- Oct 25, 2017
Interesting. I don't disagree with any of this, but for me, the way the plot structure resolved to again almost mirror the OT, and how the film ended up basically resetting the status quo on the entire universe to where it was in the beginning of the OT, made it feel very tired. TFA never pretended to be anything but a rehash. TLJ toyed with some ideas in the first half that hinted at a more complicated dynamic than Light vs Dark, Empire vs Rebellion, but it ended up being exactly that, which disappointed me. I also thought the conceit of the chase was so flimsy that I couldn't suspend my disbelief. Not to plug my own stuff but I wrote in more detail on letterboxd, and if you want to know more about where I'm coming from, I'll just link that rather than repeat myself: https://letterboxd.com/noray/film/star-wars-the-last-jedi/I adore The Force Awakens but that is an example of how safe it can get.
This isn’t really a defense of The Last Jedi but rather how I consider it so different:
The Last Jedi takes place seconds after The Force Awakens ends, which has never been done before in the series, and all the events in it happen in less than a couple of days. It takes arguably the most mythological protagonist in film (Luke Skywalker) and shows him as a broken man that considered, for a second, killing his nephew. This was also the first Star Wars movie to ever use a flashback, as George Lucas was completely against them, in a Rashomon-inspired “what happened” scenario between Kylo Ren and Luke. It also attempts a completely different style of humor than previous films in the saga, more Marvel-ish quips and strange jokes, compared to the light Threepio mocking of the OT and whatever all those poop and fart jokes were in the PT lol.
You have Rey who was hyped up as having some great lineage that fans speculated for years as to whether she was related to anyone, only to turn that on it’s head and reveal that she is the “light rising” to meet Kylo’s darkness per Snoke. Poe, Leia, and Holdo’s storyline takes place in a cruiser that is running until it runs out of fuel for the entire movie, which sounds much more like a Battlestar Galactica plot than a Star Wars one. I hated the character but DJ introduced a new element to the Star Wars universe, albeit barely fleshed out, in that the rich is purposefully funding the war on both sides and playing the fields so they can enjoy their gold and power. There is also Holdo-Dern potentially shattering all Star Wars physics by ramming her ship into the First Order fleet, crippling them and creating a whole new wave of questions for fans.
I think there are some obvious parallels, like Rey training with Luke being a mirror of Luke training with Yoda, but their interactions are quite different. Yoda was testing Luke the entire time - meanwhile, older Luke was trying to convince Rey to leave him alone because he was convinced the Jedi (and himself) helped orchestrate the fall of the galaxy. The biggest parallel is probably the throne room sequence with Kylo, Rey, and Snoke borrowing so much from Return of the Jedi with the dark-sided apprentice preying on his master’s ego and killing him when he least expected it. But there are differences there, too.
Not fighting against your opinion by any means, just wanted to show you why I feel this way about the movie’s direction. IMHO, any movie that did what it did to such an iconic character with Luke alone was always going to be controversial and turn heads. But I think Johnson did a lot of new things for the franchise (whether or not you like them is something else, lol, I am just acknowledging that he did what he did) that separated what Abrams did with The Force Awakens.