Saturday, June 11, 2022

Why Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi Is a Masterpiece

The Last Jedi has a few annoying flaws:

1.  The movie opens with some silly humor where pilot Poe Dameron taunts The First Order Fleet.  This didn't bother me much and it is the least of the film's problems.  However, it set a nagging tone that maybe this was going to be a slightly different Star Wars movie.

2.  After Genera (Princes) Leia Organa is blown into space, she is able to use the Force to draw her back to the ship where she enters through an airlock that can be barely seen.  Many people missed the airlock so the scene didn't make sense to them, but more importantly, they didn't like the image of Leia flying through space, calling the scene "Carrie Poppins."  However, I really liked the scene because Leia was able to use the Force to save herself.

3.  After Leia is in a coma, the Rebels are commanded by Admiral Holdo, who looks nothing like a Star Wars Rebel, but more like a Professor of Gender Studies.  Later it is mildly implied that she might be in a relationship with Leia.  She gives Poe a dressing down for his heroics, making her a very annoying jerk, but later she becomes a hero.

4. It is revealed that in a moment of weakness, Luke Skywalker saw the evil darkness in his student Kylo Ren, and for a brief moment wanted to kill Kylo in his sleep.  This scene is told from 2 or 3 different perspectives.  From Kylo's perspective, Luke is a mad killer.  From Luke's perspective, he momentarily gave in to temptation.  However, this image of Luke Skywalker as the mad killer caused some people to reject the movie entirely.

5.  Luke Skywalker is portrayed as a broken man who has withdrawn from the fight.  He is no longer a hero, although the ending gives him redemption.

6.  Rose Tiko could have been a great character, but she has a few brief moments of really annoying dialogue, mostly political lecturing.  People hated her more than they should have.

7.  The middle of the film has a detour to a gambling planet called Canto Bight.  Some people claim that this scene drags on forever, like 30 minutes, but the total screen time is only around 12 minutes. I actually don't think that the scene is bad, but the tone of it is all over the place alternating between comedy, social commentary, and an extended chase scene on space horses.

8.  There is a slow-speed chase through space that makes very little sense in a Star Wars context.

For some people, one or more of these flaws is a deal killer. They rejected the movie completely.  However, for me, these are all minor problems because the rest of the movie is terrific.  It has great themes, terrific imagery, plenty of action, and much character drama.  The rest of it is what a Star Wars movie should be.  I was annoyed like everyone else with parts of it, but I was thoroughly entertained nevertheless.

I think that The Last Jedi is the best of the sequel trilogy.  The first film was too much of a repeat of the original Star Wars movie.  The third film, episode 9, although somewhat entertaining, is not very logical and for me the most disappointing of all 9 films.

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