This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Calvin Dyson’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I think the biggest mistake Star Wars made was hiring Rian Johnson.
Their second biggest mistake was not getting him back.
The Last Jedi is a film I have a really difficult time with. I’ve seen it about four times and each time I’m struck by how beautiful it looks. It’s the best looking Star Wars film by quite a way and the quality of acting is excellent too.
My ultimate frustration comes down to the story, which goes off on dull and futile tangents and in general accomplishes very little. I dislike even talking about it due to how contentious it seems to be in online discussion. The story ends up mattering more in terms of theme and character rather than in actual terms of people doing things and achieving goals.
There’s a whole plot tangent involving two of the characters going on this long winded task which ultimately ends up being very destructive and results in massive casualties on the side of the good guys. So naturally this makes them somewhat unlikable or at least having made very questionable choices. By the end of the story though we’re suppose to accept that what they did was for the best because of the “hope” they tangentially spread through their misadventures and some waffle about fighting for the things you love rather than dying for the things you hate. The fact that the story comes down to quibble over such semantics is really irritating, particularly after we’ve seen many characters die on screen to that point by sacrificing themselves for the sake of others.
This is just one quibble I have with the story but there eventually ends up being so many that it ends up being overwhelming. As I say, it’s nothing to do with the story being lazily constructed. Everything serves a purpose but it’s often some abstract concept of inspiration or hope etc rather than achieving anything tangible.
However the craft of the filmmaking is so terrific and the cast are great so there’s much here to enjoy, but I find it impossible to just go with the flow and ignore some really poor choices on the story front.