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Friday, February 9

Haiku Revieu | Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Friday, February 9
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Transitional film
I wanted more backstory
But I do love Porgs

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order.

It's been nearly a month since I first saw The Last Jedi in theaters, and honestly? I still don't quite know how I feel about the movie. I know people who love it, and I know people who compare it to the prequels (which I think might be going a little too far). There were parts that I loved, and parts that I didn't like. I'm struggling, friends.

My biggest issue is that it very much felt like a film that wasn't vital to the larger story. A lot of what was set down in The Force Awakens seemed to be tossed out the window without much care, and I worry that Episode 9 will try to get those things back, making The Last Jedi this weird transitional film that ultimately didn't do much. Other things I didn't enjoy:
  • The Canto Bight storyline. More Finn? Yes! Rose Tico? YES! But them going off and doing their own thing took me out of the larger plot, especially when it ultimately turned out to be sort of useless. (Thanks for nothing, Benicio del Toro.) Also, was there more to the woman (Lily Cole) standing next to the master codebreaker than we were privy to?
  • Luke's snotty attitude (and the weird milking moment). I get that he wanted to be left alone. I get that he was reeling from Kylo's turn to the dark side. I get that he's always been a bit of a brat. But the jokey way he tossed the lightsaber behind him when Rey handed it to him totally diverged from the feeling I got from the end of The Force Awakens. It was jarring, and felt cheap.
  • The cat and mouse chase between the First Order and the Rebel ships. Sure, it paid off awesomely in that kamikaze scene at the end, but what was stopping the First Order from jumping to the other side of the Rebel ships? Or calling in reinforcements? It's not like the Rebel ships were going to get away if they stopped looking for a second.
  • Snoke and Phasma's seemingly useless deaths. Them dying kind of unceremoniously made it seem like neither character was necessary to the larger plot, and it's a shame. (That said, they might not actually be dead, and show up again. We'll see ...)
  • And, related: The lack of character backstory. I try to remind myself that I didn't know much of anything about Emperor Palpatine when all I'd seen was the original trilogy; it wasn't until the prequels and the extended universe books that I learned more. I feel like movie-going audiences expect—and deserve—more these days, however, and inserting a new character (i.e. Holdo) without explaining really anything about who she is except a throw-away line about her being involved in some "famous" battle just feels cheap. (If you're interested, you can learn more about her in Claudia Gray's book, Leia: Princess of Alderaan.)

Like I said, though, there were things I really liked. A few examples:
  • Princess Leia showing her force powers. Just 'cause she's not a Jedi has never meant that she's not a badass Force wielder.
  • The character growth, Finn's and Poe's in particular. Finn's gone from being all about himself, to all about Rey, to a slogan-saying, full-fledged member of the Rebellion. (Total fist-pump moment, y'all.) And Poe was taken down a peg or two to show him humility and what it takes to be a true leader. (Just in time for Episode 9.)
  • Representation for more than just white dudes. Anytime I saw a woman in a position of power—or, really, doing anything—I got choked up. Even at 34, I'm still looking for women to be major parts of my favorite
  • The lightsaber battle between Kylo and Rey and Snoke's guards. Beautiful choreography! And, though I'm not a Reylo shipper, I love the enemistry between them. Their little mental chats were pretty delightful.
  • Yoda's gleeful trolling. I didn't realize how much I missed that little green dude's sass.
  • The Porgs. Yes, I'm one of those fans.

In the end, I'm giving the movie a three-star rating, mostly because I continue to waffle between one end of the spectrum and the other.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

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