By Sean Bandy ’21
The Star Wars series has a special place in my heart. I love reading the novels and watching all the movies. That being said, I did not entirely enjoy The Force Awakens – it underwhelmed me, to say the least.
After The Force Awakens came out, it was soon followed up with Rogue One, which was, in my opinion, leagues better than The Force Awakens. After another year of waiting, I expected the latest movie, The Last Jedi, to be at least up to par with Rogue. To put it simply, it was not.
The Last Jedi has a myriad of problems, the most notable of which is the humor. A little humor goes a long way in many non-comedic movies, but The Last Jedi seems to think that there can never be enough. They’re wrong.
The majority of the “funny” sequences in the movie either feel out of character or they break the mood of the scene. I have a suspicion that a lot of the humor was written due to the good reception that it got in The Force Awakens and Rogue One, but I felt that the comedic elements in Jedi were extremely blunt and awkward, almost destroying the flow and suspension of disbelief in the film.
Another major problem the movie faced was one that many movies faced: the villain. Not many movies can get this right, but if any can, it’s Star Wars. In the original trilogy, and even the polarizing prequels, the villains oftentimes stole the show from the lead characters.
This time? Not so much.
The main villain of these sequel movies, Kylo Ren, is at best a moody teenager and at worst an angsty wannabe-Darth-Vader who needs to control his anger. I understand that he may have anger due to his past, or that siths, like him, use negative emotions for power. But when he is having his second angry fit and smashing his helmet against the wall because his master is slightly disappointed in him, it starts to be less sympathetic and more, just pathetic.
The other two “bad guys”, Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma, get next to no screen time, and are not at all fleshed out.
The third major problem is the most jarring of them all, and is what, to me, keeps the movie from being at least a good Star Wars movie—the writing. While I cannot get into too much detail without spoiling what I think are some noteworthy scenes, I assure you that if you have not seen the movie yet, there are many scenes that feel forced and have bent logic, even for the world in which this movie takes place.
Just like in The Force Awakens, Rey, the series’ new main character, seems to be extremely powerful, but too much so. The only explanation we are given is that she is a force sensitive scavenger, which is not nearly enough to excuse her obvious, irritating, Deus-ex Machina style abilities.
In the world of these movies, Anakin Skywalker (spoiler alert—Darth Vader) was the most force sensitive person, but he still had years of training to be able to get to even effectively using the force. Rey in this movie is just able to use it after a day or so of training, just like in the last film.
This is not the only writing mistake, but the only one that can really be said without spoiling the film. A lot of the movie hinges on bad writing, making it a weaker experience overall.
While not up to par with previous movies in the franchise, The Last Jedi is not necessarily a “bad movie.” It is, however, either a lazy cash grab designed by executives at Disney, or a major misstep in the franchise.
I would not recommend this movie being a starting point in the Star Wars franchise, but I would suggest that Star Wars fans do watch it, and take in the positives that the film does bring. It may be a tad unintelligent at times, but it does deliver in the (albeit short) action sequences and can bring wonder to many through its combined use of computer graphics and practical effects.
This movie may have been hyped up to be more than it actually is, but may still be enjoyable to those who can look past its flaws.