Sunday, January 26, 2020

Why Star Wars The Last Jedi "Sucked" and Why It Didn't

Keeping an Open Mind
Kylo Ren rocking Air Jordan 4s
It's not as bad as you think...

I would like to consider myself a big Star Wars fan. I still remember the first time I ever saw Star Wars was in preschool. Yes, it's not really something you're supposed to show kids that are 2-5 years old but they had it available, and it was always the movie I shouted for my teachers to play. This review may be years late but I feel it's a great movie to start my series of movie reviews.

Anyway, ever since Disney took over Lucas Films, there has been a great divide in regards to the current trilogy as well as other SW projects. I am definitely disappointed that almost all works after Return of the Jedi were no longer cannon. So books like Shadows of the Empire, or video games like The Forced Unleashed 1 and 2 were no longer official in Star Wars lore... Poor Gailin Merrick... With that said, there is no reason why Disney would not take advantage of capitalizing on their new cash cow and let's be honest, what major studio wouldn't. So shortly after came the announcement of The Force Awakens, which I will review in another post. The Last Jedi sparked a lot of controversy and it's definitely a movie I wanted to review since I do have my own opinions about the movie.

On to the actual review. Brace yourself. I actually think it is not as bad a movie as every makes it out to be... however... it's also my least favorite in the Skywalker saga. The reason why I say it is not as bad as everyone is making it out to be is because of the direction Rian Johnson took the series. He literally took what JJ Abrams built and threw audiences in totally different directions. He was literally defying almost all expectations. Not everyone will agree that the execution was the best but he did exactly what he wanted to do. Let me get into the specifics of what why certain points were bad and why some were good.

Fuel?
The introduction of fuel and using Solo: A Star Wars Story to further explain coaxium as a sort of damage control for the plot hole threw me off. So in my opinion this "sucked" because not once before TLJ has fuel ever been an issue, or even mentioned for that matter. However, bringing in fuel now gives the story a slightly deeper sense of realism. It's always going to be fiction but if you were to place yourself into the universe Johnson has now established, you can actually say, "well, I guess that makes sense since everything with a motor, engine, thruster, etc. does need something to fuel it..."

Sky(walker)ping
Kylo and Rey Force(face)-timing each other. Disney and it's creative team have every right to add whatever it is they want to add to their respective properties. This one isn't all that bad because it's pretty much the telepathic Force communication Luke used to have with his father who he just discovered was Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. So Johnson and Disney amped it up by showing conversations between Kylo and Rey, fully immersed in each other minds.

Fin Became Second String
This isn't too bad because even in TFA, if you removed Fin from the equation, the story would be no different. In the case of TFA, Fin is Abrams plot device to bring realism because he is the ex-Stormtrooper who was born and bred by The First Order to terrorize, kill, and conquer all who opposed them. But the compassionate human being in him cannot bring himself to be like his fellow troopers so he defects and finds himself in a string of right place at the right time moments throughout the rest of TFA. Now, he went from having a huge role, to just being a side mission that unfortunately was just pointless since General Haldo already knew she was going to Light Speed the lead ship in the direction of TFA.

Snoke... is... Useless...
Probably one of, if not the biggest surprise was the immediate death of Supreme Leader Snoke. I get that there's a damage control explanation in The Rise of Skywalker but seeing how easily Snoke died was kind of anticlimactic. All this build up for this menacing giant in TFA, just to turn out a real dud in TLJ.

Captain Phasma... is also... Useless...
This death was another anticlimactic death. It was more accidental than anything. She was just stepping on the wrong place at the wrong time and Fin just happened to be in front of her before she fell. Another character with decent buildup in TFA, just to be thrown away like yesterday's news in TLJ...

Haldo is Unnecessarily Suicidal
Others have already pointed this out but I was already thinking it as soon as it happened. C-3PO flies rebel spies and civilians on a daily basis, so why didn't Haldo just tell 3PO or any other droid to just take over the controls, and activate the light speed once all the members of The Resistance were clear of the ship. She could then continue to lead but I guess this is their explanation on how Poe has "matured" enough to become the decision maker.

There are other points I may have missed but these were the main points I wanted to cover. I'm not condemning nor condoning Johnson's decisions however we cannot discredit the work he and the cast and crew have done to further the trilogy and the franchise. He kept you guessing throughout the movie and it was genuinely directions you would not expect every character to go through. I see why everyone disagrees with some of the decisions were made, but just because one disagrees, does not give them the right to slam the movie completely and cyber-bully the cast who was doing what they were told and what they were paid to do... listen to the director. This isn't a cop out. I obviously made a lot of points as to why I didn't like it but I also see validation, for myself, on why Johnson did what he did and it was has right to do so and there's nothing any of us can do about it.  Hopefully future SW projects follow the footsteps of The Mandalorian or even Solo which I did enjoy. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below on what I missed and what you liked and didn't like.

Until next time,
Paul Dalusong

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