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The Last Jedi (spoilers below the fold)

By Bob Case
on Sunday Dec 24, 2017
Filed under:
Movies

 
 

So I might be able to save you some time by just skipping to this part: I’m one of the people that didn’t like the movie all that much.

Not that I thought it was terrible or anything. I personally rank it above all three prequels, but I think it’s the worst of the “new” Star Wars movies. (If you’re curious, my ranking of the new ones is Rogue One first, Force Awakens a relatively close second, and The Last Jedi last).

SPOILER ALERT: At some point in the movie, a ship explodes.

SPOILER ALERT: At some point in the movie, a ship explodes.

If I had to identify a single weakness, I would say that the editing was lacking. The movie lasted two and a half hours, and in my completely unprofessional opinion it was 30-45 minutes too long. It was like watching one pretty good movie with two pretty good short films mashed into the middle. Separately, they might have worked, but together it just gets too crowded.

And so concludes my review of the movie! Truly, brevity is the soul of impatience. What I really want to do is review the fan reaction to the movie. Excepting those of you who have better things to do with your time than stress about other people liking things either too much or too little (screw you guys), most of you probably already know that that reaction has been unusually divided. The most frequently cited evidence is Rotten Tomatoes, which rates it 92% according to critics and 52% according to fans.

And it’s not just the usual suspects griping their usual gripes, either. Online communities that are normally of one mind about things are of several minds about this one, causing great fear and disharmony. I’m here to heal these wounds so we can all get along again. If you think there’s something almost saintlike about me right now, don’t worry – you’re not alone. I don’t usually like to compare myself to Gandhi, but sometimes the comparison is inescapable.

So, below I will both be using spoilers and fixing everything.

Here Be Spoilers

This struck me as the most self-conscious Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen. That’s not meant as criticism; more like a neutral observation. The original trilogy was fueled by the exuberance of early George Lucas (and, apparently, by the craft of those who reined him in at the right times). The prequels were fueled by the placid self-assurance of late George Lucas (who, if he suffers at all from self-doubt, certainly hides it well). The Force Awakens aped the story beats of A New Hope so closely that I imagine its producers enjoyed fairly untroubled sleep on the night of its release (that, and they had the reliable J.J. Abrams calling the shots).

I haven't seen people talking about Rey's hairdo. Personally, I think it's cool.

I haven't seen people talking about Rey's hairdo. Personally, I think it's cool.

But here, in a surprisingly un-Disneylike move, both writing and directing duties were handed over to a relative unknown named Rian Johnson, resulting in the first time in history that I’ve noticed visible flop-sweat on Star Wars’ brow. I think it was probably most evident when someone on twitter asked the director if he had heard of RedLetterMedia (they of the Mr. Plinkett reviews fame, with the obligatory link here). His response? “I love them but I fear them.”

Can you imagine George Lucas admitting to being afraid of some schlub off the youtubes? Again, this isn’t meant as criticism. There’s something endearing about being willing to take such risks with such a thorough appreciation of the incoming scrutiny. It also gives us a method for understanding the different ways audiences react to this movie.

What if we assume that Rian Johnson took the Mr. Plinkett reviews to heart, and they played a significant role in his vision for Star Wars? If you’re like me, your urge to scoff at that thought is unexpectedly weak. In any case, we don’t have to know for sure. Think of this as a thought exercise.

The Plinkett reviews emphasized the importance of having relatable characters, of characters having arcs, and of creating emotional investment in the events on screen. All of those things were present in abundance in The Last Jedi. Some of us would say that they were overabundant. In fact, it was Plinkett’s normal-seeming alter ego Mike Stoklasa who described the film as “the cinematic equivalent of Homer Simpson’s makeup gun.”

A good distillation of this problem can be found in my personal reaction to the music. This movie did something that I had previously thought impossible: it had too much John Williams. The orchestra swelled into raptures at the slightest excuse, to the point where I found myself irritated by it. I don’t claim that my reaction is the “right” one, but I did have it, and I’m not alone.

Phasma was a cool character concept that these movies didn't have time to do properly.

Phasma was a cool character concept that these movies didn't have time to do properly.

By the same pattern, too often during the film I felt manipulated. Scene to scene, I was never unsure of what I was supposed to be feeling, but I only occasionally actually felt it. I know that Poe was supposed to have had a satisfying character arc, but said arc’s journey seemed so disconnected from its destination that I couldn’t buy into it. Same with Finn’s arc, to the extent he had one, and the final-third Rose/Finn shipping, which I found sudden and unearned.

Same with the film’s humor – in the theatre in which I saw it the first time, the audience was game enough to cheer for the opening crawl, but most of the would-be humorous moments still landed with a thud. (I was miffed at dramatic dialogue between Rey and Kylo being interrupted by a “shirtless boys are gross” joke. It was something like having a pie-in-the-face gag immediately after Luke learns that Vader is his father.)

At this point I should point out that the supposedly sacrilegious, supposedly canon- and fan theory-shattering parts of the film were among my favorites. I like the see the sacred cows of the setting questioned and/or jettisoned – in fact, I would say it’s important. To extent that there’s truth to be found in fiction, in my opinion that’s one of the best ways to find it.

So how to account for the fact that some audience members, who are otherwise very similar to me in demographic, demeanor, and life experience, loved the things I didn’t? I suspect that, much like story collapse, different people have different tolerances for this sort of thing. Those of us that fancy ourselves critics, by inclination if not always by outside validation, may have a lower tolerance than others. If that sounds like a self-congratulatory thing to say, well, thank you! I also think I deserve healthy congratulation.

For all that, I retain optimism for future installments. I believe that simple inexperience was a major source of The Last Jedi‘s hiccups. Using an admittedly arbitrary definition of the word “major,” this was only Rian Johnson’s second major film – now, he’s more ready to make the next one by virtue of having made this one. He’s also now received his first lukewarm review from the dread RedLetterMedia, which I imagine must be like your first time going off the high diving board – it gets easier from here on in.

So, I have now resolved all of the fandom’s lingering tension. You’re welcome! As you stumble across those who have wrongThis note deliberately left ambiguous. opinions about this movie, remember to be excellent to each other, and that in this case a disagreement reflects, in my opinion, a difference in taste, rather than a fundamental injustice in the world as it usually does.

Footnotes:

[1] This note deliberately left ambiguous.


 
 
Comments (236)

  1. Inwoods says:

    I’ve seen plenty of articles suggesting that the goofier parts are an appeal to a younger audience. Not their long standing fans, but their new fans. Kids and grandkids of original fans. While I don’t think “shipping” was really a thing when the old movies were made, the shirtless scene was funny in that context. It’s there for the GIFs, if you will.

    To me the biggest shortcoming is still Snokes. He came, he went, and for all his impact he hardly ever mattered. Where was he when the emperor was around?

    He’s just the wizard in the wizard of Oz, I guess, “the man” we fight every day.

    • mechaninja says:

      Apropos of “younger fans”…

      http://gerryconway.tumblr.com/post/168656065013/star-wars-the-generations-time-to-talk-about

      “In a terrific piece for Vulture.com, @abrahamjoseph discusses “Last Jedi” as the first truly populist Star Wars movie. [http://www.vulture.com/2017/12/rey-parents-star-wars-last-jedi-populism.html] I fully agree with Abraham's reading, but I'd add a further observation: it's the first story in the Skywalker saga to honestly address tensions between generations”“ in particular, tensions between the Baby Boom generation and the generations that have come to adulthood since its rise, Generation X, and the Millennials.”

      I mean, I don’t know. That post went deeper than I was really comfortable swimming, but it is an interesting take at the least.

      • Alex says:

        These people are not populists. They despise and are despised by the common man.

        I only needed to go back seven posts to find the author explicitly arguing that the populace cannot be trusted to decide for themselves whether or not a 70 year old is too old to be elected to national office and must instead have their right to choose their own political leaders curtailed. And I knew I would find posts like this before I went looking for them.

        We already have a populist Star Wars: it’s called A New Hope.

    • Igfig says:

      I was disappointed by Snoke right up until he died, at which point I suddenly really liked him for the role he played. As a BBEG he’s just not an interesting enough character, yeah, but as a bait-and-switch who dies in the second movie he’s perfect. If he felt less like a Palpatine rehash, it wouldn’t work as well with the movie’s “look, we’re going in a new direction” theme.

  2. Cilvre says:

    Having been a fan of the original trilogy, i enjoyed this movie more than the force awakens. It felt a bit too long, but thats the only complaint i would have with it.

    • KarmaTheAlligator says:

      Pretty much this for me too, although I would agree the music was overpowering at the start (then I got used to it).

    • The scene where they leave the final cruiser and Leia points out the secret planet they were running for to Poe 100% felt like it should have been the “end” of the movie to me. And I was so utterly annoyed by the fact that if light-speed “ramming” was so damned effective, why didn’t they do that with the FIRST ship that ran out of fuel? Why isn’t this a common tactic?!

      Overall I enjoyed the movie although the Finn and Rose Go To Vegas parts felt REALLY tacked-on, like the director just had no clue what to do with those characters but had to have them because Finn is, of course, a fan favorite and THE face of the movies in a lot of the promotional materials.

      • Rodyle says:

        The idea that light-speed ramming works basically invalidates the entire original trilogy. What is the use in having all of these elaborate fighter scenes if they could’ve just rammed an X-Wing through the death star at light speed?

        • ehlijen says:

          It wouldn’t have done much or more likely been shot down?

          Holdo only succeeds because her lumbering huge ship got ignored until it was too late. A wary opponent, it is implied, might have been able to shoot her down.

          She was also using a full size cruiser, and still didn’t destroy the Supremacy, ‘merely’ crippling it. Compare to the finale of Rogue One, where several rebel ships try to jump to light speed and crash right into Vader’s arriving flagship, exploding to very little effect.

  3. Amarsir says:

    I like both Looper and Brick so I was probably above-average disappointed by The Last Jedi, despite not actually thinking it’s that bad.

    The problem as I sum it up is that this trilogy is being told without a story in mind. A New Hope was a desire to tell Luke’s story. The original trilogy extended and added to it. And the prequels, while horribly done, were driven by a desire to tell Darth Vader’s story. But with Disney, the plot seems to be an afterthought and not the driving force. And getting JJ Abrams for TFA, specifically given his history of setting things up with no payoff in mind, seems like less of a good choice in that light.

    • Agammamon says:

      the plot seems to be an afterthought and not the driving force.

      That certainly seems to be Abrams motif – at least with TFU and ST:2009. Everything just happens in those movies, nothing done by the protagonists are driven by character – things just happen and they move on to the next scene inching you inexoribly closer to the the end of the movie where everything’s back to the status quo ante.

    • Redrock says:

      Huh, this actually sums my gripes with the new movies very well. There isn’t a story. Or characters. It’s just stuff happening in the Star Wars sandbox. As cohesive and meaningful as GTA Online.

    • Chris says:

      (warning for oblique spoilers)

      This is my big disappointment with the movie as well. I was hoping for some explanation of who Snoke is and where the First Order came from, and after seeing this movie it looks *pretty certain* that the filmmakers don’t know and aren’t interested in exploring it.

  4. DeadlyDark says:

    I haven’t seen LJ yet. But I will.

    But as a kinda relevant off-side, and since his name was mentioned, I want to share really cool series on George Lucas by SF Debris:
    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/herosjourney.php (about Ep IV)
    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/shadowsjourney.php (about Eps V and VI)
    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/hermitsjourney.php (about prequels, will be completed in a week or so)

    Must say, I start to respect Lucas more, after these. Never realize what he set out to do, and how hard it was for him to achieve that.

  5. Fizban says:

    As someone who hasn’t seen any of the new star wars movies, I don’t feel like this discussion was very spoiler-y. At least, I’ve seen reviews of other movies marked “spoiler-free” that gave away about the same amount, and I know that if I went out and watched these now I would not consider anything from the second one having been spoiled- or from the other two either.

    You could probably move the spoiler mark down to at least the picture with the melee, after which is the first appearance of character names rather than general response.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I don't usually like to compare myself to Gandhi, but sometimes the comparison is inescapable.

    So you are planning to wage war with everyone and drop nukes like candy?

  7. CrushU says:

    ***Spoilers exist in this post. Watch for the asterisks.***
    I read an article that pointed out that TLJ was a Deconstruction of Star Wars more than any other…

    That, to me, single-handedly explains the disconnect on Rotten Tomatoes ratings. After reading the article, I thought it had many good point. Ultimately, this was a more cerebral film than Star Wars has been in the past, usually considered a ‘feel-good, action romp’ than anything else. For example: (*SPOILERS HERE. LOOK OUT.*) There weren’t any actual lightsaber battles, the only one in the film being Lightsabers vs Electro-weapons like the tonfa from TFA was. The movie opens with a big set-piece battle, but then immediately tells us ‘No. Bad. Big battles are bad for building governments. Stop it.’ which, wow, that’s… A Deconstruction, and not what is normal from Star Wars. (Except, perhaps, Rogue One.) (*SPOILER OVER*)

    Looking back, I feel that Rogue One was preparing audiences for TLJ’s tonal shift from the rest of the Star Wars series.

    • Agammamon says:

      I’m not sure how that works as a deconstruction though.

      ANH has one LS battle – between two old men, one of whom is in the futuristic equivalent of a wheelchair and there’s a single large battle in the whole movie. Most of ANH is quiet reflection and exposition.

      Similar with ESB – I don’t think there’s a single large setpiece space battle in the whole movie. And the only LS fight is such a curbstomp its obvious its not a fight and that Vader’s pulling punches to wear Luke out like a child having a tantrum.

      Both of those movies are pretty darn cerebral.

      • Bubble181 says:

        It’s more a deconstruction of what Star Wars has become after the OT.

        The Star Wars of the books, the cartoon series and most of all, the video games (and the prequels). The Star Wars *universe* has, to many minds, especially younger fans, become a big blasty Space Battle With Cool magic setting. These movies are, in some ways, a return to the “cooler”, “calmer” Star Wars of the OT, combined with the lots of big showy set piece battles of the games. How many big, final, battles are there in TLJ? Six? Seven?

        Anyway, it tries to harken back to the OT, and doesn’t quite succeed in that ,but is also a bit of a midle finger to the “newer” fans who like big lightsaber battles and big space ship battles.

        • Sannom says:

          I don’t know that that last part is accurate, this movie probably has the biggest melee out of all the SW movies to date with that fight against the Crimson Guard. And if anything, this movie just validates a lot of EU fans with these cool energy weapons that can withstand a lightsaber without needing to be wielded by a super-strong droid.

    • Deconstruction? No, it was the destruction of Star Wars.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Insert obligatory “KOTOR 2 did it first (and did it better)” comment.

  8. Syal says:

    I liked The Last Jedi, although I haven’t seen The Force Awakens so some of the stuff I liked might have been rehash, and some the stuff I was assuming the previous movie had established may not have been.

    Feels sort of like KOTOR 2 to me. Including having weird glitches every so often. There are definitely problems, least spoilery of which is that the movie has an ending at the 2 hour mark, then inexplicably starts and finishes another arc in the last 30 minutes. I think everyone who saw it thinks it felt too long.

  9. Agammamon says:

    which rates it 92% according to critics and 52% according to fans.

    That’s ok – a year from now, long after the checks have been cashed but before the next movie is ready to be hyped, these very same critics will be panning it along with the prols – just like happened with TFU.

    • baud says:

      Shouldn’t it be the TFA (The Force Awakens) instead of TFU? On the matter of what critics say, I don’t think that later revisions by critics/reviewer/shills/plants will change the critic score.

    • Corsair says:

      Yes of course, anyone who disagrees with you must be paid off.

      • Shoeboxjeddy says:

        Seriously, the staff writers at magazines and websites should be very well off indeed with all these payoffs they supposedly receive. Have you… ever SEEN someone who primarily lives off of review articles? It’s kind of shocking how stupid and childish “good reviews got paid off” is as a serious belief.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          To be fair,they dont even need to be paid off,since there are numerous cases of reviewers being blacklisted for daring to give a low score to something that most reviewers are too scared to even attempt to say something negative about anything made by a big corporation.Unless they are independent,that is.

          • Shoeboxjeddy says:

            So we have cases of reviewers posting the review they want DESPITE attempted pressure from media outlets and the logical conclusion is “therefore, any review I don’t like MUST BE compromised since I’ve seen examples of reviewers refusing to be cowed”?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              No,we have numerous cases of reviewers being pressured like this in the past,and the logical conclusion is that some reviewers are being pressured like this today as well.

              • ehlijen says:

                In the gaming industry, yes, there are documented cases of this happening. It is far less common in movies, where many reviewers actually just watch regular showings on the opening day and are thus fairly immune to pressure.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I cant say because I dont care for that industry that much,but Id be genuinely surprised if critics writing for papers and televisions arent pressured like that as well.

  10. Redrock says:

    SO, SPOILERS IN THIS COMMENT

    I’ve kinda grown to really dislike the new Star Wars films. That wasn’t my initial reaction, but the more I think about them, the more I notice that nothing really works or makes sense. Most of the new characters, except fo Poe, who got a decent ark in TLJ, don’t seem to actually be characters. Now, J.J.Abrams, as he often does, tried to substitute actual character with mystery and intrigue. Rey’s mysterious past and lineage were there to mask the fact that we don’t get to know anything about her. Which, fair enough. Same with Snoke and Kylo Ren. But TLJ dismissed the mysteries and offered nothing in return. And suddenly, Rey is so empty and hollow. What is this girl? What’s her motivation? What even is her character? Why is she fighting the First Order? Why does she care about Ben Solo? Is she brave? Idealistic? Loyal? By the end of Empire Strikes Back we knew Luke pretty well. But I still don’t know Rey. It’s not like there aren’t great Star Wars female characters – Ahsoka is amazing, as is Sabine Wren. But Rey is just a video game character, all cool powers and nothin else.

    Finn … isn’t really meant to be a character, I think, at least not a protagonist. Finn is comic relief, a C3PO stand-in who can or can’t do whatever the plot requires. At one moment in TLJ he is suddenly the tech guy, like Ludacris in the Fast and Furious became at one point. Then a coward and a bumbling fool again. Then, in a weird and unearned way, suddenly a commited rebel hero. Also, why is he so obsessed with Rey? They never really had chemistry, not in a romantic way, not in a friendly way.

    Aaaaand I’m ranting. I can go like this for hours. What the hell is Ben Solo’s motivation? Why the only way to build up new heroes is to tear down Luke and Han, portraying them as whiny quitters who in the wake of a tragedy abandoned Leia to fight a war by herself? What even is this stupid war? It’s not scrappy rebels against an empire, it’s not even a civil war. It’s just two weird paramilitary organizations, divested from the rest of galaxy, duking it out in a seemingly empty world. Maybe the big twist is that this is all one big LARP played by kids in a happy New Republic.

    • Rosseloh says:

      100% with you there. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, but your thoughts echoed mine as I was watching TLJ today.

      • Max says:

        Ditto. I mean this was such an emotionless movie (like a transformer or Marvel movie) and sometimes technically brilliant (Pictures!! – Hyperspace Jump anyone?). Also, the style was very modern (Intergalactic new age twitter). But ultimately this would have fit an arthouse production like Under my skin, but it is very ill-suited for Star Wars, which demands a GOOD story.

    • Joshua says:

      Ditto on the characters, especially Finn. Great idea for a character, horrible execution. In TFA, he broke down from attacking civilians, then turned around and cheerfully mowed down his own comrades helping Poe escape. He came from a brainwashed collective and didn’t even have a proper name, just a serial number, and when first meeting a girl asks if she has a boyfriend.

      Rey has the survivalist loner background that should encourage her to be a “what’s in it for me?” character, yet she’s the most Lawful Good of the cast.

      These aren’t characters experiencing normal story arcs, they’re characters experiencing familiar story beats that are disconnected from their backgrounds. It’s like playing D&D and someone comes up with a really unique backstory, only to act just like any other generic adventurer during actual gameplay.

    • Alex says:

      Why the only way to build up new heroes is to tear down Luke and Han, portraying them as whiny quitters who in the wake of a tragedy abandoned Leia to fight a war by herself?

      I feel like this is the most fundamental flaw with the new movies. Contrary to Shamus’s belief that it’s the best way to find truth in fiction, it is the statement that there is no truth in fiction.

      At best, the way the new trilogy treats the heroes and their achievements is disgustingly mercenary, a tone-deaf attempt to make the new characters the best characters not by making them better but by character assassinating their predecessors until they are worse.

      But I wonder if Disney isn’t foolish enough to believe that killing Star Wars will save it. Nobody in their right mind would tell you that removing the Avengers from the Marvel Comics at the same time the Avengers were pulling in $1.4 billion per movie was an economically sound strategy, but Disney did it anyway. If Disney’s doing this as a simple act of iconoclasm, that’s more disturbing than them merely being a soulless megacorp.

    • Supah Ewok says:

      Nah, Luke was good. Luke was great. The hero doesn’t quit living after the conclusion of their journey: there’s a lot of room for a person to change in 40 years. And you know what would break a man? His life’s work being corrupted and destroyed by his own blood. Failing to protect his nephew, failing his promise to his sister and his best friend. Failing the galaxy he had once saved to a new age of darkness.

      That is the kind of thing that kills a soul. It’s a little callous to refer to that damage as being a “whiny quitter.”

      Luke was a great exploration of the burdens of legacy and what you leave behind, and if there is one single thing that appears to be the glue in this new trilogy (and the only thing, since this movie made it abundantly clear that there’s no plan tying it together), it is an exploration of the concept of Legacy. Luke learning to pass on the lessons of failure was perhaps the greatest thematic arc the franchise had ever had, enough to make it more than “popcorn movies”, and a validation of Mark Hamill’s career of being unfairly typecasted out of Hollywood. A man who gained it all and lost it all, playing as man who gained it all and lost it all. It was beautiful.

      Then the movie had to murder it by playing straight the Obi Wan sacrifice it had taken great pains to subvert just two minutes before, so that Luke could never pass down that lesson.

      There’s not a word in English for how deeply this movie disappointed me.

    • BlueHorus says:

      Yeah. Going back to the Abrams Star Trek movies, their characters and story were pretty damn shallow. There’s a lot of mysteries and hints, references and callbacks – lights and sound – but very little substance.

      Weird thing is, there’s so much you could have done with Rey’s past or Supreme Leader Snoke.It didn’t have to be complex or difficult; Gotham had a very simple story involving Catwoman’s mother which was not really complex at all, but added to Selina’s character, moved the story on and made sense nonetheless.
      You could have made Snoke part of the Space-Illuminati who’d been pulling the strings of the Empire secretly alongside the Emperor. Cliched and dumb, for sure, but surely better than ‘just some guy; oh now he’s dead’.

  11. General Karthos says:

    It took me a day, but I decided I liked it. I wasn’t 100% certain how I felt immediately after. I think I went in expecting things that didn’t come to pass. I was told to expect massive, titanic shifts in the universe, and huge revelations… and it never really happened to my mind. I mean, sure, Luke died, and I wasn’t expecting that, but it wasn’t exactly a SURPRISE. And he can definitely come back as a Force Ghost, so it doesn’t mean he’s gone from the movies.

    In any case, I am going to see it again with some family members (who haven’t seen it yet) on Tuesday, so I can put that theory to the test. I’m going to go in knowing what’s coming. Will not being waiting for a surprise that never came make the movie better or worse?

    I guess I’ll know on Tuesday evening.

  12. Thomas says:

    I’m really confused by the critical reaction. I strongly dislike the film, but I recognise a lot of the strength is personal to me. I’m already a bit fed up of the Marvel ‘crack a joke in case people are taking the drama too seriously’ thing and TLJ is 5x worse and 10x less appropriate at that than a Marvel film.

    But, amongst all the really good bits, there’s a ton of outright bad bits right? The universally acknowledged worst opening scene to a Star Wars film ever. An entirely pointless middle third (with something that feels like the climax of the film 30mins earlier). Themes get so confused they break. Does Poe learn his lesson? Because it looks to me like he once again acted impulsively and got all his pilots killed – without achieving an objective that was much more important than the one at the start of the film. Yet they says ‘Poe you should lead now, not me the female character whose continued to demonstrate actually wisdom and is perfectly capable of leading still’

    The Rose/Finn speech with the laser in the background actually had me laughing in the cinema (unlike most of the jokes).

    And Rose herself was a dull character and way too much on point with her ‘she represents Star Wars fangirls’ thing.

    I can understand the good stuff raising people’s opinions. But how can so many smart people describe this Make-up Shotgun of a film as practically perfect? People are saying it’s challenging for the throne of The Empire Strikes Back!

    • guy says:

      At the end, Poe orders them to break off the attack once the firing sequence starts rather than pressing the attack when it’s supposedly too late (though it seemed like Finn could’ve successfully rammed it just barely in time).

    • Canthros says:

      FWIW: I think a lot of the stuff that’s falling flat for you (and me!) is also stuff that lets a certain class of person really exercise their (for lack of a better term) literary criticism muscles. I don’t think the movie as a whole really hangs together, but if you’re the kind of person that likes dissecting subtext and text and so on for its own sake, TLJ seems like it brings a lot of that to the table for you. If you’re not that kind of person (or think that Star Wars, having deconstructed pop entertainment and itself at least twice already, doesn’t really need another deconstruction), I think it’s likely to seem an unsatisfying mess.

      Poe does get through his character arc, though. This is shown, in part, with the conversation between Poe and Finn while Luke stalls for time at the end.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        I like subtext, and, no, TLJ brings nothing to that table. The movie is way too confused and wastes too much time on trite bullshit.

        Poe’s “lesson” is a joke. It’s supposed to be teaching him level-headedness, or whatever, but the history of this setting is completely unambiguous: Poe is right. His plan to disable the tracking system wasn’t any more crazy than what Luke, Leia, and Han pulled on the Death Star. Admiral what’s-her-name’s plan was riskier, and if she’d held off on launching the transports until they knew whether Poe’s plan had succeeded or not they wouldn’t have lost so many people.

        It’s not even clear what his mission was supposed to accomplish in the first place, since those surface cannons were hardly a threat to the cruiser, but he was being unacceptably reckless by carrying through on it and destroying the dreadnought?

        None of it actually holds together.

        • Joshua says:

          Exactly. He’s doing the same thing as has been done in the previous films and shown to be correct. Trying to say “This heroism is actually hotheadedness that gets people needlessly killed doesn’t jive with the rest of the movies, which have always shown such actions, even when you sacrifice yourself, to be unambiguously correct, as you said.

          Also, as stated elsewhere on this page, the bombing run is too muddled because the sequence of events makes it look like Poe is only risking himself, and the bombers come in and engage with the original plan after he is successful. Maybe the intent was that Leia disliked the bombing plan to begin with regardless of whether or not he was going to be successful, but the movie didn’t make this clear. Of course, not making something clear is a frequent mistake in this film.

          If you want that kind of theme in your movie, it’s better to start off with a fresh series, a different conflict in the galaxy, or something. Tacking it on to the other eight movies as the official story-line makes it feel insulting, like the director wants to chastise you for encouraging this kind of thing. It’s like a Fast and Furious film chastising you for liking cars driven fast because it’s dangerous to the public, or a Batman film showing how vigilantism just makes everything worse.

        • Canthros says:

          I don’t really disagree, but as someone who’s not particularly about post-modern literary criticism, I’m trying to find reasons that explain the extremely positive critical response without necessarily resorting to cynicism and despair.

          Aspects of the script look a bit like some old jokes about constructing a pomo lit-crit thesis by taking a work and two political philosophers, so I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s just constructed in a way that it might look like catnip to the sort of person who takes that kind of critical theory seriously. As someone pretty firmly on the outside looking in on that, it looked a lot like a film assembled of some fair to good parts, none of which really integrated well with each other or, really, with the broader setting in which they were injected.

          All the positive criticism I’ve heard that discussed it in detail was focused around ‘themes’ and ‘character development’ and ‘arcs’ and most of that stuff seemed like gilded garbage to me, but, obviously, some people’s mileage varies on that stuff. I really don’t get the folks who think this film is the best thing since sliced bread, but I don’t really get the feeling that it’s the worst thing, ever. It’s a trainwreck of a script, really, and it puts the next film in some awkward positions. OTOH, I really hadn’t held a lot of hope for the next one, Star Wars has survived some really godawful films. I’m more troubled that Disney/Lucasfilm felt that this movie was so great that they gave Johnson three more.

          • TylerDurd0n says:

            As someone who thoroughly liked this movie, it’s interesting to read that people who disliked it can’t fathom how other people actuall could.

            The movie has a lot of elements that can throw you right out of it back into the real world and it’s very hard to suspend your disbelief again after this has happened. For some this starts with the early jokes, for others with some admittedly heavy-handed modern “lessons” later. This never happened to me, so I was engrossed for the full 2+ hours of it.

            Mind you I can and do agree with a lot of the criticism leveled at the movie, especially with regards to plot wholes (and TLJ sets up some threads for the whole purpose of getting some characters where it needs them to be, not because it’s a natural result of how things developed), the editing or the runtime. Also I fully get why the humor might not land for some people.

            Watching RedLetterMedia’s review I fully get where they’re coming from even though I do not agree with their overall impression. And they’re not “wrong” per se. But interestingly none of those things mattered (nor did I notice them) while watching the movie.

            As has happened to me quite often in the recent past, I agree with “Folding Ideas” on YouTube (found him via Shamus’ “Youtube channels I watch” post a while back) which summed it up with “It made me feel feelings”. Few movies of the past years have left me with so many feelings as TLJ did:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZYwQ0FxBsk

            • Syal says:

              And they're not “wrong” per se.

              Except for the part where they said Star Wars would be better if they dropped the Wars angle. That was pretty ridiculous.

              • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                I was more concerned with RLM’s idea that Rey joining the space Nazi organization to “build something new” would have been a legitimate plot idea. Just… they’re a fascist organization comprised mainly of child slave soldiers who have just recently destroyed several entire planets. In what UNIVERSE could a good aligned character seriously consider joining THAT group to “make something new and better.” It seriously made me question a lot of things about them.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  In a realistic universe where stuff isnt just black and white.So definitely not a star wars universe.

                • TylerDurd0n says:

                  I personally wouldn’t have liked it in terms of what I believed Rey to be like character-wise, but from a storytelling point of view it would’ve been one hell of a twist, one that would fit with Kylo’s own ambiguous emotional allegiances.

                  Overall and if executed right it would’ve made for an interesting cliffhanger for episode 9 that would’ve also made the audience question their own black/white morality, especially with regards to the poor governance of the new republic (that allowed the First Order to regroup in the outer rims in the first place).

                  I’m totally not a fan of it, but I agree that the idea has merit.

                • BoringMan says:

                  It’s a little less crazy than most theories of the type, but entirely because at the moment of the offer, Kylo Ren seemed pretty serious about the whole “throw off the shackles of the past” thing. There’s a tiny, tiny, tiny chance that in another series, that could have meant “what if our government isn’t built on space fascism with constant backstabbing and child slavery that we seem to have taken up largely because of the man I just killed”. A ridiculously small chance, but still more likely than those fanfics where Voldemort’s really just really bothered by the inefficiency of the Ministry of Magic.

            • Canthros says:

              As someone who thoroughly liked this movie, it's interesting to read that people who disliked it can't fathom how other people actuall could.

              FWIW, I really don’t have trouble understanding that individuals can like the film. I find it a little bewildering that the professional reviewers collectively gave what looks to me like a train wreck of a script a 90+% approval rating, or that any reviewer gave it a 100% rating (e. g. 5/5). Maybe many of them are giving it a lot of credit for being more ambitious or injecting some shades of grey through some of the business with DJ and Canto Bight, but I’m not sure how much I’m willing to credit risks that don’t pay off and making Star Wars a universe with endless shades of grey seems like it ruins one of things that makes Star Wars unique and appealing as a setting.

              I think it’ll settle out pretty squarely in the middle of the pack as Star Wars movies go. Worse, overall, than The Force Awakens, but better than at least two prequels and decidedly more ambitious than Rogue One (which is also a train wreck, but it was at least a ride I enjoyed).

              • TylerDurd0n says:

                I think it'll settle out pretty squarely in the middle of the pack as Star Wars movies go. Worse, overall, than The Force Awakens, but better than at least two prequels and decidedly more ambitious than Rogue One (which is also a train wreck, but it was at least a ride I enjoyed).

                Which – to be fair – is a lot more reasonable that much of the nerd rage that can be read/seen/heard online currently..

                If I had to guess, I’d say that professional critics feel – sometimes as movie nerds themselves – the need to praise and highlight anything that tries to differentiate itself from the rest of cookie-cutter entertainment that’s prevalent in cinemas these days. Also most of them not necessarily being SciFi or even Star Wars fans/nerds allows them a “fresh” perspective on the movie.

                Movies are – by and large – made along the desires of studio execs and marketeers who grew up on Top Gun; cinematic experiences custom-tailored to elicit specific reactions in the audience. Movies that appeal to the “under 30 male” audience quadrant that is assured to have the safest financial returns.

                As such taking a risk, doing something different, deconstructing pre-existing ideas/ideals, anything that veers of the well-taken path is praised for breaking the mold. And I’d reckon that this influenced those ratings by varying degrees (something that I agree with personally).

                However (!) the irony of this is that some criticism of TLJ points toward the movie (and the script) trying very hard to appeal to any audience quadrant but the “under 30 males” (you know because of women and diversity and all).

                While I don’t think that’s necessary the case, the argument could be made that single-mindedly appealing to other quadrants but the usual one is not really “fixing” the problems of movies either.

        • ehlijen says:

          Yes, Poe does what the Rebellion did before…when they had no choice or the potential gain was worth the gamble. The point was that he had no interest or skill in assessing if that was the case. That is why he is a bad leader, no matter his flying skill.

          The Deathstar was worth a do-or-die attack because it would have spelled the end for the rebellion had its reign of terror continued. One dreadnaught out of several was not nearly as crucial a target.
          Sneaking in to the destroy the shields on endor was the only way to get at the emperor, thus it was worth the risk. Trying to infiltrate the enemy command ship when a better plan to get away was available was not worth the risk.
          And Holdo couldn’t wait to see if Poe’s plan would work first, because, as Poe should know from first hand experience, the First Order can get any info out of any prisoner. So since Poe idiotically told Finn the escape plan, that plan was going to be a bust, too, if Finn got captured (and oh look, he did, and that capture did reveal the escape plan).

          • Shoeboxjeddy says:

            Finn didn’t reveal the escape plan, the hacker somehow (confusingly) “hacked the stealth system” of the escaping ships and got them all killed. Of course, he had no reason to KNOW that there WERE escaping ships, so that to me didn’t really make any sense…

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            Poe’s plan risked very little and would have allowed them to escape with their cruiser, instead of being trapped on a planet, surrounded, with no help coming. That’s well beyond “worth the gamble”, and getting well into “do or die”. Holdo’s plan would have gotten them all killed if it weren’t for Luke and Rey showing up to save their bacon.

            And he succeeded with the attack on the dreadnought. A few bombers versus a super captial ship? That’s a several order of magnitude difference between price paid and damage inflicted.

            The movie wants to tell us that Poe’s actions were foolhardy, but both the facts presented in the movie and in the setting at large are at odds with that. There’s no excuse for that kind of writing. If Poe is supposed to be wrong, make his plans actual failures that risk more than they gain.

            • Shoeboxjeddy says:

              Also, Poe’s “flaw” is that he’s a hothead and yet NUMEROUS times he asks for more information before making decisions that he can’t go back on. Right before the mutiny, he gives Holdo one last chance to explain herself, and when she continues to insist on secrecy, THEN he commits to what he does. Someone in a REBELLION should know better than to think that their rank or status alone would convince their lower ranked members to do what they say, with no logic or reasons given. If they were willing to follow orders that blindly… they wouldn’t be Rebels. If Leia had been around and said to Poe “I know you’re scared and this doesn’t make sense, but I need you to have faith in me,” he would have gotten behind her instantly and defended her actions to anyone else. Holdo comes up as a relative stranger, immediately starts their relationship with personal attacks and bluster and then keeps her plans secret because… it’s more dramatic that way?

              • ehlijen says:

                You say Leia appealing to his trust would have won him over instantly. Isn’t that exactly what Holdo did? And didn’t it work just fine on the majority of the crew?

                It was Poe who started their relationship on the wrong foot, but claiming the rank of Commander when first speaking to her even though he’d just been demoted. He had proven himself untrustworthy to her, and thus wasn’t trusted.

                • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                  Leia can appeal to his trust because she’s earned it. Holdo starts out by trying to emasculate him in front of the crew. How exactly would that create trust? Also, she shows zero trust to him by having a secret plan that she won’t reveal to the point where Poe is EASILY able to set up a mutiny against her. It wasn’t just him that didn’t trust her. The film (whether intentional or not) also shows Holdo’s style of leadership is pretty terrible.

                  • ehlijen says:

                    Poe recently defied orders, got much of his wing killed as a result and was demoted for it. His first act towards Holdo was to deny that demotion, thus denying General Leia’s, Holdo’s friend’s, authority. He was also useless as an officer now, without a command for the time being.

                    So after defying orders, acting grossly unprofessionally and insulting her friend, why should Holdo not dress him down?

                    She didn’t need his trust, and he was not worthy of hers.

                    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                      Holdo didn’t need his trust? That’s a big disagree on that one. He is the best fighter pilot in the Resistance and possibly in the galaxy at this moment in time. He held a high rank earlier that same day and had the personal loyalty of a large number of other Resistance troops who looked to him as a leader more so than their direct officers. And THIS is the guy you want to take down a few pegs to make yourself look big? In a paramilitary organization mainly based on personal morals and relationships? That’s… insanity. And it leads to a full scale mutiny within a day, which SHOWS how incompetent it was as a power play. In terms of leadership strategy, it was PRECISELY as boneheaded as Snoke shitting all over Kylo Ren. That directly led to him getting assassinated. It’s almost like… there’s a parallel lesson in leadership there. The only reason Holdo isn’t DEAD (cause of death: shitty interpersonal skills) is that Poe is a moral person who ultimately wanted to do the right thing.

            • ehlijen says:

              Poe’s plan relied on a low odds infiltration using an agent of unknown loyalty against an enemy who had mind reading powers. He shouldn’t have expected success and risked a lot of intel being revealed. And the mission didn’t even fail because of anything unforeseen. It failed because the odds were too bad. Undeserved fortune bailed his ass out in the bomber attack, but not this time. He made bad decisions, and his superiors saw that.

              Holdo’s plan would have worked just fine without Poe’s interference, as the FO would have flown past, blown up the cruiser without realising it was empty and then left. It’s only because the FO learned of the plan that it failed, and that’s why secrecy was such a big deal and why she chose not to trust a disobedient liar (in his very introduction to her, he tried to lie about his rank to ‘undo’ the demotion, hoping Leia hadn’t pushed it through the system yet before she got knocked out). Why should she have trusted him with anything?

              • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                Once the First Order realized the cruisers were empty they would leave? Hmm… if only they had some other way of detecting life. Like say… a talented Force user could do that. But they didn’t have any… oh wait, they had two IMMENSELY powerful Force users RIGHT THERE on site. I don’t think the “hide and hope they go away” plan would have worked out how they thought.

                • ehlijen says:

                  Why would they check if the ships are empty? They were fighting back and never launched sufficient escape craft (to the FO’s knowledge). The FO blew up the support ships without checking, who’s to say they wouldn’t just blow the cruiser to bits at the first chance?

            • Blake says:

              “A few bombers versus a super captial ship? That's a several order of magnitude difference between price paid and damage inflicted.”

              The problem with this statement is that the First Order has plenty more resources, where the Resistance is basically just those ships.
              Losing a dreadnaught would obviously be a huge loss to the First Order, but probably wouldn’t actually make any significant change to their plans (it’s not like they don’t have and can’t make more).
              The Resistance losing every one of their bombers which they have no way of replacing, that is huge, and means if they have to bomb something like another Starkiller Base or other urgent threat, they have no options.

              If the Resistance and First Order were on equal footing then yes it absolutely would have been worth the gamble, but that was not the case here.

              • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                The Resistance bombed Starkiller with X-Wings though. And the attack didn’t cost them all of those. Bombing “fleet killing” ships would be the primary purpose OF having bombers in the first place and being too afraid to commit them because you might lose them is a guaranteed failing strategy. At that point, just sell them for scrap.

  13. Asdasd says:

    Ahhh, I only just made the connection that you’re the guy who made the tasteful understated nerd rage videos! No wonder I find you to be such an acceptable not-Shamus!

    Happy Christmas everyone! I have no opinions about the new Star Wars!

  14. Ashen says:

    What’s interesting to me is that this whole movie and the reaction to it is almost exactly parallel to the last couple of Game of Thrones seasons. Just like D&D, Rian Johnson doesn’t give a shit about the larger storyline, character motivations or internal consistency – what he’s interested in is creating “emotional” moments between characters and “surprise” plot twists. He doesn’t care what connects the dots, just that the dots are loud and dramatic.

    So basically whether you like this movie or not depends on whether you care about this sort of things or treat this like a random popcorn blockbuster.

    On the upside, this movie will make for an outstanding Plinkett review. You can tell it kinda broke Mike :)

    • Joshua says:

      I also thought a lot about the whole GoT comparisons. Attempt at Deconstruction without a real solid grasp of the material. Plus, Reconstructions aren’t typically done as Canon sequels to a preexisting mythos created by other people that are very much *not* deconstructions.

  15. Zaxares says:

    Interesting. I actually liked TLJ much more than TFA. To me, the very fact that TFA hewed so closely to ANH was its biggest weakness. It felt too much like it was just trying to cater to nostalgia and trying to “top” the first movie. “So y’all like the Death Star, huh? Well, here’s an even BIGGER one!” It crossed over the border from “oh man, that’s badass” to “oh jeez, that’s so ridiculous” territory and it basically made it hard for me to enjoy the movie.

    TLJ did feel a little long, yes, and I thought the Finn/Rose shipping did come out of left field, but overall I was more pleased by the character development in it.

    • ehlijen says:

      We haven’t seen Finn’s take on the kiss yet, though (she passed out immediately). He clearly cares for her, but so far it was ambiguous as to whether that is friendship or a crush.

  16. Vorpal says:

    The only real problem I had with the movie was the hyperdrive-kamikaze manoeuvre.
    Despite how incredibly awesome that scene was, it raises a lot of questions, specifically:
    Why has nobody done this before? Why did they let all those other ships get blown up instead of trying the same thing? The evil general guy(forgot his name) realised what was happening just before and tried to stop it, so clearly they understand how dangerous it is, so why do they keep building gigantic slow ships that have no chance of evading that tactic? X-Wings have hyperdrives, so why don’t they kamikaze them? Or just build the smallest, cheapest hyperdrive possible, stick a droid brain and some manoeuvring thrusters on it, and make a hyperdrive torpedo.

    • Ravens Cry says:

      My problem with it is that but also more fundamental. See, it’s a techy solution to the problem.
      It only works if hyperdrive, which were really only ‘go places as fast as plot’ devices before, at least in the movies, now work only a certain way. For example, it probably wouldn’t work with a Star Trek style FTL, since that puts you in a different universe, sorta, kinda. It definitely wouldn’t work with Andromeda, as that was DEFINITELY a different universe. But Star Wars, the movies, was never about the tech. I actually had a comic idea that mapped the OT to a fantasy setting with dragon mounts and Age of Exploration ships, and different islands in place of the planets. You really didn’t need to change the plot any. But you now have a plot point that hinges on something working in a particular way.

      • Geebs says:

        I'm not entirely certain that it's even been established that, in the Star Wars universe, people can't actually just breathe in space, or at least walk about in hard vaccum without a spacesuit. That bit in Empire Strikes Back where they're inside the giant space worm in the asteroid springs to mind.

        I think what I'm trying to say is that the application of physics breaks my immersion in Star Wars. See also the incredibly stupid “ship turns over and so does the artificial gravity” stuff in Revenge of the Sith.

        • Joshua says:

          Of all the things that annoyed me in the movie, breathing in space isn’t one of them. It’s long been established that Star Wars is just Fantasy with a Sci-fi wrapper, not actual Science Fiction, and certainly not hard Science Fiction. Ditto for the bombs without gravity complaint.

          • Phill says:

            Yes. The completely non-sensical physics and dumb stuff done purely for the sake of drama is there in the original trilogy every bit as much. But it goes back to the “story collapse” idea: if the story maintains your sense of immersion, that stuff isn’t going to bother you. And if anyone brings it up, you’re happy to hand wave it away with some assumed explanation. But if the story loses you, the same things suddenly become massively jarring flaws.

            Thing is, although if the story doesn’t work for you, and you notice all the dumb things, it is ready to point at them and say that they are the problem, when they probably aren’t. They contribute to it, but so does the lighting, the acting, the pacing, the script, the costumes, the camera angles… Just about everything contributes in some way to whether the story maintains your suspension of disbelief.

            • Max says:

              The gravity on the bombs didnt even bother me, it was the bomber themselves that broke the immersion. Which moron did design them and think that is a good idea?
              Why didnt they just take the B-Wings that were developed near the end of Return of the Jedi?

              Even the Y-Wing would have been more effecient than this bullsh*t and it was just mere moments into the movie.
              I then hoped it would get better and it got worse.

        • Alex says:

          That bit in Empire Strikes Back where they're inside the giant space worm in the asteroid springs to mind.

          The asteroid was big enough to have its own gravity, so it’s not out of the question that it might retain an atmosphere in its deepest caves and valleys. Even 1/5th of normal atmospheric pressure is sufficient if you’ve got your own air supply.

          • Phill says:

            There is no way in hell that an asteroid has enough gravity to keep any kind of atmosphere. See also: the moon

          • GloatingSwine says:

            That asteroid would be nowhere near big enough to have its own gravity, and even if it did the two scenes that imply gravity (level bombing and people standing on the worm’s tongue) would require the gravity to be pointing in two different directions (because the worm was burrowed facing out of the asteroid but gravity inside it was pointing towards its tongue not down its throat)

            • Dork angel says:

              Gravity isn’t about size though, it’s about mass/density. If the asteroid was made of a really dense material, it could have the same gravity as an object that was a lot bigger but was less dense.

      • Supah Ewok says:

        It’s worse than that, actually. In old EU, it got established, after a few contradictory statements, that hyperspace put you in a higher dimension wherein 3D space was shorter.

        Of course, that’s all thrown out now… except that in TFA, Poe and his pilots were shown only exitting hyperspace when they received the signal from Han and Finn that the shields were down. That isn’t possible if hyperspace is just hyper speed. It only makes sense with the alternate dimension. But now in TLJ it being hyper speed is an important plot point.

        TLJ basically broke space. More than “Falcon plotspeed” already had.

        • Shoeboxjeddy says:

          The idea in TFA is that the pilots got close to the right place and then did a very short hyperspace jump to arrive at the exact right time in the Starkiller system. You can’t “idle” in hyperspace in ANY version of the Star Wars universe.

    • Mistwraithe says:

      I am glad someone thought the same thing I did.

      By adding this new rule that ships entering hyperspace can collide with and cause massive damage to other ships in front of them they made the space combat aspects of every previous Star Wars movie look foolish.

      Trying to destroy the Death Star? Don’t lose any pilots over it, get an automated cruiser to hyperspace into it, problem solved.
      Want to destroy a planet? Forget the insane expense of building the Death Star, much easier to just hyperspace a large ship, perhaps a Star Destroyer into it.
      Want to destroy some Star Destroyers? No problem, X-wings can hyperspace and must be vastly cheaper than Star Destroyers, just hyperspace X-wings into them.

      Only small ships which are too small and/or inexpensive to hyperspace into make sense any more. Larger ships are futile in a war situation, having one is like carrying a ticking bomb around in your own ranks, it’s just a matter of time before someone hyperspaces into it and in the process causes an explosion large enough to destroy the other ships around it.

      I’m not sure if The Last Jedi broke space, but it most definitely and irrevocably broke space combat, and in the process made the space combatants in all previous Star Wars movies seem rather silly.

      • KarmaTheAlligator says:

        I disagree with it being a new rule. Back in ANH, Han says that they need to make hefty calculations before going to light speed, and I always thought it was in fact to avoid anything on the way. There’s also the fact every time we see a fleet go into hyperspace, the first ships in line go first, which implies collision is possible. Sure, none of that was officially stated (talking about movies only, I had very little exposition to the EU), but it’s been implied before.

        As for using it to take out the Death Star… they’d need something much bigger (or be able to aim very precisely if you try to take out its core, and the hyperspace calculations are there to avoid obstacles).

        • Mistwraithe says:

          Perhaps you can debate how big a ship you would need to do major damage to the Death Star, but the fact remains a single cruiser effectively destroyed a super star destroyer equivalent ship and severely damaged multiple star destroyers around it (based on my interpretation of the visuals in the movie anyway). The cruiser was massively outgunned and yet managed to destroy several thousand times it’s own tonnage?

          Surely that makes it by far the most effective way of winning space combat in Star Wars. I don’t see any interpretation other than large ships are made obsolete by the existence of this ability.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            And that’s as an improvised weapon.

            It should be trivially easy to build a proper hyperspace torpedo using this principle. For the cost of an X-Wing you could easily take out a Star Destroyer, almost without fail.

            While space combat in Star Wars has also had some rather arbitrary rules, they at least picked them in such a way as to bound combat to a deliberate style and aesthetic. This movie was completely heedless of that.

            • Joshua says:

              Don’t forget the part in Return of the Jedi (I think?) where an X-Wing actually crashes into the flight deck of a Star Destroyer (maybe the bigger ship) and effectively destroys it, and that’s without even using Hyperspace.

              It reminds me of that ST:TNG episode where they establish that Warp Speed destroys the fabric of the universe. Boy, that’s an inconvenient impact on all of the stories before and after for the sake of a single episode’s plot.

              • Bloodsquirrel says:

                That ship was already heavily damaged, though. They were talking about their systems failing right before the crash. Then the X-wing crashed into the bridge, which stopped their damage control efforts, and even then it only exploded because it crashed into the Death Star.

              • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                It was an A-Wing that crashed into the Command Bridge of the Super Star Destroyer, Executor. And yeah, that wouldn’t have actually scuttled the ship except that it then immediately listed into the side of the Death Star II.

          • Syal says:

            Hux and Kylo Ren were both on that ship, so it didn’t do as much damage as the visuals implied.

            • ehlijen says:

              Yup.

              It was also suggested that had Hux not ignored the cruiser for the transports at first, they could have shot it down. It’s a desperation move that requires a target caught off guard and a really big ship (in Rogue one we see smaller ships trying to jump into lightspeed but slamming into Vaders Flagship instead, to little effect on that).

              • Blake says:

                Yeah I think the lightspeed-ram-attack still requires significant mass at close range, and the movie made it clear that The Hux could easily have stopped it if he saw it coming.

                Having a big heavy hyper-ram might be useful to build against stationary targets, but you couldn’t try it with a light fighter and expect it to work.

    • Mistwraithe says:

      Doh. I wrote a long post agreeing entirely with you and saying that The Last Jedi broke space combat and made all the space combat segments of all previous Star Wars movies silly, along with the concept of having large ships at all.

      Unfortunately I posted it in the wrong place, tried deleting it and reposting it against your comment, but the second post seems to have disappeared? Maybe it is in Shamus’s review queue for being a duplicate of my first deleted post in which case hopefully it will appear again…

    • TylerDurd0n says:

      IIRC it didn’t really hurt Darth Vader’s star destroyer at the end of Rogue One when it entered into the jump path of the smaller vessels of the rebel fleet.

      So taking into account that this was the single last Mon Calamari cruiser available to the resistance (named after the Mon Calamari Admiral who lead the attack in Rogue One actually), you could argue that in the greater scheme of things its more important to keep each massive cruiser that you’re actually lucky to have at your disposal than to waste them on destroying single Star Destroyers or Dreadnoughts that the Empire/First Order seems to have much more of.

      To speak economically – it’s not a tactic that works “at scale”. For a last ditch effort like in the movie it might make sense. But tactically it doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially if you take the reduced effectiveness of jumping smaller vessels into account.

  17. gebiv says:

    My biggest disappointment in the movie was that there were no heroic moments without massive casualties. What’s wrong with having the hero actually save everybody or at least most of everybody for a change? Instead, every triumph the rebels seemed to require a blood sacrifice. It was like the movie was going out of its way to take away any feelings of victory.

    And the associated comedic moments/quips felt out of place and often inappropriate.

    At the rate the movie was going, the Rebels are about two victories and four jokes away from total annihilation.

    • ehlijen says:

      The movie was about mistakes and how to learn from the and move on. And in war, mistakes cost lives. For the movie to pretend otherwise would have undermined it.

      Poe kept making bad calls (attacking the dreadnaught, letting someone who knows about the escape plan go ahead and board the ship of the people he personally knows can extract info from any mind), and those bad calls directly cost lives. The movie ends with him realising that if he throws away everything to win, what is the victory for?

      Rey made a mistake in thinking she could go toe to toe with a Sithlord, just like Luke had. She also learns that going all-in for the win isn’t going to always be the right call.

      Luke learned that while he made a mistake, his true failure was to try to avoid the consequences.

      Finn, has a martyr complex (despite his streak of cowardice), and it’s not until he sees someone risk their life for him that he realises he has never stopped to truly empathise with others.

      All these people made bad calls, and other people got hurt as a result. The triumphs you bemoan as having blood costs aren’t meant to be triumphs. They are meant to be bad calls. The true victory is the rebellion surviving despite all of them.

      • Alex says:

        The true victory is the rebellion surviving despite all of them.

        The rebellion did not survive. A dozen people on a light freighter with no allies willing to help them is not a rebellion.

        • ehlijen says:

          It’s a legendary light freighter full of veteran survivors, the first new jedi and a galaxy of oppressed people to recruit from against a new empire led by a mentally unstable man. If that’s dead, someone rewrote the dictionary while I wasn’t looking.

          • Max says:

            But this is exactly what is bothering me. It is nowhere implied or shown that the unstable boy is now leading a galactic empire. It looks more like a rag-tag band of mercenaries on the outer fringes of space.
            While I like the idea that the Republic has to die so that something new and better can take root in these ashes and blossoms, they never portrayed this.
            There is no discussion that this is something different than the attempt to try something that failed again. Though this would be something that really fits to this world.

            • Bloodsquirrel says:

              It’s less “The old has to die to make way for the new” and more “We need to hit the reset button so that we can go back to how things were A New Hope because we can’t figure out how to write Star Wars that isn’t ‘plucky Resistance vs. Empire’ “.

              • ehlijen says:

                I do not believe that they are going for a rehash. TLJ spent considerable effort into showing that a rehash isn’t going to work, both within the story and on a meta-narrative sense.

                Star Wars was originally intended to be a movie series, James Bond style, before Lucas went for a trilogy instead. Disney appears poised to go for that original idea again. And if that is true, they must break with tropes and cliches as much as possible to get any longevity for the franchise going. That, I believe, is why this movie tried so hard to go a different direction than what the by-the-numbers TFA seemed to suggest. And I’m very pleased to see the writers realising that this is what they have to do.

                • Bloodsquirrel says:

                  But where are we at the end? New Emperor, new Empire, a rebellion, and a brash young Jedi leading the charge. Instead of truly moving the story forward, they’ve just pushed it back with a new cast. The movie can’t even commit to its one new idea; that the Jedi needed to end, possibly to be replaced with something else.

                  “Getting rid of the old” was entirely surface-level.

                  • ehlijen says:

                    An emperor that might yet find redemption and is facing threats from his own ranks (Hux did try to kill him). A rebellion that isn’t going to rely on suicide charges and daring infiltrations (assuming Poe did learn something). A new jedi who rejected her teacher.

                    Yes, it’s familiar, but it’s also different.

                    • Bloodsquirrel says:

                      An emperor that might yet find redemption and is facing threats from his own ranks (Hux did try to kill him).

                      A dark lord being redeemed was the main plot of Episodes 1-6. Also, the Emperor died when one of his own threw him down a reactor shaft.

                      A rebellion that isn't going to rely on suicide charges and daring infiltrations (assuming Poe did learn something).

                      Doubtful, since even TLJ shows that those were more effective than Leia and Hodlo’s “leadership”, which got most of them killed. If that was an actual direction that they were intending to move in, then the last two movies wouldn’t have featured them heavily.

                      I don’t think we’re in store for seeing Star Wars shift from space adventure into sound military sci-fi. I don’t think there’s anyone at Disney who even knows how to write that sort of thing. And it’s a matter of fact, based on the director’s tweets, that nobody at Disney even has a plan in the first place. JJ Abrams will be back for Episode 9, and we’ll be lucky if we don’t get another trench run on another superweapon.

                      A new jedi who rejected her teacher.

                      You mean like when Luke disobeyed Yoda? Luke and his order were already a rejection, in a lot of ways, of prequel-era Jedi. Hell, the entire point of Luke in this movie is that he’s rejecting them- and then the movie undoes that by having Rey reject that part of his teachings to go back to the original idea of a Jedi. She even has the books with her.

                    • ehlijen says:

                      There was never a chance of the emperor redeeming. Or being mutinied against due to incompetence. Both are possible directions for Ren’s arc.

                      We have a very different view of what got who killed, then. I see Poe’s pointless heroics as the culprit, without which Holdo’s plan would have worked just fine. I don’t see Star Wars becoming military scifi either, but it can’t afford to have every million in one chance succeed if it’s going to last as long as Disney wants and retain any dramatic tension. And for that we needed to see why million to one odds missions aren’t always the right thing for the rebels to do.

                      And Luke did not abandon Yoda or his teachings. He rushed off to help his friends with every intention of coming back. Rey made no such promise and had no such intentions. Yes, she kept the books, but not out of any respect for Luke or what he had to teach. They both realised that he was too broken to set her on the right path by the end. That is not the same as the parting of Luke and Yoda.

                • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

                  And if that is true, they must break with tropes and cliches as much as possible to get any longevity for the franchise going. That, I believe, is why this movie tried so hard to go a different direction than what the by-the-numbers TFA seemed to suggest. And I'm very pleased to see the writers realising that this is what they have to do.

                  I wrote about it down there somewhere. TLJ try to hard to deconstruct so-called cliches. Yes, they exist, but do they need deconstruction? Especially almost scene by scene.

                  Poe attacks big Star Destroyer, rebels takes heavy casualties, destroys it but gain nothing.
                  This scene mocks attack on Death Star in ANH. And I don’t even want to talk about bomber design and absurd tactics, even ANH recognize, that bombers rarely literally drop bombs even in a modern world.
                  Luke is miserable, broken and whiny old man, who taught nothing to Rey in contrast to Yoda, who pose as a crazy to test Luke and teach him his first lesson.
                  Finn, Rose, DJ and BB-8 infiltrating flagship was one of the dumbest scene. BB-8 was decoyed as a trashcan, moving trashcan precisely and Finn Rose and DJ just march towards tracking device in imperial uniform. Ok, compare this scene to ANH scene, where heroes ended up on a Death Star and Kenobi turned off tracking beam.
                  Add to this list speeder charge against AT-AT, duel with the master, ideas of redemption, heroism, legacy etc.
                  Writers and director don’t need to dump them in most explicit and unartistic way, they need to introduce new ideas, and they did it bad in this movie.

                  • ehlijen says:

                    The Bombing run does not mock ANH, it sets the record straight that the rebellion isn’t just about heroic suicide charges. And Star Wars has had carpet bombers since ESB (Tie bombers blasting asteroids).

                    But more on point, this writer wanted to explore what happens when those tropes are applied, but differently. Suicide starfighter charges…but ill advised. Wise old jedi master…who is a terrible teacher. Plucky infiltration…that fails as should be expected. etc.

                    You call it unartistic, I call it breathing life back into the franchise by making us not expect the same results from the same setups. If the tropes are upheld and subverted, you can’t be sure which the next one is going to be. If Star Wars is going to be serial, it needs that.

                    • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

                      The Bombing run does not mock ANH, it sets the record straight that the rebellion isn't just about heroic suicide charges. And Star Wars has had carpet bombers since ESB (Tie bombers blasting asteroids).

                      That was just my way to say “suicide starfighter charge”, but I get too emotional on it. And yeah, I’m wrong, I’ve looked for EU definition for proton bombs and forgot this scene. But still Tie bombers are agile and fast fighter-sized spacecrafts, that make sense. And slow space-B-17’s “dropping” over 1k bombs don’t make sense.

                      But more on point, this writer wanted to explore what happens when those tropes are applied, but differently.

                      You call it unartistic, I call it breathing life back into the franchise by making us not expect the same results from the same setups. If the tropes are upheld and subverted, you can't be sure which the next one is going to be.

                      Are we need to see almost each of the original tropes subverted? I don’t mind if a few of “heroic deeds” turned into failure, so we can’t be certain what will happen next, this can create additional tension and make movies more interesting. But when everything is a failure, it’s just disappointing.
                      Also I’m trying to say, that TLJ lost a lot in terms of plot, characters, consistency, etc. by putting deconstruction first.

            • ehlijen says:

              We are told that the FO has multiple dreadnaughts and that it is seizing control of many systems now that the Republic fleet is gone. While maybe not a fully established empire, they are clearly still strong enough to be the big bad of the current stories.

      • TylerDurd0n says:

        And that’s exactly why I like this movie so much. It humanized the “heroes” and made them face their own fallibility. It doubled down on the fact that heroes need supporters and allies as well and even in Star Wars (even with the force on their side) they are not invincible. Through Luke it relegated them to what they’re really useful though: To have their heroism act as a rallying call and a “shining beacon” that can give people hope.

        The core message (to me at least) was that there are no heroes that will come swooping in and save the day. We collectively have to be “the hero” and work together to do the saving. And there will be failure on the way. And failures will have consequences.

        Also Rose’s message is important: That we should fight for something we love (constructively) instead against something we hate (destructively). Somehow that message is lost on many.

        I do understand that this is not what many want from Star Wars. That people come to these movies exactly because they want a hero to come and fix everything and get the girl and live happily ever after (or until the next sequel comes). And I don’t think this is in any way “worse” than wanting even fantasy/scifi movies to be more human/broken/greyish in that way. But TLJ definitely doesn’t fully deliver on that front.

        • Rodyle says:

          Also Rose's message is important: That we should fight for something we love (constructively) instead against something we hate (destructively). Somehow that message is lost on many.

          It made no sense in context though. Fin didn’t try to ram the oversized hairdryer because he hated its guts, but because he wanted to buy time for the resistance, which he (apparently? I’m not really sure with Boyega’s acting) loved. You cannot say one thing and then do the complete opposite at the same time.

          The core message (to me at least) was that there are no heroes that will come swooping in and save the day. We collectively have to be “the hero” and work together to do the saving. And there will be failure on the way. And failures will have consequences.

          (…)

          I do understand that this is not what many want from Star Wars. That people come to these movies exactly because they want a hero to come and fix everything and get the girl and live happily ever after (or until the next sequel comes).

          Because that’s the theme of the Star Wars films: the actions of a few heroic and determined people can make all the difference. To just throw away that central theme is disrespectful to the original films and the fans.

          • TylerDurd0n says:

            First things first – I engage in this discussion because of good arguments made by you and others, not to convince others of my point of view or telling others that they’re “wrong”. TLJ discussions tend to become hot-headed online, so I just want to preface that I’m totally fine with you or others not agreeing!

            It made no sense in context though. Fin didn't try to ram the oversized hairdryer because he hated its guts, but because he wanted to buy time for the resistance, which he (apparently? I'm not really sure with Boyega's acting) loved. You cannot say one thing and then do the complete opposite at the same time.

            IIRC it made sense if you interpreted what was on screen in a certain way, but (I didn’t notice this while watching the movie nor do I mind now) the script pushed Finn in that direction without a lot of visible character development for it.

            The whole thing only makes sense (if you want to allow it to) if you take Finn’s immediate reason to destroy the buster (the “I can’t/won’t let them win” line) into account. That sudden resolve comes from nowhere and is a pretty sudden change of heart for the character who – so far – seemed to have accidental moments of heroism or needed to be coerced to do the right thing (but then seems to commit and follows through).

            Remember that at this point he had his “rebel scum” line, which I read as Finn acknowledging his new identity and role in life. So where does this fatalistic change of heart come from? I don’t know. But that’s what happens if you overanalyze a movie.. 😉

            But if I accept this change of heart at face value, he’s committing to a destructive rage that – at least in the mind of Rose and the movie – might not have helped a lot and Finn’s more important to the resistance alive than dead. Also Rose might have read the script and knows that the buster will only destroy the gate, but not kill anyone behind it..

            So yeah – I give you that it can feel as if the whole chain of events was drafted backwards from Rose saying her line. I liked it when watching the movie and still do, but it’s definitely an issue.

            Because that's the theme of the Star Wars films: the actions of a few heroic and determined people can make all the difference. To just throw away that central theme is disrespectful to the original films and the fans.

            I’d even go a step further and say that it’s “disrespectful” on purpose. I am a Star Wars fan and SciFi nerd, but boy was I bored by the EU and the cult-like fandom of it (and to be fair, I’m skeptical of most fan cultures/communities to begin with). I enjoyed TFA as an action movie but Matt and Trey (of Southpark fame) are so on point with their joke about “Memberberries” and J.J. having used their nostalgic powers to craft that movie.

            Because as it is, Star Wars is not a compelling universe to tell a lot of diverse stories in. Even the EU novels often followed the Skywalker family (which – to be fair – was in line with Lucas’ idea of Star Wars being the “Skywalker saga”). If you want them to expand the universe and do more movies after Episode IX, then you have to break Star Wars, lose some fans in the process and head into the unknown with all those new fans/audiences.

            I’m fully on board with this, but – once again – I don’t think it’s wrong to expect otherwise. I would’ve been ok with a third trilogy that followed an arc over three movies to sunset the Skywalker saga and allowed us to experience the characters/actors we loved one last time (“happily ever after” ending and all).

            But that would’ve delayed the inevitable, mainly that Disney (or whoever would’ve picked up Star Wars for cinemas again) needs to break it in some ways to be able to tell new stories that appeal to new/different audiences as well. There are/is so many expectations/theories/head canon around Star Wars, that nobody could’ve told an interesting sequel story that would not have resulted in the same old story beats and 3 movies of stagnancy.

            Sure there could’ve been a middle ground between those two positions, but that would’ve required Disney to have an actual three-movie arc ready and prepared instead of having each director/writer come up with their own isolated story… 🙄

    • Blake says:

      Everything you wrote is pretty much the whole point of the movie.

      Crazy risks aren’t always a good idea, and just because people have gotten lucky in the past doesn’t mean you will be this time.

      The movie was very much a second act where everything goes from bad to worse. The resistance is on its last legs and just needs to play it safe, survive, and rebuild. Holdo understands that, but our other main characters are making risky plays that, even when successful (Poe’s dreadnaught attack) don’t bring them any closer to winning the war and actually put them further behind by draining what little resources they have.

      “At the rate the movie was going, the Rebels are about two victories and four jokes away from total annihilation.” and that is when even Poe realises that he needs to think about a lot more than just the current engagement, and come up with a long term plan.
      I’m guessing the next movie will be about the resistance going around, making friends, recruiting allies, inspiring folks, and rebuilding a force that can give them a big come-from-behind-victory over the Last Order.

  18. baud says:

    (disclaimer: I saw the film for free at a recruitment event).

    the final-third Rose/Finn shipping, which I found sudden and unearned

    You’re not the only one, I found it a bit sudden and totally not unexpected. But now the next director is free to ship Rey/Kylo without having to deal with Finn!

    In my opinion, I think the movie sacrifice coherency for “great moments/shot”: like the bombers at the start: their design is idiotic (big cross-section, horribly hard to land, unstable once landed (empty space below, engine on top => high gravity center), hard to reload the bombs), but, in my opinion, it was designed just to have that cool scene at the beginning with the crew member dropping the bombs while everything is exploding around her. Same thing with the useless arc on the casino planet with Finn and Rose, where they bring back a slicer who sells the stealth codes of the Resistance shuttle: it can be seen as a justification for Holdo ramming her ship in the Order’s fleet to save the remaining shuttles, since her plan was, originally, to run away from the planet. Also with Luke: being convinced that the Jedi must end, so that we get the burning of the treehouse with the Yoda puppet.

    Also, I disliked how they used an old puppet of Yoda, which horribly clashed with the rest of the special effects. It felt tacked on, compared to the porg, for example.

    The light saber scenes were good.

    So overall, I spent a good moment, there was a few good scenes, but the overall quality is harmed by pacing and the coherency problems.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      By contrast, I loved the Yoda puppet because that is how the Yoda character LOOKS in my mind. The CGI version came off as a shitty knockoff that already looks really dated by comparison.

    • Rodyle says:

      bombers at the start: their design is idiotic

      You forgot how you need a second person not in the cockpit standing around doing nothing over an open hole into space to press a button.

  19. Grimwear says:

    **wARNING THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS**

    I was not a fan of the Force Awakens at all. I hate how they dealt with Rey and missed out on a lot of opportunities with her. That being said I’m much more apathetic towards Star Wars as a whole now so while I didn’t like The Last Jedi and it has loads of problems overall I came out going, “eh, it’s fine I guess.” As for specific problems:

    – Light speed kamikaze ships- why did this suddenly become a thing? Why didn’t they light speed the medical and support ships first rather than let them be blown up? Does autopilot not exist in the Star Wars Universe?
    – Rey again. They make these big moments of talking about how Luke can feel the darkside within her and how she embraces it and goes to darkside cave but then literally just like with Force Awakens Ben Solo goes “Join me!” and she goes “Nah I’ll pass”. So…two films in a row now we’ve had the Rey shutting down the darkside. It’s too late now for any sort of interesting story twist and I was really hoping for a Kylo saved, Rey falls type of story but instead they’re doing a much worse vanilla story.
    -The Rebellion. Overall this one is fine and lampshaded when the rebels mention that their voice has been heard by their allies in the outer planets and they just aren’t showing up for this fight. But they literally mention having 400 people left in the ENTIRE rebellion and by the end of the movie they have maybe 20. I recall when Karen Travis wrote for the expanded universe and used some number of millions of clones/stormtroopers in existence and upset the entire fanbase because it turned out that meant there were like 1.6 troopers per planet. I mean we’re talking about 400 rebels in the whole galaxy? That’s not a rebellion. That’s a gang. They shouldn’t even be a threat. The original trilogy kept everything vague for precisely this reason. But here they throw out “this is the ENTIRE rebellion”.
    Finally Finn. I’m not sure what they plan to do with Finn but watching the Last Jedi I feel like they should have maybe made Finn and Poe one character? Aside from Poe staging a coup while Finn is at the casino there’s no reason why they a single character couldn’t do everything he does. Also as a side bar so if Finn is going in a straight line FULL THROTTLE at a giant gun how does Rose, who the movie has already shown has veered off, turn back around, then make enough speed to catch up, and hit him from the side?

    • ehlijen says:

      Rose overtakes Finn because she is a better pilot and knows more about the craft they are flying than he does. They establish this when she calls out for him to extend his ground hook thingy which makes the thing fly better (not sure why, but the movie says it does and how isn’t really important), and again remind us when he retracts it to get the elevation needed to fly into the gun.

      Was it a perfect justification? No, but it was at least some effort spent on it.

      • Supah Ewok says:

        Yeah, the mechanic stuck with guarding the escape pods in the Resistance’s darkest hour not only knows theoritical astrogation, but is also more of a natural pilot than the man taught to be a soldier since childhood.

        • ehlijen says:

          The soldier who just a week or so ago (+/- his coma) needed to spring a resistance pilot to help him escape in one his own side’s fighters is not as good a pilot as the sister of a bomber crew member. What is wrong with that?

          Finn was a groundpounder, not a fly-boy. The fact that he was able to join the speeder charge at all was less believable than her being the better pilot.

          • Supah Ewok says:

            My brother is gonna be enlisted in a few months, the hell do I know about shooting? That means exactly nothing. Much like 90% of the movie. (And even if it did mean something, the sister was a gunner, very obviously, not a pilot)

            If Rose was qualified to do literally anything else besides babysit the escape pods, don’t you think she’d have been doing that when the Resistance was getting killed?

            And no, not a week ago. This movie happens within hours of the first one. The first one took place over 2 days or so, this movie over about 1.5. In that time, Rey figured out in 1 lesson how to lift several times more rocks than Luke could after years of force awareness and 2 mentors. You do not want to bring up the timeline as a point of logic in this movie’s defense.

            • ehlijen says:

              Why do you assume Rose isn’t qualified to do anything else? The cruiser is full of base personnel and hangar technicians that won’t have squat to do until a new base is built or the hangar is filled with new fighters. There is no reason to assume that she has anything to do, nor what her actual qualifications are.

              The fist movie included Finn walking through a desert and travelling an unspecified amount of time in hyperspace, the week was a generous maximum estimate.

            • Khizan says:

              Speeders are basically standard civilian vehicles in Star Wars. Luke even had an airspeeder in ANH. I’d expect a mechanic to be able to handle a speeder, even a military one with guns, much the same way I’d expect a mechanic nowadays to be able to drive a Humvee, even a military one with a gun.

              As to why she wasn’t doing more during the ship battle if she could do that? Easy. “Can drive a speeder” and “general vehicle mechanic” are not really applicable skills when you’re in a starship chase.

              Also, with the quality of the vehicles they had available, it’s totally plausible that she just had a better speeder than Finn did and could therefore go faster than he did. Their vehicles were basically a bunch of unmaintained junkers, after all.

            • Syal says:

              Don’t assume guard duty means incompetence. In real military bases guard duty changes constantly, and you only stop standing really boring guard when you become qualified to stand a different, more complicated boring guard. You can be the best electrician on the ship, you’re still going to end up sitting on the quarterdeck for six hour stretches checking IDs.

              Also, considering Holdo’s plan, those escape pods are the most important part of the ship.

    • Joshua says:

      My thoughts while watching it were “Why is he flying directly into the beam instead of beside it and then veering up at the last second to hit the device?” You can see his ship starting to melt, and there’s no reason for him to actually be in the beam’s path until the actual point of impact .

      • Supah Ewok says:

        Well, to be fair, when Finn was describing the weapon, he did say that the best way to disable it was to hit it inside the barrel.

        • Joshua says:

          Yes, but hitting inside the barrel doesn’t require you to be flying your ship in the beam the entire time, just in the last 1-2 seconds. It’s not like it was going to move to follow you.

      • ehlijen says:

        It’s difficult enough to line up a flight path to not only a point but a direction from that point. You don’t want to make it any harder on yourself by giving yourself a fraction of a second at best to get it right.

  20. Mephane says:

    Overall, I liked the movie. I agree that it is good to throw expectations over board sometimes, and loved how Luke casually tossed the lightsaber away, or that Snoke was killed entirely unexpectedly. Or Poe’s mutiny.

    My biggest disappointment was about Luke’s “lectures”, as in, at some point I totally expected him to explain to Rey that the prophecy about Anakin “to bring balance to the Force” was misunderstood and balance meant that neither light nor dark side overpowers the other, and thus it was the will of the Force to bring down the Jedi order (because 10000s of Jedi vs 2 Sith is not at all “balance”). And that he would then talk about the EU concept of “Grey Jedi” whointentionally walk the fine line in between and maintain balance by never comitting fully to either side of the Force.

    As for the Jedi order itself, good riddance. That was quite the toxic club and I hope that whatever Rey might eventually build up (if she ever does) will be more akin to the “Grey Jedi” idea.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      The whole idea that “balance” means even number of Jedi and Sith has never been an intentional part of the lore.

      However, the Republic Jedi were rubbish, and Luke does point that out in this film.

      In fact, that’s basically always happened whenever the Jedi experience too long a period of stability, their order calcifies and they become rigid and incapable of dealing with large scale external threats, which leads to internal radicalisation and the lure of the “easy answer” of the dark side. Happened with Darth Revan, happened again with Darth Vader.

    • ehlijen says:

      I don’t think the Grey Jedi concept fits the movies, new or old. The winning side in all the movies has always been the side that fully committed, with neutrality usually being depicted as short sighted at best, lethal at worst.

      Grey Jedi would drastically change the tone and message of the movies, and quite possibly make them no longer suitable for the younger age groups that Disney will not want to give up on. As it was, I think TLJ was deeper and darker than I would have thought they’d go.

      And no, I don’t like the Grey Jedi concept much myself. I very much like the OT’s ideas of “good guys win by being good” and “evil must be opposed, or you’re letting it win”.

      • KarmaTheAlligator says:

        Did you know Qui Gon was a Grey Jedi? And that’s why he had no qualms about using his Powers to cheat Watto (or whatever his name was), or extort a transport out of the Gungans?

        • ehlijen says:

          Qui Gon at no point indicates that his philosophy on those issues differs greatly from those of the council. Not even Obi Wan calls him out on doing these things.

          So I don’t see how Qui Gon is nothing but a Jedi, and a very flat one at that.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Grey Jedi is a fanwank concept that I’m very much against. It’s basically “Dark Side is fun to play in video games but I want to still be a good person so… make that be okay.” So you have really Mary Sue characters who can use all the “cool” Force powers and that’s cool and fine because all the disciplined Jedi are just squares at best and tragically incorrect at worst. Morally, I think Grey Jedi is really immature. Not because right and wrong are black and white, but because being a Jedi is about believing in something greater that might be against your base desires while Grey Jedi is about doing what you want and getting away with it because you’re a cool guy.

      And no, Qui-Gon wasn’t a Grey Jedi because he was okay with lying to or cheating a slaver. Jedi morality is not George Washington “I’ll never tell a lie” simplicity.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well….The jedi werent initially the good guys,they were the disciplined guys.Its only the expanded universe that equated the two,and it spilled over into the prequels for some reason.

        Although,one could argue that anakin is the perfect example of a non-disciplined guy.

      • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

        You’re not quite right about the concept of Gray Jedi. It can be inappropriately used to justify Mary Sueish character behavior, but it has no connection with Force Powers used by character. Luke used Force choke on gamorrean in Episode VI and mind trick frequently used by jedi is hard to consider a light side power and all this don’t make them dark or gray.
        In Expanded Universe Gray Jedi are Force users, who distant themselves from big “Light and Dark side” conflict and don’t belong to Jedi or Sith orders. So Qui-Gon wasn’t one for sure.

        • Shoeboxjeddy says:

          My platonic ideal of a Grey Jedi is Starkiller from the Force Unleashed games. Here’s a “good guy” who spends all of his time using awesome Force murder powers to tear a swath through basically helpless foes. Electrocute dozens of guys? Cool! Skewer them with a lightsaber? Badical! Get into their minds and convince them to gun down their friends or jump into boiling lava? I don’t see anything wrong with that! But yet, he’s totally a good guy and hero of the Rebellion… Grey Jedi y’all!

          • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

            Oh, I don’t like Force Unleashed, not as a game, but as a part of Expanded Universe. I didn’t play it, cause my PC was too old around release date of the first part and I lost interest in all TFU production later.
            The Force Unleashed is one of the big problems with Expanded Universe in the last ten years. It retconed almost all rebellion prehistory and created a lot of inconsistencies in lore. Also it’s wrong thematically and shifted the rules about Force. And yeah, it’s all about badassery of the main character, so I don’t even think about it at first. But Starkiller definitely can be a bad example of “gray jedi”, even if he isn’t one really.

          • Idonteveknow says:

            Starkiller is not, and never seemed to be intended to be, a Gray Jedi. He’s just a run of the mill Dark Side Force User that really hates the empire.

            There are other games that give the concept much better treatment.

          • Meriador says:

            Starkiller is a rather poor example to be using as an archetype. I’m going to agree with Idonteveknow in saying that he was more a Sith fighting the Empire instead, and add that he might have started acting more properly Jedi had he not died at the end of the game (canonically). A much better and more accurate archetypal Gray Jedi would be Jolee Bindo, from KOTOR. He didn’t listen to the Jedi Council, and he didn’t commit to either side of the force. That’s a Gray Jedi. You can criticize the idea, and there are definitely criticisms to be had, but Starkiller is an edge case, if he’s an example at all.

  21. trevalyan says:

    Nitpicking this movie to death would be too easy, so let’s start with one thing I loved and a few things I found utterly baffling.

    1) LOVED Kylo Ren. Maybe that is completely rationalized, maybe I am trying too hard to se genius in otherwise staggering idiocy. When Snoke proudly declares that he absolutely knows what Kylo thinks and feels, only to be viciously bisected, it should have come off as the comedic endnote to the existence of a jobber. But if Snoke, Rey, and the audience are instead deceived by Kylo’s “emo, smash my room in a tantrum, I teem with internal conflict” exterior, that might almost redeem the movie.

    Ben Solo kills his master and becomes Supreme Leader while using Rey as bait and betraying her hope that he can be redeemed, all the while showing that feelings can be a shield to conceal your true agenda. I never once thought of Ren’s tantrums as purely performative, but when i realized that he leaves the shattered mask where people can see it, and only wrecks his quarters when someone else can see it? I couldn’t see him any other way. A total badass under a perfectly acted emo surface is an inspired answer to Vader, who LOOKED like an unstoppable and perfectly controlled dark lord, but was alternately a whining child and a remorseful father.

    Themes I hated:

    I) Leadership is not heroics, but calm planning and policy. This attitude suffuses everything Admiral Holdo does, and to a lesser extent defines Leia. I should not have a problem with stable leadership, but the writing here is completely ham handed. Before they go broke patting themselves on the back and chiding Poe for his toxic masculinity: their New Republic is clearly in its death throes after years of their “leadership.” If Poe hadn’t destroyed that dreadnaught, their hideout would have been completely wrecked by an orbital bombardment. And relying on unarmored slow-moving transports that the Empire can’t see because they’re supposedly invisible? Great plan ladies, why didn’t you use it for the med ships? Or does this rely on Plot-Induced Idiocy, where the Empire (sorry, First Order) that broke the Republic and tracks lightspeed jumps effortlessly suddenly can’t detect transport ships? Do the writers even know what the purpose of a scanner is?

    II) Risk and sacrifice are great for Luke and Holdo, but Finn can’t sacrifice himself, even when it stands to have a tangible military impact that will save what is left of the Resistance? Sacrificing an ex-stormtrooper janitor for a Jedi Master is something the Rebellion- sorry, “Resistance”- badly needs to stay remotely viable. Is the lesson “only sacrifice yourself if no one is left to stop you?” It sure as hell isn’t “save the things we love,” unless Admiral Sensible and Luke Fooking Skywalker are just that unlovable.

    III) Not really up for debating this one, as the blog rules go, but I do not think the notion that is a very political and peculiarly partisan film is up for debate. Is it? Should Star Wars be a political allegory?

    • Asdasd says:

      I’m sorry, but it’s 2017 (just about). If you’re making an escapist fantasy and it isn’t a political allegory, be prepared to justify yourself.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      Poe destroyed the Dreadnought [i]after[/i] their hideout had been bombed, got 90% of his command killed doing it, against the direct orders of his superior officer, was completely unrepentant for all the lives he had thrown away. The First Order had others of those dreadnoughts, so it was a useless gesture that he didn’t suffer for that got everyone else killed.

      Poe is a dipshit. He should have spent the rest of the film in a cell. (and if he had most of the resistance would have survived because they could have escaped the cruiser in secret, but he blabbed the plan because he has no clue about opsec).

      • guy says:

        Poe was ordered to break off the attack when it looked like he wouldn’t be able to kill the last turret, though, so the only person who he risked at that point was himself. The bombing run was in accordance with the original plan, and the goal wasn’t to save the base in the first place, since they’d abandoned it. The bombing run did kill it before it could fire its superheavy guns on the cruiser, and that’s the only sensible goal for the attack in the first place.

        So while he did disobey orders (and was promptly demoted) his superiors clearly thought committing their strike craft to destroy the dreadnought after its point defense guns were stripped was a worthwhile endeavour.

        • GloatingSwine says:

          Poe was ordered to break off when the evacuation was completed and it was no longer tactically relevant to attack the Dreadnought because the Resistance could now escape into hyperspace. It wasn’t strategically relevant because the First Order had more and the bombers were more valuable to the Resistance than a single dead ship that the First Order could easily replace.

          It’s worth reading This article about the failings of the rebels and the restistance in comparison to successful and unsuccesful real world analogues.

          What Poe does is what that article is talking about, thinking he’s making a valuable contribution because an enemy ship blew up, when the First Order will always have more ships and so the Resistance should be avoiding military engagement at all costs.

          • Syal says:

            There is the question of why the bombers follow Poe’s orders instead of Leia’s. I guess he was important enough in the last movie to be able to override the Queen?

            • Joshua says:

              Yeah, this whole point became somewhat muddled when he disobeys an order, manages to destroy the last gun turret, and then the rebel bombers are there ready and willing to start their attack. It’s not like he was commanding them at the time, they elected to go on their own/someone else’s orders.

          • ehlijen says:

            Exactly. I see Poe in this movie as very similar to Avatar Korra in her first season: Raised on the stories of the heroism of their predecessors, but with absolutely no understanding of when and how to apply such heroism. In their quest to Save the Day, they often just make things worse, and then blame others for not following the imagined script.

            Poe led a daring suicide attack against the Imperial Big Thing because it’s what the Rebellion did many times. When that doesn’t save the day, he launches a plucky infiltration mission onto the Imperial Big Thing to sabotage the Whatzit, because that’s what the Rebellion did whenever they weren’t busy with the above.
            He apes what he thinks are great leaders without understanding leadership at all.

          • guy says:

            The bombing run was never going to be finished before the dreadnought fired on the base even if everything went flawlessly, so that can’t have been the point. Either they wanted to stop it from firing on the cruiser (which it was charging up to do when it exploded) or they just wanted to kill a dreadnought and presumably expected most of their bombers to survive. I mean, it’s a heavy capital ship; the First Order can’t have that many and the Resistance can reasonably anticipate covert or overt support from the Mon Calamari shipyards among others.

            • ehlijen says:

              The bombers might have made it if the dreadnaught commander hadn’t broken with Imperial tradition and seen the threat for what it was, thus immediately launching all TIEs to counter it. This wasn’t Tarkin (who had infamously dismissed the starfighter threat to his battlestation) , and the dreadnaught wasn’t a loadbearing boss. Leia, as a veteran of the Rebellion when they would use such plans, saw this wasn’t going to work this time, but Poe couldn’t see past his adrenalin.

            • GloatingSwine says:

              No, but if they hadn’t done the bombing run it’s likely the Resistance could have escaped before Snoke’s ship arrived with its hyperspace tracker turned on (which it is likely that Admiral Hux, the only man in space actually dumber than Poe Dameron, was not doing, given that if he had the tactical sense to do that he wouldn’t have been shooting at a base he knows is at least partially evacuated when he could be launching fighters and sending his big ships to overhaul the resistance evac ships whilst they’re waiting for transports to be recovered. The First Order would be doing better if they stuck a set of command bars on a Porg.)

              • ehlijen says:

                Yes, Hux was meant to come across as not much more mature than Ren. That said, a couple of points I think you may be mistaken on:
                Hux is the one who came up with the idea of tracking the Rebel cruiser. Snoke calls him to chew him out for his failure, but Hux weasels out by announcing that ‘he has the resistance on a leash’. We next seem him in Snoke’s throne room with Snoke grinning ‘on a leash indeed’. I don’t know how Hux managed to track the resistance with a sensor on a ship that wasn’t there, but we are clearly meant to know that it was his plan (unless I’m mistaken and the leash was something else. Please tell me if so?)
                Hux also had no accurate intel on the status of the evacuation. Wiping out the base while possibly still catching numerous transports on the ground might not have been a bad idea (maybe they’re harder to hit once moving and have their own hyperdrives?). Personally, like you I think, I’d have fired on the cruiser first as once the base was gone it had no reason to stay, but I don’t think that particular call by Hux was a terrible one.

    • BlueHorus says:

      That interpretation of Kylo Ren is VERY generous to the writers. If JJ Abrams had that twist planned beforehand it would have been hinted at, very explicitly.
      Not that it wouldn’t have been awesome. I just think it’s TOO clever for these writers.

  22. SupahEwok says:

    Year’s. Worst. Anime.

    Except for Luke. Everything about Mark Hamill’s performance was excellent. Yes, even the milk scene. Especially the milk scene. But not his last scene, which pretty much fucks up his entire story in this movie and makes it all pointless.

    So yeah, year’s worst anime.

  23. Emilios Manolidis says:

    Minor inaccuracy: Rian Johnson wasn’t asked if he knew RLM but if he was going to watch their Half in the Bag episode about SW when it would come out.

  24. Steve C says:

    I watched The Force Awakens in the theater. I enjoyed it but wasn’t crazy about it. If someone asked me if it was worth the ticket price I could only say, “Maybe?” Therefore I watched Rogue One on BluRay. I did not pay anything for it and yet I felt ripped off. It was terrible.

    I have no intention to ever see the Last Jedi. Everything everyone has said about it (even the praise!) has turned me completely off it. If I had any second thoughts about that decision, Bob dispelled them with:

    The orchestra swelled into raptures at the slightest excuse, to the point where I found myself irritated by it.

    I have a very low tolerance for music manipulation in a movie. I personally can’t stand it. That alone would be enough to keep me away. With everything else? I think I’m giving up on Star Wars entirely.

  25. Redrock says:

    I thought about it some more and came up with a theory as to why there’s such a disconnect between critics and a portion of the fans. I mean, beyond the usual labelling of everyone who dislikes TLJ as sexists, racists, fanboys, you name it. I can see that the sequels generally appeal to certain sensibilities. Rey’s main problem boiling down to being very talented, but struggling to “find her place in all this” is a very western millenial thing, and might just resonate very well with a lot of modern film critics. And I don’t mean it in a bad way, I must stress. It’s just that the films resonate, perhaps subconciously, with very specific demographics. The idea of ostensibly great older male heroes turning out to be relative failures at later stages of their lives, as compared to older women, who only grow more sensible and wise, can, again be subconciously appealing to some. So these people feel that the new characters’ stories speak to their hopes and fears in a way that variations of the “Hero with a Thousand Faces” template can’t anymore. I don’t think that’s an excuse to overlook some of the glaring flaws of the sequels – like the lack of an actual story – but I can understand that, to a point. So…that’s my attempt to figure out why some people like this thing so much, while I mostly resent it. Because, honestly, that unexplained rift is driving me nuts. More so than the movie itself, in fact. What do you guys think?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I thought about it some more and came up with a theory as to why there's such a disconnect between critics and a portion of the fans.

      The reasoning is usually the simple:Most critics arent that big fans of the series in the first place.And seeing how this movie was manufactured to have a broad appeal,its easy to see how it would appeal to non fans more.

    • Supah Ewok says:

      Nah, man. It’s just Star Wars, and reviewers are human. They lap up hype just as much as the next person. The majority of critical reviews for the prequels were quite high as well, across the board, until a year or so after the last one, where the world had a collective simultaneous “Wait a minute,” moment.

      Public opinion’s gonna shift on these a year after Episode 9 comes out and doesn’t satisfactorily wrap up the trilogy, when peoplr have had a chance to get over their denial. I’d bet on it, if there was a betting service available on that sort of thing. Then again, maybe the Disney machine will keep the hype alive for years to come.

      But no matter what, I think Disney’s gonna ease up on the gas pedal for throwing one of these things out every year. TLJ and Rogue 1, no matter anybody’s opinion on them as pieces of entertainment, have undeniable structural problems. They needed half a year’s more time to bake, at least. With the two of them in a row, and Solo’s now notorious production difficulties, it’s gonna be tough for them not to. Despite an avid fanbase (that I don’t think is deserved, but that’s my opinion) and high critic scores keeping the box office moolah flowing, those are finicky things that are best not tested to their limits, lest they turn. We’re already seeing that danger among the fanbase this year.

      • Redrock says:

        Dunno, if anyone isn’t supposed to buy into the hype, it’s the critics. But hey, I used to owrk as a film critic back when TFA released and gave that movie a thumbs up, so you may well be onto something there.

        But still, I think it’s deeper than that, if only because critics keep writing essays defending TLJ, praising it for going above and beyond, and dismissing those critical of the movie as angry fanboys. And I just don’t get it. At the end of the day, Rian Johnson, whose work I love, has always been more of a style over substance kind of guy, all genre for the sake of genre. Which is fine. But you can’t really do that to a beloved franchise.

    • Shamus says:

      It could also be due to the short time reviewers have to do their jobs. When I walked out of the theater I was really happy with the movie, aside from (as others have said) the overlong bits. I felt that all the movie needed was for an editor to go in and shave 20 minutes or so off of it.

      But the more I’ve thought about the movie, the more bits I find that bug me. My opinion of the movie has gone down over time.

      The problems with TFA were obvious. (It’s too self-consciously a re-hash.) The problems with TLJ are deeper and more complicated. It’s got serious structural flaws and it’s a complete mess in terms of themes. It works as a fire-and-forget summer blockbuster, but it can’t hold up as a classic because underneath the fanservice, the jokes, the wonderful FX, the adorable Porgs, and the great scenery is a movie filled with confusing messages and ideas that don’t pay off.

      • Supah Ewok says:

        Yup. I might’ve been in the same boat, but too many of my online friends dropped the message of bad writing, even without spoiling the plot. I went in with the best of intentions to keep that from filtering my viewing of the movie, but of course it did; I had very little tolerance for the many, many bad pieces of plot and narrative, and for the handful of pieces of bad dialogue.

        And I’d only skimmed the tip of the iceberg while viewing it. While discussing with those same online friends, we kept find more and more and more. It got to the point that I had to quit talking about the movie, cuz after 12ish hours of discussion over the week I [i]still[/i] felt like there was plenty of iceberg left.

        I call it a fractal of bad plot.

      • Redrock says:

        That might be. My girlfriend straight-up hated the movie from the get-go, and at first I actually argued with her, defending the movie. And I remember liking a lot of TFA. But then I sat down to really think about the story overall and discovered that nothing really works as it should.

        Amarsir said it best – there doesn’t seem to be an actual story that they want to tell. And in proper JJ Abrams fashion, for a very long time the promise of a story was enough. But after TLJ I think I just figured out that no story is coming. Nothing meaningful or satisfying can come of this.

        Also, screw the magic Dark Side cloaka. That was quite probably the last damn straw that broke this particular camel’s back.

      • Joshua says:

        In retrospect, it reminds me a lot of The Dark Knight Rises. I realized as I was watching it that there were a significant number of flaws and plot holes, even though I was entertained at the time. After leaving the theater and having several days pass, the more the spectacle dropped away and the more plot holes emerged.

  26. ehlijen says:

    I strongly disagree with many here. I thoroughly, utterly and absolutely enjoyed this movie. I haven’t been this excited to see what happens next since in a movie the finale of ESB. The movie shocks and surprises, but never cheats. Every twist is foreshadowed and revealed ahead of time to observant viewers (and no, that’s not me bragging, I missed several clues entirely and had to be told, and only recognised many after the fact), the characters go through meaningful arcs and there is an underlying theme in everything: Mistakes cost you, but you have to learn and keep going.

    This is Star Wars they way I’ve always wanted it to be: Heroic, but also consequential, fun, but also deep, fast-paced, but with time to reflect, joyful, but also with terrible stakes. I love how it breaks with many cliches and traditions while still being absolutely Star Wars.

    Yes, the movie was a bit too long. But other than shortening some action scenes I’m not sure what could be cut without gutting some character’s arc. For example, I think cutting Kanto Bight even shorter would paradoxically have made it more of a disruption, not less; it needed a minimum of time to actually be something (and it was).

  27. Droid says:

    Of course, there’s silly bits that don’t make any sense. Star Wars always had those. Many of those were already pointed out in the other comments, except for this one:

    Why is the Resistance cruiser the only ship in the movie that has shields? Even more aggravatingly, it has shields that can protect its support ships if they huddle close, while the financially and economically far superior Empire cannot have their capital-ship-mounted gun turrets shielded from fighter fire.

    Of course, there’s all the rest as well, and trying to sort through them all would be more of a hassle imo than really worth it, but if you look beyond that, I think it simply comes down to how much you can relate to the themes in the movie, which I already saw discussed further above. The movie definitely doesn’t have as big of a target audience as it has actual audience in the theaters, for all the good that can do.

    • ehlijen says:

      If the Resistance cruiser’s shields worked against fighters, Ackbar would be alive. The movie was consistent (at least with itself) in that close range fighter attacks did not seem affect much if at all by shields.

    • Syal says:

      I thought the idea was that shields only worked against really long ranges, basically an ad-hoc justification for why every space battle involves dogfights instead of just firing lasers across solar systems. So every ship has shields, but they only worked for the Resistance because they could keep far enough away from the guns.

    • Mistwraithe says:

      Yes, I think the idea is that fighters are often firing from within the range of the shields, effectively they are inside the shields. Of course, that does open the question as to why the fighter doesn’t just blow up when it tries to pass through the shields, but it does also seem fairly well established that most shields don’t stop physical objects passing (except for the shields around the Death Star in Return of the Jedi and that planet in Rogue One, OK, so they they just change the rules whenever they want…)

      • Shoeboxjeddy says:

        Generally, the explanation is that there are different KINDS of shields and if your thing is really fancy (Death Star II and the planet from Rogue One) it might have ALL the types, no matter how expensive or difficult that is to do. Most ships do have some kind of anti laser shield, but it can be overwhelmed by shooting it enough. Hence why the X-Wings explode in fighter combat despite definitely having shields.

  28. poiumty says:

    Yeah, the more I think about this movie, the more nits I find to pick. My biggest gripes with it are twofold: the humor and the lack of anything of note happening. Ask yourself: what did Finn accomplish in this movie, besides blowing up a huge chunk of the Resistance by proxy? He didn’t even manage the final sacrifice properly, because SOMEONE was more interested in saving him than saving a hundred(?) or so people including her.

    It’s a perplexing movie because I don’t hate it, I’m just left with a very lukewarm impression. The good parts can’t hide the bad, and the movie is boring not because of its length (which I didn’t really mind) but because we’re back to the same old tried and true underdog rebels vs big mean space empire that this time doesn’t even make sense. Oh god I’m thinking about it again. Let me stop before I write 3 more tangential paragraphs.

    • ehlijen says:

      Nothing of note happening?
      Finn proves to Rose that he’s not a coward, but actually very brave. He also learns that more than ideology drives this conflict.
      Poe starts to learn that he was a bad leader and how to actually take care of his people.
      Kylo Ren usurps the leadership of the First Order.
      Luke finally faces his failure and gives his last to help fix it as best as he can.
      Rey learns to stand on her own, rather than wait for someone to tell her who she is.
      The Resistance narrowly escapes destruction (which was also the end of ESB).

      And while we’re back to the same rebels vs empire setup, the movie was all about how expecting a retread of the OT was not in the cards. Poe was literally demoted for trying.

      • Galad says:

        Yet the movie made little effort to make me give anything remotely resembling to a damn about any of these new characters.

        Then again, I might be weird for wanting out of Star Wars things it does not and cannot deliver. Strange, alien new races, customs, actual fantasy. No wonder my favorite star wars scenes are “something’s happening at the bar at the edge of the universe” because of the location

        (Yes, I know I’m replying very late here, and hi Shamus! :P )

  29. Dreadjaws says:

    Here are my opinions on the new Star Wars films:

    The Force Awakens: I thought it was above average, but nothing great. It was fun, and yes, it was more or less a rehash of A New Hope, but it was understandable. It introduced new interesting ideas and characters, which gave the new series great potential.

    Rogue One: Hated this one. It’s not just the Star Wars film I dislike the most, it ranks right up there in the top 5 films I despise the most. This movie didn’t just displease me, it made me angry. It’s pure fanservice, it has almost nothing in the way of compelling characters or interesting ideas (save for Chirrut, who certainly deserves a better movie) and it ruins established ones by retconning previous films. It grinds my gears that people attack TFA for being too similar to ANH while defending this one, which is one of the most derivative films in history.

    The Last Jedi: I thought it was OK when walking out of the film, but the more time I spent thinking about it the lower my opinion of it has gotten. At this point I think it’s below average. The main plot is spectacularly devoid of scope, the subplots range from adequate to abysmal, characterization is terrible, the disregard for continuity is puzzling and while not a total rehash it takes too many cues from ROTJ for my liking. The worst part is that it completely does away with every new idea the previous film had introduced (you know, the one part of the film that wasn’t a rehash). It didn’t bring those ideas into interesting places, it outright destroyed them entirely, as if the director had no idea what to do with them.

    Still, like for every Star Wars film, the worst part is easily the fanbase. According to them: If you love this movie, clearly you’re a Disney shill or you just hate Star Wars. If you hate this movie, clearly you hate new ideas or hate that your theories were trashed. You can’t possibly have legitimate reasons, it has to be one of those. Also, there’s no middle ground. You either hate it or love it, you can’t have any other opinion. Ugh.

    • Joshua says:

      Ditto on Rogue One, although my main complaint (and when I stopped liking the film) is that the main character’s story stops making sense once she realizes the rebellion was lying to her and trying to kill her father.

      My largest complaint about TLJ was the disregard for continuity, almost to the point of making fun of fans for expecting it. This goes beyond Star Wars, and you’ve seen a ton of fandom for stuff like Twin Peaks, X-Files, Lost, etc. where the audience/fandom is basically saying “Yes, please give us a grand story with continuity, foreshadowing, and a bunch of intricate parts that show a grand vision. Please give us something where it shows that you had a plan and wanted to tell us a deep story, not that you were just making it all up as you went along. We’ve been burned so many times before!” (side note, one reason why I think A Song of Ice and Fire is so popular, because it largely achieves this even though GRRM has confessed to being a “gardener vs. an architect”.

      And then in The Last Jedi not only does Rian Johnson show once again that there’s no greater plan (he full-out confessed this on Twitter), the movie almost mocks people for wanting or expecting this in the story. They should be satisfied with emotional moments and “deep” thoughts, not continuity, developed character arcs, or an overlapping story, dammit!

      • Max says:

        This gets worse, when you consider that the OT also didnt have it. But then it was novel had one central idea the rise of Luke Skywalker.

        But then we were shown the Prequels, which had an overlapping story arc, but were sadly diminished by too much George Lucas.

        I think most people hoped to get a synthesis of OT & Prequels now but instead they got MTV-inspired drivel that has no time to self-reflect and also forgot how to tell a story.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          The OT also didn’t build itself to the promise of one. A New Hope works just fine as a stand-alone film. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or with major teases about Luke’s parents still left floating. Sure, the Empire was still there, but that was fine. A New Hope didn’t need to defeat the Empire once and for all to tell its story, just destroy the superweapon they’d built. What happened after that was entirely open- it didn’t set up a definite direction the next movie had to take with questions that it needed to answer without any idea what those actually were.

  30. Griffin says:

    I was miffed at dramatic dialogue between Rey and Kylo being interrupted by a “shirtless boys are gross” joke. It was something like having a pie-in-the-face gag immediately after Luke learns that Vader is his father.

    It happens that literally immediately before reading this article, I watched this video hammering that same point regarding many other recent movies:

    What Writers Should Learn From Wonder Woman

    Throwing jokes in the middle of what should be sincerely meaningful moments is just lethal to any film that isn’t a comedy or parody. The filmmakers don’t believe in their own story, and you the audience member feel like a sucker if you did. (Disclaimer: haven’t seen TLJ, just making a general point.)

    • Droid says:

      Some people find this technique funny, others can’t stomach it. I’ve been in the latter camp for most of my life, but can kind of excuse it if the humour is good. It mostly wasn’t. That’s why people complain about it.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        It works when it’s understated an naturalistic. Also, the humor needs to work with the moment rather than undercut it and deflate the emotions. When Guardians of the Galaxy had those moments they worked very well because they were in-character, and fit the theme of these being misfits coming together in the face of a powerful evil.

        In the TLJ the humor was so at odds with the tone, setting, pacing, and everything else that even in the moments where humor should have worked it didn’t. Luke is supposed to be a bitter old recluse, only agreeing to teach Rey in order to show her why the Jedi were wrong. So, obviously, he plays a goofy joke on her? Oh, and all of the alien creates are some kind of semi-intelligent Disney sidekick animals.

        • Droid says:

          It’s absurd and staggering and defying immersion. Have had a few DnD sessions around that type of humour, and there are more on YouTube. Not all people seem to have a problem with this particular facet of TLJ’s jokes.

        • ehlijen says:

          Luke pranking Rey was supposed to be, and is, cruel mockery, and was perfectly in character for a cranky old man. She shows a lack of understanding, and he is supposed to give her that understanding. Instead, he mocks her for not knowing already what he has to teach.

          It fits perfectly into his reluctance to do this at all, and his unwillingness to actually face his responsibilities.

          • Shoeboxjeddy says:

            Literally the first thing Yoda does to Luke in Empire is funny, annoying pranks. I feel like there’s a lot of hypocrisy in criticism of TLJ where it’s like “No, it’s only okay when the one I liked did it!”

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Not really hypocrisy,just disconnect.Sure,the last time luke was on screen was decades ago,but fans have rewatched those movies days or even hours before going to the new one.To them,practically no time passed between luke celebrating victory and talking with rey,while for him it has been a bunch of years.So its kind of hard to reconcile the two,even though luke has definitely changed a lot since the old days.

              • ehlijen says:

                That is kind of a mistake, then. Several decades have passed for Luke, decades filled with triumph, failure, and let’s not forget, hanging out with Han and Leia, who have both shown sarcastic tendencies from the get go. Not acknowledging that and expecting ROTJ Luke but with grey hair is…not how people work, and would have been less interesting.

            • Bloodsquirrel says:

              Yoda was not introduced as a bitter, angry man who wanted the Jedi to disappear. Yoda was still full of hope and optimism. And even after he gets more serious, he’s still an oddball little guy. Yoda’s pranks work because they’re establishment of character. Luke crashes into the swamp, and this weird little alien appears to bother him by taking his food and his flashlight and hitting R2-D2 with a stick. But he’s also saying things like “Great warrior? Wars not make one great.” foreshadowing that there’s something more to him. The scene also shows Luke’s forbearance in the face of this little pest. Yoda was already teaching Luke.

              Hell, Luke wasn’t a prankster even in his early, more carefree years. The moment is entirely out of character.

              His pranks also served a purpose in the story- Yoda is testing Luke, letting him get despondent and teaching him a lesson about the assumptions he makes about people. The moment when Yoda drops the act has dramatic payoff. Yoda’s behavior fits the theme of the character and the movie perfectly.

              Luke’s prank has no purpose. It doesn’t make sense given his attitude. He’s already annoyed and impatient, so he’s going to waste even more time screwing around? If you cut it completely from the film it would it would miss nothing.

              The “this other movie did something vaguely similar in a completely different context, style, and form” is a weak, lazy defense. Not being able to tell why a dick joke works in South Park but not in the climactic scene of Lord of the Rings is how bad writing happens.

              • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                Yoda full of hope and optimism? Uh… no I have to disagree. Watch that section again. Yoda:
                -is disappointed with Luke as their last hope and argues to NOT train him (Luke does the same to Rey)
                -mocks Luke’s understanding of the Force and the world around him (Luke does the same to Rey)
                -ultimately is in favor of lying to Luke about Vader’s identity so that he can be the Jedi’s assassin without pesky knowledge kicking around his head like “we want you to kill some of your only living family for us please”
                -admits that Luke COULD save his friends, but encourages him to leave them to die instead.

                He’s not really a beacon of hope in any sense of the term.

                So then we turn to Luke in TLJ. His motivation at the start is that he wants zero additional responsibilities. He considers himself a failure in the worst way and is simply waiting to die. His first interactions with Rey are all based around the theme of “you will not get what you want here, you don’t even know what you’re asking for, I am not your destined teacher, and you don’t know who I am, not really.” So when she presents him with Anakin’s lightsaber, he chucks it in a shockingly dismissive way. When she praises him, he insults her. When she says they need him, he points out that one person won’t magically save the day against a huge army. Finally, when he agrees to train her, the idea is still to crush her, just in a more detailed way. “If she knows the truth, she won’t think about saving the day or my riding to the rescue anymore.” The joke about “feel the Force” is him being short tempered. He wants her to reach out with the Force (since this is Jedi training) and she just literally reaches out with her hand. Him snapping on her there is a warning to pay attention and use her head, it’s funny to the audience, but not to Rey. And to him, it’s bitterly amusing if anything.

                • Bloodsquirrel says:

                  Yoda is willing enough to train Luke that he starts off from the beginning. Right before he reveals to Luke who he is he’s asking Luke why he wants to be a Jedi, trying to lay the philosophical foundations of his training. It’s Luke’s impatience that tries Yoda, and even then he still wants to be convinced to do it. He could have just told Luke to get lost, and never even told him who he was. Instead he reaches out to Obi-Wan for help. He makes a few brief excuses, but it’s almost more about getting Luke to show that he’s committed than it is Yoda really not wanting to train him.

                  Yoda shows no doubts about the old ways of the Jedi. From the beginning he’s teaching Jedi philosophy with a sense of wonder and reverence. He’s open about the dangers of the dark side, but not fatalistic about them. Pushing Luke not to go rescue his friends is part of the ideology of putting aside personal attachment that he’s lived under his entire life.

                  Luke does not snap on Rey. “Not with your hand, idiot,” would be him snapping. Instead he prolongs the moment of nonsense by tickling her hand with a piece of grass. Not only is it out of character for Luke now, but it’s always been out of character for Luke. Luke has always been impatient, eager to get things done now. I just re-watched those first scenes between him and Yoda, and the dynamic wonderfully informs both characters. Yoda tells Luke that he’ll take him to the Jedi Master he’s looking for, but they should eat first. Luke can’t stand it. How close is Yoda? Why are they wasting their time? They should be going now.

                  Luke being short with Rey would make sense. Him being frustrated with her makes sense. Him wasting both of their time with pranks does not.

                  • Shoeboxjeddy says:

                    Luke is showing impatience through sarcasm. It’s like when Leia says Han is brave for showing up to the Death Star in the Millenium Falcon, she’s actually saying that his ship is a piece of shit. It’s a… mean joke. People say or do those some times, no matter what they’re feeling. Did people think it was “tonally out of place” for Leia to be making jokes moments after being tortured and watching her planet explode? No… they did not. Only the new films draw flack for mixing tones in different scenes somehow.

                    And with the prequels in mind, Yoda IS showing doubts by saying that being a warrior doesn’t make you great, when the prequel Jedi were ALL about being warriors to the point where they were literal generals in the army.

          • Naota says:

            I was about to say: in the entire movie, this joke was about the only one I did like. It’s all the others I think match your description.

  31. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I finally saw the movie. My verdict- worse than the prequels.

    I hated the humor. It was all so artificial, so poorly placed and timed, so disharmonious with whatever adjacent elements of the movie were trying to accomplish, and usually required the movie to stop to a grinding halt for a scene that had no other purpose other than a lame gag.

    I hated the sheer haphazardness of the construction. Poe is supposed to be learning a lesson, and it makes no sense. This is a universe where the actions of a few brave, plucky heroes have saved the galaxy on multiple occasions, and the supposed lesson here is “Don’t take risks when you’re a rag-tag rebellion, even when it’s that or meekly face being wiped out”. We have an entire sequence involving sneaking away from our fleet that’s being desperately pursued (why not evacuate the resistance leaders if you can do that?) to go on a silly adventure in space Monte Carlo that keeps interrupting the slower paced, tense interaction between Rey and Luke. We have an admiral who comes off as Leia having put one of her crafts fair buddies in charge of a ship.

    I hated the trite hallmark catchphrases and speeches. Good job, Rose. If a space ghost hadn’t come to save you the entire resistance would be dead. But, yeah, totally babble on about protecting people you care about. Go ahead spout motivational poster bullshit to “teach” Poe a lesson about how his plan to save the fleet while getting nobody killed was reckless or something while your plan got most of the transports blown up. Hey, you guys know that there are two powerful force users on that ship, right?

    I hated Rose, a character with zero charisma, chemistry with anybody else, or really any point at all other than to give Finn a partner for a part of the movie that was unnecessary anyway.

    The movie had a few good moments and ideas. I liked Luke and his crisis. I liked his deconstruction of the Jedi myth, and Rey’s search for truth within it. The movie needed more of that, but instead it was buried under a mountain of shit.

    • Grampy_bone says:

      When Mark Hamil started trashing it I knew it was a disaster.

      There was a poster here on the GoT threads who pointed out ASoIaF is a “Coward’s denigration of the idea of bravery.” This movie is the same thing; it’s another “deconstruction” but it seems to be fundamentally driven by envy and spite. Rian Johnson doesn’t understand what courage, bravery, sacrifice, and heroism are, so they must be bad and flawed. It’s nihilism.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        That could at least stand in a work that was dedicated to those ideas, but putting them in Star Wars means creating something that is broken by its own continuity.

        This is a setting where at least three planet-destroying super-weapons have been destroyed by the kind of bravery that TLJ holds in contempt. The galaxy was saved by plucky bands of heroes taking risks and sacrificing themselves. This is your actual history. It is a matter of fact that this is what saves the day in your universe. You can’t just suddenly start preaching about how badwrong it is.

        The more I think about the movie the more I hate it.

        • GloatingSwine says:

          It’s a setting where three planet destroying weapons have been destroyed and it hasn’t helped.

          Hell, the first Death Star being destroyed was such a minor inconvenience for the Empire they were able to build another bigger one to 3/4 completion inside three years in complete secret.

          • trevalyan says:

            And because they have apparently learned nothing, built an even more expensive capital installation years later. Maybe the Resistance fleet was only decimated when the Empire decided to just sink the money into regular ships?

            I get the idea that not every heroic charge is worth making. No one’s arguing that. If a number of bombers is not a good exchange for a particularly strong capital ship capable of planetary bombardment, what is? A FOURTH Death Star? Or are those bombers there to look pretty on a landing strip until a bombardment blows them to pieces?

            Now that I think about it, the Resistance is in even more dire straits than after Hoth. Their veteran operatives fit comfortably on a light freighter, their ships were mostly blown apart by an Imperial fleet, and no allies came- that is, unless you count the assets that betrayed them. It’s ludicrous to claim the galaxy just has to get “woke” enough to mount a spontaneous overthrow of the First Order… and yet, that is certainly going to be the plot of Episode 9.

            I don’t spend terribly much time figuring out fantasy logistics, though, and particularly not here. The Resistance has hit its absolute nadir by writer fiat, and will spontaneously grow a military fleet by writer fiat.

            • GloatingSwine says:

              The point is that all of the bombers you have are not a good trade for one ship that the enemy have several more of and which they will trivially replace.

              Successful asymmetric warfare relies on force preservation above all, fighting wars of attrition against an enemy which has massively greater resources than you is how resistances lose.

              Trying to fight like a conventional military has always been the Rebels’ problem though. They were within seconds of complete destruction in ANH because their secret base was suddenly not so secret, and all they did was move to another secret base.

              They shouldn’t even have had a secret base, they should have been in disparate cells hidden among populations like actual guerilla forces.

              • trevalyan says:

                Resistance movements don’t always lose wars of attrition. American losses in Vietnam and Iraq are partly due to the fact that America’s losses, which were trivial by WWII or Civil War standards, were unsustainable. I’m just stipulating that all of the heavy bombers (eight) are worth a cap ship. Destroying an American aircraft carrier, for instance, would be a political scandal that would bring down a government which is (presumably) more popular than the First Order after slaughtered the Republic capital of Hosnian Prime. If the Empire can absorb limitless losses of personnel and material WHILE committing planetcide, that indicates a level of popularity that will doom the Resistance with more surety than a dozen siege dreadnoughts.

                But fine, let’s stipulate that the Resistance needs to keep their ships intact for an epic battle. If the decision to ram the Supremacy with an abandoned heavy cruiser was taken at the start of the battle rather than the end, not only could all the other Resistance troops escape, but they would get away with their extremely valuable ships as well. It’s not the best outcome, but the Resistance needs ships to stop Siege Destroyers and Death Stars. Otherwise planets have incentives to stamp out any Resistance support before they are destroyed entirely. If Siege Destroyers can be easily replaced while the war continues… well, it might be time for the Resistance to give up, before millions of innocent lives suffer for following them.

                • GloatingSwine says:

                  No, the Resistance doesn’t need to keep their ships intact for an “epic battle”, they need to keep their personnel intact and their ships so they can raid infrastructure and poorly defended military sites, being a persistent thorn in the First Order’s side whilst making them look weak and ineffectual because they can’t protect their own assets.

                  The Resistance doesn’t need to stop siege destroyers and death stars at all, they need to be sufficiently amorphous as an enemy that siege destroyers and death stars are useless for attacking them, meaning that every time those things are used there are more rebels not less.

                  • Bloodsquirrel says:

                    If the First Order can replace Super Capital ships with no problems, then attacking minor military bases that aren’t even important enough to defend isn’t going to hurt them at all.

                    • Matt Downie says:

                      Doesn’t matter – what the rebellion needs is symbolic victories to send the message to the galaxy that resistance is not futile. There are a trillion potential rebels out there, but they need hope.

              • Bloodsquirrel says:

                The point is that all of the bombers you have are not a good trade for one ship that the enemy have several more of and which they will trivially replace.

                If they can trivially replace a dreadnought then your bombers were worthless in the first place because there simply isn’t a purpose that they can serve that hurts the enemy.

                Resistances do not win by putting force preservation above all. They have to cause attrition loses, because they’re never going to have the chance to defeat the enemy through one big set-piece battle. And inflicting those losses is always costly. Resistances win by being willing to suffer more than their enemies. Picking their battles is very important, but taking down a dreadnought with the loss of only a few bombers is the perfect example of what a Resistance needs to strive for.

                The Rebels/Resistance’ obsession with having major military bases is pretty foolish (or, at very least, why isn’t this base of theirs in the outer rim?), since it makes it too easy for the Empire/First Order to force them into a battle on unfavorable terms, but given the situation that Poe was in, he made the right call and got results that real life resistance groups rarely get anything close to.

                • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

                  The point is that all of the bombers you have are not a good trade for one ship that the enemy have several more of and which they will trivially replace.

                  If they can trivially replace a dreadnought then your bombers were worthless in the first place because there simply isn't a purpose that they can serve that hurts the enemy.

                  That’s actually one of the biggest problems of the “new” SW franchise.

                  ANH opening crawl states that there is a Civil War between Galactic Empire and Rebellion. Empire has an ultimate weapon, which is a substitute for a nuclear bomb in a galaxy far far away. And Rebels stole plans of it, for some reason to make it less ultimate as a result of first victory.

                  We can try to guess what amount of resources and power each side has.

                  And here is TFA. There is no established conflict. There are First Order, that has risen from the Empire, some Republic and Resistance, that has been led by Leia. And Luke here is a key person to solve all problems (and then he died in TLJ and nothing happens).

                  There is not even a clue about power or purpose of each side. And based on information from previous SW and TFA itself, we can make assumption that First Order is a rogue terrorist group with little resources and Republic rules the galaxy (what is resistance?).

                  Then it all turned upside down in TFA and goes even further in TLJ. Republic is nonexistent. First order has semi-unlimited army and fleet and built planet-size weapon. And Resistance has scarce resources and limited personnel.

                  We can’t understand what status and resources each side has, same thing goes for goals (except each side want to win and defeat other). This problem turned new lore into mess in a first place.

                • Blake says:

                  “If they can trivially replace a dreadnought then your bombers were worthless in the first place because there simply isn't a purpose that they can serve that hurts the enemy.”

                  It’s about timing.
                  Destroying a dreadnaught when there’s a bunch of other ships chasing them gains them nothing.
                  Destroying a dreadnaught that is stopping an potential planets evacuation plans gains them a planet worth of allies.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            Hasn’t helped? It prevented them from wiping out the resistance and blowing up more planets. After the destruction of the second Death Star the Empire fell.

            A failure of political leadership afterward does not mean that the heroics that gave it a chance were to blame.

            • GloatingSwine says:

              No. Hasn’t helped at all, the Emperor fell on the second Death Star, but it turns out the Empire as an institution was significantly more resilient than that and the Republic never managed to rid itself of Imperial revanchinsts nor did it adequately position itself to combat them.

              Instead they thought the problem was fixed, disarmed themselves, and then got blown up because planet killing superweapons sprout like weeds and blowing them up is about as effective as chopping the stalks off and leaving the roots.

              • Bloodsquirrel says:

                “You got me 90% of the way to winning, but then I choked on my own spittle and lost so you didn’t really do anything useful at all” is loser’s logic.

                Of course blowing up the Death Star didn’t solve all of your problems. But it solved the biggest and most dangerous of them, and if fixing your biggest and most dangerous problems doesn’t help you then you’re simply beyond help.

                Poe is a fighter pilot, and he’s accomplished everything that a fighter pilot could reasonably be expected to accomplish and more besides. Leia is the political leader, and if she’s been repeatedly failing to use such victories to advance their political agenda then she, the supposed level-headed voice of reason here, is the failure and the resistance’s real problem. Poe should have never been put in the cockpit of an X-wing in the first place, because Leia has no idea of what she’s trying to gain by putting him there.

            • ehlijen says:

              Failure of the political system? From what I’m given to understand in the movies, the New Republic was established and controlled much of the galaxy for decades. Saying that destroying the death stars didn’t help because the First Order arose decades later is like saying preventing the cold war from going nuclear didn’t help because NK now has nukes.

              It absolutely helped because things would be even worse otherwise. Making things better and making things perfect are not the same.

      • Joshua says:

        I’d disagree with that ASoIaF interpretation. The written works have actually celebrated themes of bravery and honor, they just make a point of saying being heroic won’t *automatically* make you win and succeed, but it’s still the right thing to do. GRRM’s “Knight of the Seven Kingdom” stories are really good at showing this.

        They sometimes remind of the themes of TV’s Angel: If nothing that we do matters (it won’t change anything in the long run), the only thing that matters is what we do.

      • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

        Warning: I’m EU fan and not a native english speaker.

        Actually TLJ is a deconstruction on purpose. There is a clear message in movie “The past must die”. And Rian Johnson said somwhere:

        It would have stopped any of these scenes dead cold if he had stopped and given a 30-second speech about how he’s Darth Plagueis. It doesn’t matter to Rey. If he had done that, Rey would have blinked and said, ‘Who?’ And the scene would have gone on. [pause] And I’m not saying he’s Darth Plagueis!

        The goal of this deconstruction is to throw away all previous Star Wars, episodes and EU both, to force people stop complaining about everything, like “It was in ANH”, or “Zahn wrote about it and it was better”. Previous franchise elements don’t matter to characters, so they also don’t matter for all the people, working on new products, new fanbase and target audience.

        Also TLJ may be a response to people who find The Force Awakens too similar to A New Hope. But it’s a failure, TLJ trying too hard to be an opposite to old trilogy, but brings nothing new. Plot holes, inconsistencies and shallow one-dimensional characters make it even worse.

        • Rodyle says:

          The goal of this deconstruction is to throw away all previous Star Wars, episodes and EU both, to force people stop complaining about everything, like “It was in ANH”, or “Zahn wrote about it and it was better”.

          Which is a stupid move. People are still going to do this, but now have the added benefit of this move being another thing to complain about.

          Previous franchise elements don't matter to characters, so they also don't matter for all the people, working on new products, new fanbase and target audience.

          This is not how sequels work though. You cannot just say: “what happened before doesn’t matter, so stop bringing it up”. It’s a sequel. We expect continuity between films, and that the themes of previous movies are respected. How insane would it have been if in the last LotR film it turns out that if Frodo had just given the ring to Aragorn he would’ve just beaten Sauron at fisty-cuffs?

          • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

            Which is a stupid move. People are still going to do this, but now have the added benefit of this move being another thing to complain about.

            I agree with you on that, but some people think that it’s a good move and that deconstruction is necessary for the franchise to grow and evolve.
            In my opinion, a problem here is that hardcore/old fanbase is a minority of the audience. So Disney aims to build a new fanbase and tells the old one “Enjoy or sod off”.

        • Matt Downie says:

          The guy in TLJ who said “the past must die” was the villain. That’s normally a sign that we’re not supposed to agree with it.

          • Trystan de Lyonesse says:

            The guy in TLJ who said “the past must die” was the villain. That's normally a sign that we're not supposed to agree with it.

            Luke said something similar. And insane lightning-casting Yoda force-ghost said something about it too.

  32. Kazeite says:

    You… liked Rogue One? The one which craps all over A New Hope? The one with wooden main character whose mission makes no sense, and who spends most of the movie being told what to do? The movie with obviously staged set pieces and comically inept stormtroopers, even by SW standards? That movie?

    Okay.

    But, I dunno, I liked TLJ. It’s not perfect, sure, but… I liked the jokes, and character motivations made sense to me, as did their character arcs. Poe needed to learn that the Resistance can’t afford to fight the war of attrition, etc…

    Oh! And Rey has actually failed to convince Kylo to join the Light Side, so she’s not a Mary Sue! So there! ;D

  33. Nate Winchester says:

    Ironic to see the man who so nitpicks Game of Thrones to death giving star wars a pass for an even weaker outing.

    This movie was – AT BEST – the equal of Episode 2 (Attack of the Clones). Still not as bad as Episode 1 nor the Holiday Special but plenty bad. The writer couldn’t keep his own rules consistent, constantly undercuts his own aims and doesn’t have anything actually happen. Oh there’s an illusion that things happen, but nothing does.

    This movie should have been 30 minutes long.

    • Guile says:

      >Nothing happened

      Except for the First Order’s leadership being decapitated and replaced, the Last Hope Of The Galaxy Luke Skywalker evaporating into the Force, multiple First Order dreadnaughts being cut in half and the rebellion’s last ship(s) of note going on a suicide run leaving the rebellion reduced to the contents of the Millennium Falcon.

      The setup for the movie was pretty dumb (the First Order instantly conquering the galaxy by shooting four planets), but there’s a lot to like in it too.

      • Nate Winchester says:

        Except for the First Order's leadership being decapitated and replaced,

        Only it was leadership the audience never saw on screen. As far as the audience ever saw, Hux & Kylo were in charge and making decisions with 1 exception. So by the movie’s end… Hux & Kylo are in charge.

        the Last Hope Of The Galaxy Luke Skywalker evaporating into the Force,

        You seem to be forgetting the rule of movies/tv: If it’s not on screen, it doesn’t really happen. Luke was talked about but never seen in previous movies, so by the end of this one… he’s talked about and will no longer be seen. So again we’re back to where we started.

        multiple First Order dreadnaughts being cut in half and the rebellion's last ship(s) of note going on a suicide run leaving the rebellion reduced to the contents of the Millennium Falcon.

        Yeah, shame they didn’t have any other ships that could have been turned into a lightspeed bullet earlier to save a larger contingent… oh wait.

        Not a helpful point when the one thing that SORT of happens only does so because of an idiot plot.

        there's a lot to like in it too.

        The transformers movies are pretty to look at too. But they also require one to shut their brain off to enjoy.

  34. Bignorsewolf says:

    This is a post modern star wars. (spoilers ahoy)

    I am not a fan.

    Post modernism is a rejection of metanarratives. In this case, the ideas that the story needs to have some sort of coherent overall message, adhere to any sort of internal logic, or have the characters meaningfully to anything to advance the plot or show the overall message. that they’re telling the audience about. Its perfectly fine to show the audience an apple and tell them it’s a banana because reality is so last millennium and is like, the tool of the man. Or something.

    Poe is told that he can’t solve all of his problems in the cockpit and that he shouldn’t have gone after the dreadnaught . That he can’t just throw peoples lives away. What is shown is that he’s incredibly effective in the cockpit but has the leadership ability of a magic 8 ball. He sends his troops out to slow down the first order, then dithers and calls them back for no reason.

    Because Poe has no way of knowing the Luke ex Machina is on the way with a backdoor way out holding the door is a legit suicide mission. This is star WARS. Space wizards with laser swords or not this is a war and in war people die. If you get thirty people turned into ceiling sausage at a boyscout jamboree you have screwed up in a truly epic fashion. If you get 30 people killed taking down an aircraft carrier you get a medal. Victory for Poe is not measured in lives saved but minutes bought for the people inside to send the signal and get help.

    But none of that matters. None of what is actually shown as happening matters because the story needs to send a message, and will do so regardless of whats happening. We are told Poe needs to not get as many people killed to achieve an objective so that’s what he does. And it works out, because thats what he was told.

    We are told that Admiral Holdo knows what she’s doing. Not only that, but the whole Poe arc is based on the idea that he should have trusted her. What we’re shown is a plan that should have by all rights fallen apart in 60 seconds.

    We’re going to keep going at sub light speeds.

    Their Tie fighters can catch us and blow up our bridge and our shuttle bay. But can’t do anything unless they’re supported. Somehow. Maybe emotionally? Kylo ren can’t be more than half a lightyear away from his teddybear? We are shown they’re effective WHILE we’re seeing that they don’t.

    None of their ships can catch us at sublight speeds.

    and then none of them will FTL around us to cut us off.

    OH! And they won’t call in any reinforcements.

    THEN i’m going to violate the laws of physics and do an FTL ram into the ships, which kinda makes any other sort of ship to ship combat obsolete. But it will look awesome.

    We’re going to sneak away in cloaked shuttles when they scan the debris for our bodies, but they won’t SCAN for cloaked shuttles. because reasons. Oh, and those now supported tie fighters won’t come out and look at us through the window.

    Oh, and we have a shuttle on board that can FTL to any planet we want undetected, but we’re not going to use it to sneak anyone away just in case this goes sideways.

    That… isn’t a plan. Its a bucket full of wishful thinking about what other people will do for.. reasons. That’s not something a character gets to control, that’s something the author decides and the roles are mixed up here.

    The problem isn’t just that the plan is terrible, its that the white bronco chase through the stars has to support the narrative weight of Poe’s character arc and it falls parsecs short of that.

    Rose saving Fin is almost as bad. you’re going to win by saving what you love not killing what you hate but… that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that’s happening. There were 12 super at at walkers just standing over the thing the at at walkers were there specifically to guard and they don’t shoot because…. Rose needs to be shown to be right.

    The film doesn’t just fail on it’s own, it tries to drag the trilogy and the rest of star wars down with it.

    I get that in the original series Luke was special and that sort of wish fulflilment was played up. He was so good he went through what we were told normally takes years of training in a few months. He didn’t go to jedi college he went to jedi boot camp. But dear gods at least we saw him do SOMETHING to learn what he was doing. Rey just knows how to lightsaber. Because. Training? You don’t need any training. Its a thing in star wars, so it has to be tossed out.

    At least take the light saber and weld it onto the staff. She has every reason to know how to use that, its symbolic of joining old and new franchises, and since you’re inspired by japanese movies anyway a laser naginata is a perfect weapon.

    Faster than light ramming would be cool! … Yes. That scene was admittedly awesome. Spectacular. But it also undercuts the entire series. Why on earth would you even build a star ship the size of Rhode island if it can be taken out by the love boat with a hyper drive? Why build a death star if you can have a FTL drive the size of a thermos slam into a planet and rip out its core?

    Its the middle part of the trilogy. But its going to tear down everything that the first movie bult towards without replacing it with anythiing. All the hints from movie 1 that rey was connected to someone ? Gone. Who’s snoke? Gone. Subverting expectations is fine IF you replace them with something.

    This film not only doesn’t do that it doesn’t seem to even think that having something there is worth doing.

    • Nate Winchester says:

      Bravo!

      The worst is that the movie wants to tell us Poe has an arc, but then shows us that he was right all along. It’s so postmodern it’s undercutting itself.

      Why build a death star if you can have a FTL drive the size of a thermos slam into a planet and rip out its core?

      See: Dark Empire II, one of the first Star Wars comics in the post RotJ era.

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