Clone armies of Star Wars fans have taken to twitter to express their disgust and disappointment with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and they’re doing it in such large numbers that #TheLastJediAwful is trending.
Now, no film is perfect, and we respect cinephiles’ right to dislike whatever movies they want (except those on this list), but some of the Last Jedi complaints are so baffling, we wanted to bring some balance to the force by providing counter arguments.
Feel free to disagree with the below, but we reckon if you search your feelings… well, you know the rest.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW
1. Rey’s parentage was a disappointment
This is one of the biggest complaints out there. Fans feel that Rey should have been a Solo, Skywalker, Kenobi or – we don’t know, the illegitimate child of C-3PO and R2-D2. Basically, they wanted Rey’s mum and dad to be someone we’ve met before. They saw Rey’s parents being nobodies as a major anticlimax.
For us, it was an exciting reveal, full of potential – one that took us back to A New Hope, where a simple moisture farmer could become the greatest hero in the galaxy. Not only that, but it’s the best dramatic choice – in Empire Strikes Back, what’s the worst thing that Luke can hear? That Darth Vader’s his dad.
George Lucas didn’t add that twist because everyone in Star Wars should be related, he did it because it was the biggest challenge for Luke to face (and eventually overcome) in that moment. In The Last Jedi, the worst thing Rey can hear is that she’s a nobody, that her parents aren’t going to show up and give her emotional closure, that she’s going to have to rely on herself. That takes the character in a far more interesting direction than her being Yoda’s daughter or whatever.
2. Kylo Ren behaved like a childish teenager
Okay, so did we all see The Force Awakens? Childish teenage rages are a defining element of Kylo Ren’s character. Remember all those times he lashed out for no reason in JJ’s movie? When those Stormtroopers turned and left because his temper tantrums were such a frequent occurrence they were having none of it?
Well, The Last Jedi takes that, builds on it, and actually starts the path to move beyond it, with Ren taking on the responsibility of the First Order, growing from a child with a mentor to a man with a mission. Sure, he shouts a lot – but that’s part of his charm (and it always has been).
If this element really does bother you, we predict there’ll be a time jump between The Last Jedi and Episode IX, with every character older, and wiser – including Kylo.
The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were shot back-to-back, which means the cast will look older in Episode IX, so a time jump will be necessary.
It’ll also allow JJ to narratively deal with Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing – we expect IX to open with a funeral, and to feature Kylo Ren as a now-established Supreme Leader, silently mourning his mother.
3. Luke didn’t behave like Luke
This is another of the big ones, with several fans latching onto the fact Mark Hamill fundamentally disagreed with where Rian Johnson took Luke’s character, and was pretty open about it before the film’s release. Except, here’s the thing, Hamill then saw the film, and changed his mind.
That’s because Luke has probably the best arc in the film – and it’s easily the most loyally ‘Star Warsy’ storyline in Johnson’s script.
Like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, Luke’s hermited himself away because of his self-perceived failure. He’s hiding from his responsibilities – just like they did. Then, a young nobody with potential comes out of nowhere to bring him out of his self-exile – allowing him to face up to the past.
Even better, The Last Jedi’s Luke mocks his ‘legendary’ status – until the thought of his sister in trouble ignites his defence mechanism / passion (just like it did in Return Of The Jedi), and he accepts his destiny – becoming the legend he was always meant to be.
He faces the First Order in such a spectacular way that word of what he did spread through the galaxy, inspiring the people who didn’t come to the aid of the Resistence when a distress signal was sent out at the end of the movie. Now that Luke’s reappeared to inspire them, they probably will be there the next time they’re needed, which is going to be a pretty amazing element of Episode IX.
Guys, Luke literally becomes ‘a new hope’ in this film. Then, the last thing he sees is a binary sunrise. That’s as Star Wars as it gets. Why aren’t you getting this?
4. Too much humour
Yes, The Last Jedi has silly jokes. As does every single Star Wars film ever made. Some work (“Boring conversation anyway”, Han trying to blow out the flames that are cooking him alive in Return Of The Jedi, “Who’s scruffy-looking?” in Empire) some don’t (Jar Jar) but they’re definitely there.
And the jokes in The Last Jedi serve an important purpose. This is a film where every single hero fails in their mission.
One of the film’s key ideas – expressed directly by Yoda – is that failure is as important as success, because failure’s where wisdom comes from. That’s a pretty big theme to put in your laser sword franchise, especially as people go into these things expecting the heroes to actually, you know, win. So, the jokes are there to balance the darkness. Just as they were in Empire Strikes Back.
They might not have made you laugh – humour’s subjective, after all – but you can’t deny that they served a narrative purpose.
5. Poe was wasted
Poe Dameron was supposed to die in The Force Awakens, and it shows in that movie. He has literally no arc; he’s basically a perfect pilot who’s really good at shooting stuff, who occasionally shows up to hug Finn and call him buddy.
The Last Jedi takes that character in a logical direction – how would a perfect pilot who’s really good at shooting stuff feel about being told what to do all the time? In doing so, Johnson gives him life, a personality and, most importantly, somewhere to go.
Poe learns one of the biggest lessons in the film, going from needlessly costing lives by selfishly rushing in to attack against impossible odds, to telling Finn to hold back, to trust Luke, as it’s better to run away and survive than to attack and die. Leia goes from telling Poe he’s not a leader, to telling the Resistance to follow him instead of her.
He was a bit wasted in The Force Awakens (partly because he was only kept in it at the last minute), The Last Jedi gave him something to do. We’re excited to see where he goes next.
6. No backstory for Snoke
No offence to all the fans complaining about this, but who cares? We didn’t get a backstory for the Emperor in the original trilogy (we got that in the Star Wars prequels, yay!) because we didn’t need one, he was just an evil dude in a cloak. We got everything we needed to know about him from his deliciously delivered dialogue. What could Snoke have possibly said to Rey (outside of “I’m your father!” and, yeah, no thanks) to justify us hearing his backstory?
We know he believes good rises to meet bad (and vice versa) when force-strong people appear, and we know that he was manipulating Ben Solo to kill Luke (and is still super-obsessed with him) so we can probably fill in the blanks ourselves as to where he comes from, and what he wants. The maker forbid we have to think for ourselves without a two-minute monologue spoon-feeding pointless history to us.
And Snoke’s death was utterly logical in narrative terms. Kylo Ren has been established as hating mentors / father figures. He killed his own dad in the last movie. Why wouldn’t he kill Snoke?
By doing so, he goes further than Vader (“I will finish what you started”), achieving Darth’s stated goal to overthrow his boss and rule the galaxy. Far from being an Empire Strikes Back retread, The Last Jedi goes further – taking the franchise in a brand-new direction.
7. Canto Bight was pointless
We’ve seen a lot of fans and film critics proclaiming that the Canto Bight sequence should’ve been cut for time, as it adds nothing to the movie. Yeah, sure, except it’s basically the heart of the story.
Not only does it contain key character beats (Finn learns to look below the surface, and it brings him and Rose closer together), it introduces (and inspires!) new characters that are so obviously going to be an essential element of the third instalment of the trilogy.
Oh, and it builds on a major theme – evolving the concept of ‘villains have good in them’ to ‘everyone has good and bad in them’ – that’s been a part of every previous Star Wars movie. Add in the animal rights message, and the hugely satisfying chase scene, and The Last Jedi would be poorer for its absence.
And, come on, what’s not to love about an anti-capitalist message in a Disney franchise the company basically bought to sell toys?
8. DJ was a bad character
Poor old Benicio Del Toro’s DJ has become the subject of a lot of fan frustration. Whether it’s his unusual speaking style, or his contribution to the narrative, most people agree he should have been cut out.
Which is a shame, as we experienced an instantly charismatic performance that launched an intriguing new character into the universe – one who’s representative of some very modern real-world issues.
When Finn tells DJ he’s wrong, and he replies ‘maybe,’ he’s symbolic of an entire generation who put business issues before morality. DJ would totally be a climate change denier (even if Hoth had already turned into Tatooine) if it meant he’d make money out of it. Where A New Hope was a metaphor for Vietnam, The Last Jedi is exploring a very different moral war.
For everyone saying DJ was a Lando rip-off, think again – Lando was a good guy put in an impossible position (who was betrayed by Vader), DJ’s just a bit of a douche.
Oh, and he helped deliver a fun misdirect. How many people thought DJ was in that Scout Walker that started firing on Phasma and her mates? When it turned out to be BB-8, people cheered at our screening – no wonder Poe loves that little droid so much.
9. ‘Mary Poppins in space’
We’ve seen a lot of fans comparing the sequence in which Leia uses the force to pull herself from certain doom in space to the safety of her ship, to Disney’s Mary Poppins. What would they have preferred, we wonder? That Leia died? We’re not sure we could’ve handled that.
If she had died in that moment, not only would it be a brutal send-off for Carrie Fisher, we would have lost some of the most beautiful moments in the history of the franchise.
We’d basically put up with anything to get the stunning moment where Luke and Leia are reunited (the moment where he tells her “No-one’s ever really gone!” The forehead kiss! We cried, and so did you). Yes, even a Jar Jar cameo.
Not that the scene was as bad as Jar Jar. In every Star Wars episode, we learn something new about the force. Until Empire, we didn’t know it could be used to lift stuff, or that force ghosts exist. Are either of those things any more or less ridiculous than Leia being able to pull herself from one place to another?
10. Disney pays critics for good reviews
They do?! Where do we collect our cheque?
That’s a joke, by the way. We don’t get paid by Disney. We do this because we’re as passionate about this series as you are – we just have a different point of view.