Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Spoilers Review

Written by Shiggins

The Force Returns!

To kick off this new decision of making movie articles, I feel it is only fair to review the film that finally made me take the leap; The Last Jedi! Sequel to The Force Awakens and a direct continuation of Rey's story, this film has immediately gotten both love and hate from audiences so it is definitely worth talking about.

Note: Full SPOILERS below. Since every other review out there is spoiler-free, and there are important scenes we need to discuss.

Warning: This one is longer than I intended it to be. Most reviews won't be this big obviously, but this one is Star Wars. It will always require a lot of sentences.

Okay, apparently this is meant to resemble Vader's helmet. I don't see it though.
After the events of The Force Awakens, which I personally found very enjoyable despite the clear copying of former Star Wars' stories, Rey has now found Luke Skywalker and asks for him to train her in the ways of the Force. Meanwhile, Finn has woken up and discovered that the last of the Resistance are nearly out of fuel, with General Hux and the rest of the First Order ready to blow them apart as soon as they do.

Immediately, we're given two plots of equal interest, yet vastly different in every way. Rey's time with Luke is slow and has very little action, focusing on internal conflict and philosophy. She's afraid of what she is capable of and hopes Luke can be the help she needs. She wants a mentor like Han Solo almost was in Episode VII. The quest for her parents connects wonderfully to this, never feeling forced but rather a perfect fit for her character.

Rey likes that boulder. That is a nice boulder.
Mark Hamill returns to play Luke Skywalker, and he is far more interesting to me than he ever was before. While we all like to think back and call him the great hero of the original trilogy, Luke had a lot of whiny and dull moments. He was great for his time, but bringing him back would never work if he was the same as he was. This time, we see a Luke full of shame and regret because of how he handled the situation with Kylo Ren, and how he just wants to be left alone. He hates what he almost did, so you understand his pain and refusal to help Rey at first. When he does finally start to train Rey, his chemistry with her provides some of the best scenes of the film. This film would be a trainwreck if Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley weren't giving it their all. But they do, so that's a relief.

Also delivering a powerhouse performance is the late Carrie Fisher, and she owns her scenes. Every single time she stepped on screen, she took it over. From her reprimanding of Poe for causing chaos, to her weariness at the death around her, Carrie Fisher gave it her all. Her performance as Leia, leader of the Resistance, is one of the best she has pulled out of her entire career, and it breaks my heart that she can't finish the trilogy.

The red capes are coming!
My personal favourite scene however, is easily the reappearance of Yoda. When I was in the cinema, everyone gasped and a huge smile broke out on our faces. Unlike the cryptic and moody version in the prequels, this Yoda was fun, funny, wise and a puppet! They mixed in some CGI to give him the feel of a ghost which created this bizarre effect that reminded me of the uncanny valley, but it was still such a treat. And his final lesson to Luke about failure is one that perfectly captures what this film is about. Failure is a great teacher. Only after we fail can we learn and pick ourselves back up, and that isn't something a movie like this usually talks about.

This does bring us to the biggest problem of the film however; Finn's subplot. And while I want to stress that his story isn't bad, it is heavily flawed and feels mishandled. In this one, Finn is sent to find a man who can break open a door on the First Order's ship so they can shut down their tracker and the Resistance can escape. It almost sounds like a video game, doesn't it?

By the ranks of single file
Over ev'ry jungle mile
Oh, we stamp and crush
Through the underbrush
Hux: In a military style!
In a military style!
Once again, John Boyega plays the role competently enough but I never felt they gave him anything worth saying. Right now, he feels like an observer who is learning about the galaxy and the war, but very rarely giving his own opinion of it. Since this is the second in a trilogy, I believe that this is all going to pay off for Finn and we're going to see what exactly all these events are leading up to. What they are though, I have no idea!

In Finn's plot, he teams up with a Resistance member called Rose, played sufficiently by Kelly Marie Tran, and they go to a casino planet. There, they meet Benicio Del Toro's character DJ and head off to the First Order's ship. Benicio Del Toro plays the role wonderfully but he feels more like an awkward diversion rather than a fluid addition. It's as if the director had to wrench him in to a plot that was already finished. On the other hand, DJ provides some of the most intriguing aspects of the entire trilogy, as he shows Finn that both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" aren't so different from one another. This is a concept I hope they build on in the next film, because it is fascinating!

Less fascinating however is the casino planet. While it does have a fun aesthetic, the area actually feels jarringly out of place. I had trouble believing that this city was a part of the Star Wars universe because of how radically different it is in terms of atmosphere and attitude. The prequels went for a brighter and technologically-advanced setting more akin to an epic version of Futurama, while the original trilogy went for a dirtier style with lots of steam and rough edges. This film is trying to combine both, and the casino scene proves that it just doesn't work. Which is a shame because there are some deep themes here, introduced to us by Rose, that I never thought I'd hear Star Wars talk about.

Can we take a moment to appreciate how even his lightsaber looks as unstable as he is!
And filling up the last spot of the hero trio, we have Poe Dameron, played by heavily-underrated actor Oscar Isaac. You may remember that Poe was not heavily featured in The Force Awakens, but he is certainly taking up more screentime here, and usually that's a good thing. He has his wit, his honour, his determination but he is hot-headed and actually ends up causing problems because of it. The recklessness that he is so well known for makes him butt heads constantly with his superiors, and he is even left out of plans... I think. They don't explain very well why the vice-admiral left Poe and the pilots out of the controversial plan to escape the Resistance vessel but I theorise it was because Poe was too likely to cause trouble if he heard this idea. Sadly, that's a major plothole.

All I've done so far is discuss the heroes. I think it is finally time to discuss the villains. Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver, General Hux played by Domhnall Gleeson and Supreme Leader Snoke played by the legendary king of motion capture Andy Serkis, all provide some excellent scenes and dialogue. All three of the antagonists are interesting and motivated, each working on their own goals for power and glory. I love villains that fight amongst themselves.

The less obvious Nazi imagery, the better. Trust me, we already know these bastards are Nazis.
Kylo Ren absolutely steals the show for me though. A character unlike Star Wars has ever seen, and one that is positively unpredictable in all the best ways. Whenever he made a decision, I was surprised but I understood his reasoning. At one point, he even says they should get rid of the Jedi, the Sith, the rebels and everything else the franchise has stood for... and I found myself almost agreeing with what he said! That is a huge risk to take that I think paid off wonderfully.

Sadly though, this brings me to what has divided audiences; The risks. Some people have exploded in rage over the creative decisions in this film. Even Angry Joe, a man I usually enjoy, released a patronising video about why he got angry at this film. And since there are quite a few reasons fans are enraged, let's do the most common ones in list form!

"Space" Leia

One of the most often-mentioned problems of the film is a scene where the First Order shoot open a window and cause Leia, Admiral Ackbar and a few others to go flying into space. Everyone is killed immediately, except Leia. With the last of her strength, she uses the Force to literally glide through space and stay alive long enough to get back inside.

I'd proudly salute her any day of the week.
For me, the biggest problem with this scene is the effect. It looks a bit too cheesy and fake, as if she is on a conveyor belt rather than actually flying through space of her own free will. In a film bursting with amazing effects, this one sticks out like a sore thumb. I have to admit though... Part of me gasped. The inner child that had longed to see Leia use the Force in some way finally got his wish. Ever since Empire Strikes Back, we knew she could use the Force but here it was, fully realised and in a very unique way.

Supreme Leader Snoke

Andy Serkis is one of my favourite underappreciated actors of all time. I think you could drop him in Fifty Shades of Grey and he would somehow still be amazing. So I was utterly thrilled to see him be the next Palpatine. Snoke's design isn't anything special, but he manages to carry himself well. Until he is split in half by Kylo Ren who takes over his position.

On the one hand, yeah. I get it. We had this built-up villain that actually was quite intimidating and it looked like he was going to be a huge threat. He was the final boss, or so we thought. Fan theories were everywhere about who he really was, from a clone of Palpatine to a clone of Luke Skywalker. It was insane, and the fact he is gone is somewhat of a shame, especially since we never found out who he actually was. We never found out Palpatine's past either (until the prequels were released), but this could have changed that.

Anyone else think he would have been a million times more awesome if they kept him giant like this?
On the other hand however... I didn't really give a shit about Snoke. I mean, he was fine but I had seen a million versions of him before. He was just another Palpatine to me. Kylo Ren was the one who I focused on, and Snoke's death was a great moment for Kylo Ren's development. I didn't want a repeat of the Original Trilogy, where the final boss is the Emperor. In fact, I was scared that we would get that, after Force Awakens' lack of an original plot. So when Kylo Ren performed a mutiny on his master, exactly like Palpatine once did to his own Sith Master, I grinned! I am here for Kylo Ren! He is the antagonist we should all focus on the most.

'SJW' Protagonists

Oh please. Not even going to dignify this one with a sincere answer.

Rey's Parents

Ah yes, this one. When we discover that Rey is not a Skywalker, a Kenobi, an Ackbar or anything else super-special. She is just a normal person with normal parents who can use the Force. Theories littered the streets of the internet and this reveal destroyed all of them. People were pissed. And yet... I thought it was awesome!

Read my reasoning before you comment! Just.. Let me explain. Okay? Good.

Only took him two bloody years to take hold of this.
Does anyone remember when the Force was about faith? When it was about anyone able to use the Force, so long as they believed in it? Luke destroying the Death Star because he believed in the Force. Yoda lifting the X-Wing out of the swamp, despite it being huge. These moments and more are exactly what defined the Force, and then it was ruined by "midichlorians". Suddenly, the ability to use the Force was about bloodlines. You had to be born special.

However, this brings that back! It brings back the idea we can use the Force if we believe! You don't have to be a bloody superhero with magic blood in your veins! It is all about faith. So when they revealed this, I was thrilled. This is exactly what Star Wars should be about.

Vice Admiral's Plan

As I mentioned earlier, the Vice Admiral of the Resistance has a big plan to help the rebels survive and she doesn't tell Poe or the majority of the crew. When Poe rebels against her for this, you could argue she never told him because she was worried of this exact situation, but... Yeah, this is a bit of a problem.

This is a classic example of a character refusing to simplify things by explaining the situation. If Poe knew where they were going, his chances of mutiny would have been almost null and void. This is a plothole that, looking back, is probably my second-biggest issue of the film. (The first being the casino planet).

Who takes time to dye their hair during a rebellion?!
There are so many nitpicks to go through that I'm not going to waste anymore time. Not only would that do the movie a disservice, it would do a disservice to myself. I have seen many films with bigger problems than this and they haven't been given half the amount of shit that this film has. If you don't like it, that's fine. Just don't punish yourselves by going absolutely ballistic over every tiny detail, or pathetically signing a petition to remove it from canon...

Oh and BB-8 is still as bloody amazing as he was before.
The very last things to talk about are everything technical. John Williams returns for the music and he does it effortlessly, although there are a few returns of some older tracks. The Resistance theme plays quite a few times, although it is wonderful to hear so I don't mind.

The effects are gorgeous, once again combining practical with CGI and giving almost everything a feeling of being alive. While I did rag on the casino planet earlier, the other locations are beautiful to look at, from the island where Luke trains Rey to the mineral-covered planet that our thrilling climax takes place.

The action is of course great. I had a real problem with the amount of flipping and spinning that the prequels did, but this one finds the perfect balance of raw strength and quick agility that very few films have been able to achieve. While nothing is as great as Darth Maul fighting Obi Wan, or Darth Vader fighting Luke Skywalker for the first time, it is still wonderful to experience.

Is the film overly bloated at times? Yes.

Are there some plotholes here and there? Obviously.

Does it have a few corny moments, or unnecessary jokes? Of course.

The film is a treat though and has solidified itself as one of my favourite Star Wars movies ever. Funny when it needs to be but not afraid to go as dark as it can, it takes your expectations and your theories, and turns them on their head. I love a film that can do that. I don't want to be proven right. I want to be surprised! People will tell me that I am crazy for loving this film, but that won't change my mind one bit. This has set up the final entry in the trilogy with gusto, and I just can't wait to see how this all ends.

Final Rating: 9/10

Best Scene: Yoda's last lesson.

Worst Scene: Finn and Rose at the casino.

Best Performance: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

This year's marketing monster.

Any questions you have? Or any films you'd love to see getting reviewed? Comment below!

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page


  1. I don't really agree with the final score you gave it and to me the biggest issues is how Disney destroyed and forcefully put it out there that all previous books and comics on star wars which provided a larger expansion and more detailed events on these characters were are what let them get away. it shows you probably aren't aware of Luke's other feats after the original trilogy in the other media which sadly Disney made non-canon just to bloat their own ego.

    also nothing kylo ren does in my opinion tops Vader's secret apprentice who was a lot more powerful and that's what I think people aren't seeing with Rey since that's likely the basis of her how and why she's this powerful to begin with. I also just hate how continuations feel they have to reference and call back to previous stories to do continuations.

    1. Even if I had read every book. Even if they were still considered canon. Even if Force Unleashed or any other game, book, tv show etc were considered canon... it would not affect my review even 1%.

  2. The casino scene was important. It had to be used to show there are always going to be people who profit from war by double-dipping; selling arms and services to both sides. Also, that there is a new generation to be inspired to help the Resistance, with the stable boy. And yes, it felt good when they tore up that casino. People squandering their ill-gotten money when it could be helped to save people and war orphans don't deserve the luxury.
    I feel the main theme of this movie was about failure and moving on from it. Luke failed Ben, regretted his small choice and suffered years of PTSD alone on an island in the middle of nowhere with no one to talk to. He finally let go of his regret and helped Leia and the Resistance and Became One with The Force. Rey failed to "find" her part in the story because she thought she thought she was like Luke, an offspring of the Chosen One, and failed to turn Ben from the Dark Side. But it doesn't matter if you are born into a family of greatness; Anakin himself was born from no one. It is what you do with your abilities that makes you who you are.
    That is what I took from the movie. The old regime may fail and die, but the mantle has to be taken up by the newer generation by learning from mistakes and failures. As the saying goes, if you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.

    1. Yeah, the casino scene was important. I just felt it wasn't as well executed as the rest of the film.

      But yes, I pretty much agree with everything you've said so .. thanks for reading haha!