Or you can go with my alternate post title: “Why Does Rian Johnson hate JJ Abrams and Luke Skywalker So Much?”

I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories. But the force is suspicious with this one. I have never seen a major movie release with this much critical praise receive this much audience hate. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critic score for Last Jedi is at a towering 93%. Yet somehow, the fan score is at 57%. The disparity is so high, you have to wonder if some sort of manipulation was at play on the professional critics side. Just for comparison, Thor Ragnarok received a 92% critic score and an 88% audience score. Or, the first film in this trilogy, The Force Awakens. 93% with critics. 88% with audiences. Or, let’s go with Rian Johnson’s last film, Looper. 93% to 82%.

But it gets even more eyebrow raising if you go to Rotten Tomatoes and read the audience reviews. Everyone giving the film a negative score goes into detail about why they felt that way. Here’s one of thousands of those reviews…

“So utterly disappointing. Looks nice, sounds nice and some interesting ideas, more so visually. The story and dialogue were shocking. Fails to capitalize on anything set up for it in the previous films and disrespectfully handles every character.

They tried to introduce new characters and planets but they were completely unnecessary, dragged the film out and detracted from story arcs that actually mattered. Seen it twice and that’s enough.

Not looking forward to Ep. IX at all and Johnsons new trilogy, if it still gets the green light after this diabolical hemorrhoid of a film, then that’ll get a miss too!!

So gutted right now.”

Meanwhile, for nearly every positive review, there is no detail or thought put into the review at all. Here’s a quick sampling of these reviews…

“It was a fun romp full of unexpected twists and turns.”


“Wonderful film! Some of the greatest moments you’ll see in any movie this year! Definitely in my top 3 Star Wars movies.”

Or this…

“The Last Jedi takes all your preconceived notions of what a Star Wars movie is, and flips them on its head, while being consistently entertaining and keeping tension high.”

Again, I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist, but even if you’re looking at this objectively, something stinks. It’s plausible that the audience hatred for this film so caught Disney off guard that they are scrambling in every possible way to mitigate the fallout. Even going so far as to write fake positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to offset the negative ones.

What’s fascinating about all this is that Disney has been in love with this film since the second Rian Johnson wrote “FADE IN.” Disney Head Bob Iger’s been leading the charge, gushing about not just the script and the film, but the experience of making a movie with director Rian Johnson. Kathleen Kennedy’s right behind him. When she’s not on set nodding her head after every take, she’s in her hotel room watching The Brothers Bloom on repeat. These guys have been ALL IN on this film, so much so that they greenlit another Rian Johnson trilogy without an idea! For them to be facing this unexpected backlash has them searching for answers about their own process for identifying what makes a good Star Wars director.

Enough with your conspiracies, Carson! Let us know what you thought of The Last Jedi! Oh, don’t worry. I have plenty of thoughts about The Last Jedi. They’re not all bad, believe it or not. But I do think this is a bad movie. And I do think Rian Johnson fundamentally doesn’t understand the franchises’s central character. Nor does he understand screenwriting. “But Looper!” everyone said. “Guys,” I tried to tell anyone who would listen, “Looper is the most narratively unfocused sci-fi movie of the past decade.” The reason that matters is because a good Star Wars movie requires lazer-sharp focus. It’s the one critique that even people who liked the film agree on. The big sprawling trip to Casino World was pointless. But I have some feelings about that too, some of which might surprise you. However, before I get into ALLLLL the problems with this movie, just to show you I’m not a total hater, I want to share with you the things I liked.


1) Rian Johnson took risks – Regardless of whether they hit or not, I always tell people here to take risks. And Rian Johnson took them.
2) Hamill was awesome – Mark Hamill did his best acting job ever.
3) Adam Driver is iconic – Adam Driver is the number one reason, and maybe the only reason left, to watch Star Wars. He’s impossible to look away from whenever he’s onscreen.
4) Porgs – I love Porgs. I want 20 of them for Christmas.
5) The Directing – This is the best directed Star Wars movie ever. By that I mean shot composition, the way sequences were crafted, the overall visual style of the film.
6) Leia Poppins – I seem to be in the minority on this. I thought it was badass seeing Leia use the force, and in such a unique way. The way it was shot was a little weird, which hurt the moment a bit. But I liked it.
7) Snoke’s Death – I loved the way Snoke’s death was shot. Seeing him fall over, split in half, via a blurry background, was really clever. But we’ll get back to Snoke later. Stay tuned.
8) Thank you Rian Johnson for killing Captain Phasma – One of the most worthless characters ever in Star Wars history. To this day I have no idea why everyone was trying to make her a thing. She was lame conceptually, had zero depth, and she couldn’t walk. I clapped when she died, to the annoyance of a couple of nearby audience members.
9) Leaving the Rebel Alliance with just 20 people for the next film is an interesting choice. We’ve never been given actual army numbers at any point in this mythology for either side. To have a clear understanding of how few people are left to fight the Empire in Ep 9 is cool.
10) Rey was better in this than she was in Force Awakens, especially in the scenes with Driver. I really wanted her and Kylo to make sweaty space love but alas, no happen.


Might need an encyclopedia for this one. Let’s start with the main plot. Johnson introduces a plot unlike any other in Star Wars lore. The last Rebel ship is trying to outrun a Star Destroyer, but running out of gas. Somehow, the ship is able to stay just far enough out of range that the Destroyer can’t do the one thing its name suggests it can do – destroy. The Rebels need to figure out a solution before they run out of gas. Cause once that happens, the Destroyer will catch up and kill them.

This plot thread didn’t bother me as much as it did others. But I do remember thinking, “Is the average audience member going to buy this?” It was an odd plot for a Star Wars movie – an intergalactic 15 mph car chase. If I’m a kid, I’m asking, “Why can’t the big ship shoot down the little ship?” A screenwriting lesson I preach is that your Pillar plot points – the ones that hold up the core story – need to be airtight. They can’t invite doubt because if people don’t believe that, nothing else you write will matter. Their suspension of disbelief is broken at the core level.

Another issue with a faulty central plot is it tends to lead to other bad plot threads. Which is exactly what happened in The Last Jedi. Everybody agrees the Finn-Rose detour to Canto Blight, the Casino Planet, in search of a Hacker who can help the Rebels escape the Star Destroyer didn’t work. Here’s the funny thing about this storyline. I know exactly why Rian Johnson included it. Star Wars movies are about adventure – jumping from planet to planet and seeing a bunch of new crazy stuff we’ve never seen before. The current plot of The Last Jedi didn’t have that. All they had was the slow car chase and Rey and Luke’s island. They needed something fun to cut to, an adventure. Which is why Johnson created this subplot.

This leads us to Rose Tico (Kelly-Marie Tran), a character Johnson desperately wanted us to fall in love with. He talked about her non-stop on the press tour. He didn’t get to introduce all the core characters like JJ did. So this was his chance to make an impact with a character of his own. And she was a dud. It’s weird because people are trying hard to make Rose Tico a “thing,” despite the fact that nothing about her character or her storyline worked. It almost feels like there’s a fear of SJW backlash (with Rose being both a woman and a minority) if you say Rose’s character blows. Which is stupid. A bad character is a bad character. It’s okay to call it out.

And the misses don’t stop there. Both Benicio Del Toro’s odd hacker character and Admiral Holdo’s (Laura Dern) captain character were borderline disastrous additions to the Star Wars lore. When the only three major characters you introduce into a film are terrible, that’s a red flag about you being the right person for the job. And these characters left collateral damage in their wake. Take Finn, for example. He was never the greatest character to begin with. But his dumb team-up with Rose sealed his fate. There isn’t a single person who’s seen this film who’s now saying, “I can’t wait to see Finn in Ep 9!” Now I know why John Boyega attempted to ditch the premiere.

This leads us to the only part of The Last Jedi’s story that worked – the core character group of Kylo, Snoke, Rey, and Luke. This could’ve been the film’s saving grace if it wasn’t undermined by Johnson’s baffling mismanagement of Luke Skywalker, the character Johnson said was his favorite growing up. How could this be your favorite character when you gave us this sad crabby unlikable version of everyone’s childhood hero and then kill him off in a benign pointless lazy manner??? Ugh, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the training storyline.

The training “sequences” were odd. Luke agrees to train Rey in the Jedi Arts with 3 lessons. Not only is that the most contradictory statement ever, but Luke’s one job in this movie is to teach those three lessons AND I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE. Luke would show up each day, say something vague like, “the Force is what’s between the stuff you imagine,” and that, I guess, is what constituted a lesson. The only cool moment on the island came when Rey went into the dark hole at the bottom of the island and had her Endless Mirror moment. While I’m not sure what was going on in this scene, it was the one time in the film where I lost myself. If you’re going to defend Johnson as director in Star Wars court, this was one of the half a dozen scenes you could build an actual argument around. It was cool.

But the sad truth is that Training Island never reached its stride. And most of that was due to this lame incarnation of Luke’s character. Let me get this straight. Luke Skywalker, the embodiment of heroism, the greatest hero in all of cinema history, has been reduced to a crabby, annoying, cowardly, selfish weakling who’s given up the awesomest thing about himself – his ability to wield the Force unlike any other. And the people next to Johnson signed off on this?? While I can understand Johnson’s desire to turn Luke’s character on its head, there’s a difference between doing something unexpected with a known paradigm and destroying the very essence of what made a character so beloved. By destroying everything we loved in Luke, you essentially destroyed everything we loved about the franchise. It’s one thing to fuck up a Star Wars film. It’s another to retoractively fuck up a franchise. That’s actually really hard to do. And Johnson did it.

After her three lessons (wink wink), Rey heads off to a general meeting with Kylo and Supreme Leader Snoke, hoping to put all of that “sage advice” to work and attempt to pull Kylo to the Light. This sequence is arguably the best in the film, and the main reason for that is that Rey and Kylo have great chemistry. I was waiting for them to make out, man. Like get it on already. Not to mention you had no idea what was going to happen in this scene. And even with all the possibilities you went over in your head, Johnson still managed to surprise you by having Kylo kill Snoke.

At first glance, this was a gasp-out-loud moment for the Star Wars ages, right? But as the shock wears off, an unanswerable question begins to emerge. What now? You just killed your big baddie. You don’t have time left in the franchise to introduce a new big baddie. So what the hell’s the point of us showing up for Episode 9? People may speculate that Kylo Ren now becomes the big baddie, but Kylo Ren’s character isn’t built that way. He’s a petulant child. You’re not threatened by him. You’re not scared of him the way you’re scared of Darth Vader. So who’s the threat in the next film?

Searching your feelings, this wasn’t some grand ballsy twist like everyone’s making it out to be. It was Johnson getting rid of a character he hated. There was no grand plan here. Just spite for being given such a, in Johnson’s eyes, lame character to begin with. And by killing off Snoke, he’s left the future of the trilogy in tatters. I’ll take that one step further. Johnson killing Snoke got Colin Trevorrow fired. Trevorrow notoriously couldn’t come up with a script for Ep 9 that Disney liked. Now we now why. How the hell do you come up with a script after this?? Johnson combined the 2nd and 3rd movies in the trilogy into one, leaving whoever’s responsible for the next film to basically come up with a fourth movie in a trilogy. People give Johnson credit for being daring. This wasn’t daring at all. This was stupid. And not just that. It was cowardly. Since he knew someone else other than him would have to clean up the mess he made.

And here’s the irony of Johnson killing this character. The more Snoke spoke in this scene, the more interesting he got. He was actually starting to sound like a cool character. And right as that was happening, they kill him.

This scene also highlighted a major missed opportunity. There was a moment after Snoke died where you thought, for a brief moment, oh my god, what if Kylo and Rey team up?? What if they become Dark Twins out to rule the galaxy. That would be fucking awesome. Imagine the final climax on Crait. Kylo and Rey on one side. Luke on the other. Lightsaber battle. Jesus. That would’ve been the greatest Star Wars lightsaber fight ever. Or hell, keep Luke alive. Have Rey and Kylo rule into Episode 9, and then Luke, once again, has to pull these two people back to the light. Jesus, I should be writing these things that idea is so good. For all the credit Johnson is getting for these faux-bold choices he made, this was a choice that would’ve earned him a place in Star Wars lore. And he chose to avoid it.

Instead, we get a battle between Rey and Kylo and Snoke’s guards that everyone seems to be celebrating. Yet there was one problem. THERE WAS NO REASON FOR IT TO HAPPEN!!! As a guard, your duty is to defend your leader. The leader is dead! Why are you fighting Kylo and Rey, lol???? At that point you drop your stick and book a vacation to Endor.

If they weren’t going to team Kylo and Rey up, a much cooler reveal for the Prateorian Guards would’ve been to drop their helmets, walk up to Kylo and for us realize they were The Knights of Ren. Kylo planned this all along. And we’d finally get to meet the cool ass Knights of Ren, who are one of the only things I’m looking forward to seeing in Ep 9. But nope! We have to get this pointless battle between guards who are defending a dead leader.

Speaking of that battle, did anyone notice that there wasn’t a single lightsaber to lightsaber battle in a freaking main storyline Star Wars movie? I’m sorry. But that is a fireable offense. I’m not joking. That’s the one thing that every audience member going into a Star War movie wants. And Johnson said “fuck you” to them because all he cared about was subverting expectations, to the extent that he will literally steal your joy. Your Star Wars Ep 8 director, everyone!

Oh, I almost forgot – Rey’s big parental reveal! We learn, after 2 long years and lots of anticipation… that Rey’s parents were nobodies! Hip hip hooray!!! What an awesome revelation. Glad I waited for that! Look, I get that this is a “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t” scenario. If Rey ends up being a Kenobi or Skywalker, it’s like, “Oh, I knew it. Borrrrinnnng.” However, here’s why that’s not an excuse. When you’re chosen to take over the reins of the biggest franchise in the world… one of the primary reasons you are being paid so much and given more money than God to make your movie, is to figure out satisfying answers to tough questions. You don’t get to say, “But it’s difficult.” The reason you got the job was because you’re the guy who figures out difficult. Or else what are we paying you for??

There’s a bigger issue at play here, though – the idea of prioritizing theme over story. The theme of Johnson’s movie is that anybody can be heroic. Star Wars, in his eyes, is no longer about a single hero. Which is why he chose the least likely hero, Rose Tico, to become a new character. It’s why he ends his movie on Broom Boy. And it’s why he kills Luke. The message being pushed is that we don’t need deities anymore. Cause we’re all heroes!

It’s why in this moment, when it’s finally time to reveal Rey’s parents, Johnson roots the answer in theme. Rey is a nobody. Which means anybody can have the Force. I tell any writer who will listen that this is a disastrous way to approach storytelling. A good choice for your story ALWAYS beats a lesser choice that fits thematically. And Johnson forgot that, a huge reason why so many people are feeling duped. We waited 2 years for this reveal, and you gave us an answer whose only value is that it will be celebrated in English classes.

Looking back at the movie now, it’s almost bizarre how aggressively Rian Johnson attacks everything JJ set up. People are saying Johnson subverted expectations with all his choices. But it looks to me more like an assassination. Think about it. JJ spends his entire movie building up Rey offering Luke Skywalker his lightsaber. The first thing we see Luke do in Ep 8 is toss the lightsaber away. JJ loved Snoke. Rian killed him before we got to know anything about the guy. JJ loved Phasma. Rian threw her into a pit of fire without so much as a punch. JJ loved the Knights of Ren. Rian doesn’t mention them. JJ built all this mystery around Rey’s parents. Rian said, “Her parents were nobodies.” JJ called our protagonists the “Resistance.” Rian, who could’ve left this alone and no one would’ve noticed, gave them back their old name, the “Rebels,” despite actively pushing a theme to move on from the past. JJ lovingly built this mask for Kylo. Rian literally smashes it to pieces. Then keeps smashing it and smashing it and smashing it. Think about this for a second. Snoke is a nobody in Rian’s interpretation of the character and is treated as such. Yet the one significant moment he gives Snoke is to tell Kylo to destroy the mask JJ made for him. That isn’t coincidence. That is hatred. There’s no other conclusion you can make after all these choices than that Rian hated JJ’s movie.

This leads us to the climax – the battle on Crait. After Rose Tico solidifies herself as the third worst character in this movie by knocking Finn out of the way just as he’s about to win the battle for them because she wants to kiss him, Luke shows up. And this is it, man. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. You see, the people telling Johnson he ruined their childhood hero would’ve forgiven him if he would’ve done the right thing in this moment. You have Luke Skywalker, the culmination of The Force. What is this motherfucker going to do after 30 extra years of growing and learning everything about The Force? He’s been acting like this annoying crabby little bitch the whole movie. But that doesn’t matter because we’re about to see Jedi shit we’ve never imagined before. I swear to God, I thought Luke was going to raise his hand and simply flick away those AT-ATs. And if that happened? Rian Johnson would’ve become my hero.

But no. Because, you know, theme.

Instead, we have a “battle” between Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker. What happens in this battle? Anyone care to guess? Well, for starters, they did what any great battle does – they don’t battle! Right? Cause subverting expectations is way more important than giving the audience what they want. Then, after a single swing of Kylo’s lightsaber, we find out that Luke isn’t there! He’s not on Crait. He’s back on his home planet astral-projecting himself!

This is supposed to be some giant amazing reveal. And yet I have never seen a choice land with a more confusing thud in a major motion picture before. Even if you wanted to do this stupid thing where Luke doesn’t actually fight Kylo, what the hell is the rationale of Luke not being there???? Why not show up? What’s different in this scenario if he’s there? You still beat Kylo. You still “give the rebels time” which is, according to Poe Dameeron, the reason Luke is doing this. I don’t understand, lol, what Luke gains by astral-projecting himself instead of being there! Is the lesson that Luke is lazy? It was such a stupid choice that it’s borderline laughable. And THEN! On top of that, Luke dies because, I guess, Astral Projection takes a lot of energy! Yet another reason Luke should’ve physically shown up. He wouldn’t have died!!

Here’s the scariest thing about this movie. After Crabby Lame Luke is offed by a director who clearly hates him. After one more shot is tacked onto this abomination of a film to hammer home this story-killing theme of “anybody can be special” – aka Broom Boy – you leave the theater realizing… we’re right back where we started. Rey hasn’t learned anything. Neither has Kylo. What was the point of the movie????

So here’s the big question. How did a Star Wars movie this bad escape Disney’s notoriously intense evaluation process? I have a theory about this. Bob Iger has been VERY PUBLIC about how much he likes this film. I have a feeling that from the beginning, from the second he read the script, he loved it. And what that did is it relieved anyone under him of blame. For the first time, Kathleen Kennedy didn’t have to micro-manage the production because it didn’t matter how the film turned out. If it’s bad, you blame Bob Iger. So she relaxed, let Rian do whatever he wanted, and created a work hierarchy reminiscent of George Lucas on the prequels, where everyone nodded and said, “Great idea!” I predict that this movie sinks fast once word of how bad it is gets out. And that in 3 months, we’ll hear that Rian’s new trilogy has been canceled. I mean, honestly, how could you endorse any new Johnson Star Wars movie after this one? The guy only had to introduce 3 new characters in The Last Jedi. THREE! And all of them were terrible. You’re now going to allow him to create hundreds of new Star Wars characters? Johnson also managed to do something that, before this film, you’d think was impossible. He destroyed the memory of the most beloved movie hero of all time. Mark Hamill tried to warn him. “I fundamentally disagree with everything you’ve done with this character” he famously told Johnson when he read his script. It turns out Hamill was the only one who stood up to Johnson.

I’ll end this review with a comment I read on another site which encapsulates why Johnson’s depiction of Luke was so wrong…

So you get Mark Hamill to reprise an iconic role 30 years later and keep him on an island the whole time and have his hologram tease a light saber fight… then have him die. That definitely was one way to go.

[ ] What the hell did I just watch?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the price of admission (only if you hate Luke Skywalker)
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Never EVER be a slave to your theme. If staying consistent with your theme is hurting your screenplay, ditch the theme or replace it with a better one. This is the most prominent example I’ve ever seen of how prioritizing theme over storytelling can kill a movie.

Save us JJ. You’re our only hope.

  • Poe_Serling

    Carson did go to the dark side… I had a hunch that he would.

  • klmn

    Okay C, I’ll send you a Porg for Christmas*. Just email me and tell me where to send it.

    *along with that two pound Reese’s Cup I owe you.

    • carsonreeves1

      Porg hugs are the only thing getting me through this.

      • klmn

        Cheer up. You can always rewatch the Star Wars Holiday Special.

        Maybe review it for Life Day.

    • Avatar

      You haveto admit that porg is pretty darn cute.

  • Justin

    I just watched a review of TLJ from an incredibly huge Stars Wars fan, and he completely tore apart a majority of the film, pointing out useless plots and characters and downplayed questions. (He did like the film somewhat, though, I guess).

    …Yeah, not being a fan of Star Wars, I feel like it wouldn’t do anything for me. From what I’ve heard, Star Wars fans will love the film, but other who aren’t will find it dreadful.

    • scriptfeels

      This was the first star wars film my gf saw and she enjoyed it, but thought it was too long though. I dont know too many other people who haven’t seen star wars though

  • Scott Crawford
    • Diet Sprite

      Now if you can just add a Crossfit person in there talking about their “incredible training” non-stop you’d have a trifecta.

  • ChadStuart

    Yeah, that about sums it up. Except the three lessons Luke was teaching Rey was all the reasons to not be a Jedi. He was literally destroying the idea of the Jedi in the last vestige of the religion, right when one was needed most to not only defeat evil in the galaxy, but fix the huge mistake he made that sent himself into exile. .

    • Scott Crawford

      The other th8ng is, if you think about Empire, Yoda teaches Luke to move rocks with his mind in – what? – a few days?

      (Or did it take the Falcon a long time to get to Bespin and we only see PART of that journey? That’s the other theory.).

  • Scott Crawford

    Some good points (re: what doesn’t work). I guess they just didn’t bother me enough to hate the film.

    The staying just ahead of the Star Destroyer plot point is odd, but – you know – it’s possible, it makes sense.

    Luke astral projecting… I don’t know, it didn’t bother me, though I can see it annoying others. I guess with his x-wing underwater he jus5 couldn’t get across the galaxy in time.

    When it comes t9 writing Star Wars films, as opposed to – say – AOW, one of the problems you have is speed. You’ve got t9 write quickly, and that means making some decisions (like the running out of fuel thing – since when was THAT a problem in the SW galaxy?) that might not be the best, that might be better if you had time to think of something better.

    That’s the number ONE screenwriting lesson from Star Wars for spec writers: you have more time to write, so use it; don’t just go with first or sec9nd ideas.

  • Deano

    Well said, Carson! More than ever, I’d love to read George Lucas’s original treatments for the sequel trilogy he sold to Disney that they subsequently threw away in favour of… nothing. A rehash of ANH then we’ll make it up from there!

    Say what you will about GL but he has a brilliant imagination and comes up with wonderful stories, he just needs a proper screenwriter to execute them (*cough*prequels*cough). I hope one day his treatments are released (or leaked) by the mouse house.

    • carsonreeves1

      I was thinking the same thing. After Hamill was proven right that Johnson had ruined Luke, I give more credence to him saying, “I wish they would’ve followed George’s outline.” Disney owes us a peak at that outline now.

      I had some weird thoughts after this one that I never expected to have. Which is that I missed the Prequels. At least the prequels had a sense of joy to them.

      • Zapotage

        I have zero love for the prequels, but I’d love to see what George had in mind for this sequel trilogy. So many missed opportunities set up and handed to Rian Johnson on a silver platter by Abrams and Kasdan.

      • RO

        I think when Mark Hamil spoke about his reading of TFA script and thought that he was going to be the one that caught the Lightsaber instead of Rey – I had this sadness come over me. That Mark Hamil, a guy who loved, then hated and re-loved how he is Luke Skywalker, knew what felt right with Star Wars more than those that were coming up with new stories.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Disney owes us nothing of the sort. Look at the bright side, the next movie in this series is going to have to introduce a bunch of new characters–especially villains.

    • Avatar

      George Lucas’s stories have meaning in them. Not just plot points. These clueless over rated Disney execs think they know better than George freaking Lucas. If star wars was some meaningless visual extravaganza like transformers we wouldnt have all these fans camped out for the 8th installment.

  • Zapotage

    This is a perfect review and sums up my thoughts exactly. Although, I didn’t care for Leia Poppins. This movie was like a rotten steak that needed obese amounts of fat trimmed off it it. Even then it would still taste bad. All I can say is there were so many missed opportunities.

    For example, when Luke sees Chewbacca for the first time in years there was no emotion. He was like “Chewie? What are you doing here?” In Empire, after Luke heals from the Wampa attack, Chewie gives him a big bear hug before he heading off to battle the AT-AT’s. This movie had no touching moments.

    I didn’t have a problem with Rey’s parents being anonymous losers. I also, think that anyone can become a hero is fine. But this movie was a colossal fuck up in so many ways that it seriously hurts. I feel so bad for Mark Hamill. You can see the pain behind his eyes in all the press junkets. I also feel bad for JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Man they got screwed.

    Thank you, Carson for this. I’ve been anticipating your review ever since I got out of that miserable midnight showing.

    • LostAndConfused

      I like the concept of Rey’s parents being nobodies, but I hated how the movie misled us into thinking they were somebodies.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Still unresolved. Everything Kylo said was conjecture.

  • Avatar

    Anyone see the news about the screenings at AMC Burbank? The funny thing is i was in the same dolby theater for titanic just a few days before and considered going to that exact same location for the star wars opening. I saw that the bitter script reader was quoted.

  • S.W.

    Bravo! And thank you for this review. My wife and I left the theater utterly bored and disheartened. Yes there were some fun moments and cool twists, but Johnson seemed hellbent on undoing everything THE FORCE AWAKENS tried to accomplish, and gutted the very “hope” THE LAST JEDI kept espousing by ultimately leaving us with a space saga about characters who are flat and uninteresting. I couldn’t even believe Johnson pulled the whole, ‘hey let’s cast ANOTHER ethnic minority as a MAINTENANCE WORKER…’ (and before you yell at me, I’m an ethnic minority — and it pissed me off). When Luke died, STAR WARS officially ended for me. And knowing that Carrie Fisher is gone as well, there’s just no more “home” for me in this franchise.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Haven’t commented in more than a year, but I lurk every now and then, and after seeing TLJ, I knew I had to say something.

    I’m not going to talk about the plot, the characters, the atrocious worldbuilding, the terrible ideas, the creative cowardice, or the cheap tricks (not one, but three cutesy animals with Disney eyes?).

    No, I want to talk about magic and escapism. They’re not the same thing.

    When I was giving my laundry list of why the film was terrible to a friend, at some point (rather than refute my arguments) he just said I was taking the magic out of the movie.

    First of all, if magic is easy to remove, it’s no “magic.” It’s just a cheap parlor trick, a monster suit with the zipper clearly visible, a blatant con job. Magic is stronger than that; it’s built on a rich theme, humanized and relatable characters (not the demigods/failed comedians we get in the DIsney sequels), on thoughtful world building (not regurgitated ideas). Magic is built with hard work, taking reasonable risks, understanding the complexities of the human heart, and not settling for an imitation of it.

    Escapism cares only about immediate satisfaction; you had a good time at the moment (if) and that’s it. It’s about providing short-term emotional excitement; it’s about the most superficial understand of human nature, it’s about pandering to the audiences like they have the sensitivity of a 4-year-old, it’s about hoodwinking them they’re seeing something deep/different or what have you, but take a magnifying glass to the whole thing and it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

    Escapism is the easy way; magic is the hard but ultimately most rewarding path. The people in Disney know that. They just either don’t care or they deluded themselves into thinking they aren’t churning these movies out of an assembly line.

    And magic doesn’t come from assembly lines.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Settle down, explanations of “the Force” have been ridiculous throughout the series. Remember the “midiclorians”. What the fuck is that?! They’re the supposed conduit of the force. Now it’s more of an afterlife, spiritual thing.

      • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

        I think the Force was relatively easy to understand in the OT, and while the midiclorians thing is a bit controversial, I don’t think it affected the actual use of the Force in the prequels.

        I also hope that I made myself clear. I wasn’t talking about literal “magic” aka the Force as it works in-universe. It’s that aura, for lack of a better word, that a truly great work of art has around it.

  • Avatar

    Kathleen Kennedy is overrated. She chose Jj abrams for the “let’s look for luke” and recycle all of george lucas’s ideas from the original trilogy verbatim rehash. It feels like Disney is just treating this as a cashing in operation vs how George Lucas treated it. George treated it like a beloved child. The directors chosen seem to be making expensive fan films mimicking Star Wars while not understanding the mythology. Why did they disregard George Lucas’s treatment? Now i am really curious what’s in George’s treatment.

  • Diet Sprite

    “anybody can be special” — The Incredibles did that 13 years ago.

  • Avatar

    Critics are lavished with the fancy screening and they also don’t want to be on Disney’s naughty list. I felt misled by the Force Awakens reviews with bogus mind blown testimonials.

  • DB Stevens

    Well done, Carson. You hit on about 90% of the problems I had with it, especially the fundamental issue of theme over story.

    There were two cardinal sins for me with this movie, with the second being that deconstruction doesn’t belong in a Star Wars Saga movie. Maybe throw that into one of those one-off Story movies, but the main Saga should be sincere and mythic not a deconstruction.

    • carsonreeves1

      So true. Johnson’s bizarre obsession with deconstruction here nearly erased everything that was Star Wars.

      Disney is on the hook for this. There were no checks and balances with Johnson for whatever reason, and he was allowed to obliterate huge swaths of this universe as a result.

      • Avatar

        Kathleen Kennedy gets too much credit. She’s the one that decided to discard George Lucas’s treatment. Often these execs just get in the way. I think the mistake is alot earlier in the selection phase. Like DC, she chose the wrong captains to shepherd this franchise.

    • Avatar

      Deconstruction doesn’t belong in the spin offs either. Star wars is about embracing the mythology.

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      Theme IS Story, what you and Carson are referring to is when the theme and story are separable – either when characters and scenes talk about issues but don’t embody them, or the issues are so varied *ahem one-percenters, child slavery, arms dealing, destiny ahem* that the movie isn’t “about” anything. This movie manages to err in both extremes which is pretty amazingly bad.

  • DB Stevens

    Also, this movie felt more like a Star Trek movie than a Star Wars movie. Lots of techy talk and getting into the weeds on the mechanics of the universe that might actual break the overall world built over several decades. Specifically, the kamikaze light-speed move and tracking through light-speed reminded me of the beaming onto a ship in warp from the first JJ Star Trek.

    • Scott Crawford

      In TFA, Han hyperspaces out of a hangar and later enters a planet’s atmosphere at lightspeed to avoid detection. So there’s precedent.

      Also, in the very first movie, Han talks about the calculations he has to make (to avoid hitting anything) before going to hyperspace. Purple simply ignores this so she can use Home One as a weapon.

      • DB Stevens

        Exactly, its one of those things that might make sense when you break out the abacus and hash out all the details, but then again it might not. None of these universes actually make sense, there’s always suspension of disbelief required.

        That’s why the more rules you create and the closer you look behind the curtain the more tenuous it becomes. For example, why spend money on a Death Star when you can just weaponize hyperdrives and launch them at planets?

  • Scott Crawford

    Brandon, I love you.

  • Scott Crawford

    Mario, I love you too. Where have you guys been?

    I think Snoke as Emperor and Kylo as henchman (like Palpatine and Vader) had been done. And REN is a more interesting haracter.

  • brenkilco

    Course, I’m in the couldn’t care less camp. But you know those grousing loudest about the legacy getting besmirched will be first in line for the next one. So I don’t think Disney has to worry much.

    Had an idea to save money on the next standalone Star Wars. Just CG rebel outfits over the Brit uniforms and spaceship designs over the spitfires in Dunkirk. Do a crawl where you tell the audience it all takes place on some water planet. Wawatine. Fanboys will eat it up. Star Wars is art, man.

    • Avatar

      It does affect the repeat viewing and those on the bubble viewers. A disappointed fan might just see it twice versus 8 times…or just be apathetic for the next sequel a la Justice League.

      • brenkilco

        Dunnno. How bad would a Star Wars sequel have to be to do “only” Justice League numbers? Even if they replaced Johnson with Tommy Wiseau….

        • Avatar

          Not justice league numbers but hundrds of millions less than the previous installment each time. People still came out to see batman v superman but many didn’t want to be burned for a 3rd time.

      • AstralAmerican

        Exactly! Some people miss the point, and as a busy father of 2 going on 3, I would WILL TIME INTO EXISTENCE if I really wanted to see a movie that I loved aka repeat viewings… F*** TLJ…

        And no, I will not be lining up for the next installment — ROGUE ONE and now this abomination have killed my interest.

        • Avatar

          I had planned to see the Force Awkaens and Rogue One ten times each when they were announced, but I could barely sit through 2 times…before I was resigned to the fact that they were pale imitations of the real Star Wars universe George Lucas created.

    • -n8-

      Not me. I’m out. Will catch em on streaming from now on.

      And that’s just sad.

  • carsonreeves1

    Rian Johnson was so gung-ho on making his movie, he forgot about Star Wars fans. That’s my issue with Last Jedi. It’s all about him. Not about Star Wars.

    I mean the guy gave BB-8 bigger moments than Luke Skywalker.

    • Zapotage

      Exactly! What’s up with that?

      And why did Yoda wait so long to teach Luke that Failure is the most important lesson of them all. Shouldn’t he have appeared and told him that when Kylo Ren turned to the dark side years prior?

      Because it wouldn’t be convenient for Rian’s script. It’s insulting to Luke Skywalker’s intelligence for him to be oblivious of this.

      • Urugeth

        No because sometimes you don’t understand the lesson until you’re ready for it. It took Rey showing up for Luke to be ready for and to hear the lesson from Yoda. When did Luke fail before Ben? And when would have been a time for Yoda to show up? When Luke was smelling the burning ashes of his former students? Or was it when Luke might have gotten a new pupil and was afraid of training her because of what happened last time and so Yoda timed the lesson in such a way that it landed? Since Rey was, y’know, the first pupil he had since J.J. decided that he ran away like a bitch.

        How Johnson is getting the grief for this Luke portrayal is fucking beyond me. It bears repeating:

        J.J. decided Luke was the failure who ran and hid. J.J was the one who decided Luke was a recluse. J.J. was the one who said Luke sat out the conflict that led to the rise of the First Order.

        Rian crafted a character arc that tried to make it work.

        • Zapotage

          Not a bad argument, but I do believe Yoda (who Obi Wan said “will always be with you”) might have shared the failure lesson after Luke failed with Kylo Ren.

          By the way, I didn’t hate everything about the movie. There were parts that I thought were great. Snoke’s demise was fantastic. I even liked the Canto Bight stuff to a degree other than the weak subplot. My biggest issue is with the handling of Luke.

          I realize JJ decided Luke ran away, but he also crafted a powerful final scene when Rey finally finds him. If you watch Hamill’s acting in that scene you will see him go from frustrated to teary eyed like he regrets running away. Rey could’ve been the spark of hope he needed to finally get him back into the fight.

          I would think that the death of Han Solo and Leia’s yearning for his help would be enough. I also would’ve loved it if he crashed his X Wing on the island on purpose without thinking twice, trapping him there, only to regret that decision. Rey could help convince him to return.

          Whatever, I’m disappointed, but life goes on. I just really think there were so many missed opportunities. More time should’ve been spent with Rey and Luke as opposed to Rose, Holdo, Phasma, Maz Kanata, Hux and BB-8. If Leia had crashed the ship into the destroyer at light speed instead of Holdo, it’d be a good send off for her and Poe would finally have to lead without her. It would also save film time. Holdo is unnecessary. Phasma should’ve never been created, but they want to sell shiny chrome toys. Maz just plain sucks. Hux and BB-8 have things to do, but probably not as much as they were given. All this stuff could lend more film time to Rey and Luke, which is what was needed in my opinion. And put humor where it belongs not jarringly in the middle of a dramatic scene. I liked some of the humor in the film and it is essential to Star Wars, but it felt wrong in some places.

    • Urugeth

      If you think BB-8 had bigger moments than Luke Skywalker in this film we watched different movies. Luke WAS the movie. How you don’t see that baffles me.

  • Scott Crawford

    You never know! Thanks for that.

  • Guest

    What do you think this film might have been if JJ directed it and never left? Why do you think Johnson didn’t listen to Hamill?

    • Guest

      Also, if Johnson hadn’t directed this film or JJ who would have been good choice instead?

    • Scott Crawford

      Well… for one thing, he would’ve been f-ing tired. The main reason directors choose not to do two films in a row (especially two years apart) is it’s too exhausting.

      In any event, JJ – or Jeff, as I call him – would still have been heavily involved in story decisions. I don’t think it would’ve been different in that respect.

      Luke was supposed to be in TFA according to Michael Arndt’s original 60 page treatment for the ENTIRE trilogy. That was changed, but MOST of these decisions regarding who lives and who dies – and how – and what they do in between.

      And personally, I liked what they did with Luke. I think it was an appropriate ending for the character.

  • Chris Ryden

    Absolutely spot on Carson. Still can’t get believe that after waiting 30 plus years to see Luke grasp a lightsaber (or as RJ instructed him to say “laser sword”) again and step up to the plate to take down the darkness, all we get is some kinda Jedi FaceTime??? I fear Star Wars as we know it is gone now. Sigh.

    • carsonreeves1

      lol Jedi Facetime.

    • Avatar

      I don’t have a “new hope” that it will. George Lucas caught magic in a bottle for 3 glorious movies. His successors are just making glorified fan films, not understanding the master’s teachings. At least with George Lucas messing up the prequels, it was like Michael Jordan having a bad game. Seeing less talented directors take his baby is like watching Matt Barnes fill Michael Jordan’s shoes. I had an uneasy feeling years ago when I found out that Disney had rejected George Lucas’s treatment in favor of their “fresh take.”

      • MisfitChris

        Matt Barnes! LMAO

  • Romulanesque
  • https://mattedwardwrites.wordpress.com/ Matt Edward

    Leia Poppins… The Monte Carlo planet sequence that has no bearing on the plot… Not completing Finn’s arc in what could’ve been a powerful… Clunky dialogue… Clunky plot… The slow speed chase cause apparently the First Order has no other ships to head off the Resistance cruiser…

    The above spoiled the solid elements of this as just a movie, not necessarily a Star Wars movie.

    My pitch for where Episode VIII could’ve gone picking up from the jump the shark Leia scene:

    Leia is dead.

    The Resistance realizes that they were tracked through light speed by the First Order. Instead of the tracker being some homing beacon that is so thinly set up (if at all) or explained, there’s a traitor within the Resistance cruiser… Someone who is feeding the cruiser’s location to the First Order.

    Now, it is up to the crew aboard the ship to figure out who the rat aboard the cruiser is. Meanwhile, the chase is still happening between the First Order and Resistance, only they’ve entered an asteroid field left behind by the destruction of Coruscant in the previous film… Yup, just like Empire but why not? It’s alright to subvert as much as is reasonable but every now and then, you may have to fall back on a plot element that appeared previously.

    The Resistance cruiser is being blasted by asteroids all the while trying to maintain their fuel supply and out run the First Order which is skirting the field, waiting for the cruiser to exit the field.

    While the majority of the cast play out a whodunit mystery on the cruiser, Rey’s storyline plays out much of the same way with Luke… Only Luke is more cynical, more of an asshole. He really doesn’t want to train her and seeing the power she possesses, he feels she needs to be destroyed. The only lightsaber left on the island is the one which Rey brought which she wields in the same manner against him, spares him as she does and takes off in the Falcon.

    Luke, in order to pursue Rey and after being confronted by Yoda, raises his X-Wing from the sea in a Dagobah type scene as the first time he is tapping back into the force.

    Rey and Ren join forces after the death of Snoke and, in an effort to wipe away the old, take two fighters into the asteroid field to head off the cruiser which is now unloading its transport ships in a last ditch effort to escape. Poe and Finn and the rest of the Resistance know how useless this may end up being if they don’t figure out the rat (haven’t decided who this would be… Finn seems like too easy of a prospect, maybe a red herring).

    Ren begins his assault on the transports when…

    The Millenium Falcon enters the asteroid field and fires on Ren, knocking his fighter off course much in the same manner as Darth Vader in A New Hope. Just as it seems the transports can escape with an escort by the Falcon…

    Rey flies in behind and blasts the Falcon away killing Chewbacca and R2 on board.

    Poe decides that the transports need to use the last of the fuel reserves to jump to light speed to at least escape the oncoming Star Destroyers and Rey — They make the jump ending up at the planet Crait based on the advice of one of the older Resistance fighters.

    They make it to the planets surface… Let’s say the rat was found and killed by this point… So, they feel as though they’ve escaped, only–

    Finn is still wearing his beacon to Rey… The movie ends with the Resistance entering the caverns to find a single X-Wing inside, empty. The blast doors close with the First Order landing on the planet to take out the remaining Resistance fighters… Hope seems lost until Luke Skywalker walks out of the shadows.

    The ending could use a bit more thought but either way I think this should lead into Luke fighting against the new purveyors of the force in IX — neither Sith nor Jedi as Kylo would put it.

  • scriptfeels

    This is my favorite star wars of the disney films.

    I dont have trust in rotten tomato scores so I disagree Carsons introduction thoughts.

    The movie wasn’t perfect, but it was very original and very unexpected.

    I liked that luke found peace with the force and confrontrd Leia and Kylo before he left.

    A few scenes had clunky dialogue, and the Fin and Rose sublot detracted from the quality of the film, but Ray became a more likeable character for me and Mark Hamill back in the role is amazing. Also, the choice of purple hair for the new character completely took me out of the film every time she was on screen. And the broom boy ending felt cheap to me.

    Things i liked: kylo ren, chewie, luke, benecio del toro betraying everyone, snoke dieing, kylo offerig ray to rule with him/ the philosophy of kill your past to become what you are meant to become. Made this film introspective for me and much deeper than episode 7. The porgs and snow critters were likeable, the soundtrack was the best of the disney films. Overall, I’m surprised by the amount of criticism compared to 7 and rogue one the film is getting, but its great seeing why people are rubbed wrong.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yay, scriptfeels!

      Agree: the Finn, Rose go to the casino world plot was fun but didn’t pay off like it should’ve done. Cut it out and the rest of the story could’ve been the same (except shorter).

      But I need to see it again.

      • Avatar

        Did you see it in 3D? Do you think it makes a difference–the 3D?

        • scriptfeels

          I did not see it in 3d. i feel like this was the first film to give me hope for the future disney movies. I enjoyed the designs of the new ships, new creatures, and scenes that grounded the film in the universe such as when luke milks a four titted alien and drinks its green milk.

          I really disliked the new characters from rogue one and force awakens and having lots of them die or get expanded upon made the new franchise more interesting and entertaining for me. I feel like benicio was rians attempt at a lando, but that because the script needed more work didnt have enough time to get it at empire levels, if thats even possible.

          Overall, i want to see the film again. It was a less consistabt watch than episode 7. The highs were much higher such as when luke and r2 meet again and he plays him the hologram, or when luke sees leia and saves everyone then confronts kylo. I felt that the climax of the film was very emotional and that it leaves you with many qiestions about the next film.

          It’s also interesting to see Leia use the force. And showing that the jedi will no longer exist and that the force is out thteere it’s a different take of expanding the mythology of the star wars films. episode 7 didnt expand upon the previous films, just give us new characters and the same plot from a new hope. This film took a lot of chances and it’ll be interesting to see where Disney takes everything ten years from now.

          Since george left the franchise i havent treated the new films as cannon, but I still love this universe and bringing back luke as a bitter old jedi was amazing. The yoda scene alone is worth the price of admission for any star wars fan. I’m excited to see if Luke has a role to play in the future films.

    • moog

      I had all but given up on the franchise, but after seeing TLJ, I’m curious (again) about where this story goes.

      I agree 100% that this film had some odd choices, the prolonged ‘running out of fuel chase,’ and thinking several times, ‘that’s it, it’s over,’ only to be hit with another set-piece. It could easily withstood having shaved 30-45 minutes out of it for a leaner meaner movie.

      But.. thematically, for me this wasn’t about a Jedi being a nobody. I mean we had that with Anakin, being a slave boy. And, personally I’m done hearing about characters who learn that ‘they are the one.’ I’m ready for dirt poor or marginalised groups or underdogs of another kind, from nothing backgrounds making a difference.

      Back to TLJ, what I got from it was that it was about burning down the past and making a new future. The theme spoke not only to the journey the characters were on, but the audience too. Imo, that’s why there’s a disparity in the reviews. Critics aren’t fans. They will celebrate something that moves the cultural conversation forward and I share that sentiment. I think that Disney have recognised the toxicity of fan-service in films. A little goes a long way. Blade Runner 2049 got it right. And when TFA rolled around I felt that everything was still set too close to the original timeline.

      I can’t speak to any of the director on director crime, JJ is credited as an Exec Producer on this one and that’s a big stick to wield, but who really knows? What I think Johnson did, was hit ‘reset’ as far as the ‘old’ universe / franchise goes. That speech by Ren says it all and I believe that was Rian Johnson speaking directly to the fans. I was cheering internally at this and smiling about it long after leaving the cinema. But I do agree, whoever picks up part 9 has got a huge job on their hands. Johnson got to make big dramatic moves with this story and someone else will have to pick up the tab.

      On reflection, it’s a mixed bag for sure, but it I think it gave good ‘star wars.’ It presented an compelling idea that lay outside the pyrotechnics and the force and still leaves the Kylo / Rey question open and I feel they are the pillars on which the entire franchise rests. I was genuinely surprised by the choices with Luke and Snoke. I wasn’t expecting that.

      Leia Poppins made me cringe tbh. I didn’t know that she’d completed shooting on the film before she passed away and that moment gutted me, then made me wish I’d looked away.

  • RO

    I love this review. I love this review SOOO MUCH. I suspected for months that The Last Jedi would do nothing. I mean, you can’t have spoilers about a movie that doesn’t reveal anything. Hence why I will not be seeing this movie anytime soon. Probably not this year, and I’m not a Star Wars hater – I’ve just experienced a situation where I’ve grown up loving the original trilogy, hearing stories about how amazing the prequel trilogy could be – then seeing it for what it is and like Luke learning that his heroic father is his greatest villain, screaming NOOOO. It’s not True. That’s impossible!

    After my first (I’ve only seen TFA three times) viewing of The Force Awakens I leaned back in my chair and thought – this is the first star wars movie I have ever seen where I don’t see a direction for the story.

    With A New Hope, we see the Rebels win their second major victory against the Empire (as them stealing the plans was the first according to the opening crawl). So this movie shows a progression towards freedom against an oppressive galactic empire. We end the movie with the heroes winning and they’re probably going to win some more and free the galaxy. It’s easy, simple. I get that.

    What happens at the end of TFA? They destroyed Starkiller Base after it took out a bunch of planets we know nothing about (we didn’t even have a hint of a emotional connection to a character a la Alderaan and Leia) so… what?

    Also, why is Rey going to find Luke Skywalker at the end? Isn’t that what Leia’s goal was? If anything should it not have been Leia on that cliff holding their father’s lightsaber to Luke? That would have been a risk also but one every star wars fan and new audience member would understand, a sibling reaching to another one for help. But why Rey? For the entire film she wants to return to Jakuu and wait. She makes no mention of wanting to be a Jedi or stop the empire. Luke did when we first met him.

    Apparently, in our current beer goggles of social justice Luke is now a Gary Stu. Which makes no sense. Luke was pushed down by his uncle, beaten and nearly killed by the Sand People, nearly killed again at the cantina by space fugitives. It’s only when he starts his training aboard the Falcon that he starts to become a hero. We’re told that he’s a great pilot by Obi-wan and he argues that to Han when they meet for the first time, and we get to see it in the end. He takes a natural talent and with his hard work (granted short) towards becoming a Jedi combines those two skills to save the day. Nothing about that fits the definition of a Gary Stu/Mary Sue.

    Rey on the other hands, speaks every language, knows how to fight, knows how to fly a ship, knows how to fix a ship, and knows how to use the force after a mind link with ugly Ben Solo (don’t get me started on why he’s named Ben – Leia never met Kenobi and Han didn’t really like him even in the end). But wait, she doesn’t know how to shoot a blaster. So there’s one thing she’s not perfect at. Those choices are a disservice to actor and the character journey that these stories tell. I see Rey. I like when she’s compelling, and she makes some (granted) obvious choices to get us to like her, but I wanted SOOO much more, and wanted this to really be HER story.

    I think it comes full circle to JJ’s inability to understand his own method of film making and the magic box. This has more to do with JJ having zero imagination. He loves the magic box idea, I do as well, but if you don’t have the capacity to even have a thought about what could be in there (you don’t have to reveal it) then you’ve got nothing. And JJ has no idea what’s in the magic box. And he turned that magic box into a character, and has no idea who that character is. Which is why she’s good at everything and people care about her, but she doesn’t do much or grow in an emotional or logical way.

    This all leads to the flaws of The Last Jedi. Rian is given a set up to a trilogy in the form of an incomplete film. He literally names the island Luke is on ACT TWO (sure it’s spelled differently but come on!). And in the trailers, in the objection of Mark Hamil, you can feel the hate this guy has towards what he’s been given. And it is hate. Hate disguised as love. In essence his motivation is identical to that of Anakin Skywalkers. He’s going to destroy what he loves so he can make it better, and we all know how well that story went. Are we going to have to wait 30 years for Rian’s long lost kid to come back and fix this?

    When I heard about Luke tossing the lightsaber away, I laughed and thought too bad it’s going to go in a bad direction. I would have opened that scene up with Luke holding his father’s lightersaber. And just like he did in A New Hope, he activates it and wields it exactly as he did when he first held the saber in Obi-wan’s hut. THEN he tosses it away and challenges Rey in a similar fashion that Yoda did with Luke. To test her resolve, to see if she’s worthy of training. This should be the standard practice for training a Jedi. A practice that Obi-wan didn’t use when teaching Anakin and thus it led to him becoming Vader. When he completes her training she’s able to retrieve the lightsaber from the ocean using the force (it’s one thing to see the object you’re reaching for, it’s another to feel it). A great lesson about faith in yourself and what you want to achieve.

    This success lets Luke join Rey in trying to bring Ben home to the light side of the force and saving the resistance. For dramatic purposes, Ben doesn’t turn, but has more hatred for Luke because of what I am about to write below:

    (I would have revealed that Rey is Luke’s kid. A child that Ben was jealous of because she was better than him with the force. Out of jealousy he killed his Aunt (Luke’s wife) and all of Luke’s students. Luke in his last effort mind tricks Ben into thinking that he killed Rey, and then took her to hide on Jakuu where he mind tricked his 10 year old child of a false past to keep her safe until the will of the force brought her back to him. Luke’s goal? Ben grew up in a form of privilege and was unable to face adversity regardless of how much his parents and Luke. Rey was on a similar path and Luke knowing how powerful she could become and not wanting to see her become like Ben, made the hardest choice a parent and teacher could do and sent her away to understand the struggles of the people she’d be destined to protect from evil. A hero has humility.

    That’s your satisfying reveal for Rey, the greatest lesson a hero could learn about others and the responsibility and struggle and closure to our hero. Luke is willing to sacrifice his own happiness and family to protect the galaxy. That is what Jedi do.)

    That’s me riffing, and constantly wishing I had the opportunity to write Star Wars movies professionally (among other films as well).

    I have a lot of concern about JJ coming in to close this trilogy off, give how he started it poorly. So, I guess we have to wait another 2 years for that disappointment?

  • Avatar

    He was the mastermind behind it. He came up with the stories that he worked with his team to come up with.

  • nathan575

    I would agree with most of what’s been said and as a big SW fan I was mostly disappointed with the fact it just wasn’t very well written. And Ackbar?!! Ackbar!!

    But talking about how they changed Luke’s character – let’s remember at the end of the prequals, when the galaxy needed them the most, Yoda said “screw you all, I’m running off to sulk on degobah”. The only guy anywhere near powerful enough to deal with Palpatine abandoned everyone to hide in a swamp. “I’m too important to risk losing” or maybe ” I’m too proud to stand up and admit I failed with Anakin”. I’m glad he came back in this movie so woke.

    Maybe we need to face the fact that Luke might’ve bought into his own self-importance a bit aswell and couldn’t bare to face his failure as much as yoda couldn’t… It definitely puts a match to the wood pile that had been stacking up for a fair while now. And it looks like it has taken a few fan’s childhoods with it.

    • RO

      You make a great point about a misstep(one of many) taken with the prequel trilogy. First, showing Yoda. He should have never been see in the originals. Second, Owen should have been the one to take Luke away from Obi-Wan. Obi-wan with the full intention of training Luke to help him save the Galaxy from the Empire but Owen not wanting to lose his nephew the way he lost his brother-in-law (I say in law because I think Beru should have been Anakin’s force sensitive sister that chose to stay with Owen instead of going with Obi-wan). Owen guilt’s Obi-wan in to giving up the fight and Owen being a character that doesn’t want to do anything to shake things up, takes Luke to Tatooine and Obi-wan just watches over him from afar. Luke, his surrogate grandchild, destined to save the galaxy but removed by fear. Leia could have been put into hiding as well with Bail Organa and another Jedi to train her, but Vader slaughtered that Jedi and Organa raised Leia as his own, able to keep her secret from the Empire.

      The reason Yoda can not fight the Emperor? He’s 900 years old. Too fragile to fight, but beyond wise enough to teach (which leads to another idea – Humans having a shorter life span are not able to live long enough to be able to safely teach the force to others, it requires a massive amount of experience to acquire before being able to shape a person into a Jedi – this makes Obi-wan foolish enough to think he could train Anakin just as well as Yoda trained him).

  • AstralAmerican

    Holy s***! Thought it was just the wife and I… Who.Hated.This.Movie… I’d even take Lucas’ prequels over this nonsense. And almost everything this article points out, I pointed out to my wife…

    Rey and Kylo do not battle!
    Luke and Kylo do not battle!
    Finn and Phasma’s fight only lasts a couple minutes and is uneventful!
    Leia’s Superman return from death and space — lame!
    Finn and Rey still dodging “that” kiss for him to possible starting liking Rose maybe — or maybe Caucasian Hollywood agony of a Caucasian woman in a major franchise having interest in a non-Caucasian?
    Justin Th–whatever–cameo at the crap table — lame! Laura Dern, Benicio — lame!
    Some of the CGI, too — lame!
    Luke dying by astral-projection — lame!
    The red guards of Snoke in an uneventful saber fight — yawn! Where is Darth Maul when you need him…?!

    Told the wife I will NEVER see this movie again! F*** Rian Johnson for further ruining one of the greatest experiences spawned from my childhood AND Michael Bay/Spielberg for their TRANSFORMERS abomination while I’m at it!

    • Justin

      I will argue that the first Transformers film was decent.

      …But as for TLJ — I remember my instincts went haywire when I heard the news about Rian Johnson coming on board for Star Wars… Sad to learn I was correct. The teaser was uninspired and a plain bore, and the second one was mediocre at best. Looks like they weren’t downplaying anything at all — the film really just did suck.

      • scriptfeels

        nothing like masterbation jokes and transformers

      • -n8-

        The first transformers is a lot of fun.

  • Scott Serradell

    Let’s be blunt: This wasn’t a Star Wars movie.

    I mean, it was fine to watch: Maybe a bit too long but overall it had some fun and thrilling moments found it any science-fiction action movie. It didn’t take itself very seriously so neither did I.

    But, like “Force Awakens” or “Rogue One”before it, it was essentially a fan film; a homage or perhaps an imitation. And, in the end I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that in essence…

    But it’s not a Star Wars movie.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      I thought it was the best of the bunch. Logic wise, “Star Wars” has ALWAYS required its audience to bend.

      Why don’t you think this is a “Star Wars” movie? The Kylo Ren/Rey/Smoke thang was Luke vs. the Emperor and Darth Vader. We had lots of space shootouts. Another scene that looked almost identical to the Hoth invasion scene in “Empire Strikes Back”.

      • Scott Serradell

        Why do I not think of this (and the others) as Star Wars movies?

        In a word: Nihilism.

        These new movies don’t believe in anything.

        Gone are the mythic archetypes that allowed these characters, for good or bad, to change and transform; the Republic is gone; the Jedi are gone; the Rebellion/Resistance has been reduced to a Sunday afternoon book club.

        What is left for these characters (or us the audience) to believe in?

        When “A New Hope” started Luke Skywalker on his journey it awoke in him a fundamental necessity in our human story: The courage to leave behind the comforts of home and embrace a broader understanding of the both the world outside and the spiritual dimension inside each of us.

        It provided him a template to transcend himself, and the young man who started a farmer ended up becoming a warrior. A Hero. A Jedi. But what makes Star Wars so enduring is that same path is available to each of us; for any of us to fulfill the requirements of what it means to be human, we too must have the fortitude to endure the journey that will test our ego and illusions and (hopefully) have us come out the other side stronger and wiser. Star Wars taps into a long tradition of stories that are essentially a guide to help us become more than who we are.

        But these new films don’t possess this. They’ve eschewed any transcendent quality (and indeed any hierarchy, as our princess is now a general) and replaced it shoddy drama. That’s why, now at the end of our second movie, characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, And Kylo are really no different from when we were introduced to them two years ago.

        As visually and technically breath-taking as these movies seem on the surface, they are spiritually dead.

        • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

          “As visually and technically breath-taking as these movies seem on the surface, they are spiritually dead.”


  • CJ

    Thanks for confirming what my instincts were telling me about the movie based on TFA. Now I can put that $20 IMAX movie ticket money into the Christmas gift fund.

  • carsonreeves1

    The damage control is nuts! Disney just had Mark Hamill tweet his love to Rian Johnson.

    • RO

      That was six hours ago. Unless he did another one just recently. I am inclined to believe that Mark Hamill can like Rian Johnson while also disagreeing with him regarding Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill is that mature of a person and actor.

      • carsonreeves1

        I think it was orchestrated. Disney knows people don’t like what Rian has done to Luke Skywalker. By having “Luke Skywaker” tweet “You’re my best friend,” it alleviates some of that. Of course, it could be Mark Hamill himself trying to alleviate some of that hate.

        But it’s so much juicier if Disney’s involved. :)

        • RO

          Movie web released an article a few hours ago claiming that all the rotten tomatoes bad reviews are bots and trolls and not actually real user reviews.

          • carsonreeves1

            That makes no sense. The negative reviews are all meticulously written out with lots of detail. It’s the positive reviews that are short and spammy.

          • RO

            That’s what I was thinking when I read the article. It’s very sketchy. Check it out:


          • Avatar

            The polarization of fan reaction has actually sparked some interest in some people I know to want to see what all the fuss is about. These are on the fence people, who typically wait, but since people are arguing about it, a lot of them are going to go see it this week.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Go see it. Its spectacle entertainment, and has mass appeal.

          • Avatar

            At the very least, I will see it 3 times. Just because of the different groups of friends and family that are going. It’s still a shared experience, where you get everyone’s strong reaction to it. The only reaction that bothers me is one person who never has a clue what she watched–she watched the Force Awakens and Rogue One and couldn’t tell you one single plot point in it–in fact, I think she confuses it with Empire Strikes Back–it’s infuriating.

          • -n8-

            May the force be with u all 3xs

    • Nick Morris

      Mark is probably just being cool since Rian is taking a beating online this weekend. Disney is still getting their millions out of this franchise and that’s not going to change anytime soon. And nobody tells Mark what to tweet. ;)

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      A little controversy is good.

  • carsonreeves1

    I don’t mind exploring issues like you mentioned in indie movies. But not in a Star Wars movie.

    • dick dastardly

      I think they should go buy their own Lego if they wanna try their hand at creating. The hell has gone wrong with this industry and culture? Johnson doesn’t want to make a Star Wars movie, he can go away and create his own unique universe … right?

  • carsonreeves1

    Cinemascore is not reliable. They give everything an A.

    • klmn

      The only reliable score is box office. Star Wars will roll on and Disney will cash in for decades if not longer.

  • SpikeLeeLookingAtAMountainDew

    Thank you, Carson for 100% echoing everything I felt walking out of the theatre.

    Specifically that Rian *clearly* hated EVERYTHING JJ did with The Force Awakens, and didn’t care about developing the story or the fact that his film was supposed to be a part of a *cohesive* trilogy.

    I’m so baffled by the “THIS IS BETTER THAN EMPIRE!” response from critics.

  • Sal Ayala

    Great review Carson. Sucha relief to hear a voice of reason amidst the critical and media lauding this movie is getting. It trampled over way to much of the lore and neglected way to many questions to have been anything more than a passble SW movie. Pretty much share all the likes, except i didn’t much like the humor and dialogue, both of which felt out of universe to me.

    But the treatment of Luke was the real killer.
    I specifically hated that he cut himself off from the force, and became a hermit because of what occurred with Kylo and his other students. That’s an outright character assassination. He had a huge hand in letting that monster out into the galaxy and then basically goes off the grid? He was kinda criminally negligent, and ultimately, something of a tragic villain across these two pictures (like his pupil).

    The only way he could have been redeemed was by offing Kylo, or dying by his hand, leaving Rey to redeem him. That might seem really old fashioned and Bushido… but THATS the Jedi. And that WAS Star Wars.

    It feels like they’ve ditched the ying yang and good and evil of it all. The Poetry. And in it’s place, have set up shop in a staid shade of grey while the bean counters calculate. Boring.

  • Nina Craft

    Remember when you had to actually train to be a Jedi? Not anymore, folks!

    Look, just bc you take risks as a filmmaker doesnt mean those risks will be successful, thats why they’re called risks!

    And change is great! But it’s gotta fit the construct of the narrative. (See Thor Ragnarok for the way it’s done right.)

    Also, I LOVEEEE this new line of thinking where if you dont like a film it means youre just angry or against change or upset it didnt abide by expectations. Yes that’s it! It couldn’t possibly be that maybe many of us thought it was a muddy, stupid, messy, stupid bore where the stupid characters had bullshit motivations and unearned payoffs. It’s simply that it didnt go our way!!

    We’re all haters!!!

    • carsonreeves1

      I know. It’s bizarre. “You didn’t like it? You can’t accept change!” No, I can’t accept bad choices.

      • Urugeth

        Or you’re missing interesting choices that reset locked-in dogma because you’re opposed to change.

    • RO

      I always suspected training to learn how to use the force to be a relatively easy task, but learning to be a Jedi takes years. Kind of like screenwriting. You can learn all the rules relatively quick, but to learn how to put all of them in play effectively can take years.

      • -n8-

        Love thi

  • Bacon Statham

    When Mark Hamill tells you he dislikes what you’re doing with a character, you listen to him. I’m honestly really glad that Rian Johnson is going to be directing a new trilogy and not a KOTOR trilogy because my heart couldn’t take that if it got ruined.

  • (Ex) Long Time AV Club Reader

    That sounds really bad, I’m going to pay for another movie, then sneak in. I’ll pay for a Last Jedi ticket on the way out on the off chance I disagree with the SS review.

    This turned out to be a very timely column by a script reader, it’s about when defying expectations just doesn’t work: http://www.scriptmag.com/features/craft-features/identifying-theme-premise-plot/meet-reader-managing-audience-expectations.

    I know Ray Morton was already complaining about Luke acting like a coward in the trailers, I’m guessing he was MORTified by the actual movie.

    Here’s another thing about Star Wars: it’s not episodic like Bond or Indiana Jones or Star Trek. The slate can’t be wiped clean after a bad installment. So even bold choices that pay off in the interim can undermine the rest of the story.

    From the sound of it, The Last Jedi might have done even more damage than the prequels. The prequels, while bad, were just fleshing out backstory hard core fans already knew the basic parameters to. They didn’t destroy the original movies or sabotage the chance to tell new stories.

    This might end up being one of my litmus test movies; a movie where, if a critic gave it a good review, I’m not reading a damn thing they write anymore. Godzilla 2014 and Rogue One are already on my litmus test list. That already disqualifies almost every working movie critic.

  • MisfitChris

    I’m interested, how would you guys have handled TLJ?

    • Justin

      I would have just let George Lucas handle it.

      • -n8-

        Would have been markedly more enjoyable

    • RO

      I posted part of what I would do in a long winded comment below. I think it would have stuck with the idea that the old ways failed and it’s time to try something new without having to suggest that everything that came before TLJ must be destroyed.

  • AstralAmerican

    But I’d recommend not supporting it, until you confirm that you like it… I.e. a previous poster on this board said they would sneak in from another movie, then somehow contribute to its success if they in fact like it. We vote w/ our wallets, and luckily my family paid discounted prices. We will not in the future after this monstrosity!

  • Erica

    Well I liked the movie, thought it was awesome. Guess I just go hide while everyone hashes it out about what was wrong with this one again…

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      You should expand and explain what you liked, Erica. I, for one, would like to know what resonated with you.

  • Midnight Luck

    Haven’t seen it.
    (once again)

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Go. Go now!

  • RO

    See that’s where I’m conflicted as Brick was his only film I enjoyed. Oddly enough you have to watch it with the subtitles on because the audio recording is atrocious.

    • -n8-

      Brothers bloom is poetic n fun

      • lonestarr357

        Agreed. I’d never seen Brick until this year (‘Phillip Marlowe in high school’ is a hell of a hook, but the whole thing felt rather twee, in my view.), but I did see The Brothers Bloom when it came out and I was enchanted by it. Seriously, I’d have happily writhed naked over broken glass to see what Johnson did next. Looper was well-worth the trip for its first half. The second half on the farm killed the movie.

        I have no interest in Star Wars, so Last Jedi is an asterisk. Still, good on Johnson for this opportunity.

  • Avatar

    Mark Hamill said that he fundamentally disagreed with every single choice Rian Johnson made when he read the script. I wish he could be honest and tell us what those were. I can guess…but, boy would I love to buy Mark a beer and get the real scoop. On the flip side, I fundamentally disagree with every single choice JJ Abrams made for the Han Solo character (that twist ending was so predictable and unnecessary–instead of getting shock from me, I just rolled my eyes).

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    JUST got back from watching “The Last Jedi” with my brother, his wife and his two little boys. We all LOVED this movie. Easily the best movie of 2017. Rian Johnson did a phenomenal job. I would rate it a 9.5 out 10, and the best “Star Wars” movie of them all.

    LOVED all the plot point risks this story took. Together Kylo Ren and Rey kill off Snoke, then later Kylo kills off Luke. All my fears of Disney ruining this franchise and making it too soft are gone.

    Lea Poppins, however, was ridiculous. THAT should have been rewritten to be better. Having her ghost back in the ship from previously being dead in outer space was bad.

    Almost as bad was the New Order’s imperial destroyer’s chase of the fleeing rebel armada that was afraid of “running out of gas.”.

    Didn’t like much with the Rose character and her interactions with Finn, except at the first meeting, and Rose’s final fine did get me choked up.

    Loved all the action. Will be interesting to see what comes next. Because this series is really screaming for a fresh round of villains to emerge.

    O yeah, and from the guy who said Daisy Ridley was “homely”. I thought she did a great job in this movie. Rey, this time around was much better–and she looked a LITTLE better too.

    • https://savinh0.wordpress.com/ savinh0

      She looks always amazing. And yeah, I liked the film, too!

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Great post, Nick.

  • carsonreeves1

    I liked what this guy on Reddit said: “This movie feels less like the logical second step in a new trilogy and
    more like a rebuttal in a rap battle between two directors. So much is
    wiped from the events of the Force Awakens that you will wonder why you
    even watched that film.”

    Just going off the evidence of what we see here, Rian Johnson must have literally hated every single thing JJ did in The Force Awakens.

    • Midnight Luck

      Not trying to be “Political”, but this sounds strikingly similar to what Trump (Rian) has done to any and every single thing Obama (JJ) created and put in place during his administration.

      Maybe Rian was taking notes from Trump on how to deconstruct and destroy everything your predecessor has done.

      //Politikz oVer//

  • Avatar

    By the way, JJ Abrams was fully involved in the process of the Last Jedi. For those who did not like the Last Jedi saying that JJ will come back and save the franchise, no, he was a part of the process.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Hey, something I missed in the movie. Was the red stuff that was kicked up off the surface of the planet ever explained? Made for an interesting look, but what was its base in reality?

    • Pugsley

      It was salt.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry


        • Pugsley

          Dead sea.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Was just looking at what’s coming out in 2018:

    OCEANS 8 with an all female cast.
    (Will there be a shower scene?)
    (When did this become a franchise?)
    Does anyone not know this story?
    (And get this – the protag is a guy!!)

    • Midnight Luck

      RE: Robin Hood
      Ok, they really screwed the poodle on that one. Everyone knows they should’ve given us a female RH this time.
      I mean if Ghostbusters can be all women, why not the thieves of the forest as well?

      • Malibo Jackk

        Would watch that.

      • andyjaxfl

        Keira Knightley’s first movie was a sequel to the Kevin Costner Robin Hood flick. It went DTV about 15 years ago, but she’s The Princess of Thieves. It’s not half-bad…

      • Scott Crawford

        There was MARIAN, a spec script that made this year’s Hit List.

        But not the Black List.

    • andyjaxfl

      Not only is this Robin Hood yet another re-telling, but it’s the hopeful start of a cinematic universe. My guess is that it’ll bomb just as hard as King Arthur (which isn’t a bad movie so much as it is an unnecessary one).

  • Poe_Serling

    With midnight fast approaching on this side of the ScriptShadow planet…

    “Votes will be counted through Sunday, 11:59pm Pacific Time. Winner gets a script
    review next Friday!”

    It looks like the script Do Not Open will be the one under the AF tree. So, congrats
    to Nick M. for scoring the top spot. As Lev mentioned yesterday:

    He’s “an accomplished and always gracious writer.”

    I agree.

    I was going to do an OT, but since Nick is such a fan of SW… I figured why bother.


    • Nick Morris

      Haha! Very true. Thank you, Poe! :)

  • Zapotage

    Luke projected himself with a haircut and some ‘Just For Men’ Chocolate Brown brushed into his hair and beard. The shoulder dust off made him look like Chuck Norris.

    Also, he used a blue lightsaber for this. Shouldn’t it have been green? Kylo and Rey just destroyed Luke’s famous blue lightsaber. Apparently Kylo was blinded by rage to notice that bright, glowing detail.

  • Ashley Sanders

    Gosh. I’m glad it wasn’t just me.
    I have been so angry and upset all weekend.
    There was a smattering of applause after the screening I saw in central London but I assumed it was just Chinese tourists who didn’t speak English.
    I had to try consciously to keep my body language neutral throughout so as not to destroy the enjoyment of the movie for the people I went with, until the guy next to me – wearing a Darth Vader T shirt, leant across at the Carrie Fisher Mary Poppins moment and whispered ‘oh for fuck’s sake.’

    Ten of us went and the reaction afterwards was from – that was okay, there were some cool battle scenes down to hating it.

    And it gives me no pleasure to hate it, this is part of my childhood. I want to love it and I think the people who made it DO love it and want you to love it too and that it absolutely did not work for me, and seemed to retro-actively cheapen what has gone before made me sad.

    I was jaw-dropped by 93% on Rotten Tomatoes – how could I be so out of step? I felt like I’d fallen into an alternative universe.
    I hadn’t been that angry, disappointed and bored coming out of a movie since The Phantom Menace. Sure I have seen way worse movies – that Transformers one with the robot dinosaurs, but not ones I was so invested in, that I so wanted to like.
    I could list 30 things that I hated (at least 2 of which are in Carson’s list of what he liked above), but it would just make me angry and sad.

    I was kind of half-looking forward to the Indiana Jones reboot, but now I just hope they let him rest in peace.

    Still, it’s only a movie and I’m a grown-up, I’ll get over it.
    I hope that the movie worked for others and that they got as much joy out of it as I did out of the original trilogy and the Force Awakens.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    After I read the review I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day. Goddamn, TLJ sounds terrible! Makes me wish they’d tapped the guys who wrote the Battlestar Galactica remake to write the script.

  • Adam McCulloch

    Thanks y’all. You saved me 20 bucks and two hours and thirty three minutes of my life.

  • Urugeth

    You people agreeing with this review are out of your goddamned minds.

    You think Rian Johnson hates Luke Skywalker? What?!? He redeemed him

    I became a writer because of Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker is my favorite fictional character of all time. J.J. Abrahms is the one who shit all over Luke. Rian brought him back. Let’s recap what Rian Johnson was given here:

    According to The Force Awakens Luke had:

    1) Failed as a mentor to Ben Solo
    2) Gotten all of his pupils killed due to that failure
    3) Failed to counter the rise of Snoke and sat out the build up of the First Order
    4) Abandoned his sister and his best friend after failing their son
    5) Ran away and hid from everyone, doing all he could to never be found
    6) Sat out a grand conflict that led to the destruction of the New Republic at the hands of the organization that turned his nephew and star pupil.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Read that again. That was the Luke Rian was given. A recluse on an island that had run and hid. Why? Because J.J. was afraid of Deus Ex Jedi. He’s the one who wasn’t smart enough to write a story with a powerful Luke in it. He was the one who wrote a movie that sucked off Han Solo at the expense of the other legacy characters. He was the one who took the greatest hero in the history of the galaxy and turned him into a fucking MacGuffin.

    Now this is a site of writers. What would you do with that character? How do you fix that? Do you come up with some convoluted explanation about how he was trying to figure out some master plan to defeat Snoke, which somehow justifies why he sat on the sidelines as millions died? Do you make him ignorant? Do you make him a coward? What do you do with that? How do you justify why Luke allowed what happened to happen if he’s this all powerful Jedi? THERE IS NO WAY TO DO IT IN A WAY THAT DOESN’T TARNISH THE SUPER LUKE ALL OF YOU PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY WANTED. J.J. wrote Rian into a corner, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

    So what does Rian do? He leans into it. He gives us a Luke full of regret, of hurt, of pain. He gives us a man that would do the things that were already established in the previous film that he did. He tried to make that dumpster fire portrayal work. And then he methodically and systematically works to fully fucking redeem him in the way Luke Skywalker deserves, giving him a full, resonant thematic arc and making him the hero of the entire goddamned movie.

    What does Luke Skywalker do at the end of Return of the Jedi? What’s his most heroic act? He throws his lightsaber away. “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He doesn’t give in to the vengeance and horror of the Dark Side.

    So you want him to do that here? As a wiser and better man? What did you want? A Luke who did what he mocks Rey for wanting? A lone warrior fighting and entire army with his laser sword? Fucking everything up and destroying the First Order like the way Vader raped all those suckers at the end of Rogue One? That would be cool! That would be ‘bad ass’! Just like Vader! You know. The villain. The man Luke was diametrically opposite to. The man Luke in his most heroic moment refused to become.

    One, that’s the opposite of what a Jedi is. Two, it’s the opposite of everything we know Luke is. Three, if he was capable of that and was willing to do it we have to reckon with the fact that J.J. crafted a Luke who stood on the sidelines while the First Order rose again and did nothing until Rey hands him a prop. There’s no way to make that work with what we know when this movie starts.

    Think about it. You’re writers. How do you make that not suck? The fact Johnson pulled Luke out of the shitty J.J. ‘Moments Before Character OMFG MYSTERY BOX!!!!’ nosedive is a damned miracle to me.

    What does Rian do? Gives Luke a plausible backstory to justify the bullshitty situation we were given in TFA. Then he has him wrestle internally in a way tied to theme with whether or not he is willing to rejoin the fray, to ultimately reiterating himself as the best and brightest hero in the history of Star Wars.

    He apologizes to his sister. He confronts his pupil. He rejoins the fight when the hope in victory is so lost no one else will come to the Resistance’s aid. He takes the full brunt of everything the First Order has to offer and brushes it off like it’s nothing. He buys the time for the last remaining heroes to make their escape. He confronts his fallen apprentice where IN FULL VIEW OF THE FACIST FORCE HE CALLS HIMSELF SUPREME LEADER OF they all watch as he gets schooled and demasculated by a man who never even swings his lightsaber. Kylo is all sound and fury, embarrassing himself by failing to make so much as a mark on an old man who bobs and weaves out of his way. He stands tall against an army, a tyrant and he bests them all NON VIOLENTLY (y’know, it the way only say, I dunno, A JEDI MASTER COULD) and buys everyone a chance to escape. The Resistance was dead when Luke showed up. He saved them all. And then after Kylo fails to destroy him Luke throws one of Han’s lines into Kylo’s face, just as the petulant little bastard realizes he lost his chance to destroy his enemies one and for all. He honored his friend, his sister, everything he loved and everything he ever fought for in one magnificent triumphant act.

    And just as he collapses out of exhaustion after pulling of the greatest trick we’ve ever seen a Jedi pull, he gets to stare at the twin suns in the exact mirror shot of the farm boy staring into the distance wanting a better life. Bookends of a niave boy wanting more, and an old man at the end of his triumphant journey, a hero thrice over and one of the fullest, most magnificent fictional character arcs of all time.

    And this movie hits us over and over again with the fact that we are witnessing the death of hope. Over and over the good guys fail, their plans fail, decency fails. Everyone talks about the spark that will light the fire that will burn the First Order down. But nothing takes. Nothing sticks. They fail.


    The ‘tacked on ending’ with what was dismissively referred to as “broom boy” is a powerful and dramatic representation of the fact LUKE WAS THE SPARK. These slaves are talking about the legend of Luke Skywalker. They are playing with little miniature versions of Luke Skywalker. The kid force pulls a broom and fingers a Rebellion ring and stares up at the stars, the moonlight hitting the broom handle and causing it to glow like a lightsaber. Luke Skywalker is dead, but the legend of Luke is alive and well. HE IS THE SPARK.

    And you think this movie was written by someone who hates the character? THAT THIS FILM WAS A DISSERVICE TO HIS CHARACTER?!?!

    As I said, y’all are out of your goddamned minds.

    • andyjaxfl

      I liked the movie when I came out of the theater and came to LOVE IT over the next day as I thought about everything.

      If I have one complaint — and this may be my own fault — it’s that I don’t quite understand what makes the rebellion the rebellion. Aren’t they running the galaxy, or at least huge swaths of it, in TFA? My understanding is that the First Order’s first big move was the obliterate those planets, but until then, they’d mostly been kept in check in their little pocket of the galaxy.

      • Urugeth

        That’s part of the J.J. dumb hack stuff. There was the New Republic and then separate from that there was the Resistance who were like a fringe militia group opposed to the First Order because the New Republic couldn’t be bothered or something. Basically J.J. wanted to eat his cake and have it too where he wanted to reset things to where we found them in A New Hope but he had to deal with the pesky fact the Rebellion won. So the new Republic gets wiped out but the fringe group survives so that they can become Rebellion-In-All-But-Name

        In this movie the First Order unequivocally is THE force in the galaxy. So what was one the Resistance once again becomes the Rebellion. Hence “Rebel scum” and so forth.

        • andyjaxfl

          Ahhh okay, thanks for clarifying. I knew I must have missed it somewhere (or forgotten it completely!).

        • Thaddeus Arnold

          I guess Lawrence Kasdan is a hack now as well, huh?

    • Radu Huciu

      Funny, I wonder what Mark Hamill would have to say about that. Oh wait, he absolutely hated and disagreed with EVERTYHING Rian did to, you know, the character he played in three movies.

      Aside from that however, let’s all agree what you’re saying about Luke and what Rian did to him is true. All of it. What about some of the real choices that broke the film that he made?

      1) What about the MAIN storyline being a 10mph galactic chase? Read passive and boring. Which is ironic because the movie opens with a chase. Why not keep the chase going?

      2) What about focusing, I say again, focusing on a SUBplot instead? A subplot that no one asked for or wanted.

      3) What about introducing redundant characters as opposed to developing the ones you already have?

      4) What about clearly writing scenes and sequences with one single goal in mind: twist for twist’s sake, aka the value of shock.

      5) What about the training sequence where absolutely nothing was learned?

      Dude, come on, call it what it is. I love me some Nolan and Interstellar and Inception, but I will be the FIRST to tell you exactly what’s wrong with those films. Don’t be a sith yo, don’t let your passion blind you. Bullshit is bullshit no matter how you spin it.

      Also, to say this was written by a “master” after Looper is an insult to storytelling. Rian is a good director, but he’s got nothing on writing my friend.

      The only thing that would make me change my mind is if I learned there were more cooks in the kitchen, but if that’s not the case and he was the one calling the shots (which I doubt) then I stand by my affirmation that he is not a writer. But hey I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • ChadStuart

      I kind of disagree with you regarding the place Luke was left at the end of the last movie. It wasn’t explicitly said he was hiding out of shame. It was just said that after the new Jedi temple fell, he disappeared. It could have been for any number of reasons. He may have felt the need to reconnect with the original Jedi teachings to be better and come back to defeat Snoke, recognizing his own shortcomings having been trained so quickly (he got a few days worth of training compared to the years of mentorship other Jedis received).

      The story wasn’t boxed in as you indicate. It was wide open, in fact. I believe Johnson picked a bad avenue for the spirit, tone and direction of this series. It’s morally complicated, to be sure, but more so than a kid looking for a hero myth can really understand. We grown up fans often forget that this series has always existed for children — evidenced by the fact that we all fell in love with it as children.

      And that’s it’s greatest failing.

    • RO

      This was awesome. But yeah, I did write my own take on how Luke would behave and give proper reason why, it’s in an earlier comment; you’ll have to scroll down a bit. But what I do is not forget the lessons the character learned and also keep true to who Luke Skywalker is while still emphasizing his guilt at his failure. Because, absolutely, JJ really did a disservice to the original characters. But you also missed an important point. This particular saga IS about a family. The Skywalker family. IMO it ended with Return of the Jedi. There should not have been a 7,8, and 9. But if you’re going to do it, build on it – don’t repeat it. That was the first misstep and it has led to a series of choices that some like and some do not. I like the risks and the attempts to try something new, but the new ideas don’t seem to fit in line with building a story. There seems to be a type of anarchy theme in TLJ where it’s burn it down and forget the past, but it should be more learn from the mistakes and renovate. That may require knocking down a few walls, but not the whole damn building. And I think that’s why there’s a crazy divide. You have a bunch of fans, writers that are saying “add another floor!” and you have a JJ says, “Nah, we’ll give it a fresh coat of paint” and Rian coming and saying “oh lord is this ugly, we have to take it all down and start from scratch”. Both approaches I would argue are not smart choices when dealing with a strong foundation.

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      “Failed as a mentor to Ben Solo
      2) Gotten all of his pupils killed due to that failure
      3) Failed to counter the rise of Snoke and sat out the build up of the First Order
      4) Abandoned his sister and his best friend after failing their son
      5) Ran away and hid from everyone, doing all he could to never be found
      6) Sat out a grand conflict that led to the destruction of the New Republic at the hands of the organization that turned his nephew and star pupil.”

      All of these are things that Kenobi and Yoda did. Not even the prequels succeeded in destroying their characters retroactively like this film did with Luke. Not even close. Rian has destroyed Star Wars more than anything Lucas did with the prequels. Good luck shaking the stink off, Disney.

  • -n8-

    Dammit CR– I can’t disagree with you…

    And that sucks!!

    Cauz I want to. Cauz I love this universe.

    But I can’t.


  • Buddy

    I don’t think Johnson hates Luke or neither JJ.
    I just think killing all the “old characters” and creating new ones is just part of the process of Disney buying Star Wars to Lucas. They’re saying “now it’s our franchise, and we can do whatever we want”. So they destroy the old tropes and creates new ones.

    It makes sense we don’t like Star Wars 7 o 8 o 9, because they are NOT MADE FOR US (20-70yo), they are made for kids, hoping that they’ll be fans of the universe, like we were fans of the first trilogy.
    Conclusion : We’re too old for this shit ;-)

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Nice to hear Buddy weigh in! Totally DISAGREE with you about the age targeting point. This movie is NOT made for kids, it’s too mature for them. I went to this movie with my brother’s two little kids, ages 5 and 9; and the plot was over there head.

      What did you think about the Kylo Ren and Rey bonding scenes? To me, THAT was the heart of the movie. Either that works for you, or it doesn’t, imo. Totally worked on me. Loved it. GREAT choice, imo.

      But fuck it! Obviously they fucked up somewhere, because Buddy he could have done it better. Okay, Buddy, if the keys to city had been handed to you, how would YOU have made “The Last Jedi” a better movie. The given being you have come up with a sequel to where “The Force Awakens”.

      • Buddy

        Never really been a Star Wars fan. I like the first trilogy “like everybody” but I never went apeshit about it.
        I agree with you about the kylo-rey relationship. I’d have make things different with Luke and surely I’d have try to do something with Finn and Poe, even if they’re not the best characters of the new trilogy.
        Conclusion : I’d have try to DEVELOP things than ERASE them ;-)

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          I’m starting to come around the Poe Dameron character. Thought his role in this movie was wayyy better than the last. Maybe I’m just getting used to him now.

          Love getting your mind engaged, Buddy. That’s why I post to you.

          I’m really excited about the next “Star Wars” movie and can’t wait to see what they do with Kylo Ren now that he’s at the top. This is a GREAT opportunity to expand the villains in this series IF I was doing the next script I would fuse in the “Inquistors”: Kylo Ren knocks-offs who either working for Kylo or General Hux (Domnail Gleeson’s character). I would act on the rift between Kylo and Hux. THAT is a very rich area to mine. Why not have a power struggle between the two which leads both villains to seek strange, new alliances? Say Hux tries to ally with Darth Mull’s people… And the dark powers that be know that Kylo turned on Snoke… which would leave him with no allies, but a ton of people who wanna do away with him. To me, General Hux is a character that the screenwriters of the next film should look to develop.

          What do you think, Buddy? How would you develop the next wave of villains.


  • -n8-

    I’m going to tell you guys what is the single worst choice in TLJ that goes against every other Star Wars film before it.

    Using Flashbacks.

    The first time ever that a Star Wars film had a flashback.

    And this one can be argued has two.


    That goes against everything that major point of all Star Wars plots– forward momentum because of urgent stakes.

    I’m not against flashbacks. Works well in Nolan films. Does wonders in war movies.

    But Star Wars???

    Never ever needed imo.

    That’s why Alex Guinness gets a monologue in ANH. It’s why you have actors to convey the moment and the mythology for us.

    Imagine if in that pivotal plot climax in TESB with Vader telling Luke he’s his father and there’s a hard cut to Anakin holding a baby?

    I guess you could argue that baby Rey seeing her peeps fly off jakku is a flashback in TFA. Technically it is. But it’s not a full on scene. It’s a beat at best.

    And yes there’s an audio flashback in AOTC. But again– a quick sound bit.

    So it wasn’t truly the first. But it was the longest and most damaging.

    And yet, the other choices were so off target that the flashback(s) seem like one of the brighter spots of the film.

    And that’s just sad. Cauz that ain’t what a Star Wars film is about.

    • Urugeth

      Like how in Force Awakens Rey sees and hears Luke fight Vader? Or hears Obi-Wan?
      Or when the “lightsaber” (gag) shows her Luke watching his temple burn? Or her parents abandon her?

      • -n8-

        I do mention that this style of rapid flashback was used before at the end of my post.

        But could be easily be argued that these are also “visions.”

    • Ninjaneer

      Is this comment serious or some kind of satirical comment on the pedantic / petty nature of criticism?

      • -n8-

        Not satire but critique will always be petty to some degree.

        I honestly feel that flashbacks dont really work for big tentpole/franchises.

        Maybe Harry Potter pulled them off effectively. Possibly that bit with Smiegel killing his hobbit friend in LOTR.

        But imho flashbacks in these movies slow down momentum. And pushing at break neck speed is the thrill the audience expects when you watch these kind of films.

        At least thats what i hope for– continual push to some awesome urgent goal.

        But again just my opinion.

        • wlubake

          Here the key was that they were showing a pivotal event from two vantage points. The flashbacks are Rey’s perception of what happened, and we watch it evolve (and understand our villain more). They didn’t bother me one bit (other than Luke even entertaining slaughtering his nephew.)

  • Scott Crawford

    One of the things I think worked best in TLJ was the single storyline, told in a condensed period of time, with a simple overall goal – evacuate the Rebellion. No lounging on Bespin, no half-hour long intro.

    First scene: evacuating the planet.

    Climax: escaping the second planet.

    Scripts aren’t always going to be like that, but that type of single, contained storyline (with – in this case – a few subplots) works well. Like a Die Hard action thriller. If you’re writing an actioner and it doesn’t seem to be working, think about whether you have a single overall goal like TLJ does.

    On a geeky note: if TFA was a reworking/remake of ANH, then TLJ is the a reworking of the story of what happens between ANH and TESB: the evacuation of Yavin IV and the flight to Hoth, climaxing with a remake of the Battle of Hoth.

  • brenkilco

    When you come right down to it our acceptance of sequels at all is foolish. To think that the originators of some unique creative endeavor, let alone a bunch of strangers who had nothing to do with the original, can easily recreate the magic is really absurd. Nevertheless the mercenary temptation to extend a movie success has been there since Douglas Fairbanks played The Son of Zorro. Fact is, the public barely avoided a Gone With The Wind Sequel.

    All sequels are cash grabs to some extent and most are nothing more than that. Those very few, where the makers found fresh inspiration or had more story to tell, (Godfather, the first SW trilogy barely) or where at least an exacting degree of quality control was maintained by the studios (The Bonds, the Die Hards) are few and far between. (Jaws II, The Return of The Seven, Son of Kong ad infinitum)

    With Star Wars in particular, otherwise thoughtful adults seem to loose all critical judgment. The rational part of my brain tell me you lot can’t give me what I loved when I was eight years old. But give me a piece of what I loved or make me feel eight years old or make me feel like I felt when I was eight years old and I’ll be happy. I’d be willing to bet there are more than a few PHD psych theses on the phenom.

    Fact is the lightning left the bottle a long time ago. Lucas himself failed to recapture it. And the squabbling cabal at Disney sure isn’t going to. Is it really cruel to suggest everybody put their action figures in the closet and move on?

    • klmn

      I’ve read the script for the Gone With The Wind Sequel. (It’s titled, The Big Blow-Job).

    • Pugsley

      I believe that ALIENS was as good a sequel as could be expected with another creator/director at the helm. I’d even argue it’s the best sequel ever made.

      On another note, we’ve had sequelitis for thousands of years now. Many scholars agree that PROMETHEUS UNBOUND, the weak sequel to PROMETHEUS, the Greek drama written by Aeschylus, was actually fan fiction of the time, only later to be attributed to the late, great Aeschylus to ensure its staging.

      • brenkilco

        Dunno. I hear that Aeschylus was always looking for a quick buck. And all critics seem to agree that Shakespeare just dashed off the comparatively inferior Merry Wives of Windsor because the queen wanted another Falstaff play. So, yeah sequels are nothing new. And I wouldn’t disagree about Aliens. A rare case in which another auteur or at least A lister deigned to direct a sequel. The short list would include Scorceses’s Color of Money, Frankenheimer’s French Connection II, Lang’s The Return of Frank James, Lester’s Superman II. All fairly notable.

        Best sequel ever. Well that raises the question of how we define a sequel. If we consider The Good, the Bad and The Ugly a sequel to A fistful of Dollars then I might go with that. Is The Big Sleep a sequel? The Chandler/Marlowe movie Murder My Sweet had come out a year or two earlier. But with a different star. Is She Wore A Yellow Ribbon a sequel to Fort Apache or El Dorado a sequel to Rio Bravo? They sure play like sequels.

        Anyway on this site suspect the consensus would be either Aliens or T2. With no dissent permitted.

        • Poe_Serling

          A sequel that I thought easily surpassed the original:

          The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2 everywhere else).


          • brenkilco

            Yeah, no question. And it reminds me that I just omitted far and away the greatest movie sequel ever. Godfather II.

          • Poe_Serling

            File this one in the often underrated category:

            P2: The Return to Bates Motel


            I know a ton of people will disagree with me, but hey – it’s just may take on that sequel.

            I always thought director Richard Franklin and writer Tom Holland
            did a fairly solid job in trying to capture some of the Hitchcock
            atmosphere from the unforgettable classic and still adding a few new/clever twists of their own to the material.

            Picking up the story in real time after the first pic (20+ years later) was a really smart move on the part of the filmmakers in my opinion.

            It felt like a true continuation of the original story… rather than a
            cheap money grab.

          • brenkilco

            I agree. Not a classic but pretty good considering. Franklin got the gig because of his work on a sleeper, Aussie suspenser Road Games. But I can’t say I’m familiar with much else he’s done.

          • Poe_Serling

            Besides Road Games and a couple of his other ’80s flicks, I wasn’t
            all too familiar with his film output either.

            From what I’ve read…

            While a student at USC film school in the the late ’60s (with Lucas and company), he played a part in getting Hitchcock to be a guest speaker at the university.

            After that, they continued to stay in touch off and on for the next
            several years.

          • Pugsley

            No convo on sequels would be complete without mentioning Wrath of Khan. Best Trek movie, ever.

        • Pugsley

          Good, Bad, Ugly sure gives ALIENS a run for its money, but in the end I gotta go with what is quite possibly the greatest line of dialogue in cinema history: “Get away from her, you bitch!”

          • brenkilco

            I prefer “Get your stinkin paws off me, you damn, dirty ape.”

        • Pugsley

          Also, another funny rumor/truth about Shakespeare is that he could be bribed by the actors of his time into giving them longer lines of dialogue. Hence was born his long soliloquies. Methinks this is just a rumor, though.

        • Scott Serradell

          With respect to Poe, I believe “Fury Road” is the best Mad Max sequel (but I also think “Beyond Thunderdome” is better sequel to “The Road Warrior”. Basically it’s a film-series that keeps getting better…)

          Other considerations:

          “Prisoner of Azkaban”
          “Spider Man 2″
          “Raid 2: Berandal”

          and maybe someday in the future:

          “Blade Runner 2049″

          • brenkilco

            You can make the argument, but I prefer the scrappy, low tech Road Warrior to the mega budget, wall to wall CGI of Fury. Found the new one more bludgeoning than exhilarating.

          • Scott Serradell

            I hear you, certainly.

            It’s interesting though because it is precisely for those ‘scrappy and low-tech’ aesthetics that Road Warrior will always remind me of a bygone age (my mid to late teens), when I first saw it. Everything then was loud and colored with a kind of violence; watching something like Road Warrior was the same as dancing wildly at a concert or cranking up Bad Brains on my car stereo…

            But eventually I got old(er). And now it’s a glass of wine while listening to Puccini; that former loud violence has evolved into swelling passions — and instead of destruction and anarchy, it’s about love and loss and the regret of time I cannot get back. It’s an opera about the human condition, not a mosh pit…

            Thus: My current affinity for Fury Road.

    • Omoizele Okoawo

      I don’t have a problem with a cash grab. I have a problem with someone taking a multi billion dollar ip and running it into the ground because they don’t have the sense to get a decent storyteller.

      These guys aren’t poor. They could have gotten any number of comic book guys or scifi writers to come up with a strong idea for a trilogy. Grant Morrrison, the guy who wrote the comic book The Invisibles that most people agree the Wachowski sisters used as the basis of the first Matrix film; Brian Michael Bendis, the comic book writer whose run at Marvel formed the spine of the Avengers films we are seeing today; Mark Millar, the independent comic writer who wrote the Kingsman comics and Kick-Ass; Harlan Ellison, whose scifi stori inspired James Cameron to write Terminator and who wrote the arc for the award winning scifi tv series Babylon 5; Warren Ellis, a hyper creative comic book writer; they could have paid anyone or all of these gits ad consultants to come up with the structure of a trilogy that makes sense instead they throw this cgi filled crap on screen and hope no one notices that there really isn’t a story there.

      • brenkilco

        I personally believe the whole present IP mindset is pernicious. Once upon a time the studios looked at a script, judged the story and commercial potential and decided whether to make it. But now these comic book series, of which Star Wars is by this time only one more, are endless soap operas that presumably will keep running until the multiplexers stop showing up. So the process is reversed. We have a property. We are absolutely going to make another film. Now lets look for a story or, sigh, a multi picture arc. It’s a recipe for mediocrity and diminishing returns. No matter what hired gun scribe you hire.

  • Erica

    Not sure why so many are upset at Luke going into hiding. Obi-Wan did the same thing himself. Obi-Wan was hiding on Tatoonie instead of fighting Vader, the very person he created.

    Oh and Luke used the Blue Lightsaber because that was his first saber and he was honor how Obi-Wan faced Vader. It was rather poetic and brilliant.

    • Scott Crawford

      The hiding thing is a big (established) idea in the Star Wars universe, a universe (or galaxy) that thinks in terms of years not days.

      Yoda went into hiding on Dagobah.

      Kenobi was assigned to protect Luke until he was old enough to join the Rebellion.

      Luke hides on water world (I’ve yet to learn all the names… they don’t roll off the tongue so easily these days!)… but deep down he knows he will eventually have to take a stand.

      “We are what they grow beyond.”

    • dick dastardly

      It’s not Luke going into hiding, it’s why. Why is horrifying. Luke is really just awful and depressing, no hero, a straight heel.

      You don’t have to write it like that, and you can still get the same thing. What if Luke’s role in the finale of ROTJ is misunderstood? What if he is revealed as Vader’s son all along and he is perceived as having defected to the empire right before a trap was sprung on the rebels? People would freak, nobody knows what happened in the throne-room, not even his friends.

      Luke exiles himself, because he is afraid of the harm his presence presents his loved ones (like V and VI), Kylo suffers similar persecution when he manifests and goes to Luke to learn about his curse/blessing and find a mentor. Leia and Han are betrayed by a rogue faction in the rebellion/republic who are fanatically anti-Jedi and discover Leia’s heritage, killing her dramatically and these events consequently turning Kylo while also motivating his hatred of the new republic.

      Show us all this, show us the Solo-Skywalkers as a family, Luke failing to save Leia, Han going off the rails and leaving. All of it. This stuff writes itself man …

  • peisley

    You had me until those last lines about JJ. There is manipulation of the media because it’s so incestuous. Disney taking over Fox? Forget the edge to any film there. The problem with Disney, as exemplified by Star Wars, is the constraint due to company image. Even when the acquisition is considered a separate entity, any controversy would reflect back on Disney. Anti-trust laws appear to be passé, so there’s going to be more skewing of the media and smoothing out the rough (but exciting) creative edge. You can also thank Disney for the horrendous expansion of the life of copyright to the detriment of creatives who can’t resource ip in new directions.

  • Urugeth


  • Scott Crawford

    Good point about Snoke’s ship. Disagree that the whole movie’s like that, but – yeah – like I said in an earlier comment, some decisions made early on in the creative process and which then couldn’t (or it would be very difficult to change) later on. Stuff that a spec writer could fix by reopening Final Draft.

    It’s called – or I’m going to call it – The Sandman factor.

    Spider-Man 3 went into pre-production almost as soon as Spider-Man 2 was released. Sam Raimi and co (esp. Sam and his brother who were writing the script) were asked to decide who the villains would be in the next movie. Like, NOW, tout suite. That’s because the time it would take to do the special effects would be so long (even for a movie coming out three years later) that they needed to start planning NOW.

    Hence The Sandman was chosen before the story was even fixed (Venom too, though that’s an even more complicated story).

    So, you’re writing Episode VII and you’ve decided it would be really cool if Purple did a hyperspace suicide run to destroy the (second? after The Dreadnought?) biggest Star Destroyer. And it IS really cool.

    Maybe they hadn’t planned out all the consequences of that decision.

    But, you know what, I’ll live with it.

  • Scott Crawford

    Biggest laugh at my screening.

    “Oh, such spunk!”

    I really think that word only has one meaning now.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry


  • RS

    Speaking from a reviewer’s point of view, which is something I have done for the last 5-6 years on and off (plugging myself at BlastMagazine.com), I think there can be pressure to review certain movies positively. I don’t depend on reviewing for my livelihood, so I don’t feel such pressure, but if you want access, to get invited to press junkets, etc., as a reviewer, you might think twice about panning some movies. I have no idea in this case if it’s true or not, and plenty of critics slam big movies, but I think it can sit in the back of a reviewer’s mind. I’ll give an example.

    A few years ago, I was invited by a studio to fly to LA for one night to see Danny Boyle’s film “Trance” and then interview the director himself. Well, I have kids and a job and I live in the Boston area so going all that way for one night was just not something I wanted to do at that point. I gave the assignment to someone else, and she went.

    More to the point, I wondered this: if I went out there, got all that special access and then slammed the film and Boyle, would I be invited back? Now maybe the old saying about bad publicity being better than none holds true, but that conflict was in the back of my mind.

    Again, I have no idea if critics felt pressured or pre-disposed, based on what I just wrote, to give Jedi a pass. I have not seen it yet and will probably wait a few weeks, but just throwing it out there some of the thoughts I’ve had from the reviewer’s angle.

    • Scott Crawford

      Good info. I think that’s a bit of a… strange desire to sort of try to diminish the huge success of TLJ, critically and financially, by dissecting what audiences REALLY thought about it:


      Misery guts.

      Fact is, a lot of people are going to like it and a lot of people are going to be disappointed as expectations are sky high.

      • RS

        I don’t regularly visit RT or the other fan, review sites, so who knows what’s going on there. Those scores can be easily manipulated or maybe even the sites themselves tweak things. I mean we’ve all heard the controversies about what FB and Twitter put in their ‘trending’ topics list, so I wouldn’t rule that out though I’m generally not conspiracy minded.

        Maybe this case is just an outlier where critics thought it was breezy and fun and fans demanded more. Who knows?

        All I do know is I was sick at home all weekend with strep and a head cold and TNT was looping episodes 1-6 constantly, so in between NFL games I would watch pieces of them all. Empire still #1, New Hope #2, Jedi #3.

        Episodes 1-3, you know what I noticed the most was how busy they are. Eps 4-6 have us flying all over the galaxy of course, but there are long periods where we are in one place. Eps 1-3 barely keep you in one system for more than a few minutes before they are off to another planet. And none of this constant space travel seems to bother anyone in the least. I get jet lag sometimes in the same time zone! Joking of course, but the business of those episodes is a major failing of the prequels in my opinion, among others–from a writing point of view. It’s as if there is no patience for letting action and development play out in one place. In lieu of that, let’s zip off to the next planet or system. Dizzying!

  • Scott Crawford

    Within Star Wars (sequel) limitations, it’s the closest you’ll get to a thriller storyline. Maybe not condensed, but it’s a very SINGULAR goal.

    A New Hope: Luke has three goals, which replace one another. The first is to go to Alderaan, the second is to rescue the Princess, and the third is to destroy the Death Star. An overarching goal of “strike a blow against the Empire” is there but it’s (almost) three separate missions.

    The Empire Strikes Back: Closer to a single goal, but Luke going off to Dagobah AND the other heroes finding respite on Bespin takes some of the tension out.

    Return of the Jedi: As Rolland Emmerich points out, this movie is one LONG ending (which is why he liked it). The first half hour is like the opening of a Bond movie (or Raiders) in that it’s pretty much a separate movie. Then we go into the main story about a third of the way in (after the Dagobah stuff).

  • Kane

    Are there two different versions of this film?

    I was shocked to hear people say how much they loved it coming out of the theater. The Force was not strong with this one.

    It started with a goofy comedy routine that I’m sure had to be a deleted scene from Spaceballs and ended with the most powerful Jedi ever, dying from exhaustion while sitting on a rock. I’m not really sure why he was so tired, everything in this movie suggested wielding the force is a piece of cake. All it takes is three lessons and a can do spirit to become a Jedi powerful enough to take on an Empire. How hard could it be to astral project after decades of practice? It was clearly easier than actually catching a flight to Salt Planet Hoth.

    Say what you will about TFA but it made me jazzed for the next installment. I waited two years… for broom boys and avian ewoks?

    What exactly does this film leave for the next Episode? Will it answer burning questions such as:

    1. Will Chewbacca finally eat one of those delicious looking porgs?
    2. Will Finn file a complaint against Rose with Rebel HR for that mid-battle unsolicited kiss? Talk about inappropriate timing.
    3. Will Broom Boy realize that he is wasting his force ability and move up to Mop Boy?
    4. Will someone turn, notice Chewbacca and go… “Oh, you’re still here?”
    5. Will Kylo Ren release a Sith Lord ab workout dvd?
    6. Who is Supreme leader Snoke and how did he forge the neoEmpire under the noses of… oh scratch that one, no longer relevant.
    6. Now that Snoke is gone and no longer able to run his astral projection dating site, will Kylo and Rey resort to Space-Tender? If so, who will style Kylo Ren’s hair for the profile pic without Snoke to tease it with the dark side of the force?
    7. Do Poe, Finn, and Rose… hmmm well I guess I’d be curious if they get to do anything useful this time around. And if they do, will Benicio Del Toro be waiting for them to show up in his prison cell so he can help them escape without breaking a sweat because it is convenient to the plot?
    8. Will Lando refuse to hang out with Rey citing her uncanny ability to show up just before things go bad for an Old School character?
    9. What template will they use sense they’ve burned through all 3 plots of the first trilogy already?
    10. What will it be titled “The really really last Jedi… we promise”?

  • Kirk Diggler

    Brick was a gimmick, would not want to force myself to sit through it a 2nd time.

  • Altius


    Saw it opening night and it was SPECTACULAR.

    Agree with everything on the positives – EXCEPT Adam Driver. I think he’s terrible as Kylo Ren. I loathe his pouty emo teenager interpretation of the character, and find it basically laughable rather than scary or intimidating. IMO the worst casting of this new franchise. I keep finding myself wondering what it would be like with another actor in the part. The only other thing I hated in this film was Rose (who had been a great fun character up to that point) knocking Finn out of his trajectory as he’s going to save the rebels by his own sacrifice. Of course you know Finn won’t die in this after they spent the entire duration of TFA setting him up fantastically, but WTF Rose “We don’t win by fighting against what we hate, but by fighting for what we love.” HE WAS TRYING TO SAVE PEOPLE HE CARED ABOUT AND YOU SELFISHLY WANTED TO SAVE HIM ALONE SO YOU COULD KISS HIM?!

    I laughed so much more than I was anticipating. It was so hard to watch Carrie Fisher onscreen, and I lost it when R2-D2 played back that original Leia message. Also when Luke said goodbye to her…the way it was shot almost seemed like a final tribute. I was definitely crying in that theater.

    And the moments. So. Many. Moments. General Leia demonstrating her extraordinary power by using the Force physically for the first time. Holdo going light-speed, the sound dropping out, and just seeing the light beams rip through the dreadnaught was extraordinary filmmaking. Luke facing down the AT-ATs gave me chills. The lightsaber battle against the Imperial Guards was stunning.

    I just flat-out loved it. Going back to dissect, I can understand its flaw and drawbacks, but in the moment, I was completely captivated, transported, moved, and entertained. Isn’t that what it’s about? I can’t wait to see it again.

    Oh, and I grieve for the movie that IX was likely set up to be: the final confrontation between Leia and Kylo. The ultimate showdown between the arch villain who killed his own father and the only person he can’t face, his mother. The next film was supposed to be Carrie Fisher’s, in the way that TFA was Harrison Ford’s and TLJ belonged to Mark Hamill (who was superb.) What a loss that we’ll never see her final shining moments onscreen.

    • Scott Crawford

      That pretty much sums up how “I” felt about it: it has flaws (every good thing does) but the great bits MORE than make up for it.

      I NEED to see it again; too much to take in on one viewing.

      • Ninjaneer

        Agreed. There were plenty of choices I didn’t like/hated and the first half wasn’t great but the good moments were freaking awesome and were some of the best movie moments I’ve experienced in awhile.

        – Luke’s continued refusal of the call. I’ve never really loved Luke but his continued refusal to help because something bad happened once was frustrating.
        – The central setup “intergalactic 15mph chase” seemed stupid and contrived.
        – Luke “dying” for no good reason
        – Rose stopping finn

        Wasn’t good:
        – A lot of stuff ;)

        Didn’t care either way:
        – Light saber to light saber battle. Didn’t even notice there wasn’t one and don’t care.

        – I like the choice to kill off Snoke and replace him with Kylo.
        – I liked her parents being nobodies, that choice had a great emotional impact
        – During the reveal that Kylo was Adam Driver in TFA I was thrown for a loop but I’ve grown to like Driver as Kylo, he fits the character
        – Kylo / Rey interaction
        – Luke’s astral projection “fight scene” and judging by the theater’s reaction everyone there loved it too.
        – Fight scene with guards.
        – People complain about Rey’s character not having flaws and powers coming too easy but I love her.
        – Killing Phasma
        – Porgs

        – Snoke’s death scene
        – Luke’s astral projection reveal
        – Light speed impact
        – The visuals. I am hugely biased toward great visuals.

    • jbird669

      I’m with you. I saw it twice and I liked the film (I also like Adam Driver). Of course it has flaws, everything does in this world.

      • Zapotage

        Except for Goodfellas ;).

  • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

    The main things structurally wrong with Episodes 7, 8, and 9. Yes NINE. This all started with Force Awakens and could have been repaired but that ship has sailed and it’s all patchwork from here.

    1. The stakes of the overall story (First Order vs. Resistance) are not defined. The Death Star works because if you use a weapon to forcibly enslave innocent people for any cause you are AUTOMATICALLY EVIL. We don’t need to see anything else. What is the First Order doing so wrong now? Haven’t seen it. Don’t care. CAN’T CARE. Maybe by “rule the galaxy” they mean “hand out lollipops to all the children”. Completely plausible. Plus this whole series has been more about turning Kylo good than stopping evil. example: Why did they bomb that ship at the beginning, maybe it was shipping food to homeless Ewoks.

    2. Kylo Ren is the only character that has a hint of an internal/external struggle but for some reason he’s not the main character. (and even then I don’t think he works).

    3. Finn is not a character. What is all this about him being a coward? He was taken as a child and FORCED to be a soldier. So what if he runs away? He owes the Resistance nothing, he only sided with them to help Rey and for some reason he’s still helping after Rey’s gone.

    4. Rey is not a character. She has no flaws and is not ostracized, for ANY main character you must have one or both. I repeat, for ANY main character. Fight me.

    If I hear one more person refer to these “characters” as having Arcs I will snap lol

  • Kane

    Star Wars Episode 9: Electric Boogaloo


    Taken from satirical website :-)

    Grown Man Doesn’t Like Laser Sword Movie

    A CONDENSED ball of rage known locally as 42-year-old Martin Hanley has confessed to everyone following his social media channels that he did not care one bit for a movie released recently centering around laser swords.

    Hanley, taking to Facebook at least 73 times over the course of the weekend, was quick to inform everyone that the new laser sword movie was nothing like the laser sword movies he enjoyed as a child and that having to sit through the laser movie three times in the last few days ranks as the worst moment in his or anyone else’s life.

    “I can’t fucking believe it, that was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Hanley explained, while pointing out that other laser movies he watched as a child were just infinitely better and providing a detailed 80 page essay on why this is a scientifically verifiable fact.

    “No point in even enjoying Christmas now,” added Hanley, who brought his 10-year-old and 8-year-old children to see the movie which he has now banned them from expressing a positive thought about.

    “If they even dream of praising that bag of shite again, they’ll be grounded for 3 months,” explained the grown man, who predicts he may never get over this traumatic experience of going to see a film.

    While Hanley’s opinion was echoed by other people of a similar age in his social media feed, the father-of-two’s hurt and upset was furthered when one person expressed the opinion that they thought the laser sword movie was actually ‘alright’.

    “Fucking get over it, it was grand,” explained Hanley’s wife, Anna, who can expect a solicitor’s letter regarding divorce some time in the coming days.


    • Scott Crawford


      Incidentally, for anyone who’s wondering, lightsabers were called laser swords in the original Star Wars treatment.

      Goes without saying, B, all the best to you and yours!

    • RO

      I loved this. I’ll write a counter one:

      “Middle aged fan loves space wizard film. You should trust him, he was dressed as a teddy bear wearing a loin cloth around his head.

      Jeremy Kempfer absolutely loves this latest entry in the space wizard film. He’s a genuine fan. Having seen the movie 600 times when it debuted in 1977, Kempfer has been a dedicated space wizard follower for 40 years!

      “It’s the best movie I have ever seen. Better than the last one, which was ALSO the best thing I had ever seen. Until this one. This one’s the best now.” Said Kempfer as he adjusted his home made teddy bear mask. Several pedestrians originally assumed he was a sports team mascot at first until he brandished a wooden spear and screamed “NUB NUB”.

      “It was bigger! It was better! I loved the space battles, the flying and all the VROOMS!”

      Kempfer took to social media where he was praised for loving the latest installment of Space Wizards. While others in his social media group had long essays as to why this film was great, Kempfer kept it short and simple. “It’s the best and I defy anyone to say it isn’t!”

      The local theater also loves Kempfer’s repeat visit. “We got to know Jeremy really well when the last movie debuted” says the theater manager.

      “The cinema gave me my own designated seat in the middle after I saw the previous installment two years ago 700 times.” Kempfer continued, “It’s all set up for me. I have my snacks, drinks and ten boxes of tissue, because I keep crying at all the great moments in the movie.”

      “It’s great that these films give him so much joy. But it also concerns me that he can’t get those feelings from his loving family. But he’s happy so, I’ll take what I can get.” Kempfer’s mother Valerie explained. She goes on to repeatedly stressed that they do not live together, but do see each other every morning.

  • Magga

    I’m so uninterested in the movie that I read the whole review without minding spoilers, and I don’t remember Dr. Plastic or Snopes or any of the people mentioned even though I saw Episode 7, but I think you got the conspiracy thing backwards. It was fans from fansites that organized to downvote the movie, according to many. I’m sure the film is pretty lame but I don’t think the critics are the ones conspiring

  • Poe_Serling



    It’s just a movie. A piece of entertainment. Nothing more.

    Whether Carson and the rest of the world didn’t like it… big deal. There just
    expressing their opinion.

    If I enjoy a certain flick for whatever reason and everyone else gives it a
    thumbs down … it doesn’t really matter to me. As Popeye might say:
    I likes what I likes.

    I watched thousands of movies over the years and the only constant factor
    when it comes down to individual reviews:

    On person’s gem will always be another’s lump of coal.

    Just the nature of the beast… and it ain’t gonna ever change.

    For me, my SW is probably the Rocky films. I’ve re-watched them all on
    numerous occasions.

    Are some better than others?

    Of course.

    Did Rocky V … even with the line “Get him, Dad! He stole my room.” make
    me give up on future installments?


    Have I’ve been pleasantly surprised and caught up in some of the old magic
    since the original?

    Yes. Creed.


    And with a knowing nod to reporter Ned Scott from The Thing:

    “I bring you a bit of encouragement. Everyone reading this – tell the world, tell
    this to everybody wherever they are. Watch the screens. Everywhere. Keep
    watching. Keep watching the screens!

  • carsonreeves1

    This is the only rebuttal I’ve read to the criticisms that myself and others had with the film that actually made sense to me. Nice job! :)

  • thewildkingdom

    I don’t care enough about Star Wars to read the entirety of this review.
    Maybe if we were talking about Indiana Jones or Back to the Future…
    I was only mildly interested in this movie because I actually like Rian’s work. I loved Brick, thought Brother’s Bloom was okay, but loved LOVED Looper. What ya gonna do?

  • klmn

    OT. This bit of reportage from The Hollywood Reporter sounds a lot more interesting than The Last Jedi. (Is everyone in Hollywood crazy?)


    • PQOTD

      I hope they throw away the key with that guy. He’s off the chart sick.

  • jbird669

    I love Star Wars and I agree with you. I’m happy that I have new movies to share with my children in theaters, as well as my dad. That, for me, makes me thankful for each new Star Wars film.

  • Midnight Luck

    you can’t tell me this is just coincidence….sorry, but nope

    Days After Net Neutrality Vote, There’s a Massive Internet Outage Affecting the Whole Country

  • K David

    The movie opened with a lame prank-calling skit. I was mentally checked out from that point forward.

  • Nick Morris

    OK. This is kind of getting ridiculous.

    I see there is now a petition to have THE LAST JEDI removed from the official canon:

    I mean, I have a collection of Star Wars stuff in my basement. Both of my kids are named after Star Wars characters. There was Star Wars music at my wedding. I own a lightsaber and an R2 astromech droid. I am, without question, the biggest Star Wars fan I know.

    I didn’t love every decision made with THE LAST JEDI either. But I still had fun watching it.

    How is it that I don’t share this internet outrage of the “real” fans. This sense of ownership that apparently should be compelling me to demand that TLJ be stricken from the record (like that would ever happen). It’s insane.

    It IS just a movie…

    • RO

      It is ridiculous. However, when it come to entertainment, the fans do have an ownership to it, because they paid a ticket price. They bought the product. They’re the reason the people who made it can make more. Fans may not have created Star Wars, but they do own it collectively like the commodity it is. Do I agree with removing it from the Star Wars cannon? No. I don’t care. It’s my Star Wars any more. It hasn’t been since 1983. This is something new. It may not be something I enjoy as much, but I’m not going to deny it to those that like it. I will say I can make something better with the same resources, but that’s as far as I could go.

      Others don’t have that ability to objectively look at things that way and we can see that perspective in this silly petition.

      • Nick Morris

        Lucasfilm should put out an open call to the “fans” to submit ideas for exactly what they wanna see in Episode 9 and write the script based on that, taking care to incorporate as many suggestions and appease the largest percentage of the fanbase as possible.

        Can you imagine what that movie would look like? :)

        • RO

          It would probably look a lot like TFA.

          Fan theories also come with a great problem for studios. Say a fan speculates on social media or some other platform what will happen in a sequel before it is officially written and then when released that event is in the movie. Technically and from a legal point the fan that released that idea can sue the writer/director and studio for stealing their idea. It could be a legal nightmare, especially if the fan’s social media post went viral. The studio can’t get it removed and retroactively change the upload dates to avoid the lawsuit, so now they have to prove that the idea was theirs first and that’s a lot harder to do. So when studios see a popular idea about a project their working on circulate online, the easy thing to do (if it is something they’re playing with themselves) is to toss the idea and go in a different direction to avoid lawsuits and hopefully surprise their target audience. This could very well be a case for TLJ being so controversial. Disney’s outline notes may not have been detailed enough to avoid copyright ideas that were displayed online and thus had to scramble for something very different. This is all speculation – I doubt Disney would be that far behind when developing these movies.

          The most recent account similar to this is a cartoon called Young Justice which is getting a revival. The writers made several posts for weeks begging fans not to post any speculations as a few of them were correct and those stories have to be discarded (forcing them to push back production dates on the animation).

          • Nick Morris

            “It would probably look a lot like TFA.”

            Only it would open with Boba Fett blasting his way out of the Sarlacc. ;)

          • RO

            Yeah. I don’t get all the love towards Boba Fett? He was introduced in the holiday special and then got what? 10 minutes of screen time across two movies, and now he has this huge fandom? This is before the novels came out, mind you.

            He’s a classic example of a non-character that looks so cool we like them. Phasma was a repeat of this trope and yet I found her in TFA to be a tool much like Boba Fett was in Empire and Jedi.

          • Nick Morris

            Haha! I even watch the dreaded Holiday Special each year! You wanna talk about godawful Star Wars. Oy.

          • Avatar

            It just shows you how much the original Star Wars movies touched people around the world. They FEEL STRONGLY about this. There’s no pitchforks for how Michael Bay destroyed Transformers. Star Wars is like a religion, or a beloved family member….. people camp out for this movie. When the Force Awakens came out, I felt a little bit annoyed that they got Star Wars wrong. I can’t imagine what the most ardent fans who are camping out feel.

          • Avatar

            I wonder when the Star Wars v. Predator movies coming out? Or the Star Wars/Predator/Aliens avengers team up movie.

        • wlubake

          So many resurrections. It would just be light saber battle after light saber battle.

          Actually, Episode 9 can just be the Mortal Kombat movie with Star Wars characters inserted. Yoda vs. Vader. Darth Maul vs. Rey. Han vs. Leia. Chewy vs. Jar Jar.

        • Justin

          What I want to see in the next Star Wars: Rey facing off against Kylo Ren with a dual-bladed white lightsaber (based off the staff she wields). Rey trying to pull Kylo away from the dark side, no BS with that Finn and Rose relationship. Kylo is seeking answers just as much as Rey. She feels she can save him. Episode IX could conclude her arc (an obvious since it’s a trilogy). Hux stages a mutiny and attempts to kill Kylo. He and Rey face off against the First Order together.

          Btw, this is coming from a non-Star Wars fan who hasn’t seen TLJ yet (and never will), only reviews. If this version got made, I’d probably get ambushed and killed by Star Wars fans though.

          • wlubake

            It HAS to include the Knights of Ren.

            If I had to conjure up a story, Kylo goes and assembles the Knights of Ren who are tearing up the galaxy. Ren is left to recruit whoever she can who is force-sensitive to train and fight back. If she’s got it, and broom kid’s got it, others do too. The rag-tag bunch squares off against the trained bad asses, with some help from the Poe/Finn contingent.

            What I really want to see: no more bright-eyed Rey. She embraces her power like Luke in Return of the Jedi and becomes a badass.

            What I’ve always wanted to see: a single Sith/Jedi who can balance the dark and light within himself/herself and obtains ultimate power in the force. Thought there was a great opportunity to do that with Luke after his semi-dark side turn in ROTJ. Blown opportunity IMO.

          • Nick Morris

            I kinda thought they were gonna go the “gray Jedi” route with Rey in this one. I guess they’ve laid the groundwork. May still be the plan for Ep 9.

      • Erica

        “because they paid a ticket price. They bought the product.”

        No, they paid money to view a product made by others. This is where things are going south lately with internet ‘fanboy’ rage. They think because they paid money, they own everything and everything should be ‘their’ way only. That’s not how movie work. You buy a ticket, you go watch it, if you like it, you watch it again or buy the movie, if you don’t, you move on with your life.

        I’m pretty sure that all the hate was there before the movie even hit the theater. When people go in expecting to hate it, they will hate it. Same happened to Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters was fun.

        And as Nick said, there are all these so called “superfans” that are trying to tell me that it’s bad and they know better. Then go write a better movie then Star Wars.

        I could have put money down that Carson’s review would be negative, that’s what the internet’s for. Negative reviews.

        • RO

          I get what you’re saying, but with movies you buy them. You retain the experience, the thoughts, the memories of seeing it. That’s what you’re paying for. It is still a product.

          You’re right. Because they paid for it, doesn’t mean it should be “their” way only. It’s a risk. They can have buyers remorse, but unless the product is “defective” (in this case it’s not – unless frames are missing, audio is off – which I doubt), having it removed is not an appropriate response.

          Several things I have noticed is that many of my friends that have spent the last two years displaying their excitement for this film have now either detested it, or have gone silent regarding it. And that’s a strange reaction coming from fans who went into this movie expecting to love it.

          It doesn’t make sense for everyone that hated this movie to have hated it before seeing it. I bet there would be many, but not all of them.

        • klmn

          Carson’s review wasn’t entirely negative. He said he loved Porgs.

          Disney will make money on the 20 Porgs Carson buys. Well, make that 19.

          I said I’d buy him one.

    • klmn

      “…Both of my kids are named after Star Wars characters…”

      Let me guess…

      Jar Jar and Jabba?

      • Nick Morris

        Close. Jabba and Snaggletooth.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Child: Dad, I don’t like my name. Kids at school make fun of me.
      Nick Morris: Lando Calrissian is a perfectly good name!
      Child: For a girl?
      Nick Morris: Listen kid, I’ve got a script to re-write by Thursday. Now go play with your sister Boba Fett.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Your the best, Diggler.


    • klmn

      I’d pay to see that.

      Tommy Wiseau to direct the next episode!

  • carsonreeves1

    This is the most level-headed response I’ve seen in regards to how the movie is being received: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvApZXT0dQM

    • Avatar

      Are you going to have a followup article on the Last Jedi, maybe later in the week (Friday, Saturday)? I think a huge portion of the audience usually comes out during that holiday time frame because they don’t want to wait in long lines for the opening crowd….but give in during the holidays when family and friends pick what they want to watch.

  • Shadowstrife

    Thank you Carson for nailing the review.

    This movie exposed Disney’s new trilogy as a shameless cash-grab.

    I feel bad for Mark Hamill. He truly is Geek Jesus and deserved much better than this steaming pile of nerf droppings.

  • Loetzen

    The Disney authorities’ love for this turd of a film is easily explained: Disney has become a SJW factory, and its output is graded by one metric: how much it is perceived to promote “social justice” ideology.

    I’m not joking. That’s it. That’s all that matters to them. Heck, the Disney higher-ups probably saw themselves personified in the gender-studies-prof female admiral with the colored hair, or their offspring in that, er, “body positive” Asian character.

    This is basically a film for pussy-hat-wearing “Resistance” types, to whom Left politics have become their ersatz religion.

    Meanwhile, the sane majority of audience members see the film for what it us: utter shyte.

    • JasonTremblay

      What nonsense. Belief in conspiracy theories is a sign of mental health issues.

      Get help.

      • klmn

        You might be interested in Donna Brazile’s new book.

        (She’s not a white male, btw).

        • JasonTremblay

          MOST are not.

          See I corrected it for you.

    • andyjaxfl

      So they SJW the hell out of Star Wars but not Marvel? Last I checked, Lucasfilm and Marvel are both owned by Disney.

  • Cuesta

    “Luke Skywalker, the embodiment of heroism, the greatest hero in all of cinema history, has been reduced to a crabby, annoying, cowardly, selfish weakling who’s given up the awesomest thing about himself – his ability to wield the Force unlike any other. And the people next to Johnson signed off on this?? ”

    Surprised that you’re surprised, especially after your review of Ghostbusters. This is 2017, and Mark Hamill is a fucking white male.

    • RO


      • Cuesta

        I’ve just felt like a ring card engineer, trying to explain the attempt of sarcasm and the complex sociopolitical issues of America, so better I don’t answer.

  • RO

    This is a nice response. But I fail to see why Luke would have to be a flawless superman in order to stay true to the character? I personally, never saw Luke as a perfect hero. I mean, RotJ has him put in a situation of being tempted to the dark side. We see him force choke a guard in the first act. Then he uses anger to win a duel against his father and then seeing his reflection in Vader and the pain he endured which brought him to toss his lightsaber and declare himself a Jedi to the emperor. It’s a rare powerful moment in that film where he learns from a mistake; from his father’s mistake and faces a difficult situation standing on the principles and ideals that led him to become a Jedi in the first place.

    I think what most people are referring to with regards to a disservice to Luke is not that he’s supposed to be perfect, but that the character they saw in The Last Jedi does not incorporate who Luke was to inform who he has become. I think that’s where Mark Hamill’s concerns were also, based on his comments.

    It’s entirely possible for an evil regime to come to power against a single hero. Mass numbers can always over come an individual. And Luke was still learning what it means to be a Jedi in the interim between RotJ and TFA. He was not an expert with the force at the conclusion of RotJ, he was just the most experienced living Jedi in the galaxy – and by comparison to Yoda, Obi-wan, Anakin and the Emperor, he’s still at the bottom of the list in knowledge and power.

    Right there is a great flaw, something that mirrors Obi-wan. Luke started training Jedi before truly becoming one – a building of his flaw of impatience. That flaw led to Ben Solo turning to the dark side somehow. The theme for Luke has been, “fools rush in where angles fear to tread.”

    You assuming that Luke being a Jedi would be capable of stopping an evil regime is failing to understand what the original trilogy was all about. A ragtag group of rebels who want to free the galaxy from a tyrannical empire. A David and Goliath tale. The trilogy may have focused on Han, Luke and Leia, but they weren’t the entire rebellion and a lot of Star Wars fans seem to forget that. They were just the focus of this particular story.

    They were never shown as living legends in the original trilogy. The first one ended with them getting medals because they survived and were victorious. The second one didn’t show all the other rebels saluting and bowing down to Luke, Leia and Han whenever they entered a room. And in Jedi, was it Leia giving the briefing on the second Death Star? No. The entire atmosphere of the original trilogy shows that there was more to the rebellion than Luke, Leia and Han.

    Your statement makes me have to quote from The Phantom Menace. “I can only protect you, your highness. I can not fight a war for you.” This being said by a fully trained and experienced Jedi. But you, for some reason think Luke could stop the rise of the first order?

    Everything you wrote about parentage and failure can still apply, but it doesn’t mean that the way Luke Skywalker was written in TLJ was the only way those points could have been shown. What I find is that what was done in TLJ was not the best or most effective way of addressing those issues. And that’s where a lot of the upset is coming from. I’ve seen more of “really, THAT’s what you decided to do” and very little of, “You CAN’T do that in Star Wars.”

  • Joe Beatty

    An article detailing the low Rotten Tomatoes score:

  • Zapotage

    Good point. I grew up with it, but would never want a rehash, which is The Force Awaken’s biggest flaw. Rogue One was a nice looking film, but unnecessary.

    Luke, Han and Leia definitely had their beginning, middle and end. Like Indiana Jones they should’ve left it alone, but so much money to be made.

    I thought Abrams and Kasdan did a decent job in setting up a new trilogy, which had plenty of flaws, however, after this film, I’m in your boat. Last Jedi almost seemed like a joke.

    I was too optimistic and can imagine so many possibilities of where they could go. Realistically, they aren’t going to do that and perhaps it’s a good thing.

    Maybe in the future, I’ll be pleasantly surprised with a new Star Wars movie. I let expectation and flashy trailers get me excited for this one. I won’t make that mistake again.

  • -n8-

    Hmm, now that ive had time to think it thru. And let my initial disappoibtment subside–

    This movie was meh. Not horrible. Not good.

    Just meh.

    If it was any other film wouldnt have thought twice as soon as it was over.

    And the only sorta screenwriting lesson i got from it– did any character really earn anything that happened to them? Seems like such a basic element of storytelling was mishandled.

    Thats it for me. Im over this discussion. Ill get back to reading BL scripts (thanks scott!!) And am super inspired to make my own stories.

  • Lironah

    I pretty much agree with the entirety of this review. The only saving grace for the movie was 1: I was expecting it to be pretty bad, so it actually exceeded my expectations, and 2: Kylo and Rey. Their story needed to be a much bigger part of the plot.

    And no, I’m not hating on it because it’s ‘different that the old movies’. I actually loved some of the story choices, but they would have been better if the SETUP hadn’t _consistently_ come AFTER the PAYOFF. Just one example: The red sand. Cool visual, completely unexplained until the Falcon flies through the planet, and then we’re like, oh, that’s what’s going on. Until that moment, the effect was DISTRACTING.

    Then there were the things which never got a payoff at all, like the mirror thing. What was the point of that? I still don’t get it.

    The Captain Phasma thing … I can’t watch Phasma on screen without pretending she’s Finn’s mother. It’s the only thing that gives any sort of emotional connection between the characters. I mean, there was so much more they could have done to deepen that relationship, but nope. Their antagonism is all vague and faceless.

    OK, I’m done now.

  • https://pro-labs.imdb.com/name/nm4290140/ Cal

    I saw it at the Grove last weekend. Any film set in the Star Wars Universe I go to see automatically. I had a cinematic experience to say the least. Loved the battles, the Force sequences with Rey on the Island, and Luke being the first Jedi — that I know of — to Astral project and materialize his consciousness into the physical form was utterly badass.

    The sheer size and scope of this film was a cinematic achievement. Great to see Rian go from ‘Brick’ — still one of my favorite indie films of all time — to something of this magnitude. It’s like an ultimate boys dream. It’s going to take me a few weeks and a couple of viewings to process this picture… I’ll likely go and see it again this weekend.

    Using the Force is clearly the way to go. Now, can the Force be used in screenwriting? I think it’s worth looking into.

  • Graeme

    I don’t get the hate for Holdo (or Purple). Mild spoilers follow.

    Holdo’s first appearance is of a woman dressed more for a night out on Canto Bight, and not for ship-to-ship combat, who then slaps down Poe Dameron as being a hotheaded flyboy.

    We’ve seen this trope before: Holdo will either prove to be a traitor, who will betray the Resistance to the First Order in order to survive; or she’ll be incompetent, and be relieved of command at a critical moment. Except it doesn’t play out that way.

    There’s a comment in this article that she’s portrayed inconsistently.


    But I think that the point is she’s telegraphed as being one thing, and turns out to be another in order to undercut the audience. This piece puts it better.


    I haven’t read any of the tie-in novels, so I didn’t know much about Holdo (other than rumours of her being pansexual), but I liked her as a character, and her storyline.