This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jak-Luke Sharp’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I understand many of you haven’t yet seen The Last Jedi, so if you haven’t and don’t want anything spoiled, please read my NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
WARNING SPOILER REVIEW FOLLOWS
Similar to my SPOILER REVIEW of Justice League I’m going to break this review down into sub-categories. Please feel free to comment and Follower.
I really don’t know where to start, so let’s begin with my biggest discrepancy.
COMEDIC TONE - I understand why this was implemented, after The Force Awakens took a big hit of being repetitive in plot, it’s understandable why they’d want to distance themselves from Empire and it’s dark tone. That’s all well and good, but the direction this takes is almost verging on being an SNL skit. The first scenes of The Last Jedi uses comedy really well, it’s smart, funny and entertaining. It's working in small bites, childish yes but ultimately easing its audience in. Why it decides to just push the boundaries further and further I don’t know. It constantly wants to do something wackier, and more stupid. Especially when the film needs to focus, in-particularly the moment we’ve waited two years for between Luke and Rey. What do you think the first moment is? Luke calling her name? Refusing the saber? Nope, he chucks it over his shoulder and walks off. Two years of waiting for one of the most anticipated and ultimately anticlimactic moments in cinema. The joke and humour are tone deaf, 90% of all the jokes and physical humour miss on impact, not because it’s Star Wars, it’s because they’re not funny at all.
SNOKE - The formidable villain of The Force Awakens and what was believed to be the franchise. A mysterious force wielding and powerful mastermind that terrifies is ultimately a plot device. I’m so angry at the decision to kill him off halfway through the film without giving ANY explanation to who he is! ALL of the intrigue and mystery of The Force Awakens is nullified in this outing, we find NOTHING about him, who, or what he is. That’s not clever, it’s not a twist. It’s lazy and patronising. It’s retconning decisions made by JJ with no real reasoning, just because Johnson has other ideas. Well, that’s not how it works, unfortunately, and you’ve completely disregarded your audience.
REY/DAISY RIDLEY - She’s still wooden. Her delivery at times is so incredibly questionable and sub-par. She delivers dialogue as if she’s reading it straight off the page, literally. Her character arc is interesting don’t get me wrong, but it seems all she can do is cry on cue. The characters parentage is revealed to be nobody....yeah after all the speculation her parents were drunks who sold her for booze.
PRINCESS LEIA/CARRIE FISHER - The tribute of sorts to Fisher are beautiful. The slightly longer edits of her giving wisdom or those little thoughtful looks are beautifully done. She’s also written quite well, and really gets stuck in, never in the background. The character takes some really strange moments. They kill her off in the opening hour. The cinema went silent. Drastic, but full of so much more power and emotion. WHY IS IT THEN SHE REVIVES HERSELF IN OUT OF SPACE AND FLYS BACK INTO THE SHIP. Seriously, at this moment I was out. Whatever this film had left I checked off. I couldn’t care. Who made that decision was out of there mind. It’s not only ridiculous but undercuts ANY emotional impact. She’s them comatose for most of the film, and this is where the film just becomes boring and stupid. It has absolutely nowhere to go.
CAPTAIN PHASMA - Shes literally in the film for 75 seconds. After how badly they wrote this character in TFA, and with all the backlash they received for under-utilising Gwendoline Christie and the promise that in The Last Jedi this would be rectified annoys me so much more. We’ve been given false promises once again, and guess what? They go ahead and kill her off. This is just a joke now. They failed to actually give Christie anything to do, one of the best characters in Game of Thrones is pushed to the sideline for other actors who mean nothing. It may come to some surprise, but Captain Phasma is one of my favourite characters because Christie was in the role. The makes me annoyed all the more with the direction.
MAZ KANATA - Shes in here for 40 seconds and it’s literally forced in to remind us she’s in this universe. She adds nothing only to presumably sell toys or add further depth in a comic or TV Show. It feels as if a cut scene was used as a placeholder for the scene to be shot, but never was.
DJ/BENICIO DEL TORO - I’m going to have to calm down with this one because it makes my fucking blood boil with anger. When the first official images were released we were treated to the mysterious villain DJ. Speculation was rife, was he Ezra? Is he a sith? No, he’s a bumbling, stuttering idiot! Who wrote this? I mean seriously what is going on? Why did he bother to sign up with such a terrible role? His character is a plot device, yet again, he adds nothing to the film and if you cut him out he wouldn’t be missed at all. What a complete waste.
PLOT - It’s basically Mad Max: Fury Road in space. Now, that not only sounds inviting and peculiar, and you wouldn’t be wrong to be interested. But the issue is that this is STAR WARS. It’s a space opera. We can go to any planet, we can see anything, but here we’re just trapped seeing a snail race of Rebels trying to escape the First Order. Even when we get to go to a new planet with supporting characters it’s just filler with no substance.
LAURA DERN - Drastically underused and genuinely one of the best things in the film. Most of the supporting cast is pretty good, all add a layer or two. It’ll come as no surprise that they kill her off, it’s just getting both old and tiresome to have to explain anything good in this film dies.
LUKE SKYWALKER - Hamill gets back into this role like an old slipper, fits with ease and it’s really comfortable. His character is conflicted and they explore that really well, I never had ANY issue with his reasoning for not wanting to return to civilisation or rebuild the Jedi Order. I found it truly compelling. It’s so cool to see Luke dodge and not even having to break a sweat against Ren in the fight they have.. It builds so much emotion and power with its audience knowing Luke is the most powerful Jedi. Never mind though because this wouldn’t be Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi without a massive issue and that’s with Luke NEVER actually lhaving left said island and using a projection of himself in the final act fighting Kylo. We never get to see him actually do anything. His sacrifice is hollow because he was never really there, and then he becomes one with the force and evaporates. What a patronising and condescending way to treat your audience, who’ve you’ve just cheated throughout. It is interesting to note that Luke did keep the promise to himself about never leaving the island.
JOHN WILLIAMS - It’s safe to say the soundtrack of TFA wasn’t Williams at its finest. Consided by myself and many others to be drastically insufficient. It pains me to report that TLJ is no different in that respect. It has its moments but ultimately falls flat to create a world.
THE END - Luke is gone. The rebels have failed to come and save Leia and the small band of our characters are in ruin. So when the small fragments of our group have come together on the millennium falcon, all should be filled with doom and uncertainty. WHY ARE THEY ALL LAUGHING AND JOKING! It’s just inconsistent throughout, and ironically it’s the first Star Wars film that hasn’t but feels like it has been directed by two people.
FORCE AWAKENS PLOT LINES - We never find out who, or why Max Von Sydow plays and why he helps the resistance aside from his obvious support to Leia. We never find anything more about Finn, whose ultimately becoming a third wheel with very little substance. We never find out how the First Order came to be. We never find out who Skoke is. We never find out how Kylo gained his mask. We never find out how Ren and Snoke found each other. It’s all just really bad connective tissue.
That’s it for my SPOILERS REVIEW. As you can tell I’m incredibly angry with what direction this film took. Now, I’m not being overdramatic or ridiculous, but this film has officially ended my interest in the “Blockbuster” I’m done now. I just don’t care. They treat their audiences like absolute shit and because these franchise have devout fans who flock and love it without either acepting or realising this isn’t good only condemns things to never changing.