‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Made Me a Fan Again


#1

There are no spoilers in here, so don’t worry.

Last night, I partook in what’s become a ritual in the last few years—I saw a new Star Wars movie on opening night, in the good old AMC theater in Union Square. The crowd was excited—clapping, cheering, laughing at the funny bits. I’ve enjoyed this, the last three years, as an event. I liked The Force Awakens and Rogue One, quite a bit, despite some issues. But here, with The Last Jedi, I finally saw something that I’m really itching to go out and see again.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/434nzb/star-wars-last-jedi-fan-again

#2

O I just loved this movie front to back. A movie that shows that women in power are often seen as bad guys and are often undermined? Condeming hero worship and self sacrificial heroics? Sprinkle in samurai movie throwback set design and an anime as hell ship explosion, and you can color me surprised and impressed!


#3

Looking forward to seeing it with my family on Sat. It great that they are pushing for more color to their world and showing it can be done. Also yeah Rey is the bomb!


#4

I loved it and I can’t wait to talk spoilers with someone! It makes me want to draw which is the best compliment I can give a movie.


#5

I definitely want to see more of this take because there are things this film did I just really appreciate and know they’re gonna be divisive.


#6

I was floored by how much this movie struck me. Nothing seemed unresolved, nothing felt scummy, and it was anime as fuck, which I fell for, of course. I do wonder if there are people who genuinely disliked it, and why? I’m trying to not burrow myself in my own personal wonder. I felt like the women and poc characters were highlighted and given a great stage to act on, but being white, I can’t help but worry I missed something that might’ve actually been problematic. I’m game for discussing this further, spoilers or no.


#7

I spent a lot of time watching this movie and trying not to cry because it felt so damn good to have someone do what Johnson was doing (also basically any time Leia was on screen because I am still not over Carrie Fisher being gone - and she was SO FUCKING GOOD in this movie, AUGH).

Summary

The film was so well shot and Mark Hamill is an insanely good and underrated actor - and I mean film actor, I feel like we give him his propers as a voice actor (and rightfully so because he is basically a legend of the voice acting scene). He wraps that whole film in his grubby robes and runs off with it, pausing only to give it back to Carrie FIsher whenever she’s around.

Also the work they did to make Kylo Ren an actual good villain this instead of Darth Vader Lite like in VII was exactly what I needed to see.

I am pretty sure none of that is spoilery, because I haven’t said anything specific, but just to be safe I’ll spoiler tag the whole thing.

EDIT: Dunno why the spoiler tag isn’t working? It’s hidden now at any rate.


#8

Was kinda bored by it. Movie has no interest in Finn. Rey is a dull as Daisy’s acting is bad. Thank God for Adam Driver tho.


#9

I feel the same. I’ve been a pretty big fan of Star Wars my whole life. When TFA came out I was excited and I thought it was pretty fun, but the magic was gone. In it’s place was a lot of marketing and retreads of the same material we’ve seen before.

TLJ kind of explodes all of that in a way that’s actually excited and interesting. I feel like I love SW again, that the franchise is more than just nostalgia pandering.


#10

Poe was one of my fave characters in TFA, and he had some good moments in the opening of TLJ, but when you disrespect Laura Dern you lose all my loyalty.


#11

I enjoyed a lot of TLJ. There was a bit too much humor and the casino plot was too long. It is probably the least Star Warsy movie that the franchise has produced which I think is to its benefit. It plays with the tropes of the SW Universe and hits on some of the same notes that KOTOR 2 (the greatest thing the franchise ever produced) does.

I greatly worry for JJ’s follow up movie because I never really expect much from JJ but I am very very excited for Rian Johnson’s trilogy. Darth Bane trilogy, please.


#12

Ever since the first trailer with “time for the Jedi to end” and the title reveal, I was cautiously hopeful for self-critical fiction SW hasn’t seen in over a decade. I think the way TLJ ends up leveraging the weight its characters inherently have (plus the relative conciseness of the film over a bloated awkwardly-aged RPG) makes me more into its take than KOTOR2’s. Either way, that such writing made it into a mainline Disney-run sequel is ridiculously exciting.

I’m hoping that the overbearing comedic elements were just a tonal test run for Johnson’s trilogy. A lot of people throw around cynicism about Disney inserting the comedy, but outside of Porg Moments™ I think it was largely Johnson’s attempt to provide levity to what would otherwise be a deeply somber introspective story where, say, Ackbar dies as an offscreen statistic and the final shot is an abused child labourer just starting to find the inspiration to fight for their own freedom. Taking itself too seriously would introduce a whole host of new/worse problems, but finding the right contrast for a mainline SW sequel (that has to fit between two JJ films, no less) is a undoubtedly a really tough balance.

A whole trilogy that grows on this tone tho, oh my god, i’d fall hook, line and sinker for that business.


#13

The only time the humor really fell flat for me was the initial exchange between Poe and Hux, which just came off as something that fell out of a Joss Whedon joint and, in my view, doesn’t really fit with the tone. Then again, the rest of the jokes worked for me (especially Luke being a grumpy old fart who nevertheless teases Rey with a leaf and calls it “the Force”), so I can forgive a misstep here or there.

It was good to have a Star Wars that challenged the idea of what Star Wars is about and can be after a movie that was very concerned with hitting all the marks that we remember about Star Wars in Episode VII.


#14

I was bored by what felt like the first half of the movie. The second half of the movie definitely picked up and became more exciting. There was one scene in particular where I perked up and thought to myself, “Okay, this looks like it’s going to be good!” From then on the movie became highly entertaining and a joy to watch. The movie also does the best job of all the films of making it easy to understand how someone could go to the Dark Side. I have some gripes with a couple plot points towards the end of the movie but ultimately it was fun and satisfying.

Some things I didn’t like: I think the movie should have opened right away with Rey and Luke, which it didn’t. We waited two years for that meeting already. I felt like the opening scene was ruined because all I could think about was, “When is this going to be over and when do I get to find out what’s happening with Rey and Luke?”

Events felt like they moved at a snail’s pace for a while during the first half of the film. There was too much comedy and I didn’t find it funny anyways. I didn’t like what they did with Luke’s character either. He is nothing like the beloved hero from my childhood and I’m salty as hell about it. One last gripe to make; the conflicts happening in this movie feel small. It doesn’t seem like the fate of galactic civilization is on the line regardless of who wins.


#15

I’m not seeing many takes about Kylo Ren as an antagonist.

If I had to describe him as a villain, I think the word I would choose is “unreliable.” His greatest weakness isn’t an underestimation of his foe, as evidence by the excessive lengths he takes to secure a kill. I think the conflict in him is great, and makes me think of Prince Zuko, more than Anakin Skywalker. To me, his character (as well as Adam Driver’s killer performance) is one of the film’s many highlights. Thoughts?


#16

After TFA I thought Kylo Ren is the most interesting villain Star Wars has ever had. At first he looks like he’s going to be a retread of Darth Vader, and indeed that is true, but not in the way you’d expect. He’s literally and deliberately being a copycat, and is constantly plagued by insecurity that he can live up to the role.

In the new one,

these ideas are heightened and improved upon. Snoke knows that his affectation of wearing the helmet is worthless, and completely destroys any notion that he had that he was like Vader… but what Snoke doesn’t bank on is that Kylo would take it so badly that he’d end up making a hard break with the past, Solo, Vader, and then Snoke himself before attempting to finish off Luke too.

This is a much more believable ‘supervillain origin story’ than Darth Vader’s who turns on a dime from moody teen to murderous rampage. Kylo is obviously tempted by the dark side but also highly conflicted, and VIII is the story of how he systematically tries to sever all those sources of conflict and take control.

Exactly how successful he was is something that we need IX to answer, but I feel like I understand what drives his inner turmoil much more than any villain the main series has produced, even though they tried to spend 3 whole prequels explaining Darth Vader.


#17

Laura Dern the one woman to get Jurassic Park online.


#18

I’m really looking forward to what they do with Kylo Ren in the new movie. I think in TFA he was almost too complex for what was a Star Wars retread, loved the direction his character in the last jedi.

In many ways, he really has finished what Anakin/Darth Vader started and is in a position to establish order across the galaxy his own way, without being manipulated by a master. I really hope the next movie fast forwards a couple of years, I think they need to establish a wider view of the galaxy possibly under the rule of the First Order. Leia is still his weakness and I wonder if there is still one more scene for her in Episode 9. Then again, if Leia was to pass of some other cause in between films, it would leave Kylo in a position of powerlessness, where he had no resolution with his mother.


#19

I must have watched a different, unedited version of this movie. Mine was as bad, plot hol’y, missing the tone, not understanding and belittleling character individuality and coherence as… really, the best comparison for me is Independence Day: Resurgence.

It feels bad being in the camp with user reviews on RottenTomatoes and IMDB that use terms like “SJW” and “diversity”, but I can’t understand how so many people liked this movie.

I was even thinking about leaving the cinema and taking a train earlier back home. Never had this problem with a Star Wars movie before. Understood that Ep. 1-3 are mainly for kids and never felt “insulted” or anything, loved The Force Awakens (I gave it a rare 10/10 for feeling modern but very “Star Wars” with a fresh cast I instantly fell in love with), but this one… I still haven’t fully processed the whole experience, but 20 hours after I gave it 3/10 on the IMDb.

Nobody around me in my theater liked it either, not the under 12 year old british kids with their dad and certainly not the guy on my right, who kept calling Kylo Ren a “Schwuchtel”(German for “gay”/“fag”) whenever he was on screen (I’m still wondering if I should have called him out on it by saying "hey, I am gay, don’t mix up being gay and being a wuss or we’re going to have to find out how gay YOU are… but I didn’t feel like making a scene.)
Maybe I did watch a different cut. Don’t remember having had feelings about a movie that far off of the critical consensus.


#20

I really like the comparison you’re making here to Prince Zuko, I think it tracks best out of all the characters I’ve seen him compared to.