Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Normally I wouldn't write again about a film I've already reviewed, if my opinion hasn't changed, which it did not. After five viewings I still think of The Last Jedi as an excellent film and a great continuation of the story that began with The Force Awakens. But there are a couple of things that I missed or missjudged when I wrote about it after my first viewing, so to some extent that review doesn't make much sense anymore. I had already noticed this after seeing the film the second time, briefly considering to pull a George Lucas and alter the review, but decided not to. Instead I'm gonna address some of the points in question, and add some new ones.

• Luke. In hindsight my biggest missjudgement was the assertion, that Rian Johnson didn't take any chances. This stemmed mainly from The Last Jedi feeling like genuine Star Wars, and the development of the story and characters making sense to me. Only when I read other reviews and talked to friends did I realize how divisive Johnson's choices for The Last Jedi were perceived. Especially of course in regard to Luke. To have him be exactly like he was at the end of Return of the Jedi would not only have been excrutiatingly boring, there literally would have been no story worth telling. What Johnson did with him was certainly not out of character or even a betrayal of the character. Luke struggled with the temptation of the dark side in the original trilogy, so why do people think it would be implausible for him to struggle later on in life? It's not like he did succumb to the darkness and followed his impulse, he had a moment of weakness, and he paid dearly for it. In the end we see him rise again to become a hero like he once was.

• Humor. In my mind the "leaking Finn" scene will always feel like a disservice to the character, because it makes him look like one of the goofballs from Spaceballs. And though I got used to the rest of the humorous bits by now (fortunately they're mostly during the first half), and find them less distracting than in the beginning, they still remain a bit jarring. It's the film's only real flaw.

• Contrary to the misguided humor I can ignore that the opening crawl doesn't make sense. The Force Awakens ended with Starkiller Base being destroyed, and The Last Jedi picks up right after that. Losing their super wheapon seems a pretty big blow to the First Order, one would assume, but according to the crawl they are stronger than ever and the Resistance is in greater danger than before. How? Why?

• Rey's ancestry. The people who whine about it because it didn't concur with their precious little fan theories? Fuck 'em! Hate it, if you think it's a bad idea, that's fine. To hate it because it isn't what you wanted it to be that is just fucking stupid. If Star Wars wants to stay relevant, and it better be since Disney isn't gonna stop churning out these movies like clockwork any time soon, it needs to move on, and leave the narrow focus on one single family behind. We're eight films into the series and all we've ever seen of this supposedly vast galaxy is a tiny fraction of it because until now Star Wars essentially revolved only around the same small group of people.

• Snoke. I'm glad they killed him off and didn't bother to delve deeper into his story. We didn't know shit about the Emperor in the original trilogy either. Kylo as a villain can only benefit, since he is no longer someone's puppet.

• Phasma. No, she is not wasted. The sole purpose of minor characters like her is to bring color to the world, make it richer, more interesting. I for one would've loved to see more of Maz. But did the story need it? No.

• Deleted Scenes. The thing I was looking forward to the most, besides watching the film again, were the deleted scenes. Generally I find it endlessly fascinating to see what got cut, and ideally to learn about the reasoning why it was left out. The Blu-ray features about twenty minutes of additional material, and in this case I'm fine with them not making it into the final cut. There is one scene on the island with Luke and Rey, that shows a little bit more of the island's indigenous population, which was interesting, but boy am I glad Johnson trimmed down the fathier chase sequence (it's still too long in the final version).

• Canto Bight. Not only was I overly harsh in dismissing the whole subplot, I was plain wrong about its justification to exist. It shows us a part of the universe we haven't seen before, it makes the contrast between good and evil less clear-cut, but most importantly it's the set up for the very last scene of the film. A scene that really annoyed me, because I totally got it wrong the first time. What happened was I went to the midnight premiere, and when the movie ended it was almost three in the morning in the middle of the fucking week and I simply was too tired to realize that the boy used the Force to grab the broom. I thought he simply grabbed it with his hand, which, if he actually had, would make the scene rather pointless. I also didn't pick up on that it ties in with the point The Last Jedi makes about Rey's origin. The fate of the galaxy rests no longer on the shoulders of a few chosen ones. The little boy gazing to the stars? It's a symbol. Hope.

That's also exactly what we need regarding Episode IX. Hope. Hope, that Disney doesn't chicken out in the light of fanboy backlash and diminished box office returns (TLJ earned significantly less than its predecessor, as did Empire compared to A New Hope, but that was a different time and a different Hollywood). Hope, that they don't retcon the polarizing elements of The Last Jedi just to pander to the fucking crybabies.

Now, where is my bloody broom?

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