It’s two weeks since The Last Jedi came out and by now not only do you probably have your own opinions, but you have probably read countless others. So today I am ground to break Star Wars: Episode VIII down to the very basics: the good, the bad, and the ugly – but let’s take it backwards.
Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Captain Phasma: For two movies now I have walked out of the theater going, “What was the point of Captain Phasma?” Other than her awesome armor, I felt completely underwhelmed by Phasma. I will never understand why they cast Gwendoline Christie for such a nothing role. She could have done so much more.
DJ: Benicio Del Toro’s role in The Last Jedi was kept so under wraps that I had no idea what to expect. Overall, like with Phasma I was severely underwhelmed. This was a great opportunity to introduce an awesome codebreaker/swashbuckler to either side of the conflict, but specifically the resistance. A Han-esque guy with a needed skill would have been a great addition to the franchise and to the rebellion. So his final moves – selling out and subsequently killing hundreds of people for money? I think? It was just deflating. He could have been a great new character and instead he was just wasted potential.
The Thala Sirens: Okay, this is taking “ugly” a little literally, but the island sea-cow things were gross. Blech.
Canto Bight: This is probably the biggest consensus from audience members: the Canto Bight sequence was not good. Was it necessary to the plot? Yes. Could it have been better? Heck, yeah. It could have been shorter and definitely could have been space-ier. And I think it would have been cool to see a Lando cameo. I did not hate it, but I definitely did not love it.
Snoke: One of the flaws in The Force Awakens, for me, was I did not really understand what or who Snoke was. Now in The Last Jedi I still did not see the threat or power of him. I did not see systematically how Snoke’s death mattered to the First Order, other than how it changed Kylo’s role. I think he was meant to throw people off, and his death led to one of the best scenes in the movie (which I will get to later,) but otherwise he was just kind of… meh. Not scary and not intimidating in the slightest.
Holdo: Now do not get me wrong, Holdo was much better than Canto Bight and Snoke. But Holdo was still a disappointment. Now, had Rian Johnson known that Carrie Fisher would pass, I think Leia and Holdo would have swapped roles and perhaps I would have liked her better. I did not mind Laura Dern in the role, but I do not think she added much.
All that being said, two caveats I will point out. The first is that her hair was gorgeous. The second is that Holdo gets the credit for the most badass move of the entire movie, blasting through the First Order cruiser at light speed. Props to her.
Porgs: Going into the theater, I was definitely worried that the Porgs would just be this trilogy’s version of the Ewoks. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. They are adorable and I love them. If there isn’t a 30-minute Porg featurette on the Porgs when the DVD comes out I will be very upset.
Yoda: I was definitely not expecting Yoda to show up, but it was perfect. I love that they used the original puppet for Yoda rather than CGI, and I think he was exactly what Luke needed. And, he supplied one of the best lines of the film regarding the Jedi texts: “Read them, have you? Page turners, they were not.” I loved the entire scene and the last shot with them watching the tree burn was beautiful.
Kylo and Ren vs. the Praetorian Guards: As far as Star Wars battles go, this might have been the most epic. It was beautifully shot and choreographed, and had some super badass moments. One of which being Rey dropping the lightsaber and catching it in her other hand, and the other being Kylo just saber-ing a guard through the face. While the fate of the Kylo-Rey relationship and which side they will end up on is still unclear, it is clear that working together the two are unstoppable.
Poe Dameron: Poe has been one of my favorite characters since The Force Awakens and continued to be great in this film. Even though he struggled to follow orders and definitely was a bit arrogant, he makes me laugh and is truly inspiring. I loved seeing the relationship between Poe and Leia in this film, and I absolutely loved the moment when he reconnected with BB-8 and rubbed his body, just before touching “foreheads.” Though of course saddened by Carrie Fisher’s death, I am excited to see Poe take on a leadership position in Episode IX.
That Rock-Lifting Scene: Something about badass women doing badass things makes me cry, folks. Just like when Wonder Woman crossed No Man’s Land, watching Rey lift the rocks as light hit Finn and Poe’s faces brought tears to my eyes. I am so excited to see Rey’s future and the future of Force users (which was hinted in the very last scene.)
This review barely scratches the surface of The Last Jedi, heck I didn’t even mention Rose, who I loved by the way. But this summed up the highs and lows of a deep and complex movie. Overall I would give the movie an 8.8/10 and I cannot wait for Episode IX.