Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie review: a great disturbance in the Force

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

Star Wars The Last Jedi green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

Upends expectations, demythologizes the mythos, and takes an iconic series in a bold new direction with a story full of humor, courage, and dazzling imagery.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m a huge Star Wars fan
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
women’s participation in this film
male director, male screenwriter, female coprotagonist
(learn more about this)

This is not going to go the way you think,” Luke Skywalker says to… well, someone who needs to hear it. Someone whose arrogance is borne of shortsightedness and narrow expectations. And this is also Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s word of warning to the audience. To us. This is the Star Wars movie, after all, from writer-director Rian Johnson, the guy who gave us The Brothers Bloom, a tricksy movie about con artists that knows we go into a movie about con artists with certain assumptions about what we’re about to see. (He also gave us the temporally twisting Looper, in which things did not go the expected way.) This is The Force Awakens’s Empire Strikes Back. We know it, and Johnson knows we know it, and he is going to play with every anticipation he knows we will be bringing into his little space opera action fantasy.

Flashback to Hoth.
Flashback to Hoth.

And, indeed, there are many callbacks to Empire here: the smallest ones are visual, and often clever (the rebel-hideaway planet that looks like Hoth is covered not with snow but with salt) or shiver-inducing (Imperial walkers stomping across that salt!), but those are ultimately inconsequential. (The movie gets a bit ahead of itself with the Porgs, small, *ahem*, chickenlike birds, which are almost but not quite the sequel trilogy’s Ewoks, from Return of the Jedi.) The significant callbacks are the ones that tease our nerdy conjectures but pay them off in ways that make it impossible to call this a xerox of Empire. The relationship of Rey (Daisy Ridley: Murder on the Orient Express), who is strong with the Force, and Jedi Master Luke (Mark Hamill: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Battle for Terra), and her sojourn on the rocky water planet of his self-exile might recall Luke’s visit to Yoda on Dagobah — there’s even a forbidding tree where Rey makes a discovery about the Force — but this will be very different for both of them. Snoke (CGI’d Andy Serkis: War for the Planet of the Apes, Avengers: Age of Ultron), who is strong with the Dark Side of the Force and is the galaxy’s new evil overlord, and Kylo (Adam Driver: Logan Lucky, Silence), his apprentice, have a dynamic that might echo that of the Emperor and Vader, but that’s not quite what’s going on here either. We await what must surely be the inevitable confrontation between Rey and Kylo, and when it comes, it’s stunning in a way that upends everything we think we know about where this sort of story can go. And of course we’re all waiting for something on a par with “No, Luke, I am your father” as the reveal of Rey’s mysterious parentage… and it’s not like we were even expecting the parallel reveal in Empire: it came out of nowhere.

Galactic grunts FTW.
Galactic grunts FTW.

I’m not sure The Last Jedi — aka Star Wars: Episode VIII — will make any sense at all to those who haven’t seen The Force Awakens, and it certainly won’t resonate as deeply, I can’t imagine, with anyone who has not been steeped in the Star Wars mythos for the last 40 years. Because the truly surprising things here — don’t worry; I’m not gonna spoil — are not moments of action or revelation but rather thematic in nature… and they are all reactions to that iconic mythos. Recall that in Awakens, Rey was astonished to learn that Luke Skywalker and the Jedi Knights were — are — real, not merely stories. And Luke here is very deeply concerned with the disconnect between the realities of how the Jedi order use the Force, and the fantasy of the Jedi of legend that Rey (and the Resistance, and the entire galaxy) has in her head. Luke’s concerns also serve as a commentary on the reverence that fandom holds Luke in, and Rian Johnson doesn’t give a whit what we might think Luke deserves as a continuation for his long character arc. Johnson also hints that the Force might be due for something of a Reformation, and that’s not going to sit well with some fans. Previously the series had been deeply concerned with matters of great bloodlines — princesses and priests — but Last Jedi centers characters who are ordinary people: Finn (John Boyega: Detroit, Half of a Yellow Sun), the deserting Stormtrooper who worked sanitation back on the Starkiller Base of Awakens, is back, and teams up with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a maintenance engineer on a Resistance ship, for a grand subplot of an adventure in a casino planet that seems to be the galaxy’s Monaco. That takes the film through an exploration of the massive divide between rich and poor in the galaxy that feels very familiar. (We’ve never had much of a sense of the galactic economy before, and there’s not much escapist fantasy to it.)

TFW you meet your old boss, from the crappy job you just stopped showing up at one day...
TFW you meet your old boss, from the crappy job you just stopped showing up at one day…

The Jedi are not so amazing after all, and we shouldn’t revere them. You are not your parents, or your grandparents, and you make your own destiny. This is all a bold new direction for the Star Wars series (at least as represented by the movies), and audacity like this is precisely what was needed if it is going to continue without feeling redundant. But perhaps most astonishing of all is the lashing Johnson delivers to the very notion of stereotypical heroics, the stuff the Star Wars saga has been built on: Selfish heroics do not win the day. Real heroism is quiet and self-sacrificing, not boisterous and self-aggrandizing. Some of this is explored in the story thread involving Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac: X-Men: Apocalypse, Mojave) and Resistance leader Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern: The Founder, 99 Homes), who deems him a “trigger-happy flyboy.” If Poe felt like the Han Solo stand-in for The Force Awakens, the kind of stunts Han Solo once pulled are directly criticized here, and not only through Poe. All of the women of Last Jedi, here at what feels like a last stand for the Resistance against the evil First Order, have just about had it with men thinking they can get away with being jerks if they’re also “heroic.”

Some stuff doesn’t work. There’s a moment that is meant to, I think, show how someone is unexpectedly strong with the Force, but it’s pretty laughable. The resolution to Poe’s subplot is almost exactly the opposite of what it should be (I hope this will be dealt with in Episode IX). Some of what happens on the casino planet — called Canto Bight, and sure to figure in the next film — is goofy on a level as cringe-inducing as things we saw in the prequel trilogy; like, Jar-Jar Binks–awful.

Oh, poor Poe. His brand of heroics is not so welcome anymore.
Oh, poor Poe. His brand of heroics is not so welcome anymore.

But mostly, this is a terrific film, and truly exciting as Star Wars. It is full of humor and courage and often dazzling and even shocking imagery. The last appearance by Carrie Fisher (Maps to the Stars, The Women) as Princess turned General Leia Organa is powerfully poignant, not least because it involves a passing of the torch to the next generation of badass women, characters who stand in for all the little-girl fans who took inspiration from Leia when she was even more of an anomaly than a robust female character is now. And as much as the film’s title — The Last Jedi — sounds apocalyptic, it’s eventually hugely hopeful. Though I’m still left with the same sort of sense of dread and terrible suspense I felt as an 11-year-old in 1980, flattened back into my seat by the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, worrying how I was possibly going to survive the whole three years before finding out how Han, Luke, and Leia were going to get out of their fine mess. (Fortunately, it’s only two years till Episode IX.) Things seem very much worse for Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, and the rest at this juncture. That Rian Johnson has managed to make me both hopeful and hopeless at the same time is a wonder.


see also:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie review: a new hope
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker movie review: the galaxy isn’t far far away, it’s just very small



share and enjoy
             
If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
If you haven’t commented here before, your first comment will be held for MaryAnn’s approval. This is an anti-spam, anti-troll measure. If you’re not a spammer or a troll, your comment will be approved, and all your future comments will post immediately.
subscribe
notify of
228 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
view all comments
DaveMF
DaveMF
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 11:49am

“If everyone is super, no one will be.” (Syndrome) Instead of making Rey epic, they made her ordinary. But the whole reason Luke and Leia were epic is because they were the offspring of Anakin? The amount of lore and cannon the writers and director take a dump on in this movie is epic. Participation ribbon social crap has killed what was truly special about the Star Wars universe. In 1980, I waited four hours in line to see The Empire Strikes Back…Now thanks to Disney and EA…I no longer feel the force.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  DaveMF
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 12:48pm

Thank you. I’d been wondering why so many old-school Star Wars fans were so angry about the film. Now I understand.

I’m a children’s librarian. Last week, I ran a program called “You Deserve a Medal.” Anyone who felt underappreciated could explain why they deserved an award, and we presented them with a medal made out of foil and construction paper.

I loved the movie.

I’m getting a little tired of Chosen One stories. Sometimes we have to choose ourselves.

Jonathan Roth
Jonathan Roth
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:36pm

I’ve heard a rumor that much of the viewer down-voting on Rotten Tomatoes may have been a bot army set up by one of the “Bring back the EU” die-hards.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Jonathan Roth
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 12:46pm

I wonder what the RT audience score for Empire would have been. “This is not going to go the way you think” could easily apply to anyone coming in with expectations based on the first film.

Peter Gherardi
Peter Gherardi
reply to  Jonathan Roth
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 1:51am

No it is actual upset fans. The film is crap and doesn’t deserve the money it is raking in. Remember to demand you money back by the theaters (i know it will hurt the theaters feelings but it has to be done otherwise we keep getting this SJW crap!) The pro critics is more likely being paid off by Disney for good reviews, well that or they just have bad taste in films like this critic.

Jonathan Roth
Jonathan Roth
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 6:47am

Yeah, anyone who uses “SJW” seriously in a sentence is not someone whose opinion I care about. Buh bye.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jan 08, 2018 1:59pm

Theaters don’t have feelings to hurt. But if you want to ask for your money back at a cinema, you need to do so within the first few minutes of the movie starting. You can’t sit through the entire film and then expect to get a refund merely because you had political differences with the film!

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Tue, Jan 09, 2018 3:15am

Dude, who exactly do you think is spending the money it’s raking in, three weeks after it opens? Seriously, think before you post.

bronxbee
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Feb 05, 2018 12:25am

once you have sat through the entire movie, you will not (and should not) get your money back. going to the movies is a gamble. you may like it, you may not. i worked in movie theatres for a couple of years… and that was a thing i got tired of: “i didn’t like the movie, i want my money back.” but you sat through the whole movie. “but i didn’t like it…” too. feckin’. bad.

Lucy Gillam
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Sun, Aug 16, 2020 4:04pm

I have watched this movie three times, and I still for the life of me cannot see what the “SJW crap” people keep complaining about is. There is literally nothing in the film that preaches anything like social justice. Is casting people other than white men really all it takes to set people off?

afartherroom
afartherroom
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 1:04am

I grew up in an exceptionally and aggressively competitive environment. Needless to say, participation medals were not a part of that upbringing.

I would have loved a librarian like you. Keep up the good work!

(And, yes. I too have tired of Chosen One stories. *Especially* in a fictional context so utterly caught up in the idea of “rebellion.”).

cinderkeys
reply to  Danielm80
Sat, Dec 30, 2017 4:15am

“I’m getting a little tired of Chosen One stories. Sometimes we have to choose ourselves.”

I love this. I’ll be quoting it.

Welcometotehshow
Welcometotehshow
reply to  cinderkeys
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 5:58am

God you people are boring.

Jim Mann
Jim Mann
reply to  DaveMF
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 3:37pm

Actually in many places the writers took exactly what was in the previous films and based what they did on what was done in those films rather than what they say they are — the reality rather than the legends. The legend the earlier films present is the Jedi as peace loving and wise. The reailty — as Luke expresses in this film — is that they were warriors who made key mistakes, including letting a Sith Lord flourish right under their noses. (Not to mention the way so many things in the way they treat Anakin actually push him toward the Emperor.)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Jim Mann
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:36pm

Qui-Gon is literally a total fuckup. He could foresee that Anakin would win a pod race but not that he’d become the greatest force for evil the galaxy had ever seen? *facepalm*

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:36pm

Qui-Gon was a “focus on the moment” kind of guy. Besides, he’s no more of a fuck up than the rest of the Jedi. Yoda certainly didn’t see Vader coming (beyond a “this kid seems kind of off” sort of way).

Jim Mann
Jim Mann
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 8:30pm

But that wasn’t Qui-Gon’s fault. Anakin was poised in a way that could have gone either way. But stupid actions by the Jedi Council push him away. In The Phantom Menace, he’s a young boy who admires the Jedi and wants to do good. But they reject him.

Even after Obi-Wan takes him on, they do nothing to go and help his mother (clearly a key issue for Anakin).

And in Revenge of the Sith, they make mistake after mistake (don’t make him a member of the council despite all his accomplishments, council him on accepting loss that will come rather than trying to help him, etc.).

Lucy Gillam
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Aug 16, 2020 4:04pm

Qui-Gon was the walking definition of hubris. In a very real sense, the Republic fell because he thought he knew better than everyone on the council and his own padawan.

Elwood
Elwood
reply to  Jim Mann
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:11pm

Luke was totally on point with his criticisms of the Jedi. Everything he said could be supported directly by events from the movies. One thing I really loved about the relationship between Luke and Rey was that, while they disagreed, they were both right, from a certain point of view.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Elwood
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:18am

<sarcastic Luke>
A certain point of view?

:-)

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  DaveMF
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:00pm

But who was Anakin? Nobody. A slave boy of questionable parentage* from an outer rim turd of a planet. The only thing special about him was that he was strong in the Force. That’s the lore, my dude.

* Look you have two choices here: either Shmi Skywalker was kinda nuts, or midichlorians are a thing. Pick one.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:38pm

Either way, though, it was the midichlorians that made Anakin what he was. Or else Qui-Gon was either A) full of shit, or B) a complete ignoramus. Neither of which speaks well of the Jedi.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:34pm

Well, yes, it was midichlorians. It’s midichlorians that make every Jedi. It’s the fan base (or at least part of it) that wants to pretend those scenes didn’t happen. Rey has a high midichlorian count; that’s canonically indisputable. But there’s nothing in the canon that says only Skywalkers have high midichlorian counts.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 11:25pm

Or midichlorians are sort of like phrenology, something people used to take very seriously but now find kind of embarrassing.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 11:45pm

Sure, go with that, if it makes you feel better. That just puts us back to “Shmi Skywalker doesn’t remember who the father was”. The nicest version of that is she’s just crazy.

Lucy Gillam
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sun, Aug 16, 2020 4:04pm

Or she was raped and blocked it out. Or her previous owner had her drugged and inseminated to produce a free slave.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 11:50pm

Oh, I like that. Sometime between Phantom Menace and Last Jedi there was a Jedi named Caahrl S’gann who debunked that whole explanation.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 2:05am

18 years later we’re still having this argument, and people wonder why there’s so much salt around TLJ.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:28pm

I should really read threads before I post.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:10pm

Rey has a high midichlorian count; that’s canonically indisputable.

I want to assume sarcasm here but I fear that I’d be wrong…

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 1:53am

[Edited to remove a lot of unnecessary rehashing. Suffice to say, until TPM gets remade, or another film retcons them out, no, I’m not being sarcastic.]

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:31am

But how is it “canonically indisputable”?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 2:58pm

Oh. Because midichlorians, and their relationship to strong Force users, are canonical. No other path to Force abilities has ever been shown, even in the either version of the EU, pre- or post-Disney. It’s never come up again, and no one in-universe worries about it, but there it is.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:09pm

Ah, but another path *could* be shown, and no one has yet tested Rey’s midichlorian count and announced it through the roof (at least not that we’ve seen). That would make it canonically indisputable.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 7:13am

Yes, but that would also represent a change in the canon. Which is fine, but hasn’t happened yet.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:27pm

Other materials have strong force channeling capabilities. Such as Kyber crystals. We’ve seen crystaline critters in the most recent film so it isn’t a stretch to imagine non-carbon based force users.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:23pm

Kyber crystals have never been shown to channel Force abilities in a way that negates midichlorians. Until Rogue One they were an EU concept. Even there, they appeared to act to focus Force energy, but didn’t do that on their own.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Fri, Dec 22, 2017 4:04pm

Would a vial of Jedi blood do anything by it’self?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 4:53am

comment image

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 6:02pm

Fair enough.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:24pm

For all we know the study of midichlorians is like force phrenology. Considering it’s unlikely that non-human force users could be hosting the same micro-organism.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:02pm

If that makes you feel better, fine. (I would go with something a little less fraught than phrenology though. But that’s just me.) But TPM continues to be a SW movie that exists. AFAIK, even the EU left midichlorians.

And again, your limits of suspension of disbelief are your own, but just so we’re clear: the Force is fine, interplanetary biology is fine, but a related microorganism that can transcend barriers of interplanetary is too far.

Wednesday
Wednesday
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 1:40am

There’s also no reason to believe that a person’s midichlorean count is static. IIUC, they’re some sort of mico-organism force bacteria. Perhaps training and practice of the force can increase their number by providing them with a healthy environment. That would explain why the faithful, like the bomber pilot woman, can get by in a pinch.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  DaveMF
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:32pm

“If everyone is super, no one will be.”

Except, everyone is NOT super.

And Rey is still epic. Humble roots and epicness are not mutually exclusive.

Participation ribbon social crap

You think that’s what this movie is about?

Allen W
Allen W
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:16pm

I think it’s more like “Ratatouille”. Not everyone can be a great cook; but a great cook could be anyone.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Allen W
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:18pm

Cooking in Ratatouille is basically a power of it’s own. There were even force ghosts. Same universe, calling it now before the inevitable tie-in.

Wednesday
Wednesday
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 1:41am

Even if Ren was trustworthy with all his Snoke-influence visions, there’s nothing that contradicts the theory that she’s cloned from Luke’s severed hand.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wednesday
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:28am

That’s a real stretch. There’s nothing to contradict any other number of absurd fantasies.

Wednesday
Wednesday
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 4:04pm

Why is it absurd? 1. Anakin’s saber had to be found somewhere and the hand was likely with it. They went down together after all. 2. The Saber called out to her. It makes sense that she’s connected to it smehow 3. She has a raw power in the force that we’ve only ever seen in Skywalkers 4. Cloning is already a huge part of the saga. 5. It was suggested that Anakin’s birth might have been similarly unnatural.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Wednesday
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 4:18pm

I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility in this story, but I’d be disappointed if that turned out to be the case. It undermines the egalitarian themes of TLJ and puts us right back in the Chosen One/”everyone important is related to each other” rut that I think Star Wars should be getting away from.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wednesday
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:17pm

It’s absurd because it would be impossibly coincidental that Rey just happened to get caught up in the doings of her clone-father. Just like it was hugely coincidental that Luke managed to stumble across a droid his own father built, and get caught up in *his* doings. Just how small is this galaxy, anyway?

Wednesday
Wednesday
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:44pm

So, what you’re saying is that it’s exactly in line with how these movies have worked in the past, never mind the will of the force.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Wednesday
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 11:16pm

It may have been how these movies have worked in the past, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t absurd. The OT flirted with absurd (if interesting) coincidences, with Vader turning out to be Luke’s father and then Leia turning out to be his sister (for what purpose, really? the only real function the Leia revelation has in the OT is to provide a neat resolution to the love triangle). But then the prequels came, and went overboard with absurd: Artoo knew Anakin, Anakin played with young Greedo, Anakin built Threepio, Yoda knew Chewbacca, and Boba Fett and his dad were everywhere. And in Rogue One Jyn runs into the goons from the Mos Eisley cantina! So, yes, the Star Wars cinematic galaxy has gotten ridiculously and absurdly small. Now if Rey turns out to be CLONED FROM THE SEVERED HAND OF LUKE SKYWALKER I’m going to be sorely tempted to lob a thermal detonator at the screen. :-)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 12:01pm

Anakin played with young Greedo

Wait. That was supposed to be Greedo, not merely another member of Greedo’s species? *facepalm*

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 1:12pm

He may have been friends with someone of Greedo’s species, but he also knew and scuffled with Greedo. “You’ll come to a bad end someday,” Greedo’s friends warn him. Wink wink. *headdesk*

Jurgan
Jurgan
reply to  Bluejay
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 7:08pm

“(for what purpose, really? the only real function the Leia revelation has in the OT is to provide a neat resolution to the love triangle)”

I don’t think it was necessary, as Han and Leia seemed pretty settled to me by that point. The real reason was because Yoda said that “there is another” in Empire, and they needed to justify that line. Originally it was going to be a sequel hook for a future trilogy, but when Lucas decided he didn’t want to do that, they decided to make the only woman in the story be Luke’s sister.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wednesday
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 11:59am

And those things are problematic.

“The will of the Force” sounds like a bullshit excuse for lazy writing. :-)

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 1:15pm

Handwaving, you might say. :-)
comment image

Michiel Deinema
Michiel Deinema
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 12:23pm

Spot on review imo.

I loved every minute of it, but some of it didn’t work, like for instance some of the stuff on the casino planet. Really like the direction they went with Rey, though outrage about it will be over 9000 on the internetz.

Peter Gherardi
Peter Gherardi
reply to  Michiel Deinema
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 1:55am

It was a SJW pile of crap film.

Owen1120
Owen1120
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 12:30pm

I loved both Luke and Kylo’s character arcs. Rose was great as well, and the porgs weren’t overdone.
What was your problem with Poe’s subplot and what was the weird Force moment? Was it Rey lifting the rocks or Luke’s force ghost?

BraveGamgee
BraveGamgee
reply to  Owen1120
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 5:55pm

SPOILERS




I thought the weird Force moment was most likely Leia surviving in space and flying back to the ship. While I admit that scene sounds ridiculous (particularly typing it out), I cheered when it happened. I’ve been waiting forever for Leia to have a big display of power. After all, Darth Vader made it sound like if Luke didn’t join the dark side, his sister was a great candidate. Also, the “flying in space” moment makes me think: Here is a woman who is super-powerful with the force, and rather than training to become a Jedi, she decided to become a general and lead her people. That’s pretty friggin’ awesome.

(edited with extra lines to keep the spoiler from being immediately visible) :)

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  BraveGamgee
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:00pm

Yes to all this.

Jonathan Roth
Jonathan Roth
reply to  BraveGamgee
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:31pm

CONTINUING SPOILERS:

I didn’t even think she was flying, just an unorthodox (and awesome) use of the Force. Specifically Newton’s third law.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Jonathan Roth
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:10pm

Whatever it was, it looked ridiculous.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Jonathan Roth
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:12pm

She was just doing a weak force pull, but that’s all she needed on the float.

Owen1120
Owen1120
reply to  BraveGamgee
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:35pm

You can always do < spoiler > and < /spoiler > although it still doesn’t hide the recent comments page.

Hello

Elwood
Elwood
reply to  BraveGamgee
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:00pm

It is awesome. I haven’t read the new novels set between the two trilogies, but they’re supposed to be canon – Leia, who’d been organizing the rebellion since she was 14, a Senator at 19 etc, was busy after the war with politics and stuff. Apparently she ran for Chancellor (sort of President of the Galaxy) at one point, but her emails – wait, no that’s something else. People found out she was Vader’s daughter and not Bail Organa’s and she lost support and had to drop out of the race. But she never had time to study the Force, what with a political career and parenthood, which doesn’t mean she didn’t pick up a few tricks. I had zero problem with the scene.

creox
creox
reply to  BraveGamgee
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 2:16am

She was force pulling herself to the ship..I thought that was the deal anyway. If one can use the force to pull or push objects why not yourself? Especially in space.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Owen1120
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:44pm

As BraveGamgee noted…

[SPOILERS]




(Adding lines so no spoiler appears on the new-comments listing page.)

The weird Force moment is Leia’s survival being blown out in to space and her subsequent return to the ship. The same idea (suddenly, when threatened with death, she finds Force powers she didn’t know she had) could have been accomplished with, say, suddenly throwing up a Force shield/bubble/whatever that protects her (and then she could lapse into unconsciousness from the strain for whatever length of time the plot needed).

My thing with Poe is this: He should, at a minimum, be in the brig at the end of the movie, or dead from a bullet in the head, executed. He committed mutiny. He pulled a weapon on his commanding officer. You don’t excuse that with, “Well, he’s cute, isn’t he?” and a wink. Maybe he gets thrown in the brig and then when the Resistance is so depleted he gets a reluctant parole, or something. But what happens to him is waaaaaay too minimizing of the severity of his crime.

I saw this as someone who finds him irresistibly attractive. :-)

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:30pm

Flying snowmen are weird.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
My only issue with that scene was
.
.
.
it was cruel. Carrie’s gone and she’s not going to twitch her fingers and open her eyes and literally fly back to us. Her death, and how the movies are going to handle that, looms heavily over this movie. I wish Johnson had either killed Leia, or left her alone.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:13pm

Yeah, but that was all shot before Fisher died. Huge swaths of the film would have had to be reworked to accommodate her death. I don’t think it would have been possible, timewise.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 2:04am

I mean, it wouldn’t have prohibitive to reconstruct the scene so that she’s only knocked unconscious in an explosion. What’s shown in the movie toys with my emotions in an unfair way.

I’m sorry the imagery didn’t work for you. I had the opposite reaction.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:40pm

You don’t excuse that with, “Well, he’s cute, isn’t he?” and a wink.

Hmmm. You CAN if… (gasp!) POE IS ALSO STRONG IN THE FORCE and is unconsciously performing Force-persuasion mind tricks!

*hurries off to write new fan theory*

Dent
Dent
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:10pm

He’s just doing it all the time. That’s why no one can hit him in the air.

Elwood
Elwood
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:42pm

Mostly agree about Poe. I assume they would have thrown him in the brig, if they still had one. As the Resistance military no longer exists, there’s no longer a chain of command or appropriate authority to discipline him, and the Falcon doesn’t have cells. Ironically, though, after the third time I saw the movie (yes I like it that much) i realized that, without Poe’s insubordination at the beginning of the film, everyone would be dead. Since the FO can track them through hyperspace, had they called off the attack when ordered to, the dreadnought would have followed them, and blown them up after the jump. So he was right, taking out the “fleet killer” ship was necessary (although nobody knew that at the time). At the same time, virtually everything else he did in the movie was wrong. As another reviewer put it, he’s like a hammer who just sees nails everywhere. People blame Holdo for not “fail[ing] to communicate well” [https://www.wired.com/story/star-wars-last-jedi-the-resistance-tactical-mistake] but the plan required operational security. Look what happens when Poe finds out about the transports – he blabs about them on the radio, and DJ overhears and tells Phasma. It’s a secret plan that relies on stealth and sneakiness, dude. That’s why she’s not telling you what it is. Loose lips sink ships. Go eat something and take a nap so you’ll be ready when they need a pilot.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Elwood
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:24am

The Resistance is still very much a going concern with a chain of command when Poe’s actions are thwarted.

without Poe’s insubordination at the beginning of the film, everyone would be dead

No. No no no. All it would have done, by your own argument, is move up something (the hyperspace tracking) that was inevitable anyway. And Poe had no damn idea about that anyway. His actions are not justifiable. You don’t get to disobey an order merely because you disagree with the officer giving it.

(although nobody knew that at the time).

And this is how “heroics” like Poe’s at the beginning of the film are continually justified in movies like this one. “Well, he saved the day, so it’s fine that he’s a rogue asshole who doesn’t respect his superiors.” And how the film ultimately handles Poe is a perfect smack at that.

Wednesday
Wednesday
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 1:43am

I understand where you’re coming from BUT…The Resistance is not the same thing as The Army of the New Republic. They’re honestly more like a Hezbollah or Al Qaeda or Afghani Warlords type group. Not only do things work differently but they can’t afford to lose him as weak as they are.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Wednesday
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:30am

They can certainly afford to discipline him, instead of just shrugging. Jesus, even ragtag organizations need to trust that people are not going be pulling guns on other members. You cannot operate like that. Poe has proven that he is not to be trusted. Behavior like Poe’s makes them even weaker and even more in danger of completely collapsing.

Dent
Dent
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 5:28pm

Spoilers

“suddenly throwing up a Force shield/bubble/whatever that protects her (and then she could lapse into unconsciousness from the strain for whatever length of time the plot needed).”

It would have definitely been a bit more subtle.comment image

Beowulf
Beowulf
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 2:08pm

Luke talks about the Force and the Jedi being parts of a religion. That also applies to many fan(atic)s and their relationship to these films. The critics who are rating this highly see many, many crappy movies for every good one like this. For all those who are dumping on the film I say buy some action figures and make your own movie with your iphone. There, isn’t that better?
The Wolf, man.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Beowulf
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 2:19pm

I agree with a lot of what you said, but your argument is a little too close to N1 (2015 Bingo card) for my taste.

Beowulf
Beowulf
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 4:18pm

What does that mean? What Bingo card? The Wolf, man.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Beowulf
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 4:47pm

Just scroll up and down this page, wolf dude. You’ll find it.

Beowulf
Beowulf
reply to  Beowulf
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 8:13pm

Critics don’t matter?

Patrick D
Patrick D
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 2:30pm

SPOILERS

I’ve been told about this movie second-hand, but it’s my understanding that another iconic character (one of the most important in cinema history) gets unceremoniously dispatched, just like in the last film. I think I’m going to take a hard pass on this. I don’t need to see beloved characters picked off to make way for the new, blander toyline like it’s the 1980s Transformers movie. This will be a hard pass for me.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Patrick D
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:03pm

Spoiler: If you’re talking about Luke Skywalker, he doesn’t get “unceremoniously dispatched.” He gets a proper arc with a proper ending to his journey, which he completes on his own terms. I couldn’t ask for a more meaningful exploration and celebration of what Luke Skywalker means to this saga. And Mark Hamill has never played him better.

You’ll always have the old movies, with the old characters you loved. Part of the point of this new trilogy, and this film in particular, is to wean us away from familiar characters and plotlines and comfortable expectations, to make room for genuinely new stories and fresh adventures. Rey, Poe, Finn, and now Rose don’t feel like a bland new toyline to me — they’re much-needed additions that make the Star Wars universe feel more inclusive, with room for regular people who aren’t Chosen Ones to make a real difference.

Some folks won’t want to take this journey, and that’s fine. For me, I’m excited about how this movie has shaken things up and look forward to what comes next.

Owen1120
Owen1120
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:06pm

I immediately assumed Admiral Ackbar

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Owen1120
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:08pm

I thought that too, but “one of the most important in cinema history” might have thrown me. :-)

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:20pm

SPOILER WARNING, I GUESS

He’s one of the most popular memes in Twitter history.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:24pm

Cinema history and Twitter history are possibly different things. :-)

I was more of a Nien Nunb fan anyway — and he lives!

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:46pm

He is. But he was never a developed character in the films, and shocking and unexpected deaths are part of war.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:13pm

Clearly I have to be less subtle with my sarcasm. An emoticon may even be required.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Owen1120
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 5:56pm

In what Galaxy is he a beloved character?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Patrick D
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:45pm

Maybe you should actually see the movie. This does not sound like an accurate representation of it.

Allen W
Allen W
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 4:18pm

Maryann,
I liked the film quite a bit, but take issue with one bit of your review:
VAGUE SPOILER WARNING
.
.
.
As characters, I agree that the “galactic grunts” are “FTW”.
As far as the effect of their actions on the plot, not so much with the “W”.

.
.
.
END VAGUE SPOILER WARNING

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Allen W
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:48pm

I was talking about them as characters, and as what they represent in the story. I don’t think any fair military justice system would treat them as culpable as Poe in what they do.

Allen W
Allen W
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:21pm

Sure, they didn’t do what Poe did; but what they did (along with Poe) ultimately made things much worse than otherwise.

MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 5:07pm

First, my own review:
I will try to be as non-spoilery as possible even though there are parts that I REALLY want to talk about.
This movie is different. It feels strange compared to previous, predictable, Star Wars movies.
Its very much an in between movie. Its the middle of the story, and it can be frustrating.
Many things do not go the way any of us would have thought, and I know lots
of fans will not like that. Heck, there are parts that I am not happy
with, but overall it is fun, and really helps with characterization
leading into part 3.
The movie looks great, of course. Acting is great all around, with Adam Driver doing a good job playing the anguished Kylo Ren.
I know its an odd thing to say, but I sometimes get distracted by how
gorgeous Daisy Ridley is. Rey is too hot. It kind of takes me out of the
movie. Yes, it’s a weird personal issue.
It’s nice to see Mark Hamil back as Luke, although I had some issues with his arc. This will have to be discussed elsewhere.
Rose is an interesting new character, but her story is a bit strange. Plus,
the casino sequence reminded me of the prequels, and that’s not a
positive.
I think part 3 will really tell us a bit better what the actual point of part 2 was. At least I hope it does.
Otherwise its just a glorified chase movie that only adds minor things
to the bigger story going on. It’s saved by some great action sequences
and some good character development.
I could say so much more! I’ll have to delve into spoilers elsewhere.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:53pm

I know its an odd thing to say, but I sometimes get distracted by how
gorgeous Daisy Ridley is. Rey is too hot. It kind of takes me out of the
movie. Yes, it’s a weird personal issue.

I was pleased that so many of the new characters in the movie didn’t look like glamorous movie stars. I don’t necessarily object to looking at pretty people, but it’s more democratic—and more thematically appropriate—when anyone can be a hero.

Also, if you squint, Rey looks a little like Princess Mononoke, which is a nice association. Or maybe that’s my weird personal issue.

MarkyD
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 7:40pm

I was pleased, too, which is my point. She really stands out. Not to say anyone else is ugly, just that, for me, she’s stunning.
I loved Princess Mononoke. Good reference!

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:49pm

Rey is too hot.

That’s your problem. Rey is not glamorized by the films, and she is not sexualized. She is treated as a real human woman. If you can’t see past how physically attractive you find her, that only says something about you.

What’s “strange” about Rose’s story?

MarkyD
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:53pm

Sorry, I’ve been busy at work and couldn’t respond.
Of course I got past it. But there were a lot of closeups of her face, I noticed. She had makeup on, which I found a little strange, but who knows?
For Rose, I just meant the casino setup and scene. And her last scene with Finn.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MarkyD
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 10:42pm

There were a lot of closeups of everyone’s faces. You’re just selectively remembering hers. :-)

I didn’t notice any out-of-place makeup, certainly not more blatant than Leia’s in ROTJ.
comment image

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:07am

I’m pretty sure that Rey is not wearing any obvious makeup (and even whatever needed-for-filming makeup is very subtle). It’s one of the things that constantly struck me about Rey, that we seem to see seeing her natural, un-made-up face.

MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 5:38pm

Augh!! I was in the middle of commenting, accidentally hit some button, and the whole thing disappeared. Damn!
Again…
Spoilers! I can’t figure out how to hide them.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Reys parentage: Still in question? Did Kylo lie to her? I was thinking she might have been his brother or something. Part 3 will reveal more, I hope.

Who the hell is Snoke and where did he come from?

The Yoda sequence was weird and felt out of place.

I understand Lukes arc, but I don’t much like it. I was hoping for a final epic lightsaber battle or something. Maybe him and Rey fighting side by side.
I was also expecting(hoping for?) more of Rey becoming a Jedi. Training, The Force, etc. Maybe next movie?

Rose falling in love with Finn within a matter of hours was a bit weird. Superfan weird. I liked her otherwise, but still didn’t like the casino sequence. Ugh.

We seem to left with a First Order lacking in any real powerful scary villain. Kylo is great as a angsty troubled guy conflicted in many ways, but he makes for kind of a weak enemy and leader. General Hux is basically the butt of jokes now.

They didn’t really end Leia’s arc at all did they? It feels like she was intended to be part of the next one, so I’m not sure how they’ll work that out.

More later…

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 5:55pm

The spolier tag is just {spoiler} and {/spoiler}, just replace the curly brackets with angle brackets < and >.

The most common playground argument from 1980 to 1983 was “did Vader lie?”

Who the hell cares. It’s a big galaxy.

It was a little bit impressed with its own cleverness, yes.

He did. And it ended pretty much exactly the way these battles end in Star Wars. If anything, Luke’s victory is much less ambiguous than Obi-Wan’s or Yoda’s. Meanwhile, Rey got just as much training as Luke did. More honest too.

I didn’t like the casino because I don’t think it’s narratively satisfying. I’ll explain later.

I dunno man, could you imagine if you put someone that fragile and nuts in charge of a huge military apparatus, here in the world. Whoo, that’s be scary…

No, they didn’t which hung over the whole movie. I guess we’ll see. My vote is for Sigourney Weaver.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:25pm

—– SPOILERS everywhere —–

Reys parentage: Still in question? Did Kylo lie to her? I was thinking she might have been his brother or something. Part 3 will reveal more, I hope.

I’m hoping he DIDN’T lie to her. This seems to be supported by her experience in the underground cavern, where she tries to find out who her parents are but the only person the “magic mirror” shows her is herself. Star Wars needs to get away from “you’re magic because your parents are magic,” and I like the idea that the Force is potentially accessibly by everyone. In fact, Rey said so herself (or was it Luke who told her?), during one of her training sessions: she could feel that the energy field was part of the world and part of everything, and didn’t belong exclusively to the Jedi. That was also the point of the little kid at the end who Force-pulled the broom to himself: ANYBODY can do this, and you don’t need magic Skywalker blood to make a difference.

Who the hell is Snoke and where did he come from?

*shrug* Who the hell was Palpatine and where did HE come from? There’s always some generic evil dude trying to take over the galaxy. I’m glad he got knocked off, so we don’t have to get Palpatine redux and we can have Kylo Ren as the main villain instead, who’s much more interesting.

Rose falling in love with Finn within a matter of hours was a bit weird. Superfan weird.

She WAS already a Finn superfan before she personally met him, though. And Luke fell in love with Leia, what, the moment he saw her hologram?

We seem to left with a First Order lacking in any real powerful scary villain. Kylo is great as a angsty troubled guy conflicted in many ways, but he makes for kind of a weak enemy and leader. General Hux is basically the butt of jokes now.

I think it’s a very interesting direction to take. This film is all about shaking off old expectations, and one of them seems to be the need for some kind of supercompetent ultra-bad guy. Having Hux and Ren be a comedic duo is something this series hasn’t previously explored, so I find it refreshing. And as has been pointed out, having a villain who turns out to be a petulant, impulsive man-child feels pretty plausible and relevant these days.

They didn’t really end Leia’s arc at all did they? It feels like she was intended to be part of the next one, so I’m not sure how they’ll work that out.

I feel like they did. A character’s arc doesn’t have to end in death, and I feel like the whole point of Leia in this film was to (1) show leadership, (2) teach leadership, and (3) pass the leadership role to the next generation, which I think she effectively did. I know they intended to do more with her in the next film — and I would have dearly loved to see more from Carrie Fisher — but I think this works as a satisfying ending to her role as well. The next movie can always jump a bit ahead in time and show Leia’s funeral, after she’s died of natural causes or something.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:48pm

– Spoilers- Thinking about Leia’s (and Luke’s) arc reminds me of something that’s been pointed out on YouTube (specifically the folks at Hyper RPG, whose spoiler reviews I enjoy): folks are talking more about what happens in THIS movie rather than what this movie SETS UP for the next film. When you think about it, it’s pretty much a complete movie, and everything, really, has been resolved: Snoke is gone and Kylo Ren is the new baddie; Rey’s the new Jedi hope, and her parents are irrelevant; the original trio have all effectively come to the end of their arcs; there’s a big bad Imperial entity trying to take over the galaxy and snuff out a rebellion, and ’twas ever thus. So it feels like ANYTHING could happen at this point, and the next film isn’t obligated to tie up any loose ends or resolve old mysteries. Which I find really exciting. If we’re in for an era of fresh Star Wars stories (well, minus the Han Solo prequel) that actually FEEL LIKE the original trilogy did, taking us in new directions rather than getting bogged down in nostalgia and decades of fan expectations, then bring it on.

MarkyD
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 8:10pm

I would compare Snoke to Darth Sidious. We know Sidious was Palpatine, the senator. Who was Snoke before he became what he is now? I don’t NEED to know. I’m just curious. We obviously didn’t know who the emperor was until the prequels came out. Although he was a better character in the OT than Snoke is/was in this trilogy.

I was wondering about the kid. I didn’t see him use any kind of force to get the broom. I just thought his ring showed support for the rebellion.

Personally, I don’t like the idea that anyone can use the force, or anyone could be a Jedi. Although, I assume this means that anyone can be born with it. Not that anyone on the planet, at any time, could bust out the force if they had the will to do it. FOR ME, that would seriously dampen the specialness of Jedis and the force.

Yes, anyone can be a hero, or do heroic things, but to be a Jedi is something different entirely. Not necessarily better, just different. Like being a wizard instead of a knight in an rpg. It would be awful boring if everyone could be everything.

I like that all of it is celebrated in this film. Definitely a positive.

I didn’t want Leia to die. Just a more buttoned up end. It was almost there, but then in the end it seemed open. No matter. It’s all good.
I find Kylo fascinating as a character, and Adam Driver is great. He just doesn’t exude the power and menace that a great villain should, IMHO. Maybe when IX comes around time will have gone by and he’ll no longer be in flux. They kind of resolved that in this one, didn’t they? He’s not coming back.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 8:46pm

Although he was a better character in the OT than Snoke is/was in this trilogy.

For me they’re about the same. Menacing voice, facial disfigurement, generic Dark Lord masterminding and “everything is going according to my plan,” etc. The “red chamber” scene deliberately mirrors Luke’s confrontation with Vader and the Emperor in the throne room, and what happens to Snoke deliberately subverts our expectations.

I was wondering about the kid. I didn’t see him use any kind of force to get the broom.

He did.

FOR ME, that would seriously dampen the specialness of Jedis and the force.

Fair enough, but it’s pretty clear the movie WANTS to take the Jedi down a couple of pegs and democratize the Force. Not necessarily that everyone can automatically use it, but that everyone potentially CAN, if they have the aptitude or perhaps work hard at it. That’s what I took away from Rey’s training session (“The Force doesn’t just belong to the Jedi”) and the anonymous kid’s subtle Force-use at the end. And maybe it even goes back to the previous film (it’s in the title!) and Snoke mentioning that “there has been an awakening in the Force.” Maybe it means that more people are awakening TO the Force.

I don’t think it takes away from the Force’s “specialness” to have more people have access to it, any more than it makes singing (or cooking or gardening or political leadership) less special if more people acquire those abilities and do those things well, regardless of their bloodlines and ancestry.

They kind of resolved that in this one, didn’t they? He’s not coming back.

Yeah, I think you’re right, he’s decided to be evil now. Maybe still complicated and conflicted, but definitely a bad guy. Which I think is the right direction for the story. We’ve already had SIX MOVIES about the corruption-and-redemption arc of a bad guy. Time to do something else.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:18pm

It’s been a long, and unfortunate, tradition that most of the secondary Sith are really, really boring. (YMMV.) Fortunately, this series appears to be getting rid of them really, really quickly.

It does make me sad that one of the boring villains was played by Gwendoline Christie. If you can’t find one interesting thing for Gwendoline Christie to do, you’re not trying very hard.

MarkyD
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 10:02pm

“I don’t think it takes away from the Force’s “specialness” to have more
people have access to it, any more than it makes singing (or cooking or
gardening or political leadership) less special if more people acquire
those abilities and do those things well, regardless of their bloodlines
and ancestry.”

Access is good. But there will always be people who kick ass at things better then others. Humbly, I am a very knowledgeable landscaper and gardener . It is what I do, and I do it well. If everyone one on the planet had the same skills as me my talents would no longer be special. Thing is, we all know that everyone has the drive or will to do that. I’m sure it would be the same with any other talent, as well as something like the force. So I’m cool with any random person being born with the capability. Most will never reach higher tier of force talent, though, I imagine.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MarkyD
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 10:25pm

Access is good. But there will always be people who kick ass at things better then others.

No one is disputing that. But TLJ’s point is that the Force is for everyone, as opposed to being the exclusive property of the Jedi. I’ve just seen the film again, and Luke clearly tells Rey: “The Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say the Jedi dies, the Force dies is vanity.”

You’re a good gardener because you put your mind and heart into it, and you’ve worked at it all your life. Not because you have “gardener blood” or come from a long line of master gardeners or were admitted into a high priesthood of gardeners. The movie is making the same point about the Force.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:10am

Do you think there’s seriously any danger of us getting a major SW character who’s only dabbling in the Force on weekends?

I mean, that could be the basis for a great comedy, if Disney wanted to make other sorts of SW movies. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 1:58pm

Do you think there’s seriously any danger of us getting a major SW character who’s only dabbling in the Force

Leia? :-)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Sun, Dec 24, 2017 9:37am

Since she cannot be a major character in the next film, no.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Dec 24, 2017 2:59pm

Well, what I mean is that Leia already HAS been that character, through five movies.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Dec 24, 2017 1:06pm

Do you think there’s seriously any danger of us getting a major SW character who’s only dabbling in the Force on weekends?

That might be a fascinating character. I can imagine, just for example, someone who’s strong in the Force but is so disgusted by the violence and corruption on both sides that she refuses to be part of the bloodshed, until the moment when she has no choice.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:58pm

Personally, I don’t like the idea that anyone can use the force, or anyone could be a Jedi.

A lot of important people felt the same way about Martin Luther, and his impact on Christianity. :-)

MarkyD
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:56pm

I’m honestly a bit confused by this comment. Ive heard his name, of course, but don’t know what he did. I’ll have to look it up.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:55pm

like the idea that the Force is potentially accessibly by everyone

That’s what I was getting at with my comment about the Force’s Reformation. It’s like when Christianity went from an arcane knowledge held by secretive priests that ordinary people could not participate in (partly by the Bible not being available in everyday languages, and mass spoken only in Latin) to something that anyone could read about and analyze and think about for themselves.

Dent
Dent
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:02pm

Now is Luke Jedi Luthor or Jedi Calvin?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dent
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:02am

He’s Jedi Luke. :-)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 9:52pm

Rose falling in love with Finn within a matter of hours was a bit weird.

Or, war and grief amps up people’s emotions. And you can be attracted to someone and what they represent without being “in love” with them.

It feels like she was intended to be part of the next one

She was. The third movie was supposed to be hers. I’m gonna trust that they’ll figure out a way to do it.

MarkyD
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:16pm

She told him “I love you” at the end.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MarkyD
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:32pm

Did she? I thought she just kissed him and passed out, after her great line: “That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:18pm

You only say “I love you” to people you’re *in love* with?

MarkyD
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 10:05pm

Its all in how it’s said, yes. Bluejay is correct, I think, in that she actually said “saving what we love”. To me, it was obvious from the scene, and they way she was looking at him, that it wasn’t meant to be a friendship kind of love.
This idea is further cemented at the end when Finn is looking at her with concern(anguish?) but more concerned for Rey. Love triangle! Maybe

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:10am

I guess we’ll see.

Stacy Livitsanis
Stacy Livitsanis
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Jan 16, 2018 6:27am

Rose being in love with Finn: There are fifty thousand movies in which men fall in love with women the second they see them (at first sight) and nearly all of those movies treat that as completely normal, even though it’s bizarre and scary. Here
is one movie in which a woman who is established in her first
scene as already being a big fan of Finn and she makes an
indirect declaration of love at the ending after they’ve already been through some emotionally intense experiences together, and people are saying it’s ridiculous, no one falls in love that fast, Rose is stupid, she’s a weak love interest character. Umm…what?

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Stacy Livitsanis
Tue, Jan 16, 2018 1:41pm

There are fifty thousand movies in which men fall in love with women the second they see them (at first sight) and nearly all of those movies treat that as completely normal

Yup, this. In fact, I remember seeing a science fiction movie where a farmboy fell in love with a beautiful princess the moment he laid eyes on her hologram.

MarkyD
reply to  Stacy Livitsanis
Tue, Jan 16, 2018 2:42pm

Well, I think it’s ALL ridiculous. Instant love is BS. You can infatuation, like Rose, that can turn into something else over time. Or even lust and desire. Real love takes time. IMHO, of course.
Hollywood likes to truncate everything, and I get that.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  MarkyD
Wed, Jan 17, 2018 8:36pm

It *is* ridiculous. But it’s definitely a real thing that people — especially young people — sometimes think is a thing. I would imagine that likeliness of feeling that feeling is heightened during intense situations, like war.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:38pm

#teamSigourney (even if she is way too tall to be Leia)

Jonathan Roth
Jonathan Roth
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 5:18am

I’m partial to Kate Mulgrew myself.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Jonathan Roth
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 5:47am

Oooooooh, that’s a good one.

Seriously though, there’s a huge stable of amazing actresses in the 55-65 age range, any number of whom could carry the role through one movie.

Elwood
Elwood
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 12:05am

I know they won’t do this, but my dream casting is Meryl Streep, since didn’t she basically play Carrie Fisher in “Postcards from the Edge?”

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Elwood
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 12:44am

They probably won’t recast, and I hope they don’t. I know recasting has been successfully done on movies and franchises, but it feels wrong for this. Carrie Fisher is Leia. Recasting the role for Episode IX would be like recasting Tony Stark in between Avengers 3 and 4 — it would take a LOT of heavy lifting to make it okay with the public.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Elwood
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:25am

I don’t see how they can recast Leia. I don’t think it would work. They’re going to have to find a way to tell the next story without a significant presence from Leia.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 12:59pm

They’re going to have to find a way to tell the next story without a significant presence from Leia.

I think that shouldn’t be too hard. In the original trilogy, a significant amount of in-story time passes between the films. There’s no reason they can’t do that now; there aren’t any cliffhangers that need to be immediately resolved, beyond the usual “powerful bad guys are chasing after underdog rebels” situation. The story could easily open after a few years have passed, perhaps starting with a very respectful funeral for General Organa. It even sets up and continues a powerful theme from TLJ: how do you become the hero, after your heroes are gone?

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Bluejay
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 1:34pm

I wonder if J.J. Abrams will make her death a key plot point, like the destruction of Vulcan in Star Trek, so that Leia becomes a significant presence by not being present.

Elwood
Elwood
reply to  MarkyD
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 12:00am

I understand Lukes arc, but I don’t much like it. I was hoping for a final epic lightsaber battle or something.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I think both Abrams and Johnson have felt constrained by the character arc that Luke went through in the original trilogy. ROTJ ends with Luke throwing down his lightsaber and refusing to kill his father. He finally understands what Yoda has been trying to tell him, “Wars not make one great” etc. He tries to fight, he loses. When he refuses to fight, he wins. Having him fight again would undermine his previously established spiritual growth. As it is, they followed through perfectly. The one time he raises a sword out of fear, the consequences are terrible. He finds away to aid the Resistance without killing anyone. He obviously still cares about his nephew, there’s real affection in “See you around, kid.” Then he achieves enlightenment and becomes one with the Force. It was the right choice.
Having Luke fight battles again would undermine ESB and ROTJ.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Elwood
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 12:38am

That’s a really great point.

MarkyD
reply to  Elwood
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 10:08pm

I agree that’s a good explanation.
But, dammit, the geek in me wanted more force and sabers!
Oh, well.

MisterBongwater
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 6:03pm

Saw it yesterday. Liked it then, and the more I think about it, the more I kinda loved it. Some parts seemed a little wonky at first, but the ideas that are the engine of the film bring it over the finish line for me.

MarkyD
reply to  MisterBongwater
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 7:47pm

I’m the opposite. The more I pondered it, the more it fell apart. At least parts of it.
I still like the movie. I just don’t love it.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MarkyD
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 3:27pm

Same here.

MPC
MPC
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 7:37pm

I liked the general arc of the story, but I felt it was rather messy and Rey’s backstory deserved a better sendoff. And not just the casino planet subplot, but things like Luke casually tossing away the lightsaber after Rey gives it to him and him milking the alien cow, WTF was that? I don’t know if Kathleen Kennedy as reluctant to give constructive notes on Rian Johnson’s script, but it seemed like she didn’t. The Last Jedi would’ve gone over better if it were 10-20 minutes shorter and got rid of some of the sillier aspects.

New characters were pretty good (especially Kelly Marie Tran and Laura Dern), and I liked that they gave Poe more screentime. But I miss Maz Kanata, she just had one scene here and that was IT. That bummed me out.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MPC
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 7:43pm

See, I *loved* those moments! Given how Luke currently feels about the Jedi and his own role in things, why *wouldn’t* that be his first response? And I’d have to look closely at the color of what Luke drinks after milking the cow, but there’s a good chance we’ve just seen the origin of the blue milk we see in Owen and Beru’s house in A New Hope. :-)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:00pm

Re the milk: That seems unlikely. Luke makes a point of saying how remote and inaccessible the planet he’s on is.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017 10:21pm

I’ve googled around, and apparently the milk is green, not blue. So a tribute to blue milk, but not blue milk itself.

Still loved the moment. It was kind of weird and a little gross, and not implausible behavior for someone who chose to live as a hermit on an inaccessible planet.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:19pm

Luke has definitely gone a little weird and gross in his old age. :-)

dave
dave
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 2:57pm

How can anyone say this movie was a good star wars film??? How on God’s green Earth could anyone watch this film and think star wars… think, this is the from the same series. This lacked so much emotion and feel from the originals and force awakens. It’s awful

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  dave
Tue, Dec 19, 2017 11:20pm

This movie “lacked emotion”? Huh.

What didn’t feel like *Star Wars* to you? What were you expecting that you didn’t see?

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 7:14am

Serious repercussions for insubordination and mutiny for starters. Lots of annoyance with that over in some military SW fan circles like Angrystaffofficer on twitter. (yes, I’m ex US Army and the “moxie” line near the end seriously pissed me off. For a series of movies that showcase female agency and strength, it was startling to see female officers so casually ignored with only minor repercussions to the offender) Also see Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post.https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2017/12/18/its-time-to-stop-grading-movies-like-star-wars-the-last-jedi-on-a-curve/?utm_term=.8990dbef7051

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:41am

Serious repercussions for insubordination and mutiny for starters.

As alluded to in my review and discussed extensively in the comments. But what is particularly *Star Wars*-ish about that?

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 3:06pm

It felt forced. Poe has a redemption character arc now and things were unreasonably bent around that arc.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:13pm

We have no idea if Poe will be redeemed in a traditional storytelling sense, or in any sense. Given the unusual thematic twists this movie took, it wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t.

deirdre
deirdre
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 2:21am

Okay….I generally enjoyed the movie, but I had a nagging dissatisfied feeling at the end and it took a couple days to think it through.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously…spoilers. Skip to another comment if you have not seen the movie.

Really.

1)The entire middle of the movie is one giant Macguffin. We merrily chase a “code breaker” for an awful lot of the movie and none of it matters at all in any way….

2)…and it should never have happened because there is no actual narrative reason to have had an 18 hour chase and ships running of fuel etc. This is a plot contrivance that we will discuss later. Even if you want a chase, the director
apparently never watched Master and Commander and could not think of how
to make an exciting chase, so he had to get major characters off the cruiser and doing something utterly useless somewhere else. Oh that brings us to….

3)…the director decided to make much of the movie arc about Poe’s character development. Poe has issues. He just sent Star Wars Devastator Torpedo Bombers against the Star Wars Hiru and Soryu with about the same results. Only this time….the good guys are flat out of everything. So Poe needs character redemption. He needs to learn. That means the directer not only kills off Admiral Ackbar, but also badly injures General Organa in order to clear the chain of command and introduce a foil for Poe: Admiral Holdo played by Laura Dern…

4) Admiral Holdo is never allowed to be a character. She is a plot device for Poe and part of the 18 hour chase contrivance. She has few lines, and few scenes. She issues orders, but inexplicably never communicates her plan or goals. This allows Poe to keep doing what Poe does, which is screw things up and send people (Finn and Rose) on a hare brained scheme that accomplishes…nothing (except tipping off the First Order that Resistance shuttles were leaving the Mon Calimari cruiser). Finally, Poe commits mutiny and tries to take over what is
left of the Resistance. Fortunately, General Organa awakens and stuns
Poe. Leia is suddenly doing things as normal and there is no consequence (!!!!) aside from…Admiral Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming the First Order command battleship…essentially ‘fridging’* herself so that Poe can grow and mature. There was never any need to knock out Leia for half the movie….the director wanted her out of the way to introduce Laura Dern as a motivational tool for the hero guy.
The only thing missing was her red shirt and the obligatory “She’s dead,
Jim.” She deserved better. So did the rest of us.

5) So if we didn’t really need an extended chase scenario that prompted a need to get major characters off the ship and doing something utterly useless at a casino planet and Leia is unconscious for no particular reason for half the movie (as discussed above) then what in the world is the point of a lot of this? Oh yeah…Poe finally gets to grow up and try to call off a suicidal run on the Guns of Navarone in the third act! See? He CAN be taught! So to make that happen: 1. Admiral Ackbar gets spaced 2. Leia gets spaced but goes all Mary Poppins and saves herself to sickbay for half the movie 3. Admiral Holdo blows herself up 4. Finn and Rose accomplish nothing except nearly being executed by decapitation (and tipping off the First Order that shuttles were trying to leave the Mon Calimari cruser).

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:39am

1)The entire middle of the movie is one giant Macguffin. We merrily chase a “code breaker” for an awful lot of the movie and none of it matters at all in any way….

But it does matter. It sets up what the First Order believes will be the ultimate destruction of the Resistance. It sets up the flowering of hope among the downtrodden of the galaxy. It brings in a whole new thematic motif about the economic disparity in the galaxy. It’s vitally important in showing how old-fashioned cliched heroics are a really bad, really dumb idea.

She issues orders, but inexplicably never communicates her plan or goals.

She’s in charge. She doesn’t have to explain herself. :-)

essentially ‘fridging’* herself so that Poe can grow and mature

Wow. No. You cannot “fridge” yourself. The whole point of that criticism is that is removes a character’s agency. Holdo is NOTHING BUT agency. And we have no idea whether Poe will grow or mature or change. (I suspect he won’t, precisely because he suffered no great personal consequences for his behavior. Maybe he will feel guilty over causing the near destruction of the Resistance, but we see no evidence of that so far.)

Jim Mann
Jim Mann
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 2:16pm

The one point I’d dispute here is “She’s in charge. She doesn’t have too explain herself.” (Though I know you added a :) . )

A good leader does explain herself. People respond better when they are not just given orders but understand why something is being done. On the other hand, she may well have known that had she explained herself, Poe would have gone off and done whatever he wanted anyhow.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Jim Mann
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:07pm

And sometimes there are security reasons why you cannot reveal all the details of your strategy to underlings.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:45am

On your own warship??!! There is need to know and then there is incompetence in communication.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 12:04pm

Yes, on your own warship.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 4:06pm

This is where people with military backgrounds have very different interpretations of military movies than other viewers. Things don’t work that way simply because you can’t afford to have your units or subordinates running around in the dark with no idea what they are trying to accomplish. It is ineffective and will lead to mission failure and unnecessary casualties. Holdo would absolutely have known this because she is an (by definition) experienced flag rank officer and NOT a new lieutenant. That’s the last that I will say on that since we are not going to agree. Sigh.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 9:55am

Okay, I will give you all of that. (I don’t necessarily agree with it, but for the sake of argument.) Holdo withheld information to punish Poe, because she was annoyed with him. Which means Holdo is a flawed human person, and did a thing that flawed human people do. That’s not a bad thing. People fuck up. People don’t always behave in the most reasonably perfect way possible — in fact, we hardly ever do. All this means is that Holdo’s issues as well as Poe’s issues drive the plot.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Dec 24, 2017 7:30pm

I know I was going to leave this alone, lol, but you may want to read the comments on this twitter thread thread to get another perspective on talking to your subordinates.https://twitter.com/pptsapper/status/944980402967629825

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:34pm

When deserters are an issue? Yeah.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 9:55am

That’s a really good point.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 3:02pm

“It sets up what the First Order believes will be the ultimate
destruction of the Resistance. It sets up the flowering of hope among the downtrodden of the galaxy.”

That is nebulous at best. it still seems like an awful lot of the 2 hours plus movie was spent to get nowhere. At the very least, ruthless editing was required, if not a wholesale script revision on this arc.

“She’s in charge. She doesn’t have to explain herself”

See here for extended discussion of that from a military professional:https://angrystaffofficer.com/2017/12/18/a-leadership-vacuum-the-last-jedi-and-mission-failure/

In any event, it was a deliberate contrivance to have an experienced officer do something she never would have done in order to make other things happen, which also goes to my contention that she is never allowed to be a real character in the first place. She is a plot device.

“No. You cannot “fridge” yourself.”

The director does it for her…which is really how it is always done.

it would have been far better to have Admiral Ackbar make the sacrifice. Having him spaced offscreen was disgraceful.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 10:12pm

spent to get nowhere

We’ll have to disagree on that.

something she never would have done

I don’t think we can say that. How do we know?

it would have been far better to have Admiral Ackbar make the sacrifice. Having him spaced offscreen was disgraceful.

Ackbar was no more developed a character onscreen (I have no idea how or if his character appears in novels or cartoons or whatever) than Holdo. Arguably even less so.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:42am

Yes, Adm Ackbar was well know and developed in the greater Star Wars universe (books etc) and had been one of the more famous characters to come out of Return of the Jedi. But we are now into breaking things…so there it is.

As far as Adm Holdo’s command ability (or lack thereof):
The First Order is not the only force riven by dissension. When Leia is wounded and Admiral Ackbar is killed (we barely have had a chance to mourn him), Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes command. A skilled strategist, Vice Admiral Holdo does have one key problem: she does not know how to communicate her plans to subordinates in order to build trust across the chain of command. When Poe and Finn doubt that she even has a plan to save the Resistance, they launch a harebrained scheme of their own that ultimately leads in the destruction of what is left of
the Resistance fleet and force.

https://angrystaffofficer.com/2017/12/18/a-leadership-vacuum-the-last-jedi-and-mission-failure/

Admirals have staff and ratings. They brief subordinates in order that plans may be understood and carried out in optimal fashion. THEY COMMUNICATE!

Adm Holdo does none of this. She reminds me of the young Lieutenant from The Lost Patrol with Boris Karloff and Victor McLaglen who never tells anyone what they are doing and thereby dooms the whole enterprise.

As I have already said, this is deliberate contrivance on the part of the writers in order to provide her as a foil for Poe and thereby give him a reason to send underlings on strange schemes and ultimately, mutiny.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:47am

Adm Ackbar was well know and developed in the greater Star Wars universe (books etc)

Which are now no longer canon, if I’m not mistaken. I’m not sure how much the new trilogy intends to acknowledge the old EU.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 5:15am

Wait, you’re saying that the screenwriters created characters with conflicting beliefs in order to set the plot in motion? That’s…exactly what writers are supposed to do.

Holdo is, in my opinion, a better antagonist for Poe than Ackbar would have been. And if she has to be a flawed communicator and military leader in order for the story to work, that’s a contrivance I’m willing to live with. YMMV.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 12:06pm

Bingo. Flawed characters — if you want to see Holdo as flawed — are what make for great drama. And a lack of communication skills on Holdo’s part — if that’s how you want to see it — still does not justify mutiny.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 12:35pm

SPOILERS

In some ways, the thing I love most about the movie is that nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing. It reminds me of our world in 2017, where there are horriffic things happening everywhere, and every solution seems to make the problems a little worse.

In the movie, even the most experienced veterans are making it up as they go along. Sometimes they do stupid things. Sometimes everyone seems to be right—or equally wrong. I could make an argument in favor of Finn’s suicide run—which might have wiped out the First Order leadership and one of their most powerful weapons—but as a bleeding-heart liberal, I prefer Rose’s more compassionate solution. The writers were smart enough to give every character flaws and terrible ideas, and I think the movie is stronger for it.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:59pm

Aaagghhh!!!

The usual round of spoilers, gang. Be warned.

Not even a character and not a necessary one either. She is a device for Poe to have a conflict with. In order to have Poe have a conflict leading to mutiny in the first place, the writers have to kill off or sideline two layers of command and control in order to introduce her in the first place. She never has a chance to actually develop as a person and she is not given any background or observable motivation. She is a high ranking red shirt. That’s it.

Poe already had a conflict with Leia. That was established and it was believable. Poe is a tactician, not a strategist and he gambles recklessly. Leia is a big picture person and a venerable leader. That could absolutely been developed for the drama you are seeking and the mutiny should been dropped or (if we want to actually be dark…not a bad possibility) have the possibility of him planning the mutiny against Leia and go with what that could suggest about his character. The more I think about it, the better I like that.

But nooooooo…..Leia is sidelined for no reason at all (and I say that because her absence was specifically engineered to make room for an unnecessary “character” and had utterly no plot consequence when she woke aside from that contrived conflict) and red shirt Holdo is introduced and custom ordered to have a conflict with our lovable rogue whom we already like and identify with. Her flaw, as you identify, is simply not credible. Flag officers don’t do that. If anything, they over communicate and drown you in micro management. (BTW, what ever happened to command by common assent? The rebels were really big on that in A New Hope and again in Rogue One.. It isn’t really effective, but it was a defining part of the rebels.)

This is much of why I found that particular arc of film exasperating and unfulfilling. I would far rather the movie stayed with Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren. Don’t Give A Damn Luke was far more interesting and Rey is always exciting and a pleasure to see.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 9:57am

She is a high ranking red shirt. That’s it.

Wow. She is so much more than a red shirt!

our lovable rogue whom we already like and identify with.

Isn’t possible that this is deliberately structured to make us question whether we should be identifying with him and cheering him on?

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 5:10pm

So we do it the chicksh** ‘safe’ way by making up a cardboard cutout admiral who is never developed into a believable person instead of having Poe develop the conflict he already has with Leia…because that would force the audience to choose loyalty!

Do you stay with the lovable rogue you have been getting to know or with the beloved Princess you already know? That would have been a far more engaging and fascinating.

Bringing in the red shirt admiral was a cheap way out.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 6:08pm

The premise is: The admiral appears to be making a foolish, desperate decision that could kill most of the rebels, and she’s keeping it hidden from them. If the person making that decision were Leia (or even Ackbar), people in the audience would say: “She’d never do that. There must be something else going on.” (Or they’d think she’s acting out of character and get angry at the screenwriters.) But if they introduce a new, unpredictable character, she’s capable of doing anything, and no one knows what to expect.

You can, of course, argue that they should have gone with a different storyline altogether, but I will disagree with you.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 7:16pm

Yes, the storyline was flawed. Badly.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:33am

Let’s just say that I have no need for The Verge to tell me what my opinion of a character should be.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 3:41am

Sure, but the article isn’t trying to dictate your opinion. It’s giving an opinion ON your opinion. :-)

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 4:49am

:/

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  deirdre
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 12:03pm

Fortunately, The Verge has no power to make you think anything. But it has done an excellent problem of explaining why not everyone agrees with you.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:33pm

I must have read a different article. Sorry, but it did nothing of the sort that I saw. Anyways, I’ll debate another movie later. We aren’t going to get anywhere here. We are both in our respective trenches.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 11:58am

Everything in that piece is 1000% correct, but this really leap out at me:

[L]etting Holdo — a new character — fill that role instead of Ackbar helps solve some of Star Wars’ economy-of-character issues, where it seems like almost everyone has to be directly related to or involved with everyone else.

SO MUCH THIS. This is part of why I didn’t want Rey to be lost Skywalker, or Luke’s clone, or someone with *any* connection to characters we’ve already met.

deirdre
deirdre
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:31pm

Honest opinion? I thought the Verge article was smug and bordered on insulting. People’s attachment to characters are real and very personal, however imperfectly reasoned or realized. How characters are killed off, particularly one that has been a well known part of the canon, should be handled with some care. The writer here was more interested in screw you your dood didn’t make the cut so stop whining loozer lol lol lol

Dent
Dent
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 4:33am

There’s a moment that is meant to, I think, show how someone is unexpectedly strong with the Force, but it’s pretty laughable.

What moment was that?

Dent
Dent
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 5:37pm

Thanks, I think we need to take a break from “character spends improbably long in vacuum with little to no long term injury.” Although I kind of want a force duel in zero-g now.comment image

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Thu, Dec 21, 2017 9:04pm

You might be surprised how long you could survive in a vacuum. Even without intergalactic magic powers.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dent
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:01am

I hate to defend this sequence, but it’s pretty clear that Leia does suffer intermediate injury, and it’s too soon to know what sort of long-term affects she might suffer.

austencollins
austencollins
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 7:31am

“Rian Johnson doesn’t give a whit what we might think Luke deserves as a continuation for his long character arc.”

Yeah, but that’s a bad thing. The Last Jedi isn’t a commentary on Star Wars. It’s the next episode. Just as it wouldn’t be wrong to expect a book to maintain coherent character arcs from chapter to chapter, it’s not wrong to expect Luke’s role in TLJ to build upon qualities established in previous movies, or that controversial developments will be satisfactorily justified. You gotta care about what your audience thinks, even if you don’t plan on giving them what they wanted, because you need to persuade them what you’re giving them instead is better. (And this applies to other characters too, like Poe or Rey.)

As for the movie itself, I’m happy other people enjoyed TLJ. I liked some parts of it & hope that the conclusion to the sequels will retroactively solve some of my other issues with it. But I’m not persuaded this movie innovated for the better overall– or even that it was unusually innovative for Star Wars. Luke repeating the sins of the old Jedi, right down to becoming a cranky hermit who dissipates after a dramatic show down with his former apprentice, leaving a young and barely trained Force-user to rebuild the Jedi her own way certainly feels like Johnson just combined Yoda and Obi-Wan’s plots. Wrt Poe’s plot, it’s a retread of rash heroism blowing up in Luke’s face at the end of The Empire Strikes Back and also undermined by the fact that he’ll be in Episode 9, which probably won’t end with the bad guys winning. And if this movie genuinely cares about building up new non-Skywalker drama Star Wars stories, shouldn’t the Canto Blight scenes be better?

Speaking of which, there are parts which are simply not executed well. (Ex jokes undercutting dramatic tension too much, Benicio del Toro’s character, Holdo’s Necessary and Heroic sacrifice being followed by Rose preventing Finn from sacrificing himself in a similar fashion on the grounds that self-sacrifice is now Bad and Unnecessary, that twee bit with the broom, TLJ undermining it’s own subversion of the Obi-Wan vs Vader duel from ANH by having it kill Luke anyway, and of course Canto Blight giving major prequel vibes.) And as your review points out, it doesn’t really stand on it’s own or make for a good introduction to the series.

Anyway, it’s really weird to talk about TLJ right now because I feel more strongly about the critical frames used to discuss the movie than I felt about the actual movie. It’s odd that reviews of these sort of serialized blockbusters aren’t more like TV reviews, in the sense that continuity and narrative cohesion isn’t valued more.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  austencollins
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:43am

The Last Jedi isn’t a commentary on Star Wars.

Stories can work on multiple levels. In fact, they *have* to if they’re to have real resonance.

it’s not wrong to expect Luke’s role in TLJ to build upon qualities established in previous movies

It does.

austencollins
austencollins
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Dec 22, 2017 5:48am

Pardon, I meant it isn’t *just* a commentary. Of course stories can work on multiple levels. Previous Star Wars movies did this too, which is why there’s room for fans to disagree over whether TLJ built off of the previous movies in satisfactory or believable manner.

Praising Johnson for not giving a whit about alienating some fans assumes that those fans didn’t have any good ideas or valid critiques to make of the media franchise that they’re obsessed with. Treating “disappointed Star Wars fan” as synonymous with “entitled white fanboy who hates change” presumes bad faith. It’s a strawman argument. And I get why people worry about fan entitlement complexes, but I’m also sick to death of being conflated with dudes who wish the sequels starred a knock-off of their preferred EU Gary Stu just because I think TLJ was unsatisfying, shafted Finn and was responding more to do with what straight white men think the original trilogy was about than to what was actually in the original trilogy.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  austencollins
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 10:14am

assumes that those fans didn’t have any good ideas or valid critiques to make of the media franchise that they’re obsessed with

No, it doesn’t. It just means that *they* are not the authors of the story, which a lot of fans seem to forget.

Treating “disappointed Star Wars fan” as synonymous with “entitled white fanboy who hates change” presumes bad faith.

They are not always synonymous, but often they are. Entitled fanboys are not only extremely vocal in their disapproval but extremely demanding that the things the love conform to some very narrow strictures.

If you’re not an entitled fanboy who hates change, then it doesn’t apply to you.

austencollins
austencollins
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 27, 2017 7:07am

It just means that *they* are not the authors of the story, which a lot of fans seem to forget.

Critics question storytelling decisions in original movies all the time, without it being seen as an attempt to wrest authorial control away from the filmmakers. Besides, fans of the previous Star Wars movies literally are the authors of this story: Johnson, Abrams, Edwards, and (I’m sure) many others at Disney are Star Wars fans. Their work on Star Wars is shaped by their perspectives as fans, not simply as filmmakers.

If you’re not an entitled fanboy who hates change, then it doesn’t apply to you.

I can tell that the intention behind it doesn’t apply to fangirls like me. But in my experience, when “fan” and “entitled fanboy” are used interchangeably, what happens is that the fanboys get centered in the discussions that follow– even if it’s just as the antagonists.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  austencollins
Wed, Dec 27, 2017 12:08pm

#NotAllStarWarsFans

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  austencollins
Wed, Dec 27, 2017 9:47pm

Critics question storytelling decisions in original movies all the time, without it being seen as an attempt to wrest authorial control away from the filmmakers.

Are you seriously arguing that the tantrums that some fans have thrown over this movie are considered critiques?

austencollins
austencollins
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Dec 30, 2017 11:12am

I think your review of the latest Transformers was better for referring to it as “Michael Bay’s Public Masturbation” than a review which took an unemotional tack. So I think the same rules apply to people who aren’t professional critics as well. Certainly I don’t think every Star Wars fan in their feels about TLJ is making a critique that deserves consideration; (and with abusive fans it doesn’t matter if they made a good critique because no critique justifies harassment or any other form of abusive behavior); but I think some of the more major complaints (such as those about Luke’s characterization) have merit, especially since many of them are coming from people who liked TFA and Rogue One, and presumably wanted to like TLJ as well.

MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Dec 20, 2017 9:45am

Please read through the comments already posted before posting your own. The issue you want to talk about may already be under discussion here.

Dent
Dent
Fri, Dec 22, 2017 1:17am

Doesn’t the hyper-ram sort of break Empire tactics a bit? Why bother with capitol ships when you can strap a hyperdrive to an asteroid and turn one to gas?

Seattle Fencer
Seattle Fencer
reply to  Dent
Fri, Dec 22, 2017 7:58am

That’s my biggest problem with the movie. It was a poignant, beautiful scene. But it breaks suspension of disbelief. Yeah yeah, even in a franchise about space ninjas with laser swords.

As a kid I always wondered why they didn’t attach rockets to lightsabers to create missiles that could cut through anything. As a teen, when I learned about e=mc2, I wondered why they didn’t attach hyperdrives to asteroids and shatter planets. SW has sophisticated droids; why doesn’t every army have droid FTL kamikazis? Or, heck, simple hyperdrive cruise missiles?

Of course, as a super fan I managed to rationalize an answer: long, long ago the SW galaxy DID have FTL weaponry. And it was so profoundly destructive, that an unbreakable social more formed against it. Like nukes in our world. Test them, possess them, but you’d have to be insane to actually use them.

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Seattle Fencer
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 3:08pm

It was a poignant, beautiful scene. But it breaks suspension of disbelief.

As a fan, I think Star Wars is simply a franchise whose world-building logic falls apart in a LOT of ways if you just poke your finger at it hard enough. This is a universe where you can instantaneously transmit holographic images across vast distances, but secret superweapon plans have to be smuggled out on physical chips by droids. It’s also a universe of technological miracles where half-frozen people can be revived in bacta tanks and amputees can be given shiny new limbs, but pregnancy and female healthcare are apparently a complete mystery. I’ve always considered it more of a space fantasy (or space parable) than science fiction, and I’m willing to forgive it its implausibilities as long as I’m engaged by the characters. :-)

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Fri, Dec 22, 2017 4:05pm

Yes, just like haw navel conflicts in the modern world are solved by ramming ships into each other. And how all military aircraft are used to fly directly into the enemy.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 6:04pm

Worked at Pearl Harbor :D

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Sat, Dec 23, 2017 8:54pm

Well, actually, Kamikaze didn’t become a specific tactic for the Japanese air force until 1944. A handful of pilots (possibly as few as 1) did fly their planes into US warships at Pearl Harbor, but that wasn’t the cause of the significant damage and JFC WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION?? *dies a little on the inside*

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 2:34pm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramming
it actually has a good number of examples right up to modern naval battles. I was surprised.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dent
Fri, Dec 29, 2017 4:36pm

I would never argue that ramming was never a thing. That would be as silly as it is ahistorical. But the tactic has never rendered all other forms of combat irrelevant, as has been explicitly suggested by some, and strongly implied by you.

And seriously, dude, Rule of Cool.

Dent
Dent
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Jan 01, 2018 4:03pm

Alright, maybe it has to do with the mass of the object. No one’s building a torpedo the size of an aircraftcarrier… They just better not strap a warp-engine to an asteroid to destroy the Starkiller II in episode 9 or I will be very cross.

Peter Gherardi
Peter Gherardi
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 1:48am

SPOILER: TLJ is a SJW pile of crap film that is a rude slap to the face on every die hard true fan of SW. It is time we BOYCOTT!

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jan 08, 2018 1:57pm

Here are a couple of tips for getting more enjoyment out of life:

1) Don’t invest your entire identity in a fictional universe.

Or, if you must invest your entire identity in a fictional universe:

2) Learn how to see women and people of color as human beings worth investing your entire identity in.

Or just go ahead and boycott SW. Who’s stopping you?

Peter Gherardi
Peter Gherardi
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 4:21am

We went with 3) and boycotted the hell out of Soyo. It tanked.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 4:43am

Must be amazing to have that kind of power.

Of course, Solo is the story of manly white dude, his manly white dude mentor, their manly white dude nemesis, and a hot chick in low cut tops. The black dude is mostly comic relief, the black chick and wise cracking alien get offed in the first half hour, and even the uppity droid buys it and becomes the Falcon’s navi-computer.

Basically, this was your movie, and you missed it. Good job, broflake.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 5:47pm

Indeed. That movie is basically about how you can be a pretty worthless fuck up and still be Han Solo.

Danielm80
Danielm80
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 5:55am

Sincere question: Why do you keep altering the title of the movie? Is it a pun, or a reference I’m not getting? You’ve done it in several different comments, so I assume it’s intentional.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 6:46am

Pete here fancies is little self some sort of red-pilled alpha male, and as such disdains all things involving soy. That someone pointed out to him (cause reading is hard, yo) that you can swap a “y” for an “l” is to Petey the fucking height of hilarity.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 12:15pm

It doesn’t even make any sense, because Han Solo is in no way an example of what they think they’re talking about.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 12:14pm

These manbabies think “soy” is an insult: like, they love the term “soyboys,” which they use to decry what they perceive as a feminization of men.

The joke’s on them, though: soy is in everything these days. Those assholes are consuming lots of it.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 12:12pm

You’ve just told Disney that Star Wars movies centering white men are a bad idea.

You guys aren’t very bright, are you?

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Peter Gherardi
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 12:58pm

You mean, you made a “meh” heist movie starring a lot of dudes tank so hard that Ocean’s 8 easily knocked it out of first place, so a fun heist movie starring eight women is now the number 1 movie in America?

THANK YOU!

Óscar Palacios Ruiz
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 2:50pm

I have no problems with the new direction of the film. But it was way too long. And the whole casino thing is absolutely ridiculous. Champagne on Star Wars?

Bluejay
Bluejay
reply to  Óscar Palacios Ruiz
Sat, Jan 06, 2018 6:23pm

Champagne on Star Wars?

Why not? There are plenty of alcoholic beverages in the Star Wars universe. No reason why the elite can’t be seen in a gambling establishment, drinking the Star Wars analog for champagne (or even champagne itself).

Stacy Livitsanis
Stacy Livitsanis
Thu, Feb 08, 2018 4:12am

One blatantly MRA Star Wars fan who asserted all the men are cowards and idiots asked how all you feminists and SJW’s would feel if the sexes in The Last Jedi were reversed. Yeah, what about that? Would you still like it then, huh? And I thought about it, and that would be bloody fantastic. Because that would mean the film would have a majority of female characters, who are not defined by their gender, and most of the scenes would have women talking to each other.

Luke, Finn, Poe, Snoke, Keylo Ren, Hux, the Codebreaker – all women? Hell yeah! I don’t think you’ve thought this one through, mate. That would be brilliant. The final stand-off between Luke and Kylo Ren but with two women? Yes please. Snoke toying with Hux and putting down Keylo Ren, but they’re all women? That’s the stuff my dreams are made of. Hotshot Poe Dameron being the best pilot in the galaxy, but she’s a woman? Keep it coming. The codebreaker being a shifty scoundrel, a detached mercenary willing to sell out anyone for a buck, but it’s a woman? Once again, that’s a step forward. Let’s just keep going: reverse Luke and Leia’s roles. Leia Skywalker is the most powerful jedi who ever lived, a legend who is also a complex, flawed figure with intense roiling emotions and uncertainties, whose final act is a monumental expression of self-sacrifice to save the ones she loves, stories of which spread and inspire hope throughout the galaxy. Again, that’s exactly what I want. Because the men in this movie are brilliantly written and conceived and are complex, interesting people. So are the women, but there’s still more focus on the men here.

The most revealing thing about swapping the sexes will of course be that all the blatantly sexist comments about Rey being a too-powerful super competent Mary Sue will instantly disappear. In fact, if Rey was a boy who did everything exactly the same as Rey played by Daisy Ridley, not only will there obviously be no Mary Sue rubbish, the same ‘she’s too powerful!’ toolbags would complain that HE was too weak. ‘He should have been better, because my self-insert fantasy character, who has to be a white male, isn’t powerful enough’. You know that’s what would happen. I’ve no doubt at all that if Rey was a boy, the complaints would shift in the other direction. Especially if Keylo Ren was a woman. Then there’d be endless whining about how Girl Ren was too powerful and Boy Rey should have been able to wipe the floor with her. That’s how this works. It’s the most transparently sexist bullshit imaginable.