When I was a child, I loved Star Wars. I had the Kenner toys, the VHS cassettes (look them up kids), t-shirts, bed sheets, you name it, I had it.
As I grew older, I still enjoyed the product and whenever any of the three movies would come on television, I would drop everything to watch. I would eternally refer to it as, watching it for the second time. My interest was reinvigorated in the early 1990s when Timothy Zahn wrote The Heir to the Empire trilogy. It was the perfect continuation to the cinematic universe that I loved. Unfortunately, in 1997 George Lucas tampered with near perfection bringing out the Special Editions for the 20th anniversary of the franchise and that’s when I began lying to myself.
The lies started with, Oh, these are pretty good too. I like the new scene with Jabba. Oh look, more stuff in the background. Ok…that’s…huh…I guess it works, etc.
Eventually, I would stand in line for the prequels with each being worse than the next. The best I could say about The Phantom Menace was how bad-a Darth Maul looked and put John Williams’ Duel of Fates on repeat in the CD player (I’m seriously dating myself).
I don’t have to go into Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith to continue with my Battered Wife Syndrome in my hopes that George Lucas would treat the fans better, but what felt like a betrayal to the property with the constant tweaks and lies of how the original theatrical versions were lost, never to be released again, I began to hate Star Wars and those who continued to drink the Kool-Aid.
In 2012, a beacon of light shined through as a new lover emerged, someone that understood the fans desires, making us tingle with excitement, giving us what we thought we wanted and that was Mickey Mouse and J.J. Abrams with Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Then I saw it and though, Oh that’s a lot like A New Hope…I kinda like it, it’s north of mediocre unlike the other three. I’ll give these versions a chance. Man, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) does whine a lot, living the shadow of grandpa has got to suck.
Of course, the lies of the new lover began to resemble the lies of the previous one. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story promised to be a stand-alone movie, unrelated to the original trilogy. Was it? Nope. It turned out to be Star Wars: Episode III.V – Rogue One. A throwaway line from the original film about how they received the information to blow up the Death Star. It was 2 hours of the nostalgia train moving full-steam-ahead and again I was disappointed.
Writer/Director Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad) took over for J.J. Abrams and destroyed what was laid out in the reinvigorated franchise. The best I could say about the new film is that the CGI Carrie Fisher is almost seamlessly woven in post-mortem, giving her a proper send off.
Here’s the rundown of what happens in The Last Jedi without major spoilers:
- Bad Jokes, cool space battle, Kylo Ren whines, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) whines, Supreme Leader Snoke makes threats, a bunch of Rebels die because Poe (Oscar Isaac) disobeys orders.
- Bad visual gag with Finn (John Boyega), Poe continues to disobey orders.
- Bad jokes on Jedi Island, Luke is a cantankerous old man who shows us exactly where blue milk comes from, Rey wants to learn to be a Jedi, Luke says no, the Force connects Kylo and Rey somehow, they both continue to whine.
- The Rebel ships are attacked, here is the perfect out for Leia to die but doesn’t, Finn wants to run away but gets caught by Rose Tico [(Kelly Marie Tran) the best new Star Wars character] who helps him man up, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) shows up with purple hair, takes command while Leia is recovering.
- Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo puts Poe in his place but he still disobeys orders, contacting Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) to help them by sending Rose and Finn on a mission to find a code breaker.
- Kylo Ren whines shirtless, Rey whines,General Hux whines, Luke is scared, some darkside stuff happens that isn’t dark.
- Awesome fight scene that should have been the end of the trilogy, not act two of the second film.
- Finn and Rose find a code breaker named DJ (Benicio Del Toro), a nihilist, who teaches them about weapons profiteers and that the people who sell to the “bad guys” also sell to the “good guys.”
- Kylo Ren is still a giant, whining rage baby, Rey continues to look like she’s holding in gas, Luke gets a visit.
- Poe disobeys orders, Leia wakes up and puts him in his place, they escape only to be followed by The New Order.
- Another cool fight scene that should have been the end of the second act, not leading to the end of the movie.
- Sad music, the rebels escape, roll credits.
What I liked about The Last Jedi:
- Rose Tico, she’s a great edition to the story and the only female worth a damn under 50.
- BB-8 replacing R2-D2 as the number one comic relief droid and that’s hard to do.
- The two major fight scenes. The Last Jedi has a roughly 2:30 run time and these are the best 25 minutes of the movie.
What I didn’t like about The Last Jedi:
- Predictability. As many twists-and-turns Johnson tried to force into this flick, there were far too many scenes that left me shaking my head in disappointment. I was thinking, Well, there’s a turning point. Yep, that’s how X was going to going. Okay, that was just bad. etc.
- The incessant jokes. The first eight Star Wars movies had light humor to offset the heaviness of the story. This one movie crams nine movies worth of jokes into its run time.
- The constant whining by the male characters and Rey. The hot ticket item this decade is the rise of the Beta Male and as great as it is to see Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran and Carrie Fisher be the strong female role models that Star Wars needs, you can’t be Jedi Masters and Sith Lords constantly complaining.
- No one follows orders. No wonder why the Resistance keeps losing.
- Captain Phasma, she’s more worthless than Boba Fett in this franchise and has less screen time. They really wasted Gwendoline Christie as she’s nothing more than Stormtrooper eye candy.
- BB-9E, just one more toy to sell.
- The 2-hours of filler to get to the exciting bits.
For those that feared this would be a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, you would be so lucky! Star Wars: The Last Jedi is series of loosely linked vignettes that leave you asking far more questions than giving you any sort of resolution. Rian Johnson erase two-thirds of what J.J. Abrams set forth in The Force Awakens and leaves you feeling like the only thing that could have made this movie even worse is if Jar Jar Binks showed up with tongue wagging shrieking, “Meso es Back!”