Welcome to ‘Why It Sucked’ presented by Toilet Reads. On Why It Sucked we go over the big let downs in life and dissect exactly why it sucked. This week’s topic by popular demand the controversial Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
This was a hard one because while I enjoyed this movie, the flaws were evident. I don’t mean the obvious plot flaws like having bomb droppers in space despite the lack of gravity, the pointless side quest to space Casino Royale, or the inorganic Fin-Rose love story. I’m talking about the root of the problem. That’s not to discount the good that the movie did have. The fight scenes were amazing, the philosophies debated were engaging, Rey and Kylo fighting the Praetorian guard was amazing, and I actually liked the twists. Snoke’s surprise death was great and Rey’s discovery of her lack of significant lineage made the story more grounded. Yet despite all the pros, the film was missing something. To put it plainly, The Last Jedi sucked because it took a lot of interesting risks and leaps in a direction and backed out of them just as they gained our interest. Allow me to explain.
The movie sets the tone right from the getgo that this is not your usual Star Wars movie. For years, we were wondering what would happen with Luke and Rey after she presents his old lightsaber to him and after all our waiting he throws it down a cliff like it was nothing. The struggle between Rey and Luke are clear. Rey wants to be a hero, she wants to be a Jedi and bring balance but Luke is trying to be a realist. Being “good” isn’t that simple and the Jedi weren’t perfect.
Throughout their time together, Luke tries to explain the problem with the Jedi. He explains how it was the Jedi who brought upon the rise of Palpatine and Darth Vader as well as the Galactic Empire. Sure Luke was able to restore some balance by destroying the Death Star and getting Vader to turn back to the light but what good has that done? It’s only been a couple of decades and a brand new empire has risen. To make matters worse, it was Jedi Master Luke Skywalker who is responsible for creating the new Vader, Kylo Ren. Luke explains that there’s clearly something wrong with the current system at play. This whole battle between light and dark isn’t making much progress and it needs to change. This is why he says it’s time for the Jedi to end.
We also hear speak of balance even on Kylo Ren’s side of the story. As Kylo grows in strength, his lightside adversary rises. Snoke speaks about the good within him. We start learning that the polarization of the Force is what keeps throwing things into madness. We learn that neither the Jedi nor the Sith are right. We learn that rather than both sides trying to destroy the other, finding balance is the key. That concept is pushed forward when Kylo asks Rey to join him. “Let the past die” he says. Kylo is saying what Luke has been teaching Rey this whole time, Sith and Jedi don’t matter. They need to come together and break this cycle and try a new solution but rather than make progress but Rey tells him to fuck off and then fights with Kylo for Luke’s lighsaber. Here’s where things turn to shit.
By all accounts of what the movie has built towards, Kylo is right. The old ways aren’t working. In the prequels the Jedi tried to balance the force with Anakin and ended up destroying themselves and created the Empire. Luke tried to destroy the Sith but thirty years later he himself created the exact same organization and villain. Forget about the bloodlines, the Sith, and the Jedi, the cycle needed to stop. They could start something new. I’m not saying that Rey should have just turned her back on the Rebellion and join the dark side but where’s the negotiation. Based on everything we learned Rey should want to work with Kylo and let the past die. If she worked with Kylo they could build a new world and put an end to this endless violence cycle.
There were other options but she chose violence causing a further divide in the Force. It only gets worse when Luke gets back. Remember all the stuff he preached about the flaws with the Jedi? Well Luke doesn’t either. He says how he is not the last jedi and so the cycle goes on! They spent two hours building up a new type of Star Wars only to echesketch it all at the end. I was a big fan of what they were building up towards. This idea that good and bad aren’t black and white. The idea that the Jedi weren’t completely right and the Sith weren’t entirely wrong. This new view on balance within the force was something interesting and new that could have revolutionized the franchize and set it aside from the original trilogy in a good way.
Alas, instead we fell into a repeat of the originals. Light fights dark. Siths are clearly bad Jedis are clearly good. It just became a boring rehash of the old movies to the point where Luke pretty much stole Obi-Wan’s “Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine” shtik. All that progressed was undone.
Full disclosure, it’s really hard for me to hate on Star Wars. I grew up having lightsaber fights while playing “Dual of the Fates” and daydreaming about flying an X-Wing. I’m always going to enjoy a Star Wars movie as long as some effort is put into it but if you’re asking me whether The Last Jedi was a good Star Wars movie… well it wasn’t the best. It sucked because at the end of the day they build up to what could’ve been something amazing and chickened out at the end.
P.S – The real shame is that Episode IX will be my last Star Wars movie considering that Disney gave Episode X to those fuckers who ruined Game of Thrones. No, I am not over it yet.
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