Of Porgs and Force Ghosts

So. The Last Jedi.

Let’s do this in three stages, depending on how much you want to read. The first two parts should be spoiler-free, but the third, well. I feel that to go into any SERIOUS detail, I have to give some spoilers. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of notice so you don’t accidentally see anything.

 

Part 1: SUPER-Short

Wow. Pretty awesome. Loved almost every second of it.

 

Part 2: Spoiler-Free 

I’m going to break this into a couple chunks. First off…

Story. I’ve seen some reviews about how The Last Jedi played out that were not terribly kind. I guess I’m one of those people where I feel like the story went how the story went, in some ways. Of Course, it’s all in how it follows through and in the details. I actually liked the story. There was a moment where I thought they were going to replicate something from the original trilogy, but then they went sideways with it and I thought worked well.

Characters: Holy cow. I loved the characters, (Except maybe for Lorna Dern’s character, she was a little meh.) A ton more diversity than we’ve seen before in Star Wars or almost any SciFi movie really. And, for the most part, I thought they were pretty well executed.

Effects: Amazing, as ever. To the point that I didn’t even think of them as effects. The only single exception is Snoke’s face. At one point we get a really close shot of Supreme Leader Snoke’s face and, at that point, it’s fairly easy to tell he’s all CG. While Hollywood has gotten really good at CG characters, we’re not quite there to replicate living people just yet.

Fan Service: Lot of fan-service in this. There was a spot that, I won’t lie, brought a bit of a tear to my eye that harkened back to the very beginning of the Star Wars legacy (A New Hope). It was one of those great moves that felt like a bit of a gut-shot.

Creatures: Porgs. Not nearly as obnoxious as Jar-Jar. One reviewer said it was the equivalent of including a cat video in the movie, and it kind of was. With that said, they are adorable and were amusing. I particularly like the crystalline foxes though. They were majestic and adorable, but throw-away. And I’m okay with that since they were kind of localized to that planet.

Middle of a Trilogy: A reviewer commented that this movie kind of shot itself in the foot as far as accomplishing what middle-trilogy films are supposed to do. From a story-telling arc, middle stories should be all about defeat, and while The Last Jedi certainly leaves things in a bad state for our band of heroes, it’s not the all-encompassing loss that we felt with The Empire Strikes Back. But, think about this for a second. Are we really looking at this as a trilogy? I mean, yes, 3 movies, but… I’ve felt like the directors for the 2 Skywalker line films have not been held by the chains of what it means to be in a traditional trilogy (something I think they’re inheriting from Marvel). And I’m not necessarily sure that’s a bad thing. Basically, it allows the filmmakers to not pull any punches and let the story for each segment play out as it needs to. There’s a moment in The Last Jedi with Rey, Kylo, and Snoke that really caught me off guard. I was an event that I did not expect to happen in this film. And I think it changes the entire dynamic of how the story goes forward. But maybe that makes it more interesting and less predictable.

Overall: I really liked it. I walked out of the theater with little doubt that this was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. (It’s between this and Thor: Ragnarok).

 

Part 3: SPOILERS!!!!

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You sure you want to see this?

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Okay, here goes…

Here, there be spoilers...
Okay, as I said, as soon as I left the theater, I loved every second of it. My son and I talked about it and were super enthused. The action was great, I thought the pacing and timing were spot on and there were tons of surprises.

What I liked:

Yoda. Yoda’s little appearance was pretty awesome, especially to give a call back to Empire Strikes Back by pointing out that Luke never focuses on where he was, what he was doing.

Leah. I also was surprised, pleasantly, by Leah’s “death”. Obviously, with Carrie Fisher’s real-like death, I wasn’t sure how this was handled. But with what happened early on I was really surprised and thought, “Seriously? Already?” But then the thing happened and she didn’t quite die.

DJ (Benicio Del Toro). I liked this character. Of course, for most of his screen time, I expected him to be a half-hearted attempt to bring in another Han-Solo like character, the rogue who was asked to help the Rebels then comes in to save the day by turning good. Alas, no. I think they made DJ infinitely more interesting by making him NOT like that. He is, in essence, Han Solo as if he didn’t already have a beef with the Empire/First Order and a little more sociopathic. Willing to sell someone out for a bit of coin.

As much as I loved the film, as time has passed since I’ve seen it, somethings stick out as things I’m not a SUPER fan of.

What I didn’t care for:

Snoke. Disney has made an effort to keep the Supreme Leader as a mysterious character, someone who watch the Galactic Empire rise and fall from the shadows. But how do we have such a powerful force-user without coming to the attention of Emperor Palpatine or Yoda or literally any other force user? We were teased with his immense power and sneakiness… and then? Bzzzt. Kylo pulls a mind trick thing on him by hiding his true intentions? I get that Kylo was masking his TRUE intentions with what he was about to do with Rey, but really? I just feel like we were a little cheated on who Snoke was and how he got to be the Supreme Leader.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)
Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.
© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Phasma. Much like Snoke, I felt like there was a lot of build-up and not a lot of action for Captain Phasma. She was billed as this badass and really only gets a few minutes of good on-screen time. Though, to be honest, this isn’t much different than Boba Fett’s accidental Sarlac death, so maybe I’m putting too much into it.

Luke. After all the shit that goes down, after Yoda coming in and telling Luke that he has to teach Rey about the force and all the crap he (Luke) did wrong with Kylo/Ben… He just poofs into a force-ghost? I thought that was kind of a shitty ending for the last Jedi Master. Now Rey has far less training than he did and no one to actually show her. (Unless we see something from Leah, but I’m not expecting that)

Hyperspace weapons. So, one of the things I thought was a rather ingenious solutions was Vice Admiral Holdo’s (Laura Dern)  decision to use the cruiser as a giant missile. However, this begs the question: If an object in Hyperspace can rip through a ship like that, why not have hyperspace missiles? I mean, c’mon. Don’t you think sending a Calamari cruiser in Hyperspace right into the Deathstar would have solved a SHITTON of problems?  I mean, obviously it’s enough of an impact to rip right through shields. Hyperspace-weapons is a complete game-changing weapon. Of course, this begs the question, what would a Hyperspace weapon do to a planet?

 

 

Conclusion:

Even after a day to mull over the movie in my head and picking it apart, I still think this is one of the best Star Wars movies. I don’t feel like too much of it was contrived, I DO feel like it really hit on the fandom concepts. Most of all, I think it DRAMATICALLY changes what the future of the franchise will be. Things are WIDE open here… And I’m excited to see what this means.

 

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