And with that title, I already feel the eyes of the internet upon me. Which is kind of the point. I wouldn’t be posting this otherwise.
Plus, it’s my website. I can post what I want. So there (despite a few internet commentators who have actually posted, in pure seriousness, the XKCD strip about “being shown the door” regarding content on my own website, without any trace of irony or acknowledgement of the ridiculousness of their demands).
Enough navel-gazing. This editorial is about The Last Jedi, specifically about what went wrong with one small part of it, and how it could have been fixed.
Because let’s be honest: There was a lot wrong with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It definitely wasn’t Star Wars Holiday Special levels of bad, but at the same time … Well, let’s just say there were a lot of Star Wars fans out there who had thought that they’d never seen anything in the series that could possibly perform worse than the prequels.
Yeah, talking about something that didn’t work in The Last Jedi is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Suffice it to say, its creators pretty much set the bar about as low as it could possibly be set without reaching Holiday Special levels. I remember seeing Facebook and Twitter posts from people I knew, dedicated fans, talking about how they’d gone back and seen it a second time, hoping they’d missed something critical the first time around.
Yeah, you’ve probably seen some measure of this controversy. Personally? It’s not at all without merit. The Last Jedi kind of came across as a film that didn’t understand what Star Wars was about past the visual element. And sure, we got some great scenes—the battle with Snoke’s Praetorian Guard is a six-minute slug-fest that is absolutely one of the more fantastic Star Wars fights—but we also got some stuff that really dropped hard.
One of these, which I want to talk about today, is Finn’s butchered character arc. Actually, butchered isn’t the proper term. More … grossly mishandled character arc.
Which is a real shame, because honestly, taken as it was presented, I genuinely think Finn’s story and arc is one of the best ideas of the movie, and one of the best, most cleverly self-aware bits of storytelling the series has attempted in the films.
It’s just … as I said, mishandled. Very badly. To the degree that this neat idea, this cool concept, is buried under the deluge of … blah … that the rest of the film becomes. So much so that a lot of people straight-up missed it completely. When I’ve talked about this film with others and brought it up, quite often I get a “Oh wow, you’re right! Now I see it!” from them … But that doesn’t save the movie.
So what was it that was so clever about Finn’s character, and where did it go so wrong? Well …
Okay, a bit of backstory for a second regarding Finn, just in case you forgot. Finn is a former stormtrooper. Raised from a young age to be a stormtrooper and little else. Which is why, in the first movie he featured in (Episode 7), he spends a good chunk of it not really knowing who he is outside of “the traitor stormtrooper.”
Basically, he’s a blank slate, and he knows it. Which makes what he starts doing in The Last Jedi all the more clever. One part of his character that was established in The Force Awakens and carried on through to The Last Jedi is Finn’s love and admiration of heroes. From the moment in TFA when Han Solo tells him that “it’s all true, all of it,” Finn’s obvious admiration that there can be these pivotal heroes who save the day is a pretty solid part of his character.
So in TLJ, they did something really clever with it. Finn, knowing that he’s a blank slate, and knowing that everyone is in trouble, spends the whole movie trying to be a hero by—wait for it—one by one emulating other heroic archetypes from the Star Wars series. He tries to be a different kind of hero in each major part of the movie, discarding one archetype and moving to the next as the archetype doesn’t suit him (read, things don’t go well). He tries being the brooding, doesn’t talk to anyone hero who does what’s right by him, he tries the rogue, etc etc. If you watch the movie and pay close attention to Finn, you start to pick up on it. Even at the very end, when he decides “Well, maybe I’m the kind of hero that sacrifices himself to save everyone else.”
This is actually a really cool bit of almost self-examination from a Star Wars film, plus there’s a good concept behind it, as Finn figures out in the end: The kind of hero we are isn’t necessarily trying to be the heroics of someone else, but being the hero we can be, the one that’s us.
This is a genuinely cool character arc! Except for the part where almost no-one picked up on it? Why?
Well … unfortunately, there is a very obvious reason: Rose.
Okay, hold off, hold off. I can hear the Tumblr crowd lighting torches from here. It’s not a problem with the actress, or the sex of the character. Or the actress. Put the torches out. That’s not the issue.
The issue, and I think at the root of why so many people disliked the character, was that she was two things. First, she was poorly written with regards to being a part of the story. Second, her character as written had no real momentum or development capacity alongside Finn’s.
That is the real problem with Rose’s character. Rose doesn’t mesh with Finn’s character. Not his arc, not his journey—NONE OF IT. And that results in a mess of two characters trying to play off of one another when they have nothing to play off of.
Look, there’s a place for the one-note, pie-in-the-sky characters Rose was written as. They do good with established heroes, or sometimes disgruntled, self-doubting ones. Characters like Rose work in a multitude of other places. One of those, however, is not alongside a character struggling to discover who he is. It’s not a dynamic that lends itself to good character interactions, dynamics, or interplay.
I’ve talked on this site before about foils. Foils are characters who are at odds with one another, even if on the same side. Differing worldviews, differing approaches, etc. Foils are a classic piece of literature because two characters that are foils for one another automatically have chemistry. They react with one another by the basis of their design, and encourage character growth.
Think of the classic “buddy cop” film. Any of them. Those characters are always foils, because it allows them to play off of one another. Sometimes they start off despising one another. Sometimes not. But as foils, they play off of one another as they move forward. Crud, the first Star Wars film? A New Hope? Who was one of the favorite characters?
Han Solo. A direct foil to Luke Skywalker’s character. Luke was innocent and untested but burning with vigor. Han was jaded and experienced, while careful with his hot-headed impulses (sometimes). This dynamic between them meant that Han and Luke were almost always sniping at one another. Which in turn led to developing their characters for the audience, and then development of said characters once the audience had seen who they were.
Foils are great for establishing and developing characters. And The Last Jedi fails to tell Finn’s story properly because Rose’s character is not a proper foil for his own developing story. The two don’t mesh. It’s like watching Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny. The first thought on anyone’s mind is “What do these two have to do with one another?”
And yes, that is a real movie. Look it up!
But anyway, it’s a shame, because Finn has this great idea for a character arc—exploring different hero tropes and archetypes from Star Wars to find his own—and yet he’s partnered with a character who has no interaction with that arc. Rose’s story is “Go rebellion! Yeah!”
Again, this is not the actress’ fault unless she was the one that wrote those lines and created that character. I blame the director and the writers for the mess we got. Kelly Marie Tran played the character she was given. It’s not her fault it was a poor character with very little to work with. The director and writers made poor decisions, not her. And dang it, they should have been aware enough to know what they were doing. I question their talent for storytelling.
Okay, so enough of that. This post had the word “fixing” in the title. So how could we fix Finn’s misfired character arc?
Simple. Cut out the Rose we got, and insert a Rose (or another character) that’s a foil.
It’s actually not that difficult. Crud, barring changes the rest of the film needs, it could proceed somewhat as normal. Send Finn off on his own with a mission. Have him try to be the “suave, roguish hero” and botch it up. Land him in the same prison cell he did in the film. Where he meets up with a character that is his foil. Alien, human, male, female … doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this character is a foil to Finn’s.
So what would a good foil for Finn be? Well, Finn’s trying to be a hero. Make this character a jaded individualist. Someone who doesn’t believe in heroes, despite having plenty of pluck and skill. Give this character their own talents and skills, but have them be a foil to Finn. Have them mock his attempts at being a hero.
Then, when this new character breaks out (or however they get out), have First Order Agents show up looking for Finn and assume this foil is his resistance contact. Bam: Forced together. And suddenly you have a character that adds to Finn’s arc and can even develop as well. Finn continues trying the different heroic elements, this foil along for the ride and serving as a counterpoint to each archetype he tries.
That’s it! That’s all the change needed! Giving Finn a foil would let both characters shine. It would show off his character development and direction much more cleanly than the final film did. Plus, it would allow Finn to drop the “wide-eyed idealist idiot-ball” that Rose’s character carried around (again, bad writing, not actress) and play things true to his character (as well as the foil’s), which would fix a few other issues with the film.
Right, that’s all I have to say on this topic. Again, I loved the idea of Finn’s arc. I find it very clever for a Star Wars film. But it was saddled with a character that wasn’t a foil, a character that didn’t help establish it or give it room to shine. Crud, most of the audience missed it. I remember saying I liked the idea behind it after I saw the flick and getting a bunch of blank looks. At which point I listed off some of the archetype moments Finn tried (and failed) and got a bunch of wide-eyed “Oh wow, that’s cool!” moments of realization.
It’s a great idea. It was just buried by virtue of being partnered with a character that did nothing to bring it anyone’s attention or even invite any amount of growth.
Ah well. What’s done is done. I just really wish we could have seen Finn’s character with a foil, not a mire. It would have changed a lot.
5 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Fixing One Small Part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Wasn’t part of Finn’s arc about loyalty? And that’s why they met up with Benicio del Toro, who was loyal to no-one?
Besides that, Finn hardly seems like the most important character. The new trilogy seems to be following Ben Solo the same way the original did Darth Vader. This is *his* story.
Also, when you say the film “doesn’t understand star wars”, what does that mean? What part of star wars does it not understand? How hate, and attacking/destroying out of hate, leads to the dark side? How love can can redeem a person? How the balance between light and dark is the most important thing? How mastering both light and dark is the true way forward and that re-creating the Jedi was a huge mistake from the beginning? ‘Cause that all tracks, so there’s got to be something else that I’m missing.
It was kind of a part of his arc, but the unquestioning loyalty thing was more the pie-in-the-sky character Rose’s big deal. del Toro was there and gone so fast there wasn’t much time to foil it, either. He shows up and saves them, talks a bit at the midpoint, then betrays them, all in under ten minutes of screen time. He was loyal to no one, yes, but it’s not explored or developed, more shoved into the audience’s lap.
Which only shows the flaws underpinning the movie moreso if true (and personally, I think this is just a lot of dedicated fans’ attempts to try and wrangle some decency out of this mess. A quick check of screen-time shows that Finn is the second-most important character in Episode 7, and third-most in Episode 8. Only Rey gets more screen between both films, while Ben Solo is much down the list. If it is supposed to be Ben’s story, they’re doing a really crappy job of it, and spending almost all their screen time on Rey and Finn.
The film (Episode 8) showed a basic misunderstanding (or total lack of understanding) of what made the Star Wars films work. The comparison is best made using the director’s own comparison, which was that Episode 8 is supposed to be another Episode 5 (The Empire Strikes Back). Except one of the biggest differences between the films is how the heroes are handled.
In Episode 5, the heroes lose. But they lose while trying their best, and do get a hope spot in the end. But we have the heroes making smart decisions. Han running to Lando, The rebellion retreating from Hoth. Luke trying to save his friends is debatable since he knows it’s a trap, but at the same time he explains that even if it is, he has to try because they’re his friends.
These characters all make smart decisions. Yet they still lose, because the Empire is just THAT powerful. They’ve got the ships and the manpower. And they’re making smart decisions on their own, too, setting traps and whatnot. But the movie opens with the Empire finding the rebels by building and sending out thousands and thousands of probe droids.
So the movie is dark, yes, with losses, but the heroes remain capable characters. They just lose because the Empire is that much of a threat.
Episode 8, on the other hand, has characters that can’t make a smart decision to save their lives. 8 is plagued with cases of “Heroes are stupid.” Crud, several lines in the movie go out of the way to mock the protagonists for existing. Worse, those protagonists don’t make reasonable, intelligent decisions at all: they make really dumb ones. From the “No one can know the plan!” to most of the stuff Finn, Rey, and Luke all go through. They make bad decision after bad decisions, leaving you with no one you really want to root for (and hey, that could definitely be in part why people want Ben to be the protagonist so badly: with main characters this stupid, you don’t want to support them).
Worse, this movie then attempts to pull an “Empire” by giving the hope spot at the end still and not having the First Order crush a bunch of incompetent protagonists right off the bat. And it does this by making them even dumber. Where in Empire the antagonists succeeded by smarts and overwhelming force, in 8 they still fail 90% of the time through sheer stupidity, and only succeed because the main characters are themselves so inept.
It doesn’t match up with the original series at all, where characters were tough, generally intelligent but flawed, and worked hard to bring down a despotic empire. Crud, 8’s message seems to be espousing the episode 3 antagonist line of “from my point of view the jedi are evil” only swapping jedi for “protagonist characters.” They’re criminally inept, and yet no one seems to realize this. The only reason they don’t lose in the first few minutes of the movie is the antagonist force is even more incompetent. People love to give flack to “A New Hope,” for example, for Tarkin’s line about not retreating in the Death Star when the weakness was known. Yet in 8, the entire film is built around a cascade of bad decisions like that. One bad decision is a flaw, a whole film of them is just poor.
Star Wars gave viewers heroes they could admire. So many six-year olds loved Han, Luke, or Leia.
Six-year olds now look at 8 and go “Those people are kind of dumb.”
Going off of the director’s interviews, it sounds like he wanted to “deconstruct” the series with 8, and show off how foolish a heroic saga was. Instead, it just came off as poor-characterized bashing. Which gets even worse when you see some of the deleted scenes that actually did add some character and develop things a little, and then each is followed with the director saying ‘We felt audiences wouldn’t be interested in that.’
I’ve put a lot of thought into this.
Listen. I respect you a lot. You’ve written some great articles that have taught me a fair amount about writing. I’ll continue to read those article in the future.
But in this case- in this one extremely controversial case- I say you are wrong.
Very wrong. Almost entirely wrong. So wrong that Luke’s most famous quote from the movie qualifies as a response in and of itself.
And I say this with as much certainty as possible because I just rewatched the movie last night.
Let’s start with your assertions in the original article. What was Finn’s character and character arc? In “The Force Awakens”, Finn spends much of the movie running away, or trying to. He’s a deserter of the First Order, but he is not a member of the Resistance. He’s not a hero. He’s a survivor. And his one true heroic act in that film? It got him injured.
As for an arc, I think Finn has two going on simultaneously. Neither of which is ‘what kind of hero archetype will he be?’ No.
The first truly is about loyalty. In “The Last Jedi”, Finn wakes up and basically the first thing he tries to do is run away again. Oh, sure, he justifies it by saying he wants to save Rey from coming back and dying. But it’s still, as Rose says, selfish. He’s not thinking of the Resistance or all the people around him, all the people who look up to him now. He’s thinking of himself, and his friend, and how he doesn’t want to lose her. Not even about what she herself would want.
Well, after Rose stuns Finn, he’s forced to stick around, and forced to confront the idea that there are bigger things going on than his life or Rey’s. Some quick bonding over their knowledge of First Order tech, and he and Rose are off on a side quest. Which is actually more important than I gave it credit for. Not to the plot of the film, but to the characters and Finn’s second arc. But first, to finish up about the first arc. They meet up with DJ, and no, he is not a foil to Finn. I actually knew this, but forgot: he’s a foil to Laando Calrissian.
Lando was introduced in “Empire” as a friend. Then he betrayed Han and the rest, but instantly felt guilty about it. Especially once it turned out to be for nothing, because Vader altered the deal (“Pray I do not alter it any further”). So Lando gave a big middle finger to the Empire and helped Leia and friends escape. He even stuck around to rescue Han and blow up the second Death Star.
DJ, on the other hand, is introduced as a friend- and an unrepentant crook. He seems to help out Finn and Rose at first, even rescues them a second time with BB-8, and then goes along with their plan with minimal complaining. But he’s shifty the entire time he’s on screen. The moment he gave Rose back her necklace, it seemed he was actually a decent fellow, just very cynical. *And* then he sold them out to the First Order, and offered no remorse about it, establishing himself as a truly neutral party.
Now, DJ does contrast with Finn, and that’s on purpose, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t need that much talking about. The actions speak louder. And what *is* said is enough. Specifically, DJ espouses how it is best to not have any loyalties, to not pick a side. Finn tells him he’s wrong- and DJ admits that it’s possible. That admission? That’s all it takes for his argument to crumble.
And after DJ leaves, Finn completes this arc by standing up to Phasma, fighting her off, and proudly proclaiming that he stands with the Resistance. He is ‘Rebel Scum’. He’s picked his side, and he feels that it is right.
Now for the second arc. This arc really boils down to two big moments, though there are other smaller ones. The first is at the end of the Fathiar (Fathier?) chase scene. At the end of that scene, they’re trapped, and Finn declares it to be worth the failed escape just to have destroyed the casino. See, he *hates* that place, he *hates* the people in it, and he wants to see it all torn down. Much like how earlier he agreed with Poe that blowing up the First Order flagship was a good idea.
But Rose pauses, and she frees the creature they were riding. Only then does she declare their failure worth it.
The second moment is Finn’s attempted sacrifice. Here’s the thing- everyone was screaming at him to not do it, that he was going to fail. And if he did, which was likely, his death would’ve meant nothing. So Rose saving him was definitely the right thing to do. And what did she say when she did? That they would win, not by destroying what they hate, but by saving what they love. To phrase that slightly differently, choices made out of hatred will lead to only suffering, while choices made of love will lead to salvation. And you could substitute ‘hatred’ with a couple other things, chiefly ‘fear’ and ‘anger’. Because fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hatred, and hatred- well, I’m sure as a Star Wars fan, you know the rest.
Looking back at Finn’s hero act in episode 7, he picked up that lightsaber to save Rey. Yeah, he suffered for it. But he lived, and so did Rey, and because Rey lived so does the Resistance at the end of this film.
Finn’s story isn’t about what kind of hero he’s going to be. It’s about what kind of *person* he’s going to be.
And with that in mind, Rose was not a foil to Finn. Because she wasn’t meant to be. She was meant to be a teacher.
I’m going to real quick address your response to my own assertion that this is Ben Solo’s story with two questions and a simple statement. First question: how much screen time did Darth Vader get in the original trilogy compared to Luke, Han, and Leia? I feel like it wasn’t very much. And yet the original trilogy is definitely the tale of Vader’s redemption into Anakin.
Second question: How much of Rey’s screen time is spent on Ben’s story? Because this time I feel like the answer is almost all of it.
And the statement: it isn’t how much time a character has onscreen, it’s what they do with it. In Infinity War, Loki had less than five minutes of screen time. And yet, not only was that time very memorable, it also packed a huge punch. Not just because he died, either. Here, all of Ben Solo’s scenes are extremely memorable and important.
Okay, on to the ‘not understanding Star Wars’ stuff. Hoo, boy. Okay, the first bit I can pick out is how this film compares to “Empire”. There are a lot of comparisons. Both films bring the heroes to low points. Both films end on hope spots. Both films have most of the characters involved in a chase plot, with a fleet nipping at their heels while they try everything to get away. Both films feature a character journeying to a far away planet to learn the ways of the force from a slightly kooky old jedi master. Both films end with all the characters on a different planet, having suffered alone before reuniting. Plot wise, there’s a lot of similarities. Your main contention seems to be the characters in this film making dumb decisions, so let’s talk about that. Because I call bullshit.
We’ll start with Holdo refusing to tell Poe the plan. She actually lays it all out in her first meeting with him. In her eyes he’s an arrogant asshole who just got a bunch of their friends killed and was rightfully demoted for it. Nothing he does on that bridge could possibly have raised her opinion. He sounded like a spoiled brat! Demanding to know the plan, when really it was his place to just follow orders like a good soldier. Speaking of, his demotion was also earned by the fact that he deliberately disobeyed Leia’s order to fall back.
The thing is, for Poe, all of that is in-character. He actually is an over-confident military maverick gloryhound. The film shows that there is a time and a place for big stunts (Holdo’s sacrifice), but Poe doesn’t know when the right time and place is. By just doing as he pleases, he gets people killed and puts many more at risk. Should Holdo have told him the plan? Probably. Did she have any reason to trust him? No, no she did not.
The decision to involve DJ was definitely a mistake Finn and Rose should not have made. Also them parking their ship on the beach, which was the only reason they were arrested. But both were decisions made out of a desire to finish their mission quickly, because their time limit is a matter of hours. Somewhat forgivable, in my eyes.
As for Luke and Rey… what were the dumb decisions there? I honestly don’t see it. I see emotional decisions, but not dumb ones. Rey choosing to believe in Ben the way Luke believed in his father? Perfectly reasonable, especially since Snoke admits to manipulating her and Ben with those ‘visions’. Or maybe you mean Luke’s decision to simply run off to the ass-end of the universe and wait to die? Because that also seems reasonable when he utterly failed on every level possible at his life’s goal, unleashed a darkness onto the universe that he foresaw destroying everything he loved, and in general had nothing left to live for.
On the side with the First Order- it’s kind of the point that they are incompetent. This is not the Empire, with it’s rigid structure that stands firm. This is a group of fanatics with funding. Hux is what you get when say, Krennic from Rogue One gets promoted to head of the military. Snoke is completely overconfident and can’t imagine that his apprentice would turn on him. Ben Solo is ambitious but too immature to actually lead. The First Order succeeds by overwhelming force, that’s all. If the Resistance could get organized and funded, the fight would be over in an instant. But no one wanted to take the First Order seriously until it was too late. Now they’re all too scared to fight.
As for the hope spot at the end, well, it’s not so much about the members of the Resistance that got away on the Falcon. It’s more about that little boy who uses the force looking up at sky while wearing a Resistance ring. That kid, what he represents, is the hope spot. And because of Finn and Rose’s stories, it works.
A side note about some statements you made: why in the fucking hell are six year old children watching Star Wars? If I had a six year old, I wouldn’t be letting them watch Star Wars. My six year old would be watching PBS (assuming it hasn’t been defunded and shut down) or some other semi-educational programming that is *made for children*. Because Star Wars is a violent, full of death, all-too-often depressing story. Even the Rebels cartoon, the most toned down entry into the Star Wars canon, fits that description. The youngest person I would let watch any Star Wars film would be about 13. For Rebels, at least 11.
Oh, and just because, I’m going to argue with Mr. Joe Fugate down below. I dunno if he’ll see this, but you seem like you might agree with him, so I’ll address his complaints.
0) I enjoyed the second viewing even more than the first. I love a chase film, even one that gets intertwined with some other things. I didn’t question much about the movie on my first viewing, and what questions I had I’ve answered after the second. So, nyeeah.
1) I’ll admit to not watching episode 7 since my first time. I’ve had to rely on my (usually) freakishly good memory for it. But I seem to remember them only stating that the map would let them find Luke, not that it was left *by* Luke. In which case, it is more likely that the map was an ancient remnant created by the folks who built that Jedi Library. It was broken into pieces to hide the location. People know Luke went there, so it’s a scramble to see who can find the pieces the fastest.
2) When did it say that Starkiller base was the majority of the First Order’s resources? By that logic, how was the Empire able to survive getting its Death Star blown up? In any case, Starkiller base was not a free-floating space station, it was a planet that had huge structures built into it. The resources to build the base likely came from the planet itself, as it was hollowed out to make room. Also, yes, the victory was supposed to be hollow and pointless. It’s called a cerebus retcon. Now shut up.
3) Leia was drifting through space more or less in zero G’s. She would’ve only needed a little effort to pull herself back into the cruiser, owing to the free fall principal that fictional space operates on. Also, her surviving in space like that is plausible by real science. The emperor, on the other hand, was inside of a space station with internal artificial gravity. He would’ve required much more effort to pull himself up, and considering his current mental state at that moment, I doubt he could have done it.
4) This complaint shows very little understanding of how hyperdrives work in Star Wars. To sum it up, hyperdrives cannot function inside of a gravity well. This is shown to be the case in Rebels when the Empire developed an experimental Star Destroyer that could generate a gravity well, for the specific purpose of stopping ships from escaping into hyperspace. So no, you cannot attach a hyperdrive to an asteroid or other planetary body, because the natural gravity well wouldn’t allow it to work. Heck, in episode 7 that’s part of why the infiltration of Starkiller Base is such an insane idea. Exiting hyperspace when the Falcon was virtually on the planet already? They’re lucky not to have permanently fried the hyperdrive. They almost did kill themselves by splattering on the surface. Now, none of this prevents the possibility of them, say, using a frigate to have hyper-blasted the Death Star out of the sky in the original trilogy. But that would be a kamikaze run, which they wouldn’t want, plus it would destroy a frigate, which are expensive and in short supply back in episode 4.
5) I’m honestly on the fence with this one myself, because Rey is either a total Mary Sue or the one of the most subtle characters I’ve ever seen. I’m waiting on episode 9 to decide, I think.6) Poe fucking deserved to get slapped. He just got at least- um, five bombers with a pilot, hanger person, and gunner each, plus at least four fighters in the red on that monitor of Leia’s… that makes at least 19 people he got killed, all for a stunt that was of little consequence. The slap and demotion were well earned. See above for the rant about why Holdo was justified keeping him in the dark.Anything else here? Nope, just some bashing of the director and some executives. Well, I blame Ike Perlmutter for Inhumans, Iron Fist, and the general shitty feeling of every Marvel TV show that isn’t Agents of SHIELD, so I can’t say too much. Except that I just don’t feel the bashing is deserved here.
I originally thought the TLJ was an okay movie, but I struggled to make sense out of it as I left the theater. As I have rewatched the movie a few more times, I’m finding it’s now becoming a very annoying movie that gets more aggravating the more I watch it.
That’s NOT a Star Wars movie. A real SW movie is something you relish rewatching.
The problems are many, some of which include deeply damaging the whole SW genre.
1. Episode 7’s entire foundation was built on Luke leaving a map so he could be found, which implies it’s important when the time is right that he BE FOUND. TLJ throws EP7’s entire arc out the window with its “grouchy-leave-me-alone” Luke.
2. The First Order just had its Star Killer base demolished, which presumably is 90% of is resources. Yet TLJ acts like almost nothing happened — the First Order hasn’t really been crippled, they’re as tough and as mean as ever. This makes the victory in EP7 into a very hollow, pointless one.
3. Leia doing the superwoman force save when she’s dying calls into question the Emperor being thrown down the reactor shaft in ROTJ. If an untrained force sensitive can save themselves in a rush of power as death approaches, then CERTAINLY a highly trained Sith Master can save themselves in a like manner. The SW continuity guys should have vetoed this!
4. Using hyperdrive as a weapon was an extremely cool visual but very damaging to the SW genre as a whole. The death star has a hyperdrive, so it’s clear you can scale a hyperdrive to very large proportions. All you need to do is put a hyperdrive on an asteroid and run it through anything and you have the ultimate weapon in the universe. Again, the SW continuity folks should have said — NO WAY to Rian on this. Hyperdrive as portrayed in SW is not just going really fast, it’s an alternate dimension method of travel, so it’s a very incongruant twisting of the mythos physics.
5. While I have no problem with really strong female characters in SW (Ahsoka is an all time favorite of mine and very true to the SW genre), I have major problems with Rey. It’s as if they took Wesley Crusher from Star Trek and made him into a girl jedi wanna-be in SW. I was greatly annoyed by Wesley Crusher and I find Rey to be a huge annoyance as well. Too perfect, too forced, no real development arc. Whenever this kind of character keeps saving the day, the entire story becomes a cheap throw-away plot with no real tension.
6. You don’t get gender and racial justice by making all the former white male heroes into loosers and making the white women leads into abusive know-it-alls. One of the worst examples of this is how Holdo and Leia beat up on Poe and keep him in the dark. That’s white women being abusive to a non-white male. That’s very sexist and very racist. Lucasfilm and Disney should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this into a SW movie.
I could go on and on, but it’s clear Rian Johnson was more interested in making HIS unique mark on SW and had little interest in furthering the genre as a whole.
That JJ Abrams let Rian ignore the entire map-to-find-Luke implications of TFA in order to do his own thing undermines the trust I have in JJ.
That Kathleen Kennedy is on record as wanting to “evolve SW for a new generation” and then lets Rian deconstruct SW genre consistency with an installment that gets more annoying with each rewatching shows she fundamentally misunderstands what a SW movie is supposed to be.
And finally, that Bob Iger allowed the SW gemstone get devalued by JJ, Rian, and Kathleen shows he completely misunderstands what Disney got from George Lucas for 4 billion.
[…] about two weeks ago I wrote a post concerning some of The Last Jedi‘s flaws and how they could have been […]