THREE GUYS AND… MOVIES
series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson
“STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI”
written by Dominick Cappello
It’s taken me a few days to collate my thoughts. Though I had some issues with the film, I think the backlash has been ridiculous. I never thought a “Star Wars” film would be as controversial or polarizing as “Batman v Superman”. I’ve said it before, but why does every blockbuster that’s not part of the MCU have to be met with venom? I noticed this trend beginning in 2015 with “Jurassic World” and “The Force Awakens”, which went supernova with “Batman v Superman” in 2016. I looked at the user reviews for “The Last Jedi” on IMDB and most were along the lines of “As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I feel betrayed and am owed an apology.” Alright, cool your jets people. I’m not even going to bother reading any reviews on Rotten Tomatoes because I’m sure the hyperbole will give me a migraine.
They big question, besides who are Rey’s parents and who is Supreme Leader Snoke, was would this be “The Empire Strikes Back” 2.0? Well, yes it did incorporate elements from both that film and “Return of the Jedi”. The Resistance evacuates their base, Rey trains with Luke Skywalker while The First Order pursues the rest of our heroes, all very reminiscent of “The Empire Strikes Back”. And we have a confrontation in a throne room where Kylo Ren betrays Snoke so to save Rey the way Darth Vader turned on Darth Sidious so to save Luke in “Return of the Jedi”. The difference being that Kylo wasn’t doing it to redeem himself. The emo bastard just wanted to rule the galaxy and he wanted Rey by his side. Not that you can blame him 😉
Believe it or not, I also noticed some elements from the prequel trilogy only the execution was much better. I always got the sense that in “Revenge of the Sith”, the filmmakers were trying to give Anakin Skywalker some justification for his actions. Something to justifying him saying “From my point of view the Jedi are evil!” But other than Mace Windu being blunt with him a few times, there was never enough to justify what he did. Yes, he pledged his allegiance to Darth Sidious to save Padmé, but he came across as an idiot for saying the Jedi are evil when there was nothing to support that claim. In “The Last Jedi”, having Ben Solo truly believe that Luke was going to murder him in his sleep was a good enough reason for him to embrace the Dark Side and become Kylo Ren.
It may have been a bit cliché for Rey to become flustered when seeing Kylo without a shirt, but I think there was more sexual tension in that scene than all the sappy scenes in “Attack of the Clones” and Rey pleading with Kylo after the death of Snoke (I recall she said something along the lines of “Ben, don’t do this,”) had more weight to it than “Anakin, you’re breaking my heart.”
As for what should have been nixed. Finn and Rose’s side quest, getting arrested at the casino, and meeting Benicio Del Toro in jail was completely redundant. Other than giving know-it-alls like me a chance to point out how De Toro was originally going to play Darth Maul in “The Phantom Menace” until George Lucas cut most of his lines. Simplify matters. Have De Toro’s character DJ be a spy who works for The Resistance and the second half of their mission can play out the same. DJ helps them sneak aboard General Hux’s command ship, sells them out to The First Order, which leads to Finn’s confrontation with Captain Phasma (the Boba Fett of the new trilogy). The film would have benefited from being twenty minutes shorter. Losing everything on the casino planet would help. Though a casino isn’t as bad as “Attack of the Clones” having a 1950s diner. Fight me, internet.
I also thought that too many moments were played for humor. I’ll just give one example and that’s a moment early in the film. Luke tossing his lightsaber over his shoulder. After two years of wondering how Luke would react to seeing his lightsaber, it was played for humor. If Luke had dropped the lightsaber at his feet, then it would have been dramatic, but tossing it over his shoulder is comedy. At least, that’s how I interpret it.
A couple weeks ago I posted an article where I predicted that people would be disappointed if Rey’s parents turned out to be no one special. Well, it seems I was right. Like I said, just because you concluded that she was Luke’s daughter or Han & Leia’s daughter or maybe even Obi Wan Kenobi’s long-lost daughter doesn’t make it so. Heck, I remember everyone assuming we would discover in “Rogue One” that Jyn Eryso was Rey’s mother. We must accept that our fan fiction isn’t canon. I don’t think a director owes anyone apology unless he does something extreme like put nipples on the batsuit. As for Supreme Leader Snoke being unceremoniously killed without any sort of revelation about who is he, I think that irks me more than Rey not having famous parents. Maybe I’ll write my own fan fiction where he’s Darth Plagueis and he resurrects himself in Episode IX (for the second time after resurrecting himself following the death of Sidious in “Return of the Jedi”). My sister doesn’t believe what Kylo told Rey about her parents being gutter trash, so I guess we pick and choose what we want to believe.
I have no issue with Leia using the Force to save herself from the vacuum of space because the Force isn’t something tangible that can easily be explained. I didn’t want a line of dialogue about midichlorians creating a protective bubble around her. And I have no issue with the way Luke became one with the Force. I’ve heard people asking if it was the strain of creating a Force projection was too much for him or if Kylo’s lightsaber strike caused fatal injuries despite it being a projection? I honestly don’t think it matters. It was a powerful moment either way. Luke becoming one with the Force while looking at the binary sunset just like on Tatooine was an appropriate end to this chapter. I wouldn’t call it an end to Luke’s story because I’m sure his presence will be felt in Episode IX. When the film was over, I was sure to stick around to see the dedication to Carrie Fisher. Very emotional. I know this film is getting a lot of hate, but I simply cannot jump on the bandwagon despite thinking it was a little too long and had a few too many silly moments. And no amount of internet trolls will ever be able to convince me that it’s worse than “Attack of the Clones”.
– Dominick Cappello