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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Really)? Movie Review

By: William Ohmes, Entertainment Columnist

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When The Force Awakens came out in December 2015, many people said it was better than the failed prequels, but people complained that it was too similar to the original 1977 A New Hope. Then, after Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in December 2017, fans were all told it was nothing like Empire Strikes Back, and it was better than The Force Awakens. We were told that there were major plot twists, that it was nothing like we had ever seen. That sounded great, but was it really?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is, in fact, very different from what we’ve seen before – but not in a good way. There are strange, out-of-place comedy scenes that seem like they belong in Guardians of the Galaxy. When Luke Skywalker is training Rey to reach her potential and become a Jedi, he says, “Reach out.” Rey reaches her hand out. Then, Luke puts a feather on her hand and starts shaking it. He says, “Do you feel that?” Rey says, “Yes,” to which Luke replies, “That’s the Force” and then he slaps her hand with the feather. Also, when Rey hands Luke the lightsaber, he throws it back and walks away.  This type of “comedy” does not belong in a Star Wars movie. In the original trilogy, we have Han Solo, C3PO, and R2D2 to lighten up the mood, but in The Last Jedi there are some odd comedic moments with characters who are dead serious, or at least they should be (see the opening scene). This is different from the comedy in the original trilogy, and it should stay in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Furthermore, many unexpected things happen in this movie that do not belong. The Force Awakens makes it seems as if Supreme Leader Snoke will become the new Emperor, which would have been cool – if it actually happened. About halfway through The Last Jedi, though, we see Kylo Ren taking Rey up an elevator – an allusion to Luke’s final meeting with Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi – to confront Snoke. The sequence of events seems incorrectly ordered, however, with The Last Jedi being the second movie in a trilogy, but what happens next is totally unexpected. Kylo Ren ends up killing Snoke by cutting him in half. Then, Kylo and Rey fight the bodyguards as if Kylo has turned good, but he has not. It turns out he just wants control, definitely a strange step in a movie to trick the audience. It seems as if Director Rian Johnson is trying to troll the fans.

The absolute worst thing in this movie is Luke Skywalker. In the original trilogy, Luke starts as a whiny, normal teenager before he meets Ben “Obi-Wan” Kenobi, which begins Luke’s hero cycle. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, meanwhile, add new layers of emotion and depth to Luke’s hero’s journey. As Luke continues his conflict with Darth Vader, he grapples not only with the temptations of the Dark Side of the Force, but also with the revelation that Vader is his father. Luke ultimately resists the Dark Side and, with Vader’s help, is able to overthrow the Emperor. Luke has now completed his training, and is a Jedi Knight. In The Last Jedi, though, they ruin all that he has accomplished. He is now a grumpy, old man. He does not even want to train Rey because he thinks the Jedi order should end. This is not how the triumphant, heroic Luke Skywalker should have turned out. This is a very big problem for me and my fellow Star Wars nerds.

With that being said, let’s talk about Rey’s lack of training from Luke. Rey is basically already powerful with the Force, as seen in The Force Awakens, so she really doesn’t need training from Luke; all she needs is guidance. It’s already a problem that Rey does not even need to train, but another problem is her path to the Dark Side. Luke teaches her one thing; that is, to feel the Force. At first, she sees the balance, but then she goes to the darkness. She has already started down the dark path. To make matters worse, she actually goes into the abyss she has had visions of, which brings her closer to the Dark Side. She has also been connecting with Kylo Ren, Han Solo’s son and the Vader-like figure in the new franchise, through the Force. She even touches hands with him because she wants guidance from him. So, basically, at that moment, she’s with the Dark Side. But, somehow, after all that, she still manages to stay good. And then, Luke dies. But now with Luke gone, who will teach Rey the ways of the Force? I guess we’ll just have to wait to find that out.

One scene I did like a lot is when Yoda comes to Luke Skywalker and talks some sense into him. The reason I liked this scene so much is that Rian Johnson brought back the wise Yoda, not the weird one with the baby-sized lightsaber from the prequels. And, besides, it’s nice seeing an old character from the originals. It brings back memories from WHEN MOVIES WERE GOOD! Unfortunately, I was never alive in those times, but at least I can still watch them.

If I were to grade this movie, I would give it a D+ for tarnishing the concept of the Force, for Snoke not being like The Emperor, and, most of all, for ruining Luke Skywalker. This movie had a few good scenes in it – that one in particular with Yoda – but, overall, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t even good. At least it’s better than the prequels, though (which isn’t saying much).

There is a petition being signed to remake The Last Jedi completely. It seems like a good idea, but really it’s too late. Millions of people have already seen this movie, and if they remake it, people will still remember grumpy Luke Skywalker and all the other flaws in this movie.

Many critics say that this movie is ten times better than The Force Awakens. But is it?  In the end, the real question is, is The Last Jedi really better than The Force Awakens? I’ll let you decide that for yourself, but I think you know how I feel about it.

 

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Really)? Movie Review