I’ve been watching/reading a lot of reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and I think that a lot of the backlash from this movie isn’t really justified. Some of it is, but most of what I’ve observed is that the cesspool that is the internet has provided foolish reasons as to why they did not like this movie. So, I’ve compiled what I think are some of the worst and have decided to respond to them. Here we go!
Let me start off by highlighting the valid complaints about this movie, because it’s certainly not a perfect movie.
- The Length. This movie is two and a half hours long. That’s… quite long. It can get fatiguing. It’s hard to find things in this movie that you could cut out – maybe small moments, like Chewbacca talking to with the Porgs, or something like that. You’d make a shorter movie, but not that much shorter.
- Related to number one: The Pacing. This movie feels like it should end when the Resistance arrives at the planet, and then, the whole showdown with the Battering Ram cannon (or whatever dumb name they gave to it) is basically like a whole other climax and rising action. And as soon as that rising action begins again, that’s when you begin to feel the length of the movie.
- Admiral Holdo’s Plan: This scene is awesome. When Holdo’s ship cuts through the First Order flee, it’s a huge moment. It’s amazing. the sound cuts out, the visuals are dazzling. It’s absolutely stellar. So the logical question is – why didn’t Holdo tell everyone else what her plan was? If she had been more clear about it, Poe wouldn’t have needed to mutiny, or anything like that. The one reasonable explanation for this is that she hadn’t come up with that plan until moments before, but that seems doubtful.
- Canto Bight is full of contrived obstacles – unlike some people I didn’t hate the Casino planet of Canto Bight. But I didn’t love everything about it; why is Benicio Del Toro’s character in jail if he can just get himself out any time he wants? Why even have Finn and Rose get in the jail if they’re just going to escape without any real consequences? That’s just a little too convenient for my liking.
- Rose(ish) – I really liked Rose Tico! That being said, a lot of the things that she said were a little too on-the-nose for my liking. Her final line of “We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love!” Which feels a little too blunt in a way that sounds like “hey, look at this, this is moral of the story!” It’s a little corny, and reminds me of Rogue One, when seemingly every other word was “hope.”
- Finn started backwards – Finn’s arc in The Force Awakens teaches him not to run away. Then as soon as the next movie starts, what’s going on? First Order’s on the way, and Finn’s trying to run again. Okay so that helps bring Rose Tico into the story, and you get to see how she’s a badass and stuns anyone trying to run away. But isn’t there a way to bring these characters together and show that Rose is a badass in some other way? I don’t know, but probably.
- The Humor – A common complaint is that there’s too much humor. Some of the humor I felt really worked, like Poe using insults to stall Hux and the First Order in the opening sequence. Other times, like with most to Luke’s “jokes,” it tried too hard to add levity to a tense or serious moment (that didn’t always need it.)
So those are some justifiable complaints about this movie. For a lot of critics, this doesn’t totally ruin the movie, and a fair amount have just said “Yeah, it was pretty all right.” I think there’s enough excellent stuff in this movie to offset it and make it a
good great movie.
Much of the internet, however, doesn’t agree with me. I’ve made this post to compile and respond to what I think are some of the least-founded complaints. So, let’s begin.
YouTube Reviewer My Name is Simon thinks “As a Star Wars film [The Last Jedi] was quite bad”
I picked that quote to have at the head of this section because I feel like it encapsulates the fanbase’s narrow point-of-view. A good movie is a good movie. What franchise it is a part of shouldn’t do much to qualify whether you think it’s a good movie. If you find yourself doing that, your point of view is probably tainted.
My Name is Simon’s negative review seems to hinge around Luke Skywalker and the “changes” made to our traditional understanding of Luke. Simon continues the Fake News trend of taking the fact that Mark Hamill initially disagreed with some of the things Rian Johnson had Luke doing as gospel truth to indicate that Mark Hamill hated the movie. Hamill didn’t, but I don’t blame Simon for believing that, because everyone else seems to have.
“[Luke’s momentary desire to kill Ben] sparked Ben’s turn to the dark side. And I think that is so out of character for the Luke Skywalker that we know. He appears to be driven by fear and – I don’t even know what to call it. Fear and a moment of madness. … And yes, it is only a moment, but that’s still out-of-whack with Luke’s character.”
Only it isn’t.
A lot of people seem to have this same criticism – they say that the movie was a disrespect to Mark Hamill and the Luke Skywalker character. “Luke wouldn’t kill Kylo Ren! He held out hope for Darth Vader to turn good and refused to kill him!” But Simon hits the nail on the head as far as this is concerned – it is a moment of madness. The casual viewer might say, “When has Luke ever been driven to moments of madness before? Well, I provide this Return of the Jedi clip for your consideration:
If you watch to the end of that clip, you’ll see Luke gets carried away and almost killed Vader. He doesn’t, of course, but the fleeting temptation is there. It’s no great surprise that Kylo Ren saw some of the same.
“The other thing about Luke is, he dies. And I fundamentally disagree with that. … At this point in the trilogy? Absolutely not. Second film, no. You do not kill of the biggest character in Star Wars in the second film of a trilogy.”
For this, let me point to something that Yoda says in The Last Jedi: “We are what they grow beyond.” This is the point when the story moves on from just being about the Skywalkers to being about the Force. And I think that’s a necessary point for Star Wars. The Skywalkers saga is compelling, but there’s no reason they should be the only main characters
Simon also states that killing Snoke was “ridiculous.” “A lot of the anticipation around this film was ‘Who is Snoke? What’s his backstory?'” I for one didn’t particularly care about Snoke’s identity, probably because all of the fan theories about it were, well, kind of dumb. If you were more excited about that than seeing an old, tired, weary, Luke, then I feel like your priorities aren’t in the right spot.
As someone who has seemingly spent years reading fan theories and poorly crafting a few of my own, I find it necessary to share with the Star Wars fandom a hard truth:
The franchises you watch don’t owe you and your fan theories shit.
A couple more gripes he has that I’d like to address:
“These characters are expected to be big characters… just thrown out the window.” Presumably, he means Snoke, but Snoke being killed by Kylo Ren shows an important moment in Kylo Ren’s arc and a distinct payoff of the conflict in Kylo. “Finn and Rose didn’t make a difference.” No, they didn’t but this is a movie about failure, so to have them fail, y’know, makes sense. “I don’t buy [Rey] as a successor to Luke after only a few days of training. Luke’s not there to guide them.” We’ll likely see Luke as a force ghost. “Leia’s Superman flight back to the ship was so non-Star Wars.” Many Jedi throughout the franchise attempt some kind of superhuman jump, this was not so different.
Since the movie debuted, the My Name is Simon channel has put out 15 videos about it, including his initial review, his second viewing response, a response to someone else’s video and video reviews of eleven – count them, eleven – characters. I watched the initial review, and his second viewing, but I realized that he had said just about everything he needed to say and the rest would just be more of the same.
Rotten Tomatoes has plenty of audience “reviews”
As has been an increasingly frequent point of discussion for movies like Suicide Squad, Rotten Tomatoes’ evaluation of The Last Jedi brought attention to the difference between the way it was received by audiences and critics. A stat you’ve likely heard is that 93% of critics liked it, but only 56% of audience members liked it*. Those numbers have changed slightly, with critics now at 91% and audiences at 51% but the point still stands*. Critics liked it, audiences didn’t.
The beautiful thing about RT is that it will excerpt what every critic has said in their review, helping give context to their selection of “Fresh” or “Rotten.” The audiences on the other hand, leave their entire review in the space that the critics have an excerpt. Below are some of the most negative (and frankly, nonsensical) “reviews” from the audience.
“In Star Wars saga its about Skywalkers. Its started with Anakin, it should end with Luke, not some wonderwoman and funny stormtrooper who had attack of conscience!? Im 40 years old, seen a Return of jedi in 1983 and im so dissappointed where Disney is heading with this gem…” – Mario M (1/2)/5 Star
(That’s Mario M’s whole review by the way. Typos and all.)
Again, the Star Wars fandom can’t seem to move beyond the Skywalkers. Sure, you could have a franchise about a single ancestral line if you had only planned to do six of these movies, but at a certain point, in a whole galaxy full of people, you have to assume that others will eventually come to be the focus of the story. Which, incidentally is the point of the last scene – anyone can use the Force. Movies 1-6 were all about the Skywalkers, but the whole series should be about the Force and the struggle between the Light side and the Dark.
“Felt very sad having seen TLJ. I didn’t expect the surprise i have been teased about would make me grieving the loss of SW. The scenario is not even good, its an accumulation of sorry and poor twists (which by the way destroy all the tracks introduced in 7.)” – Glenn F (1/2)/5 star
Glenn F here also falls under the category of “my theories weren’t satisfied,” but also embodies a recurring complaint: “This movie didn’t answer questions set up by the last one!” But it did. Just not as was expected.
In reference to “poor twists” that disrupt the tracks introduced in Awakens, he presumably means the anti-revelation of Rey’s parentage and Kylo’s betrayal-murder of Snoke. But, in a way, both of these do payoff the plotlines and threads introduced in Awakens. Rey finding out that her parents weren’t significant and won’t be coming back for her is a payoff, not a plot twist. But since it doesn’t payoff in the way that Star Wars has in the past, where she’d find out she’s the daughter of the greatest Jedi, people object.
People say that killing Snoke before we learn who he is doesn’t properly pay off the big “mystery” of who Snoke was. But Snoke’s identity doesn’t fucking matter. Y’know what was a plotline that did matter in Force Awakens? The conflict in Kylo Ren’s spirit. And from a story telling standpoint, getting payoff on that front is far more important than finding out that Snoke’s real name was “John Smith” or “Mace Windu” or whatever it is that Snoke Theorists expected.
“Starting to believe the critics accept money to give good review” – Allan B, 1/5 star
If you think that Disney owns every critic, you haven’t been keeping up with current events. Disney had a huge disagreement with the LA Times earlier this year that shows that they don’t have a perfect relationship with the press. Some critics, maybe those who work for companies like ABC whose parent company is Disney, might be under higher scrutiny not to be critical of the film, but we don’t know for certain.
But sure, everyone who disagrees with your opinion must get paid to do so because you’re objectively correct, right?
Youtuber ufobri can’t understand how Kylo Ren is a compelling villain
According to Ufo Bri, character must remain perfect and badass. They must not fail, they must not have flaws. Anything less than godliness is out of the question.
She criticizes Poe’s failure. Failure, according to Ufo Bri, the movie “ruined Poe’s character” by having his two plans fail. Well of course it did! Poe was established as an unflappable badass in the first movie, right? Only he wasn’t. The first thing Poe does is get captured. The second thing he does is immediately crack under interrogation. Sure, Poe is a badass, but prior failure is a necessary part of being a badass.
In this case, I like to think about Cottonmouth, the villain from the Netflix series Luke Cage. In short, Cottonmouth is a tragic, compelling gangster who tries to exercise the absolute control that media gangsters tend to have over their lives, but still is prone to temper-tantrums and acts like a child. And yknow what? That makes him seem unbalanced and fun to watch. *Spoiler* They eventually replace him with a level-headed supervillain with some connection to the hero, and ultimately, it’s just not as interesting. The show just isn’t as good when Diamondback becomes the main villain.
That’s why I’m excited to see Supreme Leader Ren – a character with extreme power who has the emotional stability of a child and still has something to prove to his followers seems much more interesting than whatever they planned to do with Supreme Leader Snoke.
Luke Buckmaster of the Daily Review somehow thinks the most subversive Star Wars movie is “risk averse”
The Force Awakens was certainly “risk averse.” That’s quite obvious, as the plot essentially retreads the plot of the original movie. And no one could reasonably hold that against Lucasfilm and Disney – faith in the franchise was fairly low after the prequel series, and in order to start off the new trilogy, the only thing that made sense was to make a movie that played it safe and reignited interest.
The Last Jedi certainly did not play it safe. In order to fully grasp how much the movie tried to separate itself from the rest of the franchise, one must consider Empire Strikes Back and the fan community. As I mentioned in reference to the My Name is Simon review, this film flies in the face of the traditional storytelling this franchise has depended on for forty years. It could have been a beat-for-beat Empire clone like Awakens was for the original, but it wasn’t.
Is The Last Jedi committee and studio managed? Almost certainly. But is it risk-averse? Certainly not.
Best of all – YouTuber The Amazing Lucas thinks this movie is full of misandry and socialism
The other reviews on this list I think are misguided or poorly-thought-out. This is the only review I’m including that I think is stupid. In fact, I think The Amazing Lucas is laughably stupid.
The Amazing Lucas says that this film “is just riddled with social justice warrior nonsense … Come on. Every woman’s a superhero? … All men in this film took a backseat to the women to the strong women. Which shove that down our face tine and time and scene and scene again.” He angrily refers to Rey as “essentially Jesus Christ of Star Wars.”
Only, that’s not true (to the extent that she’s invincible and can do no wrong). Most of the characters in this movie fail in some way. Rey does, especially. She tries to convince Luke to train her and fight the First Order – she can’t, and the only thing that makes him come out is Yoda. She tries to convert Kylo Ren from the Dark Side – again, she can’t. The movie pivots around Luke’s failure, but the most important after that is Rey’s failure.
The (Not-so-) Amazing Lucas refers to Leia’s moment of Force-usage as “mind-blowing,” and unbelievable. (Side note, when he refers to Kylo Ren, he calls him Rey and makes no effort to correct himself, A+ Editing.) He describes how Leia was “doing cartwheels in space,” which, it’s worth noting, did not happen. He says “this woman has passed, let her character die in peace.” To which I say: Leia has always been force sensitive, and what better way to honor Carrie Fischer’s passing than having her capitalize on these powers?
In describing Canto Bight (Not-So-) Amazing Lucas says:
The planet is filled with rich people, rich people are evil is the whole underlying subtext, it’s evil and they should be giving their money to less fortunate. I understand. Socialism sucks, people. I just want to make that perfectly crystal clear for you. Socialism is for retards.
Wow. Okay. If at any point in your review of a Hollywood blockbuster, you feel the need to say “Socialism is for retards,” maybe you’re not qualified to review movies.
Man, I wish I could have as many subscribers as (Not-So-) Amazing Lucas. Too bad I don’t have any political opinions to troll people with and would rather focus on making well-thought-out content.
ENDING DISCLAIMER: I mean no disrespect to all of the critics I sampled here – with one rather obvious exception (the Not-so-Amazing Lucas seems a little too sexist and belligerent), they all seem like all right people who I’d get along with. I just happen to disagree with them on these things. And if you agree with them, that’s fine too. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me I’m wrong, but do it in a rational, well-thought out way.
As always, thanks for reading.
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