It’s May 4th, so it’s now compulsory to write about Star Wars!
I recently watched The Last Jedi for the second time (I know, it’s shocking), having picked up the DVD upon release. When I first saw it back in December, I felt like there was a lot going on, and the film does still feel quite busy in that respect. There feels like a lot of chaff included, and the Battle of Crait at the end did feel a little… not a let-down per se, but it certainly didn’t feel like the climax the film had been building to. I guess we have a few mini-climaxes throughout the film, such as Rey vs Kylo Ren.
When I watched The Force Awakens for the second time, it somehow felt a lot more like a Star Wars movie than when I’d watched it in the cinema. With The Last Jedi, however, I’m still in that middle ground of kinda liking it, but it still feels really weird and different to everything that went before it. The tone of the dialogue at times felt incredibly weird, and Poe baiting General Hux at the beginning of the film in particular ripped me out of the Star Wars feel of a movie… maybe I’m just being a bit sensitive on this one, though.
Now, I did like the fact that the film plays a bit with the idea of everyone having to have an iconic story. The fact that Rey comes from nothing is superb, to me, and I really hope they keep that in episode IX, rather than it being one of these “from a certain point of view” lines. It had been a fear going into the film that Rey would turn out to be Luke’s daughter, but thankfully that doesn’t appear to be correct… It does add a lot to her character to think that she doesn’t have this incredible lineage to live up to, and that can explain away her power. I do like the idea that, maybe, she is some kind of spontaneous appearance of the Force (not exactly along the lines of Anakin Skywalker, of course, but you hopefully know what I mean!)
I mentioned earlier that there is a lot of chaff in the film, and I think this primarily surrounds the Resistance storyline, as they’re chased through hyperspace. There is definitely an attempt to build a lot of tension for this whole arc, but it just feels robbed of that when Finn and Rose head off to Canto Bight. And that whole gratuitous cameo of Maz… I really like her character, I just wish she could either come back in a better way, or else be left out altogether. It just made no real sense for Poe to know her, somehow.
I think the whole Canto Bight thing would have been better left out, and Finn and Rose had to just try to sneak aboard and disable the thing themselves… It just feels a bit like the worst excesses of the Prequels have returned, the whole thing is just pointless (animal rights messages should not be strong-armed into a Star Wars movie – there, I said it).
I’m really not trying to say that I hate the film, like so many others have filled the internet with since last year. I think there are a lot of areas that I find a bit jarring, and I would have preferred to have seen certain aspects handled differently for what (I think) would have been a smoother finish. However, some of these things – Admiral Holdo coming out of nowhere etc – are likely down to the fact that the film is still quite new, and I’m finding its place within the universe, etc. Given another viewing, and maybe given the chance to read some of the material around it, I’d have something different to say…
I suppose that’s a problem with the sequel trilogy in general though, right now. There is a dearth of reading material out there that surrounds the trilogy right now, owing to the attempt to continue that air of mystery surrounding so many plot elements. It’s a JJ thing, of course, but sometimes it feels like this mystery element is too much, and we’re seeing too much stuff that is going unexplained. Supreme Leader Snoke certainly falls into this category, and the information we’re being fed piecemeal around Ben’s seduction to the Dark Side feels a bit like it’s getting old now. I don’t know, there just feels like a lot of extraneous weirdness here. And did we really need the shirtless Kylo Ren? Well, apparently, but still!
I’ve said before that Luke Skywalker is my favourite character, but I have to say that I was more than a little bit disappointed on this aspect of the film. Luke giving up? Not sure about that, and I’m not sure the whole portrayal was in keeping with the idealist of the original trilogy, who was convinced of the good still in Vader. Mark Hamill himself has come out with similar feelings, which does feel a bit damning.
There’s a lot of negativity coming out of this blog now, so I guess I’m going to stop. It might just be the fact that it’s new, and might just be jarring with my established feeling of what Star Wars is. I might need to watch it a few more times and see if I can get more comfortable with it.