In just about every movie that gets released from anywhere in the world, there’s a point to be made about something somewhere during its time on-screen. We’re all looking for some kind of payoff or some form of development in terms of characters and/or plot. That’s usually not too much to ask and is to be expected by the masses, film critics and filmmakers alike. However, in the case of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you probably shouldn’t anticipate experiencing that as it seems like this may have been an unattainable goal to accomplish for Rian Johnson.
The Resistance is now on the run from the First Order after the events in The Force Awakens. As the situation is becoming more desperate for them, Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds herself coming face to face with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the legendary warrior who’s isolated himself after the failures of his past. While he can’t undo the past, she knows that the Jedi master can help fight for the future as she hopes to bring him back from the shadows to stop his nephew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the rising tide that is the dark side.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins well enough as it looks to be building toward an epic adventure with great potential. We’re reintroduced to the characters that some bonded with in The Force Awakens and are shown a bit more of Luke Skywalker. This portion of the movie is pleasant as we’re allowed to settle in and brace ourselves for what looks to be a movie stacked with loads of fun for the next two hours or so.
What happens next is also where the disappointment begins. After settling in, I noticed that not a whole lot was actually happening. As an audience, we find ourselves split between a few different stories that should and could take us places in terms of adventure and development, but neither ever actually happen. Instead we get a bunch scenes put together that contain stories that never feel concrete since they never go anywhere.
There are some things that work during this second act, but much of what we get during this period is simply filler. Because of this, The Last Jedi runs much longer than it should have. In fact, this needed to be much shorter than it actually is. In many instances, movies that are stretched out could usually benefit from anywhere between a 15 or 20 minute reduction in time. The Last Jedi however, should have probably seen its run time reduced by about an hour.
During the second act, there are so many scenes and new characters that add absolutely nothing to the movie or anything in it that can be considered critical. We’re introduced to all of this as everything that was presented to us in The Force Awakens moves at an insanely slow pace or is simply disregarded (like the injuries to John Boyega’s Finn and Kylo Ren) in many instances almost immediately.
I found myself wondering why we were even introduced to the new characters as they serve no purpose at all in the movie. You bring in a guy like Benicio del Toro for what exactly? His character and the storyline that he is a part of literally do nothing. I guess he could come back for the third movie somehow, but I don’t know about that since that apparently hasn’t even been written yet and his character isn’t even relevant to anything anyway.
While none of the new characters have any real purpose, Finn (as well as Captain Phasma for that matter) once again is also rendered insignificant. His storyline is completely separate from anything that’s supposed to have meaning and is actually where we meet del Toro’s character. Since this storyline goes nowhere and is ultimately insignificant, it makes his character pointless again. When looking at it, this entire portion of the movie is here just to take up space and time. If they had decided to remove every single scene from this, The Last Jedi would be the exact same movie that it ended up being at the end.
When we do finally get to the ending, we exit this movie where I actually thought we would end up in the first place. Although it’s not what I would call predictable in the usual sense, there are also no twists or anything like that. They kind of almost tease something that resembled some sort of a twist, but it never happens and you never feel as if it’s going to happen. I guess when you think about it, it’s a very safe movie in that way. They might just be hoping you don’t notice it.
Seeing what it is, The Last Jedi is here because it has to be. It’s not a legit sequel and is only here for financial purposes. In a way, it’s much like that third Hunger Games movie in that it’s used as a means to get us to the final film. That’s even worse in this case since The Hunger Games divided three books into four movies. This on the other hand, was always supposed to be three movies. This tells me that Kathleen Kennedy and company didn’t really have much in terms of ideas in the first place.
After you watch this (you will), ask yourself how much of it actually needed to be shown. Ask yourself if two and a half hours needed to be spent to get the story where it ends up. The truth is that the answers to those types of questions won’t be positive. Because of this, The Last Jedi is a waste of so much. I would have appreciated an actual story where the teases they give actually have some kind of payoff even if they only end up being teases. I would have also appreciated an attempt to use good actors and popular characters for something worthwhile.
Instead, we get a movie where Rian Johnson is doing his best to fill two and a half hours with very little material to work with. Including the one main story, everything we get is dragged out to an unreasonable length of time. For me, it was a bit much as this would have been ninety minutes long at the absolute most if they were making a real movie. And since Johnson is apparently leading the next trilogy of Star Wars films that will follow these, I’m not exactly looking forward to what he might have planned there.
This next paragraph doesn’t contain any spoilers, but it is about Rey’s parents and a couple of other things in the movie. While we do get the answers we were looking for as far as who her parents are, it’s also just like a lot of other things in the movie in that the answer is fruitless and doesn’t have any meaning whatsoever. Not only is that the case with so much that is included here, but you’ll realize that even the actual title of the movie turns out to be entirely inconsequential and unimportant by the time we get closer to the film’s climax.
Anyway, while The Last Jedi is mostly a waste of actual time, there came a point during a specific scene where I realized that Star Wars is now officially a brand that is being geared completely toward children. Since it’s Disney, I shouldn’t be shocked by this, but I was hoping that they would continue to make movies that were somewhat suitable for more mature people. Blockbusters these days are usually about balance. They want to get every type of person in from around the globe with a safe approach, but Disney may be taking a different approach now.
With all of that being said, I went into The Last Jedi hoping it would be better than what it is. Rian Johnson had all the tools at his disposal to make something great, but he doesn’t manage to use any of them at all. Seeing as this movie goes on forever, it’s kind of hard to see how he was able to accomplish such a seemingly impossible feat. I don’t know. This will make truck loads of money anyway, so me complaining won’t change much of anything. A part of me just hopes that they actually try to make better movies in the future. Then again, it won’t really matter if they try to do that or not.
Director: Rian Johnson
Benicio del Toro
Kelly Marie Tran
Film Length: 152 minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
- Score - 3/103/10