A pretentious, backwards trainwreck of mindless subversion without purpose – simply for its own (cheap) sake, forced jokes, p(ORG)duct placement, abhorrent new characters, & ghastly script spitting in the face of all original Star Wars-lore. 2.3/10.
Plot Synopsis: After the events of The Force Awakens, Rey seeks out Luke Skywalker for guidance and assistance with her newly discovered abilities and the rebel cause. However, the Luke she finds is much different than the one she imagined and is unsettled by the strength of Rey’s powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
The Last Jedi. With a title like that, it’s no surprise that Star Wars Episode VIII was atop lists of most anticipated movies of the year. The implications and perceived darkness of the title and trailers gave mega-fans more hype than we could handle, especially coming off Abrams’ nostalgically-satisfying and commercial, critical, & fan grand-slam: The Force Awakens. Tickets were snagged at first release, arrival early at the theater to beat out legions in line, favorite Star Wars shirt donned, critic’s pad in-hand, and popcorn at side as the lights went dim and that booming Williams credit crawl crawled to thunderous cheer and applause. 2hr30 minutes later.. there was not a sound to be heard as the end credits started to roll. I glanced side-to-side to see people in a comatose state with a blank expression on their face like they just saw a phantasm on screen. A minute or two later, I heard a credescendo of boos make waves across the theater – cascading into even the throwing of beverages and food by a riotous crowd. And it deserved every bit of that reaction; The Last Jedi is one of the worst, most insulting blockbuster & franchise films ever made. A pretentious, backwards trainwreck of mindless subversion without ostensible purpose – simply for its own (cheap) sake & self-congratulatory director’s ego, forced jokes, p(ORG)duct placement, abhorrent new characters, & ghastly script spitting in the face of original Star Wars lore attempting erasure of everything the series built to the nightmare of lifelong fans, TLJ is the worst Star Wars film – & one of the worst blockbuster films – of All-Time.
The only remotely redeemable qualities of this trainwreck are the location settings and cast. From a scouting standpoint, the cinematographers and setting-discoverers certainly did their part – with a beautiful range of everything from breathtaking green rocky Irish mountaintops to underused yet fascinating Utah white and red salt fields. The visual effects in things like Rey’s flashbacks and visions as well as the lightsaber fights are fine too – as is to be expected with a budget and series this large and thus not a bankable accomplishment. The cast does their part as well – with Ridley and Driver doing the lions’ share of legwork as MVP’s (besides Mark Hamill’s return that’s nostalgic but for the worst possible purpose here) delivering layered performances that added depth and backstories to their characters despite what they were given to work with in screenwriting being unfathomably awful – as I’ll now address.
Now, the flaws; get ready for an avalanche. First and foremost: the mindless subversion. Rian Johnson takes a sledgehammer to the most sacred, storied franchise in sci-fi filmmaking – and no one thought to give him a background-check or psychological profile beforehand? The inimitable gall, unconscionable pretension, & inferiority-complexing moronocism to make a franchise film that eviscerates & erases every shred of the storyline that came before it is one of the most infantile, vapid, moronic decisions in moviemaking history. To make Luke Skywalker a villain & killer hell-bent on destroying everything he spent a lifetime loving is more the ravings of a crazed lunatic than ‘character development’ or ‘subversion’. Anyone can subvert expectations by doing some moronic reversal of what the character or franchise is known for – have Superman kill Lois Lane, Captain America hail Hydra, or Batman butt-f*ck the Joker: wow, subversion!! But almost equally to those trainwreck examples of the unholiest thing not to do with those legendaries characters, there he is, an evil Luke who spends the film wallowing in imbecilic plotting and scripting before going off into the sunset with the weakest sendoff in cinematic history for one of the most important and monumental characters in it as well.
The script is an absolute mess riddled with plot holes & monstrosity. The entire Finn and Rose subplot is completely useless and does absolutely nothing to progress the story in any way. It feels like they just wanted to give Finn something to do & fit in an Asian character just because (as an Asian myself writing this review, this was checklist tokenism at its worse and more insulting than flat-out omission). Rose Tico is an awful character in every conceivable way from shoehorned inclusion to cartoonish acting. The plot on the ship makes NO sense either. If Captain Phasma had just explained her thinking to Poe instead of leaving it muddy for ‘dramatic effect‘ (I guess), all would’ve turned out better for the Rebels instead of the disaster it did. It was stretched out 20-30 min for no reason and pointless dramaticization straight out of a soap opera. Finally, I am shocked to say that it looks like the filmmakers lack a basic understanding of how space works – in a film set in space called STAR Wars – as Leia had the perfect opportunity to have a meaningful (and well-needed after her tragic passing in real life) exit, but somehow survives being in DEAD SPACE without even a suit and swims to safety like Superman like nothing happened. Absolutely ridiculous. Wow.
Next, Disney-fication. I have been calling this out since the summer and how much Marvel films have changed since their Disney deal in movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, where it feels like Disney is trying to skew the movies towards weak-minded kids who want silly jokes and fuzzy creatures forced in every 5 seconds to lighten up and kidify the films, making them devoid of any wit, seriousness, or consequences previously artful films could’ve had. That seriously hindered my experience of Ragnarok & Homecoming, but the SAME problem bleeds over to TLJ here, even more brutal as things like Porgs (the new Jar Jar Binks as far as I’m concerned..) , burping dwarves, Luke cracking jokes, and alien maids in nun outfits are shoved down our throats, when the film was marketed as being dark & serious like Empire Strikes Back and is essentially a big lie on that front and insult to Star Wars fans who trusted it.
Finally, accuracy to the Star Wars name and vision George Lucas built over 40 years. The film feels like a parody and betrayal of the character of Luke and the Jedi, as well as the entire Original Trilogy, and even Prequels and TFA for that matter.. I honestly have to wonder if Rian Johnson has even watched the original trilogy because of how much it insulted everything that it was. Luke’s entire character arc over three of the greatest movies ever created is made absolutely meaningless in TLJ, with him turning his back and flip-flopping in EVERY conceivable way in every ideology since we last saw him. I could perhaps accept that isolation could partially change a person, but not make him go against every single one of his beliefs and the core moral compass and ideas that defined the main character of the movie series you’re adding to. His explanation and reasoning also made no sense whatsoever and were so poorly written it pissed me off: “I sensed a little darkness in my student so I’m going to kill all Jedi I spent my entire life begging to be part of!!!!” Also, having Yoda come back and be a jokester and casually say Jedi need to die (which I honestly could’ve been intrigued with as a storyline if they would’ve stuck with it, not betrayed the Original Trilogy, and tried something completely different) was insulting. Finally, at the end of the movie, we are in the EXACT same position narratively as when we started: The Rebellion is scrambling to survive as they’re being hunted down by the First Order. That is literally the first rule of storytelling and one TLJ completely fails at: progress the story and do NOT end where you started. The only real difference is Luke’s exit, but even that lacked the true gravity and emotion that we should 100% expect from the exit of MAIN CHARACTER OF STAR WARS after we’re made to almost hate him over the course of the film.
Overall, (I still can’t believe I’m saying this) I left The Last Jedi insulted like I got betrayed by an old friend completely changing the originals’ story, the character of Luke, and forcing in jokes every 5 seconds to deflate the film of any remote impact or seriousness as art. A pretentious, backwards trainwreck of mindless subversion without purpose – simply for its own (cheap) sake & self-congratulatory director’s ego, forced jokes, p(ORG)duct placement, abhorrent new characters, & ghastly script spitting in the face of original Star Wars lore attempting erasure of everything the series built to the nightmare of lifelong fans, TLJ is the worst Star Wars film – & one of the worst blockbuster films – of All-Time. This film might have just ruined Star Wars for me.
Official CLC Score: 2.3/10