A Star Wars: The Last Jedi Post for Star Wars Fans

Although there has been so much written about this movie, I think I have some interesting observations. This one was really important, as it needed to build on the success of The Force Awakens and show us that Disney was serious about delivering something real fans wanted to see.

It's not just a simple matter of deciding whether it's a decent movie, as we need to work out if it's a decent Star Wars movie.

I thought I'd let everyone have their say and then pick up on some of the things I thought had been overlooked. It also seemed like a good time to write this just before the home release of the movie. There are some minor spoilers here, so it's probably best to watch the movie before you read this.

It all started with some amazing pre-release reviews from the established media, but then the fans started to make their voices heard. There seemed to be a huge divide, so I was really keen to see it for myself. 

I'm a huge Star Wars fan and being born in the late 70s has meant that it's always been there for me.

Growing up, we all had the toys and many battles were fought between the light and the dark sides of the Force in our back gardens. I've also been playing Star Wars games since I started guiding a little dot around the screen, that was supposed to be a Snow Speeder, on my Atari.

For people like me, the sights and sounds of a galaxy far, far away immediately feel familiar. It's not just about the movies, it's about the universe they take place in.

Like everyone else, I was really disappointed with the prequels but I loved The Force Awakens. Rogue One was also the Star Wars movie people like me wanted to see after everything else seemed to be aimed at kids since Return of the Jedi.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the same reaction when I saw The Last Jedi. After some thought, I realised that there were three big problems that really put me off it. 

They are the sort of things that only Star Wars fans will understand though.


The Scale

This movie actually felt more like 'Star Skirmishes' than 'Star Wars'. Everything seemed to be on a small scale or completely unbalanced. 

The great thing about the state of the galaxy in The Force Awakens was that things were even now, as there were two equal, opposing forces.

It wasn't just a ragtag bunch of freedom fighters battling against the odds, as the Republic were surely a force to be reckoned with. In many ways, The First Order actually felt like the underdogs.

This would surely set up some epic stories that could be explored off screen.

For some reason, they decided that the Republic has been wiped out by the 'Star Killer'. That's right, everything they had was all based in just one system. It was now just three underpowered ships versus an entire fleet.

While the limited scale made creative sense for the movie, I think it robbed us of some exciting stories.

Seriously, who wouldn't want to see an epic space battle that put the scene in Return of the Jedi to shame? The battle on Crait would have surely been a lot more exciting with actual armies facing off, instead of a few antique speeders.

We've seen this before, so surely it's time to do something different. Rogue One wasn't afraid to impress us.


The Force

As I've said, I've played a lot of Star Wars games. I think it's safe to say that the easiest way to ruin them is to do something stupid with the Force. 

It's so easy to turn Star Wars into Dungeons and Dragons with overblown, superhero like magical abilities.

Although the movies have always got it right, a lot of the other stories were just outright stupid. From teleportation to grabbing Star Destroyers out of orbit, we've seen some incredible things over the years when it comes to the Force. We've even had technology that literally bottles it and turbocharges normal people, as well as Force-based superweapons.

So what about this movie?

It was bad enough when The Phantom Menace tried to explain the Force, but this movie makes it outright supernatural. I think it's safe to say it all goes way too far.

After simply being able to move things or distract the weak minded, the Force now lets you fly around in space and project yourself across the galaxy. Force ghosts can also apparently control the elements as well.

It's bad enough that the prequels never bothered to explain how Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin could appear the way they do after they die, but now they're pretty much omnipotent.

It's even weirder that other, more practiced force weilders don't get this opportunity as well. Again, it can (just about) be justified creatively in this story, but it surely ruins the entire universe. 


The Setup

The 'middle movies' in a trilogy can be quite difficult. They are either amazing, like The Empire Strikes Back and Back to the Future 2 or they just tread water, like The Desolation of Smaug. The whole point of most of them seems to be to hold people's attention and set up an epic finale.

It's difficult when you're watching a story that you know won't be resolved for several years.

If we look at The Empire Strikes Back, it's obvious that this movie had big shoes to fill. How could anyone at the time wait three years to find out how Luke would react to 'that' revelation, or if Han Solo would even survive. We also left the main characters in a very bad place, which was really interesting.

Before we look at how this one handled it, I think we should look at the most interesting and unresolved elements of The Force Awakens. This had to be the mystery surrounding Rey's parents and Supreme Leader Snoke. Although I didn't expect to be given all the answers in this movie, I wasn't expecting what happened.

The Last Jedi literally squandered the two most intriguing elements of this new Star Wars trilogy, and I have no idea why.

It gets worse though, because this movie really didn't give us any reason to want to watch the next movie, other than the fact that it's Star Wars. There was no cliffhanger, no unanswered questions and both sides were pretty much beat at the end.

I think it's really going to take a lot to make that last instalment something special. 


So, Is The Last Jedi Any Good?

Despite what I think of it as a Star Wars fan, this is a decent movie. I just think they lost sight of what makes Star Wars so special and seemed to be going out of their way to redefine it.

None of the new ideas work, but it's a lot better than any of the prequels.

Aside from my issues with how it fits into the Star Wars universe, I was also disappointed with the creative direction it took. Like Mark Hamill has suggested, I hate the way they handled Luke Skywalker. It can all be justified creatively though and it was interesting, if you can handle seeing one of your childhood heroes like this.

In closing, I have to say that I agree with a lot of the other reactions from fans, as this really isn't my Star Wars. I have to point out that the prequels weren't my Star Wars either, but the other Disney movies have been.

I guess we'll just have to see what they do with Solo now...  

Image: Disney / Lucasfilm