Update: December 14, 2017 Dragonlord’s Review of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Minor Spoilers) Bottom Line: Severely underwhelming. All I kept on thinking throughout was, “Really, this is the best story you could come up with?” Star Wars: The Force Awakens rehashed lots of elements as well as the narrative structure from A New Hope. Fans were hoping that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would break free from this cycle and give them something bold and original for the sequel. The Last Jedi opens with the First Order arriving at the Resistance base with the rebels in the middle of evacuating just like in Empire Strikes Back. D’oh! It’s not exactly the same but it’s similar in nature. The space action sequence was well done and highlights Poe Dameron’s (Oscar Isaac) heroics. The highly-anticipated meeting between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) was a dud. Whatever thoughts of epic or special moments you were anticipating, discard them now. Junk those “Eye of the Tiger” music that’s playing in your head. Nothing really extraordinary happens during her training and the interaction between the two characters doesn’t live up to expectations. Even when the only notable lesson Luke teaches her is a Force meditation, Rey still comes out more powerful than before after leaving the planet. The First Order fleet catches up to the few remaining rebel spaceships thanks to their new lightspeed tracking device and a slow, unexciting pursuit begins as the Resistance ships, with only 6 hours worth of fuel, have to keep on running with the First Order right behind their tail. It is more boring and uneventful than it actually sounds. Plus there are a lot of holes with this scenario (unlimited force field, TIE fighters could have easily chased after the rebel ship, etc.). It also kills the tension when small rebel ships are shown coming and going any time they want. Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tan), a Resistance maintenance worker, break off from the pack in their spaceship to go to a casino in Canto Bight to look for a master codebreaker. The whole side adventure with Finn and Rose is just a waste of screen time because not only are the events that happened on their mission uninspiring, these two characters are not interesting enough to care. Along the way, they meet a shady character named DJ (Benicio Del Toro) who agrees to help them out with their First Order problem. This is another Empire Strikes Back throwback with Canto Bight as Cloud City and DJ as Lando Calrissian. Something happens later that makes this whole trip pointless. Now this is where killing Han Solo in The Force Awakens was a premature mistake. If they kept Han alive, not only would he have given The Last Jedi a much needed boost in charm and personality but he would have surely accompanied Finn and Rose on Canto Bight where Han would have turned that bland mission into an entertaining segment. With the exception of Rey, these weak-ass new generation characters are lackluster, having Han around would have offset this. Also, Han and Luke needed to see each other one last time before Han dies. Half of the cast is terrific, it’s just the script that doesn’t give their characters justice properly. Daisy Ridley still brought the same charisma and beauty from TFA that makes Rey such a compelling character. But if you didn’t like Rey in TFA for whatever reasons you had, you probably won’t like her here either. Mark Hamill as the older Luke Skywalker was good but disappointed with the direction they took the character in. They don't even deliver what fans truly wanted to see out of Luke (see spoiler box below). Carrie Fisher was outstanding as General Leia as she exhibits strong leadership, warmth, humor and a really cool and very memorable character moment. Aside from throwing another hissy fit/temper tantrum, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is a more interesting and nuanced character in here, and his scenes with Rey were intriguing. Aside from his solid action scenes at the beginning, they really didn’t know what to do with Poe Dameron as he is just going through the motions. They even give him some mutiny subplot that amounted to nothing except to kill time. BB-8 was adorable of course but they went overboard with making him into a fighter. Chewbaca was so marginalized he might as well have been a cameo. Finn was more likable here than in TFA. Rose felt tacked on and this is completely shallow on my part but I wished they switched places with her sister, Paige (Vietnamese stunner Veronica Ngo), who was easy on the eyes. Whatever respectability General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) garnered in The Force Awakens is totally gone now as he is made into a laughing stock and the butt of most of the jokes. Supreme Leader Snoke is a bust. All the build-up amounted to nothing (see spoiler box). Snoke’s CGI was unnecessary as his appearance can be easily copied with make-up and prosthetics. Captain Phasma, who looked really cool but was utterly useless in The Force Awakens, had more to do in here but still falls behind the Porgs as memorable characters go. Benicio Del Toro was wasted in here but I feel the payoff for his character will be on the third movie. Just as you thought the movie is going to end, surprise, there’s still 30 minutes left. Although it amounted to nothing, the visual imagery of the Rebel speeders rushing towards the walkers leaving behind a trail of red dust is just stunning. To the surprise of no one, the special effects are amazing and the sets are remarkable. Traditionalists will be happy to know that they maintained the retro tech look to make it compatible with the original trilogy. Aside from Empire Strikes Back, there are reused moments taken from Return of the Jedi as well. The lightsaber action seemed more grounded. I personally would have love to see a more fantastical approach to the fight scenes. The first 80-90 minutes is pretty dull. Throughout I kept on thinking, “Really, this is the best story you could come up with?” For a Star Wars movie, the story felt a bit generic and the direction they took it in was disappointing. After watching The Last Jedi, you will be more appreciative for The Force Awakens. Whatever flaws The Force Awakens had, at least it was fast-paced, engaging and exciting for the most part. The Last Jedi subverts a lot of fan expectations by answering 2-years worth of theories and resolving character arcs in an unsatisfactory manner. There is no problem with subverting expectations but give the viewers something memorable and exciting in return instead of just rehashing elements of Episodes V and VI and introducing new but asinine storylines like the spaceship chase or the insipid Canto Bight scene. One has to wonder why they couldn't keep the same writers for all three movies in this trilogy. At least it would have a cohesive voice and direction. The Last Jedi is solely written and directed by Rian Johnson, the same filmmaker that gave us the smart, trippy sci-fi thriller Looper. And that's why it's so dismaying to learn that this is what he came up with for Episode VIII. It's also disconcerting to know that Rian is set to write and direct the first movie of a new Star Wars trilogy. Let's all hope he can come up with something better than this because the franchise won't survive if it's the same quality as The Last Jedi. Rating: 6.5/10 Spoiler: spoiler thoughts and musings for Star Wars: The Last Jedi I really thought Leia was dead when she was sucked out into space. I was thinking at that time that it was not a good sendoff for that character. So I was relieved that she miraculously was still alive. As for the absurdity of it, I can understand why people will hate it. But for me, it wasn't really anything ridiculous. She is a Skywalker after all. We don't know the extent of her training in the Force for the 30+ years we haven't seen the character. Her Force powers kicked in and saved her life. It also wasn't anything super extraordinary what she did, she just pulled herself to the nearest door. As you know, there's no gravity in space. So a simple tug or push can send you off to another direction. I've read that it takes 15 seconds for a person to fall unconscious in space (I don't have a data for how long can a person survive in space though). She was floating in space for what seemed less than a minute, so it's still not totally absurd to think that her special connection to the Force helped saved her. Besides, this is a universe where people can levitate X-Wing Fighters with their mind, so not that hard to believe for Leia to do what she did. Puppet Yoda looked bad. They probably used the same puppet from the original trilogy. I don't care, it still looked bad. Give me CGI Yoda any day. The Return of the Jedi carbon copy was so evident when Rey surrendered herself to Kylo Ren and then presented to Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke then tortures Rey in front of a conflicted Kylo. Snoke’s death was a surprise. Thought we would get one more appearance from him in the next film. For all the build-up the character he had in the past 2 years, Snoke’s arc was a letdown. I think a Kylo Ren turn would have been also interesting. But then, who would have been the big bad after Snoke died, General Hux? LOL. Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) was an idiot for not telling Poe about her plans which forced Poe to take drastic actions. They also did a poor job with the reaction time when the First Order started shooting at the escape ships, it took like forever for Holdo to come up with a decision to ram the enemy with her ship in hyperdrive. Holdo's hyperdrive suicide run was awesome though. Now that is something we haven't seen before from Star Wars. Makes you wonder why they haven't used this tactic before. As fan service goes, this does not deliver. Fans wanted to see Luke wreck havoc on the First Order, similar to how Darth Vader’s ending scene in Rogue One. Instead we got a hologram fight between him and Kylo. It was good, mind you, but not really the most optimal epic moment we were all hoping to see. Rian Johnson subverting fan expectations for The Last Jedi is similar if they killed Thanos midway in Avengers: Infinity War or revealing that after collecting all six Infinity Stones, it did absolutely nothing. Speaking of fan service, after two years of speculation and theories on Rey's parents, The Last Jedi gave a big fuck you to super die hard fans when they reveal casually that Rey's parent are just ordinary people or nobodies who sold Rey when she was young. Luke and Leia reunited for a brief time was heartwarming. Love Leia's line about her hair. Seeing how things unfolded with Luke (astral projection fighting Kylo and then dying at the end), they should have just revealed that Luke already died many years ago when Kylo crushed him with the rocks and Rey has been interacting all along with a tangible Force Ghost. The third movie of this new trilogy is going to feel a significant drop in box office since it's going to lack star/nostalgia power since Han Solo is dead, Leia will probably not be seen for the most of the next movie (since Carrie Fisher died) and Luke will now just be a Force Ghost and disappoint the billions of fans wanting Old Man Skywalker from physically fighting the bad guys. The way The Last Jedi ended will also lower the anticipation for the third movie since most of the old characters won't show up, they answered the important questions (unsatisfactorily) and resolved most of the major plot. At this point, nobody will care if the Resistance is still struggling at the end of this movie.