having figured it out.

First off let me just make a point on the fact that The Last Jedi IS a Star Wars film. It’s so much of a Star Wars film, that half the time you feel the characters are going to break the fourth wall, look at the camera and go “Star Wars!”, throw up jazz hands, and give the audience a wink.

It’s very much a Star Wars film. Yet it all feels so…pointless.

Now, I have no complaints about Rian Johnson basically giving JJ Abrams the middle finger and tossing all his LOST style mysteries into the nearest trash compactor. I liked that bit. I liked Rey not having any famous lineage. I loved the fact that this movie goes “You don’t need to be a Skywalker to use the Force”. It erases two generations of nepotism over who the next The One is going to be. It was beginning to feel a bit too royal. Only those of pure Skywalker blood could be called upon to fulfil whatever prophecy was appropriate for any given trilogy. By making it so that anybody can become a hero, I felt like I did when I watched Empire years ago! Like I wanted to once again focus my mind on a nearby pencil and try to Force Pull it into my hands.

Right, moving on.

Killing Snoke was a risky move in my mind. A great, albeit risky move. It cements Kylo Ren as the big bad of the trilogy. No longer being bossed around by either Snoke or Hux. He’s the Supreme Leader now. It’s a massive weight to lay on the shoulders of anyone, but from Last Jedi’s performance, Adam Driver is more than up to the task.

However, the movie gives us great characters but it doesn’t give us anything to attach them to. The First Order vs. Resistance conflict is stretched out over two and a half hours of the slowest car chase in movie history. A military superpower crawling around space, just waiting for the Resistance to stop at the nearest BP station to refuel. We never find out where the First Order comes from, what happened to the remnants of the Empire, who put Snoke in charge, or why the branding changed in the first place!

The old Star Wars trope of there being “evil guys” who want to rule the galaxy” gets a bit boring after 40 years. One wonders if there’s no other motivation behind it. Hell, halfway through the movie we discover that the galactic 1% is bankrolling both sides of the conflict for profit. This works! It’s a perfect mirror to what is currently happening, and has happened before, in our reality. It’s a perfect hook to ground those characters. But we never actually find out who is pulling these new strings we were just introduced to! There’s a whole power group interested in keeping this conflict going, and the conflict is being waged far away from them, so it’s a perfect setup. But this is a new element in the equation. New interests being displayed in the galaxy far, far away. I would love to know who these people are. What their driving force is. How the magical space wizards factor in all these investment decisions. Does General Hux play golf with any of these alien investors?

There’s entire civilisations and interested parties at work here, and I would’ve loved to have seen a hint that the galaxy is not just a couple of flotillas bonking heads over a guy who disappeared decades ago. It seems like the First Order would’ve won handily had Snoke not been overly obsessed with finding Luke Skywaker, who wasn’t even planning to come back to begin with. They should’ve just focused on doing what they do best, which is blasting Resistance fighters left and right.

On that note, next time, the First Order should just send everything they have against that one black X-Wing that keeps giving you trouble. Seems like a pretty obvious blind spot.

On the same issue, the Resistance calls unnamed allies at the end of the movie. Some sort of Hail Mary that never materialises. Who are these groups? How is Resistance propaganda being spread around the galaxy? Why do they continue to hide out in planets that are so removed from the galaxy, that their allies go “Yeeaah, I would, but you’re too far out of the way :( “? What are those societies like? Is the First Order still ruling these planets with an iron fist like we saw on Tatooine in the first movie? Garrisons of stormtroopers being mobilised to search for a couple of droids? Nobody shows up. Nobody replies. They leave the Resistance messages on “read”. Why call on them when everything is lost and not before? It’s 2 and a half hours of STAR WARS IN SPAAAAACE, with an animal rights intermission.

Furthermore, do try and use the rules of the Universe set forth in previous films. Don’t just pull a hyperspace lance out of nowhere, and then expect people not to go “Why didn’t they just do that with the Death Star?”

I mean, if you can just hyper speed into stuff and obliterate it (sound science, to be sure), why bother with even having a Death Star in the first place? Just put a stormtrooper in a capsule and slug him into Alderaan.

Even so, The Last Jedi is great when it’s giving the old trilogy and old fans the middle finger, and taking all those YouTubers full of “Rey theories” for a ride. Yet at the end of the movie, for all its grand designs and great set pieces, it all feels pointless. We never find out the reason behind all this. Much like when Rey tells Luke she wants to know her place in all of this, I’m left wondering “So do I!”. Rey has started her hero journey, but putting the Resistance in charge of the galaxy doesn’t sound like it’s going to improve anything. If anything because we literally don’t know how bad people have it under the First Order. Hell, even the planets we saw destroyed in Force Awakens were left to the imagination. Where they the galactic government seat? An important economic hub? The casino patrons certainly seem to be well off and having a good time, so is the First Order not doing great things for the economy anyway?

Oh they’re looking for Luke. Well that’s not going to matter by the end of the movie either.

Even Rey and Kylo’s battle against the red guards looked beautifully choreographed but ultimately pointless. Where were the Knights of Ren? Why weren’t they fighting those guys? The only time we’ve ever seen non Jedi defeat Jedi is when the galactic-wide Order 66 was issued, and they were gunned down by the people who were meant to be fighting alongside them. There is zero reason to fear that these nameless Royal Guards v2.0 would have any chance in piercing either Rey’s or Kylo’s plot armour. Good to know the Empire — FIRST ORDER SORRY — finally figured out how to make lightsaber resistant bracers.

Should’ve made the helmets out of the same material though. Just a thought.

Where The Force Awakens was the annoying teacher’s pet kid, the one who is constantly doing what the teacher does in order to gain his approval, The Last Jedi is the emo, woke kid with no friends, gleefully flipping off the principal on school grounds. The Last Jedi does not give a single fuck. And in those moments it shines. However, it falls flat after a while because the galaxy Rey is supposed to save does not exist in the movie. The galaxy Kylo Ren is supposedly controlling simply isn’t there.

I love the direction this movie took. Unpredictable and subversive. I just don’t care for what happens. I don’t care for the galaxy as a whole. In that sense, the prequels, for all their faults, at least got the GALACTIC CIVILISATIONS EVERYWHERE bit right.

JJ Abrams gave Rian Johnson a puzzle to solve. Johnson upended the table it was set up on. I have concerns that when Abrams gets his hands on the third instalment, we’re going to find out Rey’s dad was actually Qui Gon Jinn who figured out how to be a sexually active Force ghost, and it’ll toss the whole “you’re a nobody” reveal out the door.

But mostly, I’m afraid that by the time Episode 9 comes out, I just won’t care if the galaxy ends up under the control of the First Order, or if some sort of Republic regains its power. We hardly know anything about either of them.

Also, don’t put walkers on a white fucking planet and tell me it’s made of salt.

STAR WARS! *jazz hands*

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jack Uzcategui

Jack Uzcategui

292 Followers

“In 2014, a few years before the war, Jack moved to Paris to write and drink wine. He died during the invasion when he refused to leave Paris without his dog.”