I've mentioned from time to time my deep and abiding love for The Last Jedi. Occasionally folks ask me to pontificate about it, on the podcast, or on the Alaboom, etc. This thread is for folks who's like to hear some passionate TLJ love.
Basically, what follows is whole pile of stuff I’ve written about TLJ on a private videogame developer forum I’m on, responding to various people's critiques and nitpicks. I don’t expect you to read it all, but if you do, it’ll give you a bit of an idea how insane I am...
Punch it, Chewie!
Hell, the empire could have warped any one ship into the rebel cruiser they were following to take it out.Yes, but the reason they don't do this is because rather than throw away literally hundreds of billions of credits worth of naval equipment, it's much more reasonable to simply wait them out (which is what real military forces often do). It simply doesn't make sense to bankrupt your entire military to win an occasional battle by throwing away such insanely expensive ships.
Sure, when your entire population is down to literally a couple hundred people left and they're all about to get killed, yeah... time to burn the battleship. But TLJ is the first time things have ever been that dire for either side, which is why its the first time we've ever seen something like this attempted. It simply wouldn't make sense to do so under normal circumstances.
Also, in TLJ, with the earlier ships that ran out of fuel and just got picked off one by one, why didn't they hyper ram rather than allow for their purposeless destruction???Because they transferred the fuel out of them to allow the lead ship to continue on to reach the rebel base. This was clearly stated in the film.
Happy to address any other nitpicks anyone has. For my money, TLJ completely destroys TFA on every level, and mostly surpasses RotJ as well.
Why not warp in, fire your missiles, and warp out?"Traveling through hyperspace isn't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"
i.e. the conceit is that the calculation time for a non suicidal jump takes some time
The 10 key issues, which seem to need to be restated: Cool, how handy. Let's go!
o The whole Finn/Rose casino world adventure was unneeded.
o Snoke turned out to be a nothingburger.
o The hyperspace attack set a crazy precedent that affects the older and newer films.
o Del Toro's character was a waste of time.
o Phasma was a waste of a character.
o Laura Dern's character was a waste of time. (I suggested a much better role for her, knocking out Leia and ejecting Leia in an escape pod.)
o Leia didn't come across as a heroic leader in this film.
o Luke's death was a silly as the death of Padme in Ep. 3. And Priority #1 of this film should have been an epic, heroic saber fight with Luke, before he dies. Man what a letdown.
o And a continuation of Priority #1 would have been having Luke die in Leia's arms.
o TLJ doesn't end with enough things hanging in the balance--there's no pressing must-see desire for Ep. 9.
o The whole Finn/Rose casino world adventure was unneeded. Actually, it was central to Finn's character arc. In TFA and the beginning of TLJ, he is still a shallow, self centered character who doesn't care about anything other himself and his friends. Doesn't see anything bigger. When he arrives at casino world, he's immediately attracted to it, until Rose shows him to look beyond the surface. He recoils at what he sees, that things aren't black & white/good & evil like he thought, which makes him even more inclined to pull away from the bigger picture. But DJ is the linchpin because he epitomizes the "don't pick a side, look out for yourself" philosophy. Directly faced with this, Finn finally appreciates soemthing bigger than himself realizes that what he hates in CJ, he he equally hates in himself. So he rejects that, which is what leads to him being willing at the end of the movie to sacrifice himself for the movement, where at the beginning of the film he was looking to run away because he didn't care truly care the movement but was just along for the ride.
o Snoke turned out to be a nothingburger. Yes, and that's a good thing. It's not his story, it's Kylo's. One of the most refreshing things about the film was a willingness to turn standard tropes on their head, and rather than giving in to fanboi "everything must be connected", they decided *not* to rehash the same old master/apprentice beats. Good on them.
o The hyperspace attack set a crazy precedent that affects the older and newer films. See previous post about the realities of naval warfare.
o Del Toro's character was a waste of time. See previous bullet about Finn's arc.
o Phasma was a waste of a character. So? She's Finn's former CO, a random Captain in the Order's army. Why does she have to be some huge, integral character to the overall workings of the movie. She's just someone that Finn hates because she was a dick to him. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
o Laura Dern's character was a waste of time. (I suggested a much better role for her, knocking I just read that, and it's certainly fine, but it's also much more bog-standard, IMO. Again, in the interest of not going for standard A-B-C "clever twist" plot beats, they's presented a strong military leader who simply doesn't give two shits about a hotshot pilot who thinks he knows better than his superior officers. This makes her a much more real and grounded character, imo.
out Leia and ejecting Leia in an escape pod.)
I appreciate that you wanted Leia to have more hero moments in this film, but the unfortunate reality is that the original plan was that Han gets his big moment in TFA, Luke gets his big moment in TLJ, and in a "saved the best for last" move, the 3rd movie was going to be Leia's big moment. Unfortunately, Carrie Fisher died after all the principal filming on TLJ was done, so we'll never get that third movie option. Your suggestion to make her the big star in the 2nd movie rather than the 3rd would have had to be made years ago, when no one expected that we'd lose her.
o Leia didn't come across as a heroic leader in this film. See above.
o Luke's death was a silly as the death of Padme in Ep. 3. And Priority #1 of this film should have IMO, cookie cutter, video-game level fan service is what that would be. I love that they came up with a different approach, that was more spiritual and less "JEDI'S ROCK, FUCK YEAH!" Luke's final moments were about him embracing that which he had denied for 30+ years... his value as a legend. If he had shown up in person to face down the entire FO army with just a laser sword (which is the exact idea that he mocks in the movie but which fanboys demand), the reality is he'd die. Jedi aren't all powerful. They were all wiped out by a bunch of clones, after all. For Luke to show up in person and die wouldn't help the heroes at all.
been an epic, heroic saber fight with Luke, before he dies. Man what a letdown.
So Luke's final act allowed him to create a truly legendary moment, a beacon of inspiration, that delivers on the Skywalker legend, and the impact is shown in the final moments, as word of his brave last stand (where he didn't die, his body wasn't paraded around town square, he gave the FO nothing to work with in terms of propaganda, etc.) spread throughout the galaxy.
o And a continuation of Priority #1 would have been having Luke die in Leia's arms. I am so glad they didn't go for cloying stuff like this. They did something truly original, something that actually has weight and meaning. It was a legendary exit, and the last thing we see his him alone, looking at the two setting suns. It was fucking beautiful.
o TLJ doesn't end with enough things hanging in the balance--there's no pressing must-see The entire rebellion has been reduced to a couple dozen people on one ship and our three heroes have grown to the point where they're finally ready to reach their full potential and turn things around. Sounds like fertile ground for a final chapter to me.
desire for Ep. 9.
BUT, why not instead have one ram Snoke's ship? That's a WAY smarter strategy.They wouldn't have the same destructive potential as they were smaller and not completely overloaded with all the munitions that we saw them transporting off the planet during the intro.
Plus, they talked about how the main ship was running on fumes and needed that extra to reach the rebel planet.
Plus, their biggest ship, which they did use, didn't come anywhere close to crippling the FO fleet, so they would have wasted the fuel they needed to disable a few pursuing ships, and then would have run out of fuel so the remaining FO fleet could catch them.
So other than that, it's a great plan!
The threat facing the galaxy is way smaller than it was at the end of Empire.From the intro crawl:
"The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.
Compare the Emperor and Vader to the Kylo/Hux “brain trust.” Its a major step down in threat between the trilogies. Kylo has shown zero ability to be a menace on the level of Palpatine, or what Snoke was promised to be. Hux has been reduced to pure buffoonery.
You're suggesting that woefully incompetent leaders with uber powerful military power at their disposal isn't a legitimate threat? If anything, I'd call that a bigger danger. The Emperor kept the trains running on time. Kylo & Hux in charge? That's like North Korea being the #1 military power on Earth... kind of worrying, IMO, especially when there's literally only a couple dozen people standing against them.
Table-flipping expectations set up in the previous film may seem fresh and original, but it’s a hollow gimmick that doesn’t hold up.How so?
You can only believe Finn had a good character arc this movie if you accept Finn showed no growth during TFA. Working backwards, at the beginning of TLJ, he tried to abandon ship to help Rey and himself, giving no thought to the rebellion. At the end of TLA, he went on the raid to the deathstar 3.0 to save Rey. Not to help the resistance. At the beginning of TFA, he deserted the FO because of the death of his friend, who I'm going to assume was named Ray.
1) That he showed no growth in TFA, which he obviously did by his actions at the end of that movie.
2) You think he's lying when he says "I have to warn my friend that she will be coming into a trap if she comes back since they can track us through hyperspace."
As I previously said, his motivation has always been about him and his friends, nothing greater. It took his trip to Casino planet and his exposure to DJ ("Don't Join") to confront the part of himself that was afraid of being part of something bigger. When he shouted "YOU'RE WRONG" at DJ, he was talking to himself as much as Del Toro's character.
How about, you know, use they idea to make hyperspace torpedoes with some mass object on the end that they could fire and totally devastate a larger ship fairly easily. While we're at it, how about, you know, make 500m long lightsabers that extend out of the tops of Xwings so they can slice through enemy battleships like butter? Or how about, you know, miniature hyperspace drives attached to every escape pod so R2 and C3PO could have skipped landing on Tatooine and gone directly to the rebel base in ANH?
The reason these things don't exist is because if it were "fairly easy" according to the technical expertise of engineers in the SW universe, it would have already been done. Turns out, your proposal for hyperspace torpedoes must not be "fairly easy". And if you demand that the movies take the time to explain this to the audience, you should also demand and explanation for the lack of 500m long lightsabres I think.
Hell, why not kill Rey while you are at it.Because the movie is about Rey, Finn, and Kylo (and now Poe, who was originally supposed to die at the end of TFA but they kept him around because they liked the actor, so the sequel had to give him an arc as well). It's not about Snoke, it's about Kylo, just like the original trilogy wasn't about Palpatine, it was about Vader.
The prequels were about Palpatine, sure, and maybe someday we'll get JJ-prequels as well that answer the SW trivial pursuit card "where did Snoke come from?". Actually, we very likely will, in the form of an animated series that fills in the RotJ - > TFA gap plus videogame tie-ins.
quote: Finn showed no growth during TFA. You're completely ignoring what I wrote and arguing against your own strawman. Finn's arc over the two movies is about him growing into a person willing to devote himself to something other than himself and his friends. I've given specific examples of this, but you're changing the subject to something I'm not talking about (cowardice, which I'm not sure his journey is about at all... I don't remember him being particuarily cowardly, but TBH I only watched TFA once when it was first in theaters). But I do remember he went on the starkiller mission because he could save Rey, not because he could help the resistance. He literally lied, endangering everyone, to get his way. Don't believe me? I just downloaded subtitles from the film. Here ya go:
This is so ridiculous. Guy goes from wanting to run away all movie to leading an attack into Starkiller base and taking a lightsaber for a friend. Yeup, still a coward I guess. Whatever makes your point.
The flooding tunnel is over that ridge.
We'll get in that way.
What was your job
when you were based here?
Then how do you know
how to disable the shields?
I'm just here to get Rey.
People are counting on us.
The galaxy is counting on us.
Solo, we'll figure it out.
We'll use the Force.
That's not how the Force works.
As you can see, he had a ways to go on his character arc at the end of TFA.
quote: While we're at it, how about, you know, make 500m long lightsabers that extend out of the tops of Xwings so they can slice through enemy battleships like butter? Or how about, you know, miniature hyperspace drives attached to every escape pod so R2 and C3PO could have skipped landing on Tatooine and gone directly to the rebel base in ANH? TLJ shows that under certain extremely unique circumstances, you can ram a massive starship into another one and do damage. From this you take that they can make lightspeed torpedos.
Again, you are reaching. We have seen X-Wing's that can use hyperdrive in the films. At the bare minimum, you could use those as kamikaze attacks (like the japanese did in WWII). Why not have 500m light sabers? Because we've never been shown that a lightsaber can be made that long. A laser and a lightsaber are different. Why not hyperdrives on a escape pod? Because again, we've never been shown a tiny vehicle that has a hyperdrive. In ANH, I believe there is even a quote that says about a tie fighter "A ship that small doesn't have a hyperdrive". My proposal is "easy" because the films show it already exists. I don't need technical expertise to know that it can be done. But then again, I'm using this thing called "continuity" that you don't like and makes things "predictable". Apologies.
One sees something big and assumes they can simply make it on a smaller reproducable scale.
This is no greater a jump than ANH showing that small lightsabers emit limited destructive energy, and hypothesizing they could make them bigger to do more damage.
One sees something small and assumes they can simply make it at a bigger scale.
Exact same assumption at work. You find one reasonable, one ridiculous. Not sure why...
quote: Hell, why not kill Rey while you are at it.
Because the movie is about Rey, Finn, and Kylo
But that's what would make it brilliant!! It's not about Rey, it's about the force in everyone, even broomstick kid! It would keep things changing up instead of the tired old trope of focusing on a hero and following their story. Geesh, you guys want things so formulaic... They sure could. TFA was an insanely huge disappointment... it did one thing well: creating 3 interesting characters, and failed at almost everything else.
But don't you worry, there will be lots of explosions and CGI for you to see in the follow up. I don't think they could write anything that would disappoint you.
TLJ has disappointing elements too, but it did way more right than wrong. Again, IMO
(Scott's big pitch for a "Force Unleashed" style ending)Scott, your steadfast desire for some sort of "OMG who can beat who in a fight???" opposition between Kylo and Rey is really so rote and by-the-book. What TLJ gave us is much more engaging going into the final chapter: two enemies who genuinely understand and even care for each other. The potential there is so much more interesting than the same old David & Goliath trope we've seen a million times before. The struggle between them can be emotional, not physical, and that's much more meaningful.
TLJ was about setting the stage for a potentially fantastic final act that's truly fresh and not another fanboy rehash of the original trilogy, which is a great turnaround from TFA. After Force Awakens, I walked out of the cinema with all my interest in Star Wars gutted. Last Jedi reignited the excitement.
I'm sorry it failed to do the same for you...
I have to agree on everything that Richard Ham said about the movie.thanks jari! i'm still available for nitpick explanations if anyone wants any more, btw
i'll hit the other 2 big ones people seem to complain about online (but which scott didn't include in his list i responded to originally):
"space leia jumps the shark" - nope. she's doing a simple force pull, which is like the most standard, basic force move any force-capable person ever does... luke figured it out on his own, while leia's had 30 years to dick around with force 101. so it's perfectly reasonable that she can do force pull as well. and she was only in free space for around a minute or so, which is well within the range for recoverable outer space exposure. so no issues here, really.
"why don't the FO just cut the rebels off during the extended chase?" simple... why would they? having some of the pursuing ships hyperspace out and then back in would lead to more exchange of cannon fire, and a lot more FO damage incurred, so why not simply wait and take them with no additional losses (it's always better to blockade the enemy rather than engage them). this is why hux pulled back the strike wave that kylo was on - there was simply no reason for him to waste further FO resources like that.
don't forget, FO just lost their big dumb starkiller base, and a dreadnaught, and they're in the middle of a full on 'retake the galaxy' offensive, so they don't have the resources to spare potentially losing more capital ships, when it's so much easier to simply wait the rebels out. perfectly reasonable military decision.
Richard, I know you're defending this thing with great might, but the reality is that it's a poor Star Wars film, and history will not treat it well.Actually, I'd bet you it'll be quite the opposite, as the #notmystarwars nitpicking furor will largely fall away over time, but time will tell.
The issues that matter are bigger, and these last two referenced videos covers the bigger issues pretty well.
I went through your bullet points step by step, and the only thing you rebutted was the kamikaze nitpick, which, even if you're right (which I'd disagree with) is the very definition of a minor issue at best. And I'm sorry, the first 10 minutes of the 'rage' video is so laughably "nitpickers of the galaxy" absurd, I couldn't make it to whatever the deeper issues it might be try to address are. History will not treat it well
if a majority of viewers have exactly the same "misunderstandings" of a work of art, or even a large enough minority, it's probably due to the art itself at some level.Hmm, i'm not sure i agree. Fast & the Furious movies don't create any "misunderstandings", but that doesn't necessarily make them great. Challenging the audience and taking them out of their comfort zone is not necessarily the mark of failed art. If TLJ joins the ranks of Coriolanus, Sideways, The Witch, The Informant, etc. (i.e. movies that critics universally praised, but audiences downvoted) so be it, but again, time will tell. To me, the vocal minority audience TLJ reaction is no different than the differential you can find on, say, Spy Kids - Robert Rodriguez: "Hey, here's a fun family movie I made, enjoy!" Internet voting mob: "WTF!!! WE DEMAND MORE EL MARIACHI!!!"
I do, Richard. I've seen your earlier ones, good reads.Cool, okay. George, avert your eyes, you've got a bad feeling about this!
o Rey — Too little training, too easily a master. This film is rewriting the “rules” of being a Jedi, and making the idea of training strangely optional. This is NOT a good change for this storyverse. Being a master at something SHOULD be earned—and never be just a free gift.This is not a change for the storyverse, this is acknowledging that the storyverse has an arc of its own. Basically, one of the core tenants of the SW saga to date is that from 1-6, the Jedi were a principal problem creating unbalance in the force. Their dogmatic approach - purging emotion, severing familial ties, etc. was a fundamentally broken path, and a perversion of what it means to be in tune with the Force. So as it turns out, their “hokey religion” actually stunts one's abilities to tap into their force sensitivity and it use it effectively.
Qui Gon knew this and talked about it in TPM, but Yoda and the others were too blind to see it (this is why Qui Gon was the first Jedi to be able to master being a force ghost, because he understood the Force better than his fellow knights). Even in ESB, Yoda was still stuck on to the old ways, and would have misled Luke the same way that he did Anakin (same with Obi Wan in ANH, misleading Luke so that he hopefully wouldn't find out about his family connection, and stay unattached, because that's what a “proper Jedi” is supposed to be).
Luke broke the cycle by not abandoning his friends, and by actually giving in to his feelings. That is the true and balanced path to the force. And it’s an approach we've never seen in Star Wars, and it's why Rey is seemingly a force savant. She's not - she's simply not bound by the old, broken system that the Jedi represented. Luke's entire "first lesson" in TLJ further articulated this. Rey readily taps into her anger, but she doesn't let it control her, and that makes her such a fast learner.
The rules haven't been rewritten... these films are just paying closer attention to the greater ruleset
As an aside, you could also argue that the title “Force Awakens” is literal... that because balance was brought to the force by Anakin (he destroyed the Jedi AND the Sith), it is now easier across the board for Force sensitives to tap in. But that's not really necessary to explain Rey's abilities, just a small side observation.
o The slow ship chase is weaksauce plotting. We know the bigger ships can outrun the smaller ones, or can warp in front an block them off. I look forward to further such chase scenes in Star Wars films, maybe covered LIVE by some local planet’s version of CNN.We do in fact know that the bigger ships cannot outrun the smaller ships. To the subtitles!
What is the point of all this
if we can't blow up
three tiny cruisers?
Well, they're faster
and lighter, sir.
They can't lose us, but they
can keep at a range
where our cannons
are ineffective against their shields.
As for the "cut 'em off in Hyperspace" thing, I already addressed that in #1559 (logical military tactics are a good thing).
o Leia is nothing like the take-charge leader she once was in the original trilogy. She did nothing in this film that showed leadership ability, or heroic choice making. And, in a better written film…I already talked about this in #1431, namely I'm willing to cut the creators some slack because they didn't have a crystal ball to tell them that Carrie Fisher would die before the 3rd film, which was supposed to be where her “big moments” happened.
That said, I don’t think Scott is giving her enough credit anyway. She's does play an important leadership role in the film for the purposes of allowing Poe to grow as a character (Leia is NOT the hero of this film… Poe/Finn/Rey are). She's a mentor for him, and is crucial to his development. I think Scott thinks it's poor writing that Leia isn't exactly the same spunky kid she was 30 years ago. I say it's good that she's grown and changed... she sees her younger, brash, "damn the consequences", "dive into the trash chute" self in Poe, and she's learned over the last 30 years that you can win battles that way, but not a war. So her leadership in this film is demonstrated in her ability to make Poe a better leader.
o Laura Dern’s character SHOULD have been played by Leia, sacrificing herself (or at least trying to—there are ways to have her saved before she does the hyper ram).See above. Leia's mentorship to Poe isn't done at that point. She's still crucial the plot at that point. Leia is a primarily a teacher in this film, she's not a warrior. Her suddenly being a bad ass is antithetical to her role in the overall structure of the film.
It's fine that Scott doesn't agree that this is a good use for Leia, but I think he's wrong. I think doing new and interesting things with established characters that show natural growth and evolution is a good thing, rather than keeping them in a bubble. #notmystarwars indeed.
o Phasma is once again a nothingburger that the screenplay wants us to think is a badass. Phasma LOOKS like a badass, but never earns it, and is defeated twice by a sanitation worker. Such strange character writing.Again, addressed in #1431. Might as well demand "why didn't those cool dudes in red do anything awesome in RotJ??? Why didn't IG88 do anything cool in Empire? I mean, they look like badasses, but they never do any badass stuff. Nothingburger fail!"
o Finn, who finally learns to think of someone other than himself, is setup to heroically try to save his rebel family by ramming his ship into the Rebel base can-opener. BUT, Rose rams his ship—hard!!!—essentially dooming the rebels, AND potentially killing Finn anyway! Then she delivers a pretty good line, “You won’t win by fighting the things they hate—you will win by saving what they love.” BUT, she actually just doomed those she loved! (She had no idea that Luke was about to help.) Just bad bad writing and character handling.Scott's missing the fact that Finn has an interesting arc in that he actually has two lessons to internalize... one which is a carry over from the first film: his myopic world view, born of a life of servitude to the FO who conscripted him. I already talked about that before… how he sees his own failings in DJ and it helps him be ready to be part of something bigger (which he’s running from because his whole life was about being forced to be part of something bigger that he rejected – the FO).
But there's a 2nd layer (and ultimately a more resonate and important layer) to his journey which is what Rose's message to him was all about. Scot says she has “a good line” but he's ignoring that it's more than that... it's a culmination of the lesson she's trying to teach him. To the subtitles once more!!!
It was worth it, though.
To tear up that town,
make 'em hurt.
(sets space horse free)
Now it's worth it.
It's a little moment, but it sets up what Rose is all about and what she’s trying to get Finn to see, because he's a very broken man. Later, when Finn decides to get himself killed blindly emulating Holdo's sacrifice, he's still acting out of anger - the anger he's felt for the FO. Rose stops him because she believes that for the heroes to win, they have to act out of love, not vengeance.
This is actually very good stuff, but you have to pay attention. I guess you could argue that the movie fails on some level because these moments and payoffs are subtle, surrounded by a big bombastic space opera, but for me, it just makes me appreciate the craftsmanship more.
o BTW, minor complaint: the Finn / Rose romance was overall silly, out-of-place and unearned. Did George Lucas write this scene?It's not a romance, at all. You might want to watch the film again, Scott. But in the meantime, once more unto the subtitles!
Why would you stop me?
I saved you, dummy.
That's how we're gonna win.
Not fighting what we hate,
saving what we love.
If one thinks she's talking about romantic love there, then one must also think she had the hots for the space horses, I guess?
o So apparently, dead force users can now affect the real world? Why didn’t Obi Won, when he died, not just destroy the Death Star himself? This film open several can o’ worms that it should not have, including the super destructive small-ship-versus-huge-ship hyper ram maneuver that I fully expect to be seen in all future Star Wars films, novels, and TV shows.Hmm, Yoda doing the force ghost thing at the one spot in the universe that’s probably stronger with the force than anywhere else, and this allows him to manipulate said “strong with the force” environment in ways that maybe aren’t achievable elsewhere? Hmm, go figure.
Regarding hyperspace ramming, I talked about this at length earlier, and Scott summarily ignored it all, so /shrug I guess. I think my points still stand in #1425
IMO, to qualify as a plot hole, a thing to be unexplainable, not merely unexplained.
o A grave mishandling of Han’s death. Luke asks Rey about his long-time old friend, and we don’t even get to see his reaction to the news—the film cuts away and never revisits the topic (maybe Luke can’t act, so they cut the scene?). What a tragic misstep.OMG, *strongly* disagree here. If that scene had continued to play out, nothing interesting would happen, other than seeing Luke stoically stare off the middle distance while music swelled and Rey’s voice dropped into the background. It would be totally flat… there’s no way it could live up to what we would imagine, and they wisely cut at just the right moment, IMO. “Wait, where’s Han?” comes like a punch to the stomach, maximum emotional impact right there, coming after the joyful Luke/Chewie reunion. Anything afterwards is diminishing returns. Go out on top, scene… don’t overstay your welcome!
o Rey has had two encounters against a highly trained force user (Kylo) and been his equal both times. She has no reason to fear him. This makes for pretty boring conflict and suspense going forward. The best heroes have overwhelming villains to overcome, not villains that are of little concern.Kylo is not highly trained. He’s a Jedi washout who gets no support from his new “master”. He’s almost as self taught as Rey is (first film established she had to fight to defender herself growing up).
Again, it’s the same thing I was talking about earlier… casting off the shackles of what’s expected (to be a Jedi or a Sith) has allowed these two to find their own way, and it turns out, it’s more effective than the ways that have come before. This is the *whole freaking point* of the SW saga in a nutshell. Learning from the mistakes of those who came before you. It’s the central theme of this specific film as well.
o Lack of stakes for the next film. TLJ ends on a pretty generic note: The rebels are being pursued by the empire—kinda like they were at the end of Force Awakens. Where’s the cliffhanger? Why am I super excited for #3?Where’s the cliffhanger in ANH? Where’s the cliffhanger in Wrath of Kahn? Where’s the cliffhanger in The Godfather? Why does cliffhanger = good Star Wars? We had a cliffhanger in TFA… it certainly didn’t make that a good film (IMO, the most expertly crafted piece of fan fiction ever).
And that aside, the rebellion is down to a literally two dozen people and the new oppressive ruling force of the galaxy has a Supreme Leader who is a dangerous, violent, broken space wizard, with a #2 that’s looking to assassinate him first chance he gets. Our two leads are bound by fate and the Force (I suspect their connection persisted even after Snoke’s death), and one of them is literally obsessed with the other (final subtitle time)
KYLO (to REY)
You come from nothing.
But not to me.
KYLO (to LUKE)
I'll destroy her,
and all of it!
To me, that is a more interesting and compelling cliffhanger than any number of “OMG, what will the Emperor do now?!?!?” type things we’ve been fed for most of our lives (thanks, in large part, to Star Wars).
But again, YMMV.
Richard, good post. You make a lot of good points about Rey/Finn/Kylo's arcs and interactions.Thanks, it took a long time to type up!
Speaking of Force rules, what's this Force projection across the galaxy thing?We've never seen this ability in the previous movies, but it has been established in the officially canon animated series as something Force sensitives can do (force projections) though AFAIK they've not been done over interstellar distances, which is why it killed Luke to attempt it.
If so, doing a voice message would surely not have been too much for Rey, yet we're told it would kill her.Snoke was responsible for the Force link between Kylo & Rey, and it was a much "lesser" feat than what Luke did, because only two people had to see it, as a sort of "Force vision".
Luke, OTOH, projected a full simulation of himself across the galaxy that *everyone* could see... much bigger ask, and it drained the life right out of him. Kylo's probably right, that the lesser trick that Snoke did would probably kill Rey, if the greater act of Luke's killed him.
The slow ship chase felt like a TV episode of Stargate or Battlestar. Fine for TV, weak for biggest movie of the year. It may be sound military strategy to wait it out, however that doesn't make it compelling viewing.Hmm, not sure if I agree. The Alamo. Or the Taking of Pelham 123. Or Assault on Precinct 13. Or Night of the Living Dead. Or any "Die Hard on an X" film. There's plenty of examples of "biggest movies" type affairs where the entire plot revolved around a standoff. TLJ is doing exactly the same thing, with the minor twist of making it a moving standoff. It worked for me (and most film critics), but admittedly, taste is subjective.
It's like, as a viewer do you want to see invaders scaling walls and battering down doors while under frantic assault from above, or do you want to watch a large army camped outside arrow/trebuchet range for six months?I'm fine with either, provided it features interesting characters in compelling situations making difficult decisions leading to personal revelations. I think TLJ provided that, you don't. Cest la vie, nothing wrong with that.
Snoke doesn't seem like the kind of dude cool with waiting either, although really who knows since we saw as much backstory for the porgs as we did Snoke. Leia said at the salt base that nobody answered their calls for help, so it's a stretch to assume that 100% of the Order's ships were busy the entire time.I wouldn't say that at all. In fact, the opening crawl makes it clear that the FO's fleet is stretched all over the galaxy making their big take over move, now that the entire Republic government was wiped out in the first film. I'm sure the FO planned their invasion, post Republic wipe out, to be supported by the Hyperspace Death Star, and since it's not, they still had to go ahead with the invasion, and it's not at all unreasonable to assume they're stretched very thin. The opening crawl makes this pretty clear I think:
The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.
So yeah, they're stretched pretty thin I think.
I agree with Scott about Phasma. Outside of the movies, they're always talking her up like she's a big deal. In the movies, not.I'd suggest not judging the movie by the hype around the movie. Phasma is this generation's Boba Fett. There's plenty of officially sanctioned supplementary material one can read if they want to see her bad ass side, but in the films, she was simply a tool to further the plot (foil for Finn). Nothing wrong with that, IMO.
To say there's nothing interesting to be had from seeing Luke's reaction to hearing about Han is a giant copout. By that logic, we could cut most scenes from any movie. "Luke, I'm your father." No need to see that cut of Luke crying, "That's impossible". "Search your feelings bud. Itsa me, Darth." No need to see Luke's anguished, "Nooooooooo!"
Erik responded to that very well I think, so I'll move on.
A few other issues: See Steve's reply.
The hyperspace ramming is BS. X-Wings have hyper, so all any of them ever need do is target the engine room or weapons array in a destroyer and hyper in. You said in an earlier post it takes a while to calculate hyper coordinates, but Laura Dern took no time, by herself. Surely one of the Order ships could have jumped forwards in a straight line with nothing between A and B with ease.
The "bomber" was BS. "We have to get above that one weak spot, although there's no gravity. No, we don't have the ability to guide bombs on some vector, for some reason."I'm suprised how many people misunderstand the fundamental logisitics of the opening space battle. The dreadnaught is totally unapproachable, it's got too many deck cannons for any sort of assault. It's designed to repel any ship attack or guilded missiles, because it'll destroy any approaching force at range with this copious cannons.
This is why one of the very first frames of the film shows how Poe's Xwing has been modified to give it super afterburners (they're literally bolted on to the rear of his ship), and the opening chatter he does is designed to stall them while the booster warms up. He's outside the range of the dreadnaughts cannons... if he gets any closer, he instantly dies (same for any other ship). So he distracts them with his prank call so he can surprise them with an unanticipated burst of speed that the cannons can't respond to in time, and that's what gets him close enough to start taking out the cannons so the other "normal" ships can make their run.
It's interesting that this was all "show/don't tell" stuff, but considering how many people seem to miss it, maybe there should have been more telling? Again, this is definitely a movie that rewards multiple watchings
C3PO saying, "I've no clue what this mines layout is. Here are the precise odds of an exit door!"C3PO has been making up BS odds since my childhood. No reason for him to stop suddenly.
The salt goes red at the slightest touch, but wasn't it all white after the rebels all went in that one door? What, did they send a lackey out to rake the place after their entrance, to cover their tracks?It took hours for the FO to put together their assault forces, plenty of time for the winds of the planet to blanket the red soil with salt again. Nothing tricky here.
Not scanning for cloaked ships, and not seeing Finn's ship leave. Come on.In our real world, we developed stealth planes that our enemies couldn't detect with long range "sensors" (radar), so why is this so far fetched in science fiction?
Letting Benicio go, with a reward, after he apparently was screwing with them.He wasn't screwing with them at all. They caught him, he made a deal and he delivered, they let him go. Not sure what's wrong with this sequence of events?
Finn and Rose having time for a cozy chat while about 8 walkers somehow fail to shoot them, despite being virtually the only target in front of them, in this large blank plain, then also somehow fail to shoot them while they get all the way back on foot.We see that scene from Finn & Rose's perspective, where it's a big emotional moment. Seen from the perspective of a FO cockpit, that sequence is a couple of tiny ants. Are they dead, or dying? Who cares, any threat they posed is neutralized, their speeders are destroyed, so... blow up the wall! Oh wait, Luke Freaking Skywalker is here! Yeah, that's gonna focus our attention away from a couple of nobody ants who we already forgot about.
I always appreciate your posts, Richard, even if I disagree with bits. How many times have you watched the recent movies?TFA once. TLJ twice.
Before I went to watch TLJ, I tried to watch TFA a second time, and just couldn't, so I just read the subtitles as a quick reminder of the beats.
None of which were a stand-off/siege waiting for the defenders resources to be exhausted. Pelham is different because hostages.Not sure I agree... to me, they're all the same sort of setup: the 'bad guys' have the 'good guys' trapped for the majority of the movie. Good guys have to find a way to deal with this. They go about telling their stories in different ways, but it's the same core idea.
It's the part after that I was referring to. The part where a bomber has to slowly get to a specific spot instead of simply firing bombs from wherever, with each bomb having guidance to hit the target from a certain vector.If you want to apply that sort of logic to the space battles, then NOTHING in star wars holds up. Why are there pilots at all? Why isn't everything AI controlled drones, since they've clearly mastered the concept of artificial intelligence in this universe.
Star Wars has always patterned itself after WWII areal combat films. TLJ's opening sequence is a part of that tradition. There are so many classic movies about protecting B17s who have to get to "just the right place" and all the action centers around everyone getting torn to shreds so just one can make it. That's what the opening battle in TLJ was paying homage to (while also laying the character groundwork for Poe). It was opening the film in just about as Star Wars-ey a way possible, giving us a real proper Star Wars space battle (which was completely absent in TFA).
If we accept the deal being that he told them to turn on their "scan for cloaked ships", because they were too stupid to do so themselves. Otherwise, he has nothing. It's a bit late to say, "You got me, but here, have these rebel scum and let me go?"He's an elite hacker, better than anyone the FO has access too (obviously, since he hacked past their defenses). So he gave the FO the data/codes/transpoder frequency/what have you that they needed to detect the cloaked rebel ships. Bob's your uncle!
Again, it's not a plot hole because the movie didn't take the time to explain it... its only a plot hole if it can't be explained. This is clearly very explainable
Richard, some of your answers are clever revisionist history. I applaud your creativity.Specific examples, or it didn't happen. After all, I spent almost an hour last night addressing every one of your points with specific counter points, direct quotes from the film, etc. You can wave all that away with a joke, or you can debate. Your call pal! (a challenge I issue with love, btw... as I've always said, thanks so much for all the supplement advice!)
Do you have any complaints with TLJ?Sure, though personally I prefer celebrating where things are well done, rather than ragging on where things go wrong. But I suppose it's the internet, and everyone would rather grouse about how shit everything is, so my issues would be:
1) too long with too many characters, though i understand why, and to a large extend it was unavoidable based on what they were given. My issue here is probably more directed at TFA, which should have killed off Poe as originally planned. This would have allowed at least 20-30 minutes to be shaved off of TLJ (or given to Luke's 3rd lesson, which I guess was filmed but cut). If only they weren't having to retroactively build a real character out of the one note, disposable "best pilot in the galaxy" cardboard cutout that he was in the first film. Bear in mind, I think they did a fine job with the task they were given, but I'd rather the task wasn't necessary in the first place.
2) stuck too close to Empire. I appreciate that working within the confines of that basic plot, they were able to do a lot of really impressive things, but still, after the TFA "orig trij remix" approach, I would have really preferred to see a new type of story told instead of going back to more "greatest hits" beats.
3) like TFA before it, John Williams is sorely misused. I read an article after TFA about how JJ's kinetic film style fundamentally doesn't mesh with Williams' music, and doesn't give it room to breath. I think the same was true here, and it's a shame to relegate the master to the background.
4) I guess I'd prefer Hux to be less cartooney. He'd have a better dynamic with Kylo if he was more like his TFA persona and not quite such a scene chewer he is now. Minor niggle, but still.
Basically, IMO, a lot more to like in the film than dislike.
I feel like the execution and explanation of the "escape plan" was clumsily handledNice post, Jack. This is an interesting point, and kind of ironic, because in a movie where a lot of stuff is left unexplained which makes persnickety viewers rebel, they definitely over explained this. Goes to show that if they had stopped and explained the workings behind every decision made, it'd just bog the movie down.
Still, in this case, the explanation is, I think, *supposed* to go over the audience's head, as a way of demonstrating how simpatico Rose and Finn are. She's got the technical knowledge, he's got the practical experience, and so they both bond over this plan that only the two of them can understand. We're not supposed to truly get it, because it's demonstrating how these two can work well together, which leads to an accelerated bonding. That's why Poe literally speaks on the audiences' behalf and says "Just give it to me one more time, simpler."
In short, I think it's a conscious choice and a clever plot efficiency.
Benecio del Toro was too convenient.True, and it was super convenient that R2 and C3PO landed spitting distance away from a Jawa Crawler that just happened to on the way to Uncle Owen's moisture farm instead of anywhere else. TBH, this is less outrageous, because at least they found a criminal where you'd expect him to be, in jail
Pacing was all over the placeI think this is kind of in the same ballpark as my #1 issue above: the movie is trying to serve too many masters, because there are *too many characters* trying to be fleshed out. It's a noble goal to try to get all of these disparate individual arcs to dovetail together, and I respect the end result, but regret that it was necessary due to TFA's failings.
Rose's Crash Into Finn was fixable.I see your point, but it didn't read that way to me in the film. My perspective at that moment was "Finn is being an idiot, he's just trying to copy Laura Dern, he's going to kill himself for nothing" because even if he had taken out the big gun, the rebellion was still screwed, it would just take longer for them to starve, so he was accomplishing nothing. Rose flying in to save him was a hero moment for her, saving him from himself, from my perspective. And then it's revealed that it's a non-obvious callback to the mid-movie character moment (which I didn't get until my second viewing), so it became even better.
To me, that was a great example of how the movie rewards additional viewings to appreciate what a smart script it is to be juggling all of these different balls for these different characters at once. Again, I regret that it has to, but since it does, I marvel how well it achieves its goals.
Leia's Mary Poppins MomentFair point, you wanted Leia's connection to the force to be something, but they went with something else. Thinking about it though, i wonder if the scene is really incompatible with your perspective. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to assume that this moment is the first time Leia has ever used the Force in this sort of practical way. TFA and TLJ give no reason to assume she's ever been more than a "Force empath", and only in the face of certain death does she ever do her first force pull, on an instinctual (not purposeful) level. Interesting notion I hadn't considered, and TBH, I like it (surprise!)
Holdo was poorly executed.Yup, too many characters. DAMN YOU, Oscar Isaacs, and your cursed charisma!
The cloak-buster was too much.What was the cloak buster? You mean the fact that they ran a "decloaking scan"? Here's how I look at that: cloaking in the star wars universe means you're invisible to sensors unless they know how to look for your unique identifying signature. This is a hard thing to do without advance knowledge, and requires high level hacking skill. DJ had the skill to help the FO find the rebel's cloaked escape ships, and they paid him well for it (and likely made a note to start training their own hacker division). If he hadn't used his expertise, the rebs would have gotten away, because a casual scan wouldn't find them.
PhasmaHehe. Boba Fett is the ultimate "all setup, no payoff" character in modern cinematic history. He does *one thing* (wait for the Falcon to come out of hiding), and that's it. Granted, that's one more thing than Phasma does, but TFA established what her character's purpose is (a representation of Finn's backstory) and TLJ delivered the same.
They failed in making her a foil to Finn on the screen, even if the extended universe says otherwise.When I said she's established as a foil to Finn, I'm not talking at all in a physical way. She exists as a representation for a life of demoralizing and dehumanizing that Finn lived before the death of his friend spurred him to action.
She bullies him in the first movie as a symbol of that oppression, and gets her comeuppance by being thrown in a garbage chute, giving him a sense of strength and confidence that maybe he's more than just a stormtrooper on the run.
She tries to execute him in the 2nd movie, and gets her comeuppance by being soundly beaten by Finn, completing his journey into his new found role as self described "rebel scum".
She's who he's rebelling against. That's her sole purpose in the film. The fight is over so quick because it's not about awesome choreography of these two titans finally settling it on the battle field. The fight is over fast because it's served its purpose in Finn's journey, as he realizes that which terrorized him his whole life has no real power over him.
Scott mentioned how it's a mistake of the filmmakers to make Rey and Kylo evenly matched because without a greater physical threat, Rey's circumstances are less compelling (to him). I point out that what's more interesting is an adversary who threatens her on an emotional and spiritual level, instead of more of the same old same old. I think it's great that the new trilogy tries to subvert long established tropes like this (like I said, the best thing TFA did was make 3 great new characters). Anyway, scott thinks it's invalid to not adhere to the 101-style common wisdom of how to present villains, and I disagree.
In the same way, I think it's fine for Phasma to serve a different roll than the standard bad ass "miniboss" who has to be beaten along the way to the final confrontation. That's not her role. She's beaten as a means to let Finn grow into his new role. That's what her purpose is, and it's a solid one, I think.
Not every character has to be an ultimate badass final boss fight. But as always, YMMV
But... I mean... the movie is literally presenting fights with her... as miniboss fights.Not quite. She seems daunting and impressive and bad ass, representing to Finn the nearly unstoppable force that the FO is to him, but in reality, she's quickly and easily dispatched in both movies (in fact, TFA shows her clearly to be a coward). And there's very little epic to her fight... a proper mini-boss fight would be an elaborate sequence that lasts for several minutes, instead of 30 or 40 seconds. Again, I think that's reflective of the film makers using her as a prop representing Finn's growth, as he realizes he doesn't have to live in fear of the FO any more. She's not intended to be a typical epic bad ass mini boss. She's a symbolic rung on Finn's story ladder, and that's why many are so upset regarding her. They *want* her to be something that she's not. She's not a boss, she's just another grunt, in a shiny scary suit.
At least, that's how it seems to me.
Seriously, fuck these shithole movies.I think George might soon implement thread locking!