A little over a month ago, Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped into theaters. While the critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive, the story and word-of-mouth split the fandom right down the middle. As of this writing, the movie scored a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.5 on MetaCritic. To make matters worse, the box office performance of the flick underperformed when compared to The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
How did it come to this? Well, it’s fairly simple. The Last Jedi doesn’t make a lick of sense, pushes a sloppy agenda, and retroactively makes The Force Awakens worse.
Here are five of the most egregious reasons that I could think of.
1. Poe Dameron Gets Demoted For Saving The Resistance.
In the opening of the film, Commander Dameron stalls the First Order for time and heroically destroys the point-defense lasers on their Dreadnaught. Soon after that, Leia orders Poe to withdraw, utterly neglecting the fleet-killing cannons at the bottom of the ship. For some reason, the rest of the X-Wing, A-Wing, and paper bomber pilots ignore Leia’s orders and destroy the Dreadnaught, allowing the fleet to safely jump into hyperspace.
All in all, the Resistance trades about 20 fighters for a Dreadnaught staffed by 250,000 soldiers. While it may be cold to think of war this way, this is the kind of success that almost any general or admiral would kill for. The First Order lost the Starkiller and anywhere from 3-10 divisions in a matter of days!
For his trouble, Poe is demoted and told off by Leia and Vice Admiral Gender Studies, even though the Dreadnaught would have pasted the Resistance after they dropped out of hyperspace.
We’ll get to the rest of the consequences of this story arc later.
2. The Character Assassination Of Luke Skywalker.
I know that many people have blasted Luke’s arc, but I want to examine the situation from a writing perspective. In any story, it’s always a good idea to ask and answer questions in a way that makes sense and flows properly. Luke’s story arc in The Last Jedi doesn’t even do that, leaving the viewer with baffling questions that J.J. Abrams might have to retcon the hell out of in Episode IX.
To give you an idea of what I mean, let’s look at what we are forced to believe about Luke and the Jedi.
- He either didn’t know or turned a blind eye to Snoke’s influence over his nephew and half of the students in his Academy.
- When he found out, he attempted to murder Ben because of a future vision, negating all of his character development in Return of the Jedi.
- Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda never intervene in any of this, even though Anakin went through the same situation in Revenge of the Sith and Force ghosts can affect the natural world.
- In his depression, Luke exiles himself to Ahch-To to die, but leaves behind a map to his location because he read a script somewhere.
- The Jedi apparently need to die because they failed to stop Palpatine’s expertly orchestrated conspiracy, even though they successfully defended the galaxy for over 1,000 generations before that time.
- Luke dies for no apparent reason at the end of the film, even though the other astral projections in the movie don’t kill anyone else.
In what galaxy does any of this make sense?
3. Canto Bight Blows Holes In The Canon.
In the second act, Super Badass Poe Dameron develops a plan with Maz Kanata, Finn, and Rose Tico to disable the First Order’s hyperspace tracker. Due to the absence of any clear vision from Vice Admiral Gender Studies, Finn and Rose head over to
Evil Rich People Planet Canto Bight. They are looking to recruit a hacker that can get them onto the Supremacy, disable the tracker, and get out.
Let’s take a look at this side plot on a micro-level first and ask some important questions.
- Why would Finn go on the mission? Wouldn’t the First Order’s security sections spot him almost immediately?
- Why did Finn and Rose instantly blow their cover by parking on the beach?
- After they get tazed and arrested for a parking ticket, how did they wind up in the same cell as DJ (Benecio Del Toro)?
- Why did they abandon their mission and trust a random bum with sensitive information? Did they read a script somewhere that told them to do that?
Oh, you thought that was bad?
When Finn and Rose leave Canto Bight, DJ reveals that the arms dealers openly sold weapons to both sides. If you look past the ham-fisted message about the military-industrial complex, it reveals yet another lore-breaking hole. For some reason, these activities meant nothing to the Resistance, the New Republic’s Intelligence Community (if there even was one), or the First Order.
No one came forward, there was no paper trail, and no one even bothered to investigate the fact that major companies in the New Republic were illegally producing TIE Fighters for the enemy.
What happened here?! This is an Illuminati-esque conspiracy on every level!
4. Ma-Rey Sue Is A Nobody Who Tries To Save Kylo For Reasons.
Let’s not forget about Rey. While she was completely underwritten in The Force Awakens, a number of perfectly reasonable excuses could be made for J.J. Abrams and company. After all, we didn’t quite figure out where Luke was going until we saw The Empire Strikes Back. Therefore, it seemed prudent to wait and see what was going on.
So, what sort of secrets await our new Jedi? As it turns out, her parents were just a bunch of alcoholics who sold her for drinking money! Rey always knew this!
Don’t get me wrong. The basic principle behind opening up the Force to nobodies is a sound one, but let’s add some meat to the story. For instance, what if Rey’s parents are officers in the First Order? A revelation of that magnitude adds so much more to the story, especially since Rey is firmly on the side of the Resistance.
As for my second point, it goes without saying that Rey has no reason to think that Ben Solo can be pulled back from the Dark Side. Remember, this movie takes place almost immediately after the events of The Force Awakens. In The Last Jedi, Rey has an extremely negative reaction to his presence, but somehow decides that she wants to save him because he has an incredibly swole bod.
I know what you’re thinking. There must be some other reason, right? Well, that would require the writing staff at Lucasfilm to actually develop their characters. You can’t just say that Kylo feels the pull of the Light Side. He has to actually express that through his actions outside of being somehow unable to kill his mommy!
5. Leia And Vice Admiral Feminism Doom The Resistance.
In the third act, we suddenly learn that Vice Admiral Trigglypuff has a plan to save the Resistance. Apparently, she thinks that everyone should board unshielded and unarmed transports, travel down to Crait, and hole up in a cavern until someone else stages an intervention from the Outer Rim. Naturally, Poe is a little suspicious of her bizarre idea and stages a mutiny, but the script needs to make him look like an asshole for reasons.
Let’s ask some questions that will unveil why this section of the movie falls apart.
- Why did Vice Admiral SJW suspect that the First Order isn’t scanning for the small or cloaked ships?
- Why didn’t the First Order run their scanners at all times?
- Once DJ sold the Resistance out, they were immediately able to spot the transports and open fire.
- If the First Order toppled the galactic government, how could a gaggle of Outer Rim pilots help?
- Where is the New Republic Starfleet?
- Why wouldn’t the First Order investigate Crait?
- The primary objective of the First Order is to kill everyone associated with the Resistance.
- Any survivors of the Raddus would flee to the nearest planet.
But wait, there’s more! After Vice Admiral Purple Hair sacrifices herself, the final battle whittles the Resistance down to nothing. We need to ask even more questions!
- Where is Poe going to get the cash, supplies, and people to rebuild the Resistance?
- In Empire, the Rebels saved the overwhelming majority of their forces.
- If the entire galaxy surrendered, the not-Rebels have next to nothing to work with.
- How are they going to reconstruct their fleet?
- The First Order has hyperspace tracking and a ton of spies at its disposal.
- Once someone spots the Falcon, they can show up with a few Star Destroyers and waste our main cast.
- How did the story of the Battle of Crait reach the slaves on Canto Bight?
- Wouldn’t the First Order and the slavers want to suppress that?
- If the Resistance spoke with them directly, why didn’t they try to free them?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A viewer should not have to ask all kinds of questions about the basic logic of a story.
It isn’t necessarily to pick apart every single flaw in The Last Jedi. Despite what portions of the media might tell you, the story collapses under the tiniest bit of scrutiny, opens up supermassive black holes in the continuity of the series, and never develops any of its most important characters or concepts. On an even worse note, it has a finality to it that damages the potential of Episode IX.
With all of this in mind, it’s not right to simply mock a movie from the sidelines. In the next article, we are going to rewrite The Last Jedi and make it better. Stay tuned!
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