The Imbalanced Force within The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi had me on the edge of my seat, like I haven't felt in a movie theater in a long time. Then it left me really disappointed again and again.
If you're not into critiquing your entertainment, that's cool. Entertainment is fun and we all digest movies in different ways. This article won't be for you. Check out our balanced 5v5: The Last Jedi for something a little lighter.
FULL SPOILERS FOLLOW
Suspense in the new saga reached epic peaks in The Last Jedi.
Rey standing in front of the mirror wall in the dark side cave...
Rey and Kylo walking into Snoke's chambers...
Luke walking out to face down the First Order...
I couldn't have been more excited for these scenes as they unfolded. But, by the end of each of them...it felt like the air was sucked out of the room. Why? What happened?
There is a big gaping fail in the film for me though and I need to dive deeper into why this didn't sit right and if it was a real problem with the film or just my own expectations not being met.
At the end, I openly conclude that this major systemic issue with the film was destined to divide fans. The filmmakers knew it. 'This isn't going to go the way you think.' What the filmmakers may have not anticipated was how unsatisfying the void this problem left would be. They miscalculated what was important for the audience, deeply.
They should have known better honestly. Every creative endeavor that builds suspense as well as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is doomed to fail if the payoff isn't valuable and interesting. Suspense and payoff need to be balanced.
Ironically, it has to do with balance. Balance not between the Light and Dark side of the Force, but narratively. Suspense vs. Payoff is the imbalanced force that splits The Last Jedi in two.
No suspense and the payoff is too much of a surprise and feels manufactured. Too much suspense and no payoff leaves the audience disappointed and unsatisfied. Replacing substance with nothing was never going to be satisfying.
With suspense, connected wins every time over creating a disconnect for the audience.
Take the family connection out of the Vader and Luke/Leia Skywalker storyline and we are far less interested in Star Wars.
If Fredo was just Michael Corleone's friend, it means a lot less and we're less connected to it because of the weakness of the connection.
What if Kint wasn't Keyser Soze? He was just the cripple all along and Soze was a myth or a mystery. BORING!
Take the longstanding and earned friendship out of a confrontation between Batman and Superman, and it is far less dramatically powerful. Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic wins. Batman v Superman as the second movie in a new shared DCEU loses.
Create drama and conflict between Captain America and Iron Man with the death of Tony's parents in the middle and we have real stakes. We're invested in it so the payoff of them fighting nearly to the death has dramatic resonance. Take the connection with Tony's parents death out of it and they're just feuding heroes.
Introduce Thanos in Avengers, build suspense towards his massive power and the potential for his plans to destroy the universe of characters we've invested in on screen for 15+ movies and fail to deliver something of substance worthy to the suspense and build up and we'll be super bummed.
What if Thanos dies in the first Infinity War? That would need some serious transference onto a new villain to work. That would be super risky. Likely, it would be a terrible idea.
What if it is revealed that Loki was just pretending to be Thanos all along and there is no Thanos? That would be a HUGE misdirection but it would break our interest in the movie universe.
That's what happened for us with most of the big mysteries we were led to be invested in starting with The Force Awakens. It's why we were so invested in the new saga going forward. Han, Luke, and Leia all had to fade away and new interest needed to be built.
The Last Jedi shatters that interest for the sake of being different. Different is great but only if different has value.
Build massive suspense around who a character is and where she comes from for two movies only to reveal she is nobody special and we're not going to be as interested as we were when the movie was asking us "What girl?"
Just like the Force needs balance, suspense has to be balanced with substantive payoff or the result is separation from the story and disinterest rather than increased connection. In something as subjective as story and character, connection always wins.
I'm going to go on a deep dive into the film's biggest flaw.
The movie didn't deliver on the biggest mysteries The Force Awakens started and that even The Last Jedi ramped up significantly. Not only did TLJ not deliver, it tosses these mysteries aside without replacing our interest in them or sufficiently continuing them to be further explored.
It's not about the creative plot choices they made contrasting with our own personal preference. Personally, I didn't want another Skywalker. I didn't think a Kenobi fit or a Palpatine. We just needed something of value.
Crowning Achievement of the New Star Wars Saga
The movie’s crowning achievement is the crescendo of emotion and suspense leading into the final act of the film. We wouldn't feel so strongly if they didn't make us super interested leading into Snoke's throne room. The Force Awakens deserves a lot of the credit here. The Last Jedi’s deserves credit as well as the movie seemed to be building towards something special, something new, and something interesting. Only the middle was true. It was new to Star Wars.
TLJ builds on all the inner connectedness a long time fan feels in this universe and for these characters. TFA takes the wonderfully deep canvas of a Star Wars film where every creature, planet, and ship seem to have an incredible story. Both movies focus our attention on a few primary stories. Who is Rey? What makes her interesting and why does she have such power in the Force? To a smaller extent, who is Snoke? How did he get to where he sits atop the First Order and Kylo Ren's puppet master? Even the Jedi Temple was a massive mystery, why did Luke go there? What was he looking for? What would he find?
Most of the momentum builds from The Force Awakens (TFA) and all the mysteries introduced for the new trilogy. The momentum leading into the middle of the movie felt colossal, in a good way. I started to get the feels for characters that aren’t even among my favorites in Star Wars lore but because of what they represent for us as fans. That homage was deeply felt. It's the first time I've been on the edge of my seat emotionally in a "fun" movie for awhile.
Replacing Skywalker with Nobody
The delivered resolution for all of this great suspense was like so much of the film for me...it was kind of a toss away. I get it. I know why they did it and I knew much of the movement in the movie had to happen for the franchise. The Jedi must end. Gotchya.
But the way it was done wasn’t very satisfying. Simply put, replacing the connectedness of the Skywalker family and that powerful drama with nobody special was unsatisfying. It isn't very interesting. Nothing of value was really put in its place in TLJ and that is a big problem for me.
There is so much to unpack in this movie and the more I do, the more parts fall into this category for me. Unsatisfying to downright disappointing.
The Last Jedi sucks all the air out of the helium filled balloon by the 7 episodes before it and instead of delivering the payoff of a funny, squeaky voice or a balloon careening wildly and unpredictably into the air. It just pushes a puff of air back into the balloon, ties a knot and floats almost lifelessly back to the ground.
Basically, it paid off almost all of its cache and most of it didn’t include much substance for the characters, the overarching universe, or the story going forward. Nor was it replaced by any other intriguing mysteries or leave us with tangible interest going forward.
The Hand Off
The quintessential scene to represent this movie for us was Luke, upon receiving the lightsaber and giving that long, deep emotional look to end The Force Awakens, tosses it flippantly over his shoulder, discarding it.
That’s pretty much how everything was handled in this movie we were interested in and deemed important for the larger journey and experience - you know, the good stuff. Vader reveals he is Luke’s father or Leia being Luke’s twin sister or Vader turning from the dark side in his last gasp. That's god stuff. That is what we love at the core of the drama in Star Wars. Don't do that, obviously. But offer something.
Personally, I loved The Force Awakens. It had its faults and wasn’t perfect but it was fun and built a new universe that was uniquely Star Wars on top of old characters and motifs. For me, it had the right mix of old and new. It balanced old characters while building really interesting new ones. The callbacks were offset by some very new movement both plot and character centric. It worked in the new, awakened Star Wars universe. The movie felt like Star Wars but was setting the stage for Star Wars to evolve for generations to come. It may have been a bridge movie with too many callbacks but the new stuff was compelling.
The most important thing was that it was building something special. Personal preference aside, these foundations could have any number of meaningful continuations, impacts, or relevance.
The Last Jedi breaks the mold. Unfortunately, the mold included all of those interesting mysteries and we weren't left wondering much about the future. It's mostly a blank slate. Blank space isn't interesting.
They weren't all entirely misses for us in The Last Jedi. Some of the departures from the formula of Star Wars were great. Some were trivial and we absorbed them as the film goes on, one after the other...each new scene was like, ok - here we go! Something big is about to happen. The film plays with our expectations in some fun ways. But, some of these right turns felt like tricks and didn’t sit right the further into the journey we went.
I like that Luke had closed off from the force. I get why he retreated as a character. That’s interesting. But, flippantly tossing the lightsaber wasn’t just a cheap laugh. It was a re-direct from what TFA built. It had little substance in the end. It undermined our interest. It even broke the plot - why leave a map if you don't want to be found?
There were far too many of those re-directs in this film where I was excited to get something new in this universe and was answered with - oh, no...that part isn’t important.
Delusions of Grandeur
The complaints of TFA being too similar to A New Hope must have been ringing in their ears as they wrote this movie. It’s unfortunate that it affected their vision so heavily. Those things were window dressing to me in TFA. The meat of TFA was rooted in the core of Star Wars and why SW led an entire genre of film, Sci-fi. All the little things strewn among the stars were interesting and they all had a story. Every little bit of the world held back a story and a mystery. Little things like a mining colony in the clouds or a gangster dominated desert planet.
The big ones that Abrams set up heading into The Last Jedi were near meaningless for this movie. What was built on top of the ashes of those mysteries is very insignificant by comparison? For me, I have very few questions leaving The Last Jedi. I’m not nearly as interested in this world as I was heading in. One of the most interesting things going forward is that the universe is moreover a blank slate. The board is wiped clean of old baggage. I get that was going to happen and I was ready for it, but what is left is not nearly as interesting after The Last Jedi as it was before. That is disappointing. A blank slate isn't interesting, even if it is necessary.
Let’s look at specifics and unpack.
This was absolutely the most interesting question for me heading into The Force Awakens. Who is this girl? Her parentage is interesting but more importantly for the future of the story...what makes her important. How will she evolve the story of the Jedi? What don’t we know about her that they’ve been hinting at that will reveal who she is a character and what this new SW universe is all about.
The trailers built on this emotion as Luke discusses how he’s seen this power before and it didn’t scare him enough then, but it does now.
The movie ramps up this emotional capital even more. We see she is connected to Kylo Ren to Ben Solo. But why, how? Luke intervenes and we know this connection is important.
Kylo and Rey each see fragments of a vision revealing something of the other person. The interest builds. Rey openly acknowledges she saw Kylo turn on Snoke in her vision. Kylo reveals he knows who her parents are and that will be what turns her to the dark side.
They walk into the room with Snoke. The build up is HUGE. I’m completely on the edge of my seat knowing that some part of this won’t be revealed in this scene. It doesn’t matter to Rey if she is a Skywalker or a Solo or none of the above. It matters to her that she is SOMETHING. Why does she have the ability to use the Force?
By the end of the scene, it is revealed that Rey’s parents are irrelevant. She is no one. But, not to Kylo.
It feels hollow. Why have we been talking about this drama for two movies if it was unimportant? We didn't bring this up. The movies did, almost every few minutes. It's the entire core of the Rey character. Meh, she's nobody - not even someone new. She is literally just some cast off girl. She could be as anonymous as the little kid sweeping the broom.
It felt like...if she comes from nothing, then what’s the big deal? Why was there such a HUGE build up leading to this moment? It didn’t matter to Rey. It mattered far more to the audience. From this point on, Rey fades into the background of the film and by the end, she is less interesting than at any point in these films. Even the first shot of her character in TFA was more interesting than where she leaves TLJ headed into the conclusion of the trilogy.
The misdirection was there. But, what it accomplished was a blank slate for the character at best.
For me, that is why I dislike the complaint that TFA was too much like A New Hope. That view only talks about the callbacks and doesn't focus on the amazing new characters and themes TFA built. This is what you get when it isn’t like anything at all. It’s like they couldn’t have a big reveal here because whatever the reveal was would feel too much like Vader revealing to Luke that he was his father. Instead, our reveal is basically….mmmm, nevermind. The reveal is meh. It’s nothing. Ok, so Rey doesn’t have some hidden connection that shapes her destiny. She is just Rey.
So why is she force sensitive? Why is she the Last Jedi? As she asks Luke, ‘what is my place in all this?’ Is the answer really, your place is here just because you’re here? That isn’t very satisfying. She is as generic as Finn and Poe were by the end of the movie. Finn is just some rebel. Poe is just some Rebel leader.
By the end of the movie, we’re shown that the rebellion lives on because of Luke’s legend and a new Jedi will rise from his sacrifice. Those Jedi can be anybody. The message is that anyone can be a Jedi. It’s a fine message for the rebellion, but not for the Jedi and definitely not for Rey, our main character. It could have been the message of the awakening anyway without making Rey boring.
For me that is unsatisfying. It’s downright disappointing.
This was never going to go the way we expected. I was so on board with that when I heard it in the preview and then in the movie. Awesome, something new is going to happen. That something new was "nothing." The mystery never really mattered.
Star Wars loses it’s magic if in Empire Vader says to Luke...Luke, I'm just an asthmatic scary guy in a mask and you’re nobody special, but not to me. At that point, who cares? We're a little less invested in the whole thing at that point. They’re just cool characters and things meander on.
Unless, there is another...big reveal that is exciting and interesting. I didn’t feel hopeful that this blank slate was going to yield an even more impressive and powerful part to this story. It just feels like the mold was broken and not much is left in its place. Vader wasn’t a Skywalker and this guy Luke was fighting was just an evil henchman. Think about that. It’s just not as interesting.
If that is what The Last Jedi is meant to be, so be it. But it feels unsatisfying at the least to this Star Wars fan.
Sure, they can narratively spin this around again in future movies...no she really was something special and here it is...but I’m not seeing a lot of groundwork for this deception, and honestly there was too much build up to have it all dissolve. I’m not as interested now. If she does turn out to be Kylo’s sister or Luke’s daughter...I have a hard time believing that will be satisfying. It makes that a really tough long play to pull off, kind of like a movie about a 10 year old Vader. If the mystery was continued, maybe Kylo doesn’t tell her or she says back to him - I don’t believe you. Or Yoda says to Luke some hint that Rey was in fact special. They just say the want to help her.
Using all this incredible momentum to re-direct Rey to a reveal that it was never really important is unsatisfying at the least. Still, we could make our piece if something rose up in its place.
The Jedi Must End
Luke’s arch here is potentially very exciting as well. The build up towards Luke’s finale is masterfully done.
I’m thinking to myself, damn you Kylo. This angry little brat can’t take both Han and then the hero Luke. I might cry in this movie theater, at a Star Wars movie...damn it!
Yet like the build up to the mysteries around Rey, it feels hollow and unsatisfying at the end. It feels like another misdirect that was done just for the sake of not being like the original trilogy or not being what fans wanted or expected. Another play on our expectations that leaves little substance replacing in its absence.
Don’t give fans exactly what they want. Yes, you have my support. But, do give something satisfying or powerful in its place.
Fans have been itching to see Luke become the Grand Jedi Master. I knew going in that would not happen. He isn’t the benevolent hero re-building the Jedi order. He is yet another failed dogmatic Jedi caught in between what he believes he has to do and what is right. He’s Mace Windu standing over the Emperor. Instead, Luke knows the right choice - yet, his momentary weakness, a bad instinct pushed Ben Solo over the edge. The build up and character development is again masterful. I feel for that hero and I am compelled at the resolution.
The film accomplishes diversity of story and not just giving us what we wanted. Luke is fallible.
Yet, he is our hero one last time. He comes to our defense. In the rebellions last breath, he walks out to face down the entire army of the First Order. This could not be more epic.
Masterful build up.
Unsatisfying substance. At long last, Luke the powerful Jedi is revealed and the long awaited escalation of the Force is at hand. And it’s Luke who showcases this power! The Force is about to be unleashed!!! Would Luke face down an entire army? How is that even possible?
It’s a trick. It’s a force projection. In some ways, I like it. But, after the dust settles and Kylo walks up to him plunging his lightsaber into basically a hologram...it’s a little disappointing. That is not exciting. That is a trick. The finale of Luke was a force trick, like Obi wan distracting the guards with a little sharp sound in A New Hope. But, in grand fashion...still kind of disappointing.
And as Luke collapses having seemingly spent his every last energy, the cloak drops and it is a fitting end to our hero. It’s safe. He didn’t die at the hands of a lightsaber. We didn’t have to re-live Han’s death. The people saying they couldn’t handle Luke dying on screen were appeased. I appreciate the delicacy and grace Luke was able to exit the main stage. It was fitting and it had to happen.
But, it was a little unsatisfying. So you’re telling me the best, most powerful thing Luke ever did as a Jedi was a force hologram? That’s cool but kind of unfulfilling. It’s basically the same projection tech we saw from R2-D2 in the first scene of A New Hope. We remember was it was like to see the Emperor unleash force lightning for the first time or Yoda to finally wield a lightsaber. Luke’s grand finale was basically a hologram. If this was the only trick of the movie, we’d suck it up and focus on the grace of our hero’s exit and look to the next chapter.
In some way, I wanted Luke to leave us a little hurt. He was after all our new hope. Personally, I think they could have chosen any number of ways for Luke’s exit to sting a little more. Drama needs tragedy. If not here at the center of all things Star Wars, then give us this drama elsewhere.
It sticks out a little more amongst an entire film of 90 degree turns and misdirection, most of which left me as a fan unsatisfied.
Snoke, the Great...nevermind, it’s not important.
Snoke is another big example of a 90 degree turn I loved in some ways and felt frustrated by in others.
I love that this time, the apprentice becomes the Master of Evil. Kylo had to become the main villain. I love Kylo as a unique character. He is a brat. He’s bitter. He’s torn. He’s constantly being, as he says, ripped apart by good and light. It reminds me of the Sith Master Darth Sion in The Old Republic video game where he was literally being held together by anger and pain. I’m excited to have Kylo develop as our villain. He did what Vader never could...become more than a puppet. That’s is compelling and enough of a departure from the original trilogy.
What we lost in this massive and quick 90 degree turn was the mystery that was Snoke.
So much was interesting about Snoke in and after TFA. Was he small or big or even normal sized? Who was he? How did he survive the Empire and go unnoticed in Star Wars lore? Was he the shadow behind it all? Did he break the rule of 2? What happened to his face? It’s a rabbit hole of intrigue…
But, I’m not interested anymore. The reality was revealed and it wasn’t very interesting. He was another arrogant dark side user that was supposed to be so powerful and yet turned out to be dispatched easily. The most disappointing part is that he was inconsequential. Like Rey, it didn’t matter who he was or where he came from or how he was able to survive or bide his time in the original trilogy or even the prequels. They might fill in a backstory for him in some new extended universe, but I’m not really interested at this point. His end point was revealed and he as kind of useless.
I can make my peace with Snoke’s history not being a thread they wanted to pull here, but the way it was handled among all of the other 90 degree turns was disappointing.
Like many of the other answers revealed in The Last Jedi, it just didn’t matter. Those questions weren’t important to the story and they weren’t replaced with new questions. They were tossed aside like Luke flipping his lightsaber over his shoulder.
The Last Jedi Temple
This is another area of the film that failed to deliver anything. It openly refused to, even mocking it at points. It’s like it was made to be different for the sake of different without new substance.
The last Jedi temple was burned to the ground. That’s incredible. We get that the story is moving on and we’re evolving this galaxy far far away.
But did it really have to be tossed onto the discard pile without impacting anything? The biggest impact of the Jedi temple was that it revealed nothing. It built up more intrigue around Rey and Luke that was later discarded like the temple itself.
TFA and the trailers leading into TLJ setup wonderful intrigue around the last Jedi temple. What mysteries can it hold? We know that these reveals are likely not earth shaking or galaxy moving, but there was some point to these books or this tree, right?
Nah, the books were boring. The tree didn’t hold any significance. The place didn’t reveal anything. Luke just came there to run away. It could have been any island in the galaxy.
It starts off promising and the film succeeds greatly at ramping up our interest. Luke sees Rey go straight for the darkness within the island. The mysterious hole surrounded by viney, slimy, dark weeds that almost ooze evil. Luke is scared. We’re interested and a little scared for Rey. This isn’t going to go the way you think. Oh shit!
Rey later visits the hole and is sucked in. This is it. Something is happening here. This is important. She walks up to the wall. She press through the mirror images of herself, almost deciphering the code to get to the end of the tunnel. Images of herself now stretch out behind her, like a multiverse. It’s like each one is deciding whether or not to follow the motions of the other Rey. It reminds us of Neo walking into the room with the Architect. We don’t need answers like that but something is happening here. Rey asks to see her parents. It’s what she is searching for. This is so important to her. The image reveals...Rey. Okay.
Like Luke saw himself in Vader when he ventured into the dark side cave on Dagobah, Rey sees Rey standing before her. The darkness on the other side of the ice, the light within her true self. Two sides to herself revealed not what she wanted to see but what she needed to see. Luke saw that he was Vader. He could become Vader if he fell to the dark side, foreshadowing. He saw that Vader was a part of him. Empire later revealed that he was of Vader. But Luke would choose to walk his own path. Rey’s mystery continued to unfold. We're still invested in Rey - maybe this meant something we didn't get yet.
Yet, the reveal that she is from nothing - just another discard on the scrap pile of the universe turns this build up sour. That she wouldn’t be even really tempted by the dark side. She would remain light throughout her confrontation with Snoke and then with Kylo. Snoke never even tried to turn her. She was of little consequence to him.
Even as she stands in front of Kylo after having defeated Snoke and his guard together, she never waivers. She is good. The build up of her conflict within was absent. You felt like she could turn or something might happen in Snoke’s chambers as you walk-in. Perhaps Rey and Kylo would flip positions. They play on this as both are dressed in black.
Rey remains. That works but the unsatisfying part is that there was little to no conflict. Rey never considers Kylo’s offer. Why Kylo is interested in her isn’t interesting. It would have been better if Kylo turned to her and said she didn’t matter at all. She would at least be rooted in the drive to prove her worth.
So what did the Jedi temple do for Rey? Nothing it would seem. It is possible the subtlety of the meaning behind her encounter with the dark side on the island and her connection to Kylo is lost on me. Wouldn’t that be nice? There have to be some crumbs on the ground though.
What did the island do for Luke? It served as little more than closure to his journey. The Jedi temple in the end didn’t reveal anything to Luke. He could have gone to Delaware and had the same character movement. He comes full circle and saves the day, for the last time. I get what his destruction of the temple, Yoda’s really, means for the story...if he didn’t say that Rey was the last Jedi. If he says Rey is a new Jedi or something different. Even literally saying “something different” would have paid this action off.
If this discard that the Jedi temple didn’t mean anything stood out, we could go with it. Absence of meaning in this case means something for the future of the franchise. We get that.
But, among the discarded intrigue without much to fill the void, it feels unsatisfying. Toss this one on top of the answer to all of Rey’s questions being unimportant, for the time being, Snoke biggest reveal being his irrelevance, Luke’s powerful return being force trickery, and the connection between Rey and Kylo seemingly the last conjuration of a character that turned out to be unimportant himself. The disatisfaction piles up and all of them are re-directs of previously interesting threads and expectations that were replaced with little to no substance.
Ben and Rey
The biggest and most interesting reveal in this movie may be a final redemption, for me.
The connection between these two intrigues and delights. I’m interested in this connection. The way the two characters are brought together both on screen and as characters is compelling. It’s carries a mystique like Bastila and her battle meditation in how it is handled. It’s very much like the connection between Jacen and Jaina Solo. It builds on something we didn’t think was overly important...how the two characters develop and first conflict when Kylo interrogates Rey in TFA. It’s powerful and intriguing. This gives us more, not less. It enhances our experience, doesn’t take away from it.
Unfortunately, The Last Jedi discards even its own mysteries though as it reveals Snoke is the power behind it - so it wasn’t connected to TFA. Snoke didn’t even know they had the girl or who the girl was when she was interrogated. We would love to buy into something else happening here that isn’t revealed yet. Snoke might have known who she was and planted this connection back then...but that is wishful thinking. It isn’t that interesting. We know this because Snoke is dead and little was revealed about him. We also know this because the film is telling us Rey is unimportant. Those don’t add up to an intriguing mystery. Our interest in this connection doesn’t die with Snoke, but it’s just a little lost in the shuffle.
It may come to pass that it wasn’t Snoke behind the connection after all. Or perhaps Snoke initiated it and the connection remained after his death. This connection may have taken on a life of its own.
The way in which it is handled though leaves me a little less interested in it as the final credits drop. It’s hard to pick up interest in this thread when it seemingly answers itself mid-movie. The build up after the scene in Snoke’s chamber room didn’t nearly have the build up to the throne room scene.
I picture the capital invested into this mystery as peaking with Rey and Kylo discussing their visions on the way to Snoke’s throne room. Our stock in this connection drops sharply after this scene and then just meanders on into the credits. I get that the connection is still there and there are some questions about it. It should have an impact on the final story, especially since it is the only big thread left. But, the way other big threads were discarded doesn’t scream to us that this is a finely woven tapestry. It looks more like a story trying really hard not to be like something else without defining its own identity. These questions even connect with the previous build up around Rey. But, the drama doesn’t rise back up. It just lingers.
Any one of these unsatisfying payoffs to the incredible build up in the new trilogy can be chalked up to personal preference, different directors, sharpening focus on the important parts, but that focus doesn’t really happen for me. We’re fans after all and this is my opinion, to some extent.
Sure, a story gives up some of these mysteries to focus on new intrigues. Afterall, that is what an extended universe is for. But, the way these mysteries are discarded leaves me not even interested in them going forward - even if they come back around. The Last Jedi compiles all of these into a tapestry of 90 degree turns playing on our expectations just to serve up a continually unsatisfying experience.
It wasn’t a bad movie by any stretch. Some of it was handled masterfully. The build up just didn’t deliver much of anything new that was satisfying in any real way. It went a different direction at every turn but nothing around the corner was compelling or nearly as interesting as where we came from.
The slate is basically blank now and maybe that is what The Last Jedi was meant to accomplish. It’s just a shame that the new trilogy spent so much time developing so many incredibly interesting threads to toss them all out as misdirections without leaving crumbs behind to at least keep us invested. We’ll always be interested because this universe is in our DNA.
The overarching disappointment with The Last Jedi is that too many of those things were built up and then sold off as unimportant and discarded haphazardly. Rather than diving deeper into the mysteries of the Jedi or taking it in a new direction, the intrigue is discarded and there wasn’t much to replace our interest.
We can’t help but feel like our interest just went from Empire Strikes Back peak to The Phantom Menace boredom in a single movie.
Yet, hope remains that the blank slate they've created for the Star Wars universe will benefit from the sacrifices made in The Last Jedi.
Tell us what you thought of these moments and more in the comments below.