Movies

Movie review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This is the second of two review/reaction posts for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to go look at my non-spoiler post first, and come back to this one later. Because this is the one that has all the spoilers!

Overall, I’ll note in summary what I said in the other post rather than going into general commentary again here. Namely: the movie’s long but didn’t feel overly long to me. Several characters stood out for me with shining performances. And this was very much a “middle movie of a trilogy”, with considerable darkness of plot and galaxy-spanning stakes and ramifications. If you’re going to see this in a theater, be prepped for length.

Now then, let’s get into the SPOILERS.


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HOO BOY where do I start. Let’s break this down into some overall categories, shall we?

Plot

As I said in the other post, I have seen commentary along the lines that this movie is overstuffed, and is arguably even carrying two movies’ worth of plot crammed into one. I cannot exactly disagree with this. But as I wrote in the other post, I can at least say that the film didn’t feel too overstuffed to me. Nor did it feel like it dragged at any point, really. With my writer hat on, I can see some room for tightening of story details, sure. But as a viewer, I was almost entirely satisfied with the movie we got.

Canto Bight

The biggest plot beef I’ve seen so far is the entire B plot with Rose and Finn going to Canto Bight, the casino planet. Some commentary I’ve seen found this entire plot confusing, especially given that Rose and Finn weren’t even able to get the guy they were intending to find in the first place.

Personally, I didn’t have that problem. Dara and I talked a bit about how we found it an interesting storytelling choice–to have the attempted plan actually fail. I found myself thinking of another recent movie with a grand plan in it that failed–i.e., The Desolation of Smaug. I said of Desolation at the time that I felt it was very important for the dwarves’ plan to take out Smaug to fail, and that it was equally important that they try anyway. It was critical to their characters that they do so. I feel the same way about the Canto Bight plotline.

And hell, right in the very movie, Yoda says to Luke: “The greatest teacher, failure is.” The movie is very clearly aware of the thematic importance of failure to its story.

Moreover, even though Rose and Finn didn’t succeed in their mission, there are a lot of reasons why the sequence was necessary anyway. Tor.com has an excellent post up going into this in some depth, and I pretty much agree with all of it.

Luke’s Arc

I said it in the other post and I’ll say it again here: Mark Hamill was fucking amazing, full stop. There was a lot of buzz going around a couple months ago about Hamill expressing hesitation about the script, and feeling like it was asking him to do things he felt weren’t appropriate for Luke.

But I am down with this post of The Mary Sue’s, in which Teresa Jusino talks about how Luke’s arc was for her peak Skywalker. I agree with every word of that post. In particular, the part about how the Luke we saw in the original trilogy wouldn’t have done this movie’s things, sure. But that Luke was a young man, just starting out on his hero’s journey. This Luke is a lot older, a lot more careworn, and this cannot help but impact his choices. But at the end of the day, by which I mean the end of the movie, what Luke finally chooses to do felt absolutely true to the heart and soul of his character.

I was 110 percent on board with his showing up at the base for that last showdown with Kylo, particularly once we got the reveal that he’s there only as an astral projection. Because that let him do the whole brushing of his shoulder once all the First Order walkers stopped shooting at him, a delicious little moment that I adored. I loved the look on his face as he looked up at the walkers, all “are you done? Because I can do this all day.”

And I ain’t gonna lie: that last shot of him and the binary sunset, as he vanished into the Force, had me in tears. I see what you did there, movie, circling all the way back to A New Hope.

Leia

Dear gods how are they going to do the third movie without Carrie Fisher? *sadface*

Because holy crap Leia in this movie. She was radiant. She was luminous.

She fucking Force-floated herself back onto her ship after being blown off it, because she is General Leia Goddammned Organa and she is just. That. Awesome.

It was so deeply gratifying to see her finally, finally get to do something else with the Force on camera. And to see her being that spark of hope to keep her last little crumb of the Resistance alive and kicking.

How the hell are they going to do Episode IX without her?

Rey’s Arc

Another excellent post I found last night was this one on Tor.com, with a very solid theory about what Rey is and what her function is in the Force. I particularly like the end of the article:

She is the sword of the Cosmic Force, here to bring the galaxy true balance for the first time in an age.

Kylo Ren should be terrified.

Because fuck yeah. This girl is laser-focused from start to finish and it is a joy to behold.

I am quite intrigued to see that she rescued the Jedi texts from the island, and what she’ll wind up doing with them. Very curious as to whether we’ll get Force ghost Luke in the next film, giving her any more guidance, or whether she’s just going to wing it. Because so far she seems to be doing a pretty damn good job winging it!

Kylo’s Arc: Reylo? HELL NO

Let me state categorically for the record: I am not a Reylo shipper.

I see some signs in this movie that they might be trying to set up Kylo Ren for a redemption arc, the same way Vader got one. My reaction to this: fuck no. This whiny little twatwaffle Darth-Vader-wannabe killed Han Solo. I do not forget and I do not forgive. I want to see him tossed down a reactor shaft in the next movie.

That said: I do have to admit, Adam Driver does a great job playing him. I don’t hold his character’s being a twatwaffle against the actor. ;D

And I did like that Snoke engineered the whole Force-link between Kylo and Rey, that Rey did see conflict in him that she tried to reach and resolve, and that the two of them together against Snoke’s entire cadre of guards were a symphony of lethality.

I am very curious now as to how Kylo will handle being the new Supreme Leader. He does still have that conflict within him, and he’s not as stable as Vader. We have seen in two movies now that he has an explosive temper. I really have to wonder if we’re going to see him crack somewhere in the third movie.

And I’m just waiting now to see how many First Order officers he winds up Force-choking. Though I maintain that Kylo only wishes he could cut a swath through an officer corp the way his granddaddy did. ;D “APOLOGY ACCEPTED.” Muahaha.

Other Stuff

Phasma

Dara and I have decided that Captain Phasma is clearly this trilogy’s Boba Fett, i.e., the character who’s supposed to be a mighty badass and yet is cruelly underutilized in the actual movies. I am a bit disappointed in this. The Mary Sue was crankier.

Vice-Admiral Holdo

As I said over in my other post, I really liked this character. I also really liked Tor.com’s commentary about her, and how she fits into our expectations for female military power. Or doesn’t fit, as the case may be.

I’m totally curious about the battle that Poe mentions when he sees her, and what her history is with that. And since we only get a glimpse of her lifelong friendship with Leia in the movie, I’m thinking I may go have to track down the novel in which she appears, Leia: Princess of Alderaan.

The Porgs

Much has been made over these critters. For my part, I found ’em cute enough, but ultimately uninteresting. Though I did giggle at the one little interaction they have with Chewie, looking all sad-eyed at him about to eat one of their flock.

And I am deeply amused that we have porgs to begin with because the film crew couldn’t keep the puffins out of frame! They were filming on an island with puffins on it for all of Luke’s island time, and by law they were forbidden to interfere with the birds. So they decided to run with it, and CGI them into the movie.

Now I get to make jokes about the Millennium Falcon coming down with a bad case of the porgs. I am at peace with this.

Chewie

As long as we’re talking about underused characters, Chewie does seem like he’s getting punted to the sidelines. I’m a little sad about that. But he is a character from the previous generation, so I can’t be too sad about that. As long as he does get to show up and contribute in the third flick. If he’s going to be flying around with Rey on the Falcon, let him do stuff! More stuff than just flying the ship and growling at porgs.

Where the Hell IS Lando, Anyway?

The Mary Sue wants to know where the hell Lando Calrissian is in this trilogy. I feel they have a sound and solid point.

A quick check of starwars.wikia.com indicates he hasn’t been killed off in any of the recently released new canon materials, and that they were in fact considering making Lando be the “master codebreaker” character. Rian Johnson apparently felt like the character still had a future.

So where the hell IS he?

BB-8

Oooookay yeah fine the rolly droid is pretty adorable. It’s official.

R2-D2 and C-3PO

Less presence for these droids in the movie than I might have expected, and I’m fine with that. Particularly given that Artoo’s scene with Luke is awesome. I adored him whipping out that old holo of Leia to drive home his point to Luke. πŸ˜€

Force ghost Yoda

YAY! Speaking of small characters who are delightfully capable of puncturing holes in Luke Skywalker’s bullshit. (heart) (heart) (heart)

“Read them, have you? Page-turners they are not.” Hee hee hee hee.

But even more, Yoda cheerfully calling down Force lightning on the tree once Luke waffled about whether or not to destroy it himself.

Snoke

I talked a bit about Snoke above, and I’ll add here that I actually like that Kylo killed him. I didn’t see that coming, and in retrospect I really should have. Because he was clearly the Palpatine 2.0 of this plot, and we didn’t need that. The Darth-Vader-wannabe killing the Palpatine-wannabe is a much more interesting choice.

Still, I am rather curious about the character’s background and how he came to power. I expect this will eventually show up in a novel if it hasn’t already.

Hux

I actually wound up kinda liking this guy more than I thought I would, which is to say, any. Poe’s pissing him off by calling into his bridge and then promptly ignoring all of his bluster pleased me considerably.

I also liked Hux’s desperate “long live the Supreme Leader” gambit to get out of being Force-choked. Let’s see if he manages to survive the third movie. Possibly by orchestrating an assassination attempt on Kylo.

The Visuals on Crait

Goodness, I loved the stark contrast of white and red on Crait, once the Resistance took over the abandoned Rebel base there. It was Hoth-like and yet so very not, with all those geysers of red shooting up into the sky at every impact upon the salt flats.

The Vulptices

Apparently those crystal fox critters on Crait are called vulptices, singular vulptex. I actually liked them a bit better than the porgs, because a) foxes!, and b) they actually contributed a bit to the plot by providing the clue as to how to actually get out of the base. I really liked the crystal look of their fur.

Last But Not Least

That’ll do me for now for my own commentary, but here are a few more articles off The Mary Sue and Tor.com that I liked from last night:

Tor.com

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Here to Wring All the Emotions It Possibly Can Out of You

12 Moments in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that Positively Wrecked Me

The Mary Sue

All Our Spoiler-Filled Impressions Right After Seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi

So now I’ll turn it over to y’all, talk to me in the comments! What are your thoughts on the movie?

Editing to add #1: Fixed a broken link in the section about Vice-Admiral Holdo. I was missing a quotation mark in one of the URLs there.

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14 Comments

  • Reply GlennS December 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Reylo? OH FUCK NO. I think I see how this has to end… this is another Gollum thing. She’s right, the little shit has *something* good in him, but I don’t think it’s enough to avoid MCD. That said, you’re right, Adam Driver is making him *interesting*, a lot better than Annakin.

    I’m still deeply conflicted about Yoda, but he did take Luke down a peg or two when he needed it, and Artoo sealed the deal. It was a cheap shot, and Luke knew it, but they were both *right*…

    That was a *really* *excellent* way to end Luke. Burning himself out to save the rest of’em. And, yeah, that lint-spec bit (and did you notice he made himself YOUNGER, as if to REALLY say, COME ON! is that all you got?! COME AT ME, Brosephus!)

    Hell yeah I cried. You know you did too.

    But… Carrie. She TOLD us.

    “We’ve got all we need right here.” And Yoda backed that up. It’s not just midichlorians, though that makes it easier. Everyone can do it. EVERYONE. You. Me. The Tree, and the Land. Some would say, even a Ship. (I would not argue.) They have Rey, and Poe, and Finn, and Rose, and life will go on. They’ll be SAD AF for a bit… WHO WOULDN’T?! But… there’s a war to be won, and when the fit hits the shan and the laser bolts are flying, they will be Enough.

    “What’s he that wishes so?
    My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin;
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not ONE MAN MORE….”
    — Henry V IV:iii 21-16 (Emphasis from the Branagh version)

    Carrie wasn’t truly Gone for me until the credits came up… and then they stuck that little bar of Leia’s Theme in the credits with the dedication to see her home… Kimberley-Clark made a MINT on that.

    And yet, she lives. She’ll live in each character’s spirit, as she does in ours, and she’ll provide the drive for all of us, in this ‘Verse and that one alike, to kick the necessary arse and save the day. The characters can win this.

    It will be Enough.

    Now, me, I’m a little worried if it’ll be enough for the *fans*.

    Now, this is a Disney franchise. They’ve already spilled the beans that they’re not just gonna *stop* with Episode 9. Nor should they. But this is sort of shaping up to be Babylon 5 Season 5. Your big bad is dead, your little bad doesn’t have his head screwed on straight, can you do the *fans* justice? Leia or no Leia, this is an awfully big mess to tie up in a bow in one movie. And Deus Ex Machina is not gonna cut it for the finale, you gotta do something real.

    Or are they gonna throw the five-year plan out the airlock and play “its continuing mission”? You could *do* that; there’s not much George could do about it now. Especially if he gets paid.

    IDK. We’ll see.

    I still think *this* was the best Star Wars film *ever*, and probably *that there ever _could_ be*.

    The question is, still, if it can’t be topped, don’t try, but can you do something like, oh, “All Good Things”, to get the new generation settled on the right path and give everyone to know that Really, It Will Be All Right? I think that would do.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 11:08 am

      (Note: I fixed a broken link in the section about Vice-Admiral Holdo, which was supposed to be two paragraphs, not one.)

      Dara and I talked some last night about what they can possibly do in the third movie. The Resistance has been all but obliterated. Narratively speaking, they can’t pull a “we’ll blow up the Death Star/Starkiller Base/whatevs” out of their hat for Episode IX; we’ve seen that already, three times now, so they really can’t do that again and maintain appropriate narrative weight.

      Which got me thinking as to what they can do in order to actually pull a win out of their hats.

      They must find additional allies somewhere. They’re down to a tiny handful of people now–Dara called them the Resistance Committee, really. πŸ˜‰ They certainly don’t have enough firepower to take down the First Order by political or economic or military force.

      Dara also pointed out though that there’s an argument to be made that the First Order is not as strong as they may appear. Yes, they obliterated the Republic worlds, but they don’t have Starkiller Base anymore. And it was interesting to Dara that they didn’t just call in additional Star Destroyers to take down what was left of the Resistance fleet while they were pursuing it. This may have just been lazy writing on the part of the writers, sure. But there’s also the question of whether the First Order even had additional Star Destroyers to bring in.

      And I’m really, really wondering if the way the First Order is going to be destroyed is indeed from within. If Kylo Ren implodes, will his implosion be enough to take out the First Order high command along with him?

      Or, given the likelihood that we will get additional main-storyline movies, will they even take out the First Order in the next film? If they don’t, how can they get the narrative to a suitable stopping point to still make it feel like our protagonists get to win, if not the day, then at least a day?

      Luke’s last words were that he will not be the last Jedi. That the mantle is passing to Rey is clear, but what interests me more now is what she will do with it. She has the books, which suggests to me that she will be the conduit through which guidance will make it out to whatever other Force users remain in the galaxy. We saw that one kid with the broom. There will undoubtedly be more.

      I found myself thinking of Avatar: The Legend of Korra, when we saw that kid at the end. I was all “so is this the part where all the airbenders suddenly wake up?” ;D In other words–is the Force itself reaching out and deciding to activate new Force-sensitives? I really like that Tor.com post about what “the Force awakens” actually means, and if their theory is correct, it would mean that the Force itself is going “ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT” and is beginning to take steps to right the galaxy at large.

      • Reply GlennS December 27, 2017 at 11:16 am

        I like that idea… the Force Itself wakes up a whole bunch of folk (Ironically, it’s LOKI in my head screaming “ENOUGH! …. I will not be bullied… “) and gives Kylo Ren an old-fashioned Hulkster-style THRASHING… after which he’ll be having that drink now… πŸ˜‰

        The resulting galactic mop-up has enough story potential to last at least a generation….

  • Reply Juan At Home December 26, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    My spoiler filled comment is my theory that in IX both Rey and Ren will die, finally providing the balance to the force that has been mentioned but never achieved in the previous movies.

    The last scene with the boy showed that there are and will be other force users in the galaxy but none with any mastery, no more Jedi, no more Sith, no more large concentrations of force ability in one group or at the light and dark side polarizations.

    The Jedi’s rule over the Galaxy made Anakin/Vader and Sidious/Palpatine have to happen in order to try to create balance, then after those two Sith we’re gone Luke’s attempt to recreate the Jedi Order neccessitated Snoke and Ren to exist, and Rens gaining strength in the dark side made a Rey an inevitable thing.

    The only way to break the cycle, and free the franchise to do other kinds of stories is to have both the most powerful force users, one light and one dark die at or around the same time, balancing the force, finally as the prophecies have foretold.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 11:33 am

      (Note: I fixed a broken link in the section about Vice-Admiral Holdo, which was supposed to be two paragraphs, not one.)

      I seriously doubt that they’ll kill off Rey as well as Kylo in the next movie. They’ve already killed off two major characters from the previous trilogy, and will undoubtedly have to kill off Leia as well, presumably off-camera, for Episode IX. Killing Rey off on top of that would be really dark, and they’d have to work very, very hard to balance that with suitable hope.

      Mind you, I am aware that we did also just have Rogue One, in which all the major characters were in fact killed off–but the narrative specifically called for that, and it also worked very hard to maintain a spark of hope to tie that tragic ending into the bigger picture of how, eventually, the Rebellion would in fact take down the Death Star.

      So sure, I could see a possibility of their killing off Rey too, but I doubt it. Just because I don’t necessarily buy that both her death and Kylo’s would restore true balance to the Force.

      I do agree that the idea of eliminating the Jedi/Sith strictures is critical. That post of Tor.com’s I linked to certainly goes in that direction. But it’s important to keep in mind that Kylo Ren isn’t a Sith. He’s a powerful Dark Side Force user, sure. But these are not one and the same. The power dynamic between him and Snoke was still one of apprentice and master–but I noticed a certain lack of traditional Sith customs like, say, the use of the title “Darth”. Which is real interesting, given Kylo’s obsession with his grandfather.

      Likewise, while Rey is clearly a strong Light Side Force user, I don’t think she’s going to become a Jedi per se, certainly not the way Luke was, or Yoda or Obi-Wan or Qui-Gon or any of the other Jedi we’ve seen in the movies before now. Luke’s last words were that he would not be the last Jedi, but he and Yoda did also talk about how the Jedi order as they knew it would have to end.

      Rey’s got the Jedi texts now, which suggests that she is going to have to actually do something with them. The only thing that makes narrative sense to me is that she will be the conduit through which what is worth preserving in those books makes it out across the galaxy and reaches all those unknown Force users, to give them guidance.

      I think it’s also important that Rey was drawn to that Dark Side hole on the island, and how Luke sensed potential darkness in her, too. This suggests to me that true balance in the Force would involve its users acknowledging both the Light and Dark aspects of it, but not adhering slavishly to one or the other. Rather, embracing both in the fullness of life and existence. She and the rest of the Force users in the galaxy may wind up still using the word “Jedi”… but what that word actually means, I think, is beginning a massive overhaul.

      It’ll be real intriguing to watch. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Janne December 27, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I absolutely loved everything about this movie. Was worried in advance that it would be too long, but when I came out of it my reaction was basically “That was never two hours!”. It was so good! Agree with everything above except one thing:

    I don’t think anybody should be beyond redemption. That’s just sad. I see so many people online these days arguing that having said or done something bad even once in your timeline means NO MERCY EVER DIE HORRIBLY. I don’t want to live in that kind of universe. Or watch it in cinemas. If Vader could be redeemed after killing his wife, the Jedi, participating in the destruction of Alderaan and who knows what else, then Ben Solo isn’t beyond redemption and reformation either. Even if he killed fandom fave Han Solo.

    I am horribly sad we will never see Kylo/Ben meet Leia face to face, that would have been a thing of beauty whichever way it went.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      I acknowledge that my stance here is coming from a place of deep emotional attachment to Han, yeah. πŸ˜‰ More rationally, you’re totally right of course. But thinking about this from a narrative standpoint, I find myself thinking of the romance genre and its conventions about the hero’s “grovel” at the end of a story, and the degree of grovel required based on how awful he’s been in earlier parts of the book.

      Kylo’s set himself a huge, huge bar for how much grovel is required in this story, in order for a redemption arc for him to feel earned to me. Dude committed patricide, on top of all the other awful things he’s done in the name of the First Order. Vader’s redemption only came as an act of sacrifice of himself, and honestly I can’t see anything less for Kylo. One possible narrative course I could see working for me is if he does indeed crack in the third movie, under the weight of the conflict that’s been established to remain within him. If he commits a final noble act to help take the First Order down, I’d be down with that.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Addendum: I told Dara after we saw the movie that I kinda felt like they were going to pull a Loki here, what with the signs in this movie of a potential redemption arc as well as the whole gratuitous shirtless shot and making him come across at least a little sympathetic to Rey. But Dara disagreed with me, and she pointed out that Loki has in fact come home in the MCU. He’s done at least some work to earn his redemption arc. Kylo by contrast seems so far to be entirely on board with abandoning his past, at least consciously. I noticed that he did not ever directly answer Rey’s question about why he killed his father. Instead he’s clinging to that whole idea of how you should kill your past if you have to, which was as close to an answer to her as he gave.

      If they want to do a redemption for him right, for me as a viewer, I’m going to need to see him crack and I’m going to need to see him hit upside the head with the impact of what he’s done. Realizing his mother is gone too might be a catalyst. Or it might push him in the opposite direction–underscoring for him that he has nothing to actually pull him home now, with both his parents gone.

      And that I could see some intriguing character development either way here does rather emphasize for me that as much as I’m angry at the guy, he is a compelling character!

      • Reply GlennS December 27, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        Of all the things this new arc has done – representation of women and POC both in leadership roles and scattered throughout the scenery, complete willingness to MCD to advance the story, digging into the greasy underbelly of war, and still managing to keep true to what us aging fen grok as Being Star Wars – I think *actually having an _interesting_ villain* is perhaps the most groundbreaking. I mean, we’ve been wanting representation for …. ever… *and we got it*, finally… but … Character development *of the bad guy*? There are two authors I can think of that do this, and both are in my top ten: Weber (with the whole heel-face turn of the Havenites), and Straczynski (Londo Mollari). (And both of those stories are a lot longer in terms of screen-equivalent time than this is.) Kylo *started out* being a helluva lot like his grandsire: a freakin’ whiny git. He’s still not completely dry behind the ears, but he’s *growing*… I can see good story coming out of this.

        • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 5:25 pm

          Well, we’ve got three generations now of the Skywalker lineage and they do all appear to be champion whiners. ;D I’m lookin’ at you, Mr. “I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters”.

          I wouldn’t go so far as to call having an interesting villain groundbreaking, though. I’ve seen people say for decades in the SF/F genre that in well-written stories, the villains are often way, way more interesting than the heroes. Loki over in the MCU certainly is a great example, to go with a currently active franchise, and a character who’s made a shift from “villain” over more to “antihero”.

          Lex Luthor is another example. I’ve seen multiple examples of telling Superman’s story now, and of the three major ones I’m familiar with (Christopher Reeve’s, Lois and Clark, and the DCAU), Lex is oftentimes way more compelling than Clark. Lex in first season Lois and Clark in particular was entertainingly complex, way more so than in later seasons of the show when he became less “businessman with multiple shades of gray” and more straight up “cartoon villain”.

          And in all the years I’ve been paying attention to people’s writing advice, to be sure, “make your villains three dimensional” ranks pretty high up there on the list of things a writer really should be doing. That was certainly something I had to work on doing the Rebels of Adalonia books, as well as the Free Court ones. And the latter series certainly is an example of me being a card-carrying member of the “redeem a bad guy and turn him into an antihero” club. πŸ˜€

          What I do like about this story in particular though is indeed that Kylo Ren’s character development is getting as much focus as Rey’s. While I wouldn’t call “interesting villain” groundbreaking in general for the SF/F genre, I do agree it’s kinda groundbreaking for Star Wars. Or at least, the films. Vader did get some character development, but not to this degree, not until the prequel trilogy happened (and say what you will about those movies being Not Good, they did at least develop Anakin’s character!).

          There are also examples of fascinating villains in the Star Wars Expanded Universe–Thrawn, Mara Jade, and Talon Karrde all come immediately to mind. But you have more room to develop characters in novels than you do in films.

        • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

          And oh yes, for another example of highly interesting villain, I give you three words: Khan Noonian Singh. πŸ˜€

          • GlennS December 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm

            Cry HAVOC!!! And let slip the Dogs of War! πŸ™‚

            (Touche’.)

  • Reply Roger Crew December 29, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    And this was very much a β€œmiddle movie of a trilogy”,

    Completely disagree. This is, or should be, the very last Star Wars movie.

    Or at least, the last in the main sequence; if they want to do more side stories like Rogue One or young Han Solo or whatever, I won’t object.

    But this movie ties up all of the plot threads that matter and ends in a satisfying place.
    I really don’t see any way of continuing from here that won’t suck.

    About the only things I would have done differently

    swap Leia and Holdo in that last space-battle. That would have been a grand exit for Leia and thus have provided closure for all of the main character arcs from the first movie.
    [I admittedly have some issues with the fleet not having a defense against someone/something jumping to lightspeed in the middle of a ship — basically we should now be seeing a change in battle tactics in which everyone mass-producing missiles with hyperdrives installed in them — but it’s not like this is the first ever plot hole in a Star Wars movie].
    split it into two 90-minute movies so that the series could end on #9 the way everyone’s expecting.

    • Reply Angela Korra'ti December 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Well, if we hadn’t already known that there was going to be an Episode IX, and that at least before Fisher’s passing they were going with a plan of “Episode VII focuses on Han, Episode VIII on Luke, and Episode IX on Leia”, I’d agree with you. This movie does end with solid closure, and I would indeed be satisfied with that as an ending if we never got another movie.

      But since we do know an Episode IX is coming, I can only assume that the intent here is NOT to call this the end of the story. And that presumably, the end game is to try to take down the First Order. Clearly they have to ditch the idea of “Episode IX focuses on Leia”, though. All the reports I’ve seen indicate that they will not digitally recreate Fisher, although they have permission from her estate to use prior footage if necessary. I suspect though that whatever script they wind up shooting (they’ve already had to go back to Square One after Fisher’s passing) will pick up after Leia’s gone.

      So I stand by my assessment that this feels very “middle of a trilogy” to me, since I know the story isn’t done yet.

      I’m glad they didn’t kill Leia off in Last Jedi, though. Losing her and Luke in the same movie would have been too much for me, personally.

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