First Impressions of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I braved jet lag and the bitter cold last night to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi in a theater, as I have for all three Disney Star Wars releases (okay, one was at the Baghdad Embassy and the other in Florida, so it wasn’t too cold those other times). I should have known it was a bad sign when Disney entrusted a director with a handful of films under his belt, Rian Johnson, to not only direct the film but also write it. Honestly, I thought this was the worst of the Disney Star Wars films. Here are some of my first impressions.

  • The pointless and silly exposition was so annoying I almost walked out of the theater. Something would happen, and then a character would turn to another character and describe what just happened. How dumb does Rian Johnson think his audience is?
  • Just when I thought they were going to take the series in a completely new direction, they bring it back to the same damn thing. Again.
  • In the opening battle, the First Order sends out a handful of TIE Fighters to confront the Resistance bombers while their Star Destroyers sit there and do nothing.
  • I’m glad Disney decided to fix its messed up galactic politics from The Force Awakens, but do the good guys have to be rebels in order to be the good guys? They do this because we naturally root for the underdog, but surely there are other ways to create a good vs. evil plot line. Wouldn’t it be interesting, for instance, if the First Order and New Republic had to work together against a powerful external enemy?
  • Speaking of which, I’m not happy with the way Disney took the entire post-Return of the Jedi timeline and extended universe developed in comics, novels, and video games and just threw it in the trash.
  • The subplot of the gambling planet is pointless, and Finn and Rose Tico are morons. They’re running out of time, but waste so much of it just wandering around, concerned with freeing a bunch of animals. Then, after escaping captivity, instead of trying to find the guy they came to find, they run off with a sketchy character they randomly met in jail who of course ultimately sells them out.
  • The scene where Rey jumps into the “Dark Side” cave is pointless and doesn’t contribute to the plot or story in any meaningful way.
  • Why does the Resistance leadership refuse to listen to Poe Dameron, a loyal and longtime member, or answer his questions, while they allow a former storm trooper with questionable loyalty, Finn, to discuss plans with Leia Organa and pretty much do whatever he wants?
  • Continuing the trend from Rogue One, this felt like watching a video game with the way everything was so contrived. “In order to do X we need to find Y,” and “We have to hit this weapon in exactly this one way to destroy it.”

Ultimately, The Last Jedi was so disappointing. I know it’s gotten good reviews, but I just don’t see why. It’s literally the exact same thing we’ve seen in every Star Wars movie with only a slight variation. It teases you several times into thinking it’s finally going to break new ground, but ultimately ends up in the exact same place. I’m no longer excited to watch the upcoming sequel because I probably already have.

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