I was extremely hopeful for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ——— until I saw it yesterday afternoon.
Writer/Director Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad) took over for J.J. Abrams and destroyed what was laid out in the ideal blue print of the reinvigorated franchise. The best I could say about the new film is that the CGI Carrie Fisher is almost seamlessly woven in post-mortem and I can finally understand the appeal of Adam Driver.
This movie picks up where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off, only not as good. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is the macho pilot constantly disobeying orders, flying by the seat of his pants and that hubris is costing as many lives as he’s taking, which doesn’t sit well with General Leia Organa (Fisher) who demotes him.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) finally hands Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) the light saber, which he casually casts off the cliff over his shoulder revealing that his only desire is to be the last Jedi, ending the ancient religion and traditions that went along with all the mistakes they had made in the past, a clear dig at Catholicism. Rey follows Luke around through his daily choirs, showing us where blue milk comes from…yes, Luke milks an alien and drinks it unpasteurized.
The story drags on until we meet Rose Tico [(Kelly Marie Tran) the best new Star Wars character], who’s sister was killed in Poe’s last mission. Rose is basically a ship’s maintenance person who has taken it upon herself to stop anyone trying to desert and that includes “heroes” like Finn (John Boyega).
General Organa is injured in an attack by The First Order, which would have been a reasonable exit for her character in the passing of Fisher, but she somehow manages to survive and is temporarily replaced by Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern), who puts Poe in his place yet again when he continuously steps out of line.
The story continues to drag on as we learn The First Order can now track the Resistance via light speed and if they jump again, with their limited fuel supply, they will surely get caught. So, instead of making that jump, they shift all their shields to the rear of the cruiser and flying just fast enough to be out of the range of Snoke’s ship…yes, this is part of the second and third act as well.
There are a few digs at capitalism, which looks far more like fascism. DJ’s (Benicio Del Toro) nihilist worldview is expressed, exposing war profiteers that adds nothing to the film but only a slight jab the 1% and those that trust their governments, which could have been implemented in a far better manner.
Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) is more useless than Boba Fett was in the original trilogy and she has even less screen time. We never see her face and all that shiny armor does is make her Stormtrooper eye candy. Another huge throwaway character that will be used to sell toys is the new droid BB-9E.
What Star Wars: The Last Jedi really is, is a series of vignettes that do not flow as a coherent story. The end of act two should have been the end of act three in episode nine, while the end of act three should have been the end of act two in this film. Johnson’s incessant jokes was enough to ruin the movie, but killing off three characters that should have survived is head scratching at best.
Beyond 25 minutes of intrigue, the other 2 hours make Star Wars: The Last Jedi look like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This is the Rocky V of Star Wars movies. It is the Major League 3 of Star Wars movies. It is The Godfather 3 of Star Wars movies. This is the Ace Ventura Jr. of Star Wars movies. It’s the Home Alone 2 of Star Wars movies…you know what? Just plug in your own tragicly horrible spin-off-slash-sequel and that is what Star Wars: the Last Jedi is.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on Friday, December 15, 2017.