Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.

Scott Hardie | December 17, 2017
As I said in my review, I was underwhelmed by the first half of the film, and was prepared to give a somewhat negative review. But it picked up considerably in the second half. The word "epic" is thrown around a lot these days, but it does sum up the feeling of the second half. Good stuff! I know some people thought the movie was too long, but I couldn't get enough of the second half of the movie.

The casino sequence was the first thing in Disney's Star Wars that felt like the prequels. It was campy and corny and way, way too reliant on weightless CGI. It wasn't a bad idea, just bad execution. On the other hand, the endless scenes of Rey trying to convince Luke to train her, only to gradually discover Luke's secret, were a bad idea: They've been done hundreds of times in movies like this and really needed something new to liven them up. I half-expected this movie to be so beholden to tradition that it would have a scene of Luke training Rey to raise that sunken ship out of the water with her mind. I'm probably being too hard on the film, I know, but it's my honest emotional reaction.

I really liked the scenes with Rey and Kylo Ren, however, especially the payoff after Snoke was slain and Rey actually considered joining him. Kylo Ren is an unambiguously evil villain in true Star Wars fashion, but unlike most stock-issue bad guys, he's charismatic and manipulative and uses the genuine possibility of redemption in his heart against people, an insidious kind of evil that we haven't really seen before. It's a huge step forward for the character; he's way more complex and interesting here than he was in Force Awakens.

I also liked the way that the series throws away characters that don't need to stick around, like Snoke and Phasma. I get the symbolic importance of Luke's death, even if I don't understand the mechanics of why his body failed him at that particular moment, but whatever. I like this movie's attitude about discarding the past so that the future has room to live. Kelly shared a thoughtful article about it with me.

A little more humor would have helped - not campy jokes like the obnoxious casino dwellers or those kid-friendly porgs, but well-acted humor that gets to the heart of the characters, like Poe needling Hux at the beginning by pretending not to recognize him on the com.

I read somewhere that the Jedi texts weren't destroyed in the temple, that they're visible on a shelf in the Millennium Falcon at the end when Finn puts a blanket on Rose. I find that very hard to believe, because it would undermine the absolutely critical scene with Yoda, and it's probably just a similar-looking prop that got mistaken for something it's not. But it's a nice idea, isn't it? That Rey would steal the books and allow the seed of the Jedi religion to survive for later generations?

I did not like that Laura Dern's unusually well-coiffed admiral (she looked so out of place in the scruffy Resistance) would not simply tell Poe her plan, especially as his frustration mounted and it became clear that he was going to do something dangerous. That felt like simple narrative convenience, not a mistake that a character like her would really make.

I have a joke that I want so badly to post on Facebook: "Man, what a crazy twist in The Last Jedi! I never would have guessed that they'd canonize the Holiday Special by bringing back Chewbacca's son Lumpy." But I have friends who are so furiously, militantly anti-spoiler that they would see the first sentence and immediately unfriend me and hate me for a while. Even if they saw the punchline they would still hate me for even daring to joke about spoilers. It's just not worth it to me to make some people laugh if other people are going to get so very angry about it. :-(

Erik Bates | December 26, 2017
I (kinda) understand the purist perspective, but at the same time, it's much, much easier to make a storyline about Luke Skywalker for 200+ novels when you don't have to worry about an actual person having to play the role. Would I like to see movie after movie about Luke Skywalker kicking ass? Sure! But at some point, an 80-year-old Mark Hamill just doesn't work.

And honestly, I'd much rather see the character age and die gracefully as opposed to having to re-cast ad infinitum just to keep the focus on this one guy.

There are themes that seem to repeat throughout these movies that sometimes feel like an homage, and at other times feel like they've run out of ideas.

Episode 4: Darth kills Obi Wan
Episode 1: Darth kills Qui Gon
Episode 7: Kylo kills Han

I get it. That's part of the hero's story. But still... to have it happen multiple times in the same story? You're pushing it.

When I saw that X-Wing in the water, I thought, "Shit. Here we go again. Rey is going to learn to use the Force, and raise that thing up out of the water." So, so happy when that didn't happen.

Or, when Kylo and Rey were standing before Snoke, I fully expected a dramatic torture scene where Kylo realizes the evil of Snoke, and redeems himself by saving Rey. Granted, we did get a little of that, but wound up with a more satisfying resolution, in my opinion - a resolution that I am convinced would have gone the way of RotJ, had this been Episode 9 instead of Episode 8.

All this to say, I still think it is a fantastic movie, and one that should NOT be removed from canon, no matter how much the whining fanboys/fangirls out there want it to be.

Evie Totty | December 26, 2017
I think Ren is super childish. He didn't get his way so now he's breaking everyone's toys.

I did see the books on the Falcon as well.

Scott Hardie | December 27, 2017
I totally agree with both of you. This movie understood Star Wars expectations and set them up once again, then went off in other directions in order to build a future for the franchise. I definitely approve. I talked to someone who was disappointed that Rey's parents didn't turn out to be special because before this movie, only those born into a certain lineage or tradition could become masters of the force, and because the series tradition of revealing secret ancestry should have led to Rey being revealed as Luke's daughter or something. I say that's exactly the rut that Star Wars needs to get out of, if it's going to live on as an ongoing series into the future. We shouldn't just have Skywalkers and Solos forever and ever.

What do you think of movie theaters having to warn people about the silent part?

Evie Totty | December 27, 2017
Well don't forget - Anakin came from nothing. It was 'suggested' that he was Jesus (no father) but otherwise, no connection to anyone.

Scott Hardie | December 27, 2017
I thought Anakin was created by Darth Sidious. In Episode III, Sidious had a monologue at the opera about how his predecessor Darth Plageous found a way to create life out of the Force itself. I thought that between that scene and Anakin's immaculate conception in Episode I, we were intended to assume that Sidious had created for himself a future apprentice gifted in the Force. That assumption could be way off base, though; I'm not an expert in the series relative to most fans.

Erik Bates | December 27, 2017
Huh... I don't recall that. But then again, a lot of nuances are often missed when I watch movies. I'll have to re-watch Ep 3.

Regarding the silent warning... wtf?

I didn't even notice the sound cutting out at that point. Now that I think back on it, though, I think this was a good example of silence being deafening. To me, it was clear that it was intended.

Also, I'm of the impression that scenes set in space should be silent, anyway. I mean, it's space.

Thank you, Firefly, for being just about the only Sci-Fi series/movie to get this concept right.

Evie Totty | December 28, 2017
I also do not remember that in Ep 3. And I also did not notice the no sound at the time. I just saw a blurb that AMC removed the warning.

So I guess the no sound had it's effect. In retrospect - I do remember a like 'pop' then nothing. And it was perfect. Great use of no sound I think. Why ppl got their buns in a bunch I have no idea. I do remember the music over the dialogue in Interstellar that was purposeful. And I didn't know it. I really did think something was wrong with the sound. Normally when the dialogue is inconsequential it seems the dialogue sound goes down while the music goes up. We didn't have that transition there.

But I digress.

I'll have to see about that scene in Ep3.

Scott Hardie | December 29, 2017
This is the opera scene. I started to Google the matter further to see if it was considered definitive, but I got dragged into multiple levels of arguments about canon, extended universe, Lucas's intentions, and made-up fan theories, all of which must have changed all over again thanks to Disney's involvement since then. Ugh.

Yes! Scenes in space should be silent. Also, in the scene at the beginning where Rose's sister died, there should be no falling bombs in space!

Evie Totty | December 30, 2017

Matthew Preston | January 31, 2018
I'm late to the party here, but whatever. :-)

Yes, the "...tale of Darth Plagueis the wise" is meant to imply that Darth Sidious created Anakin. Since there's no other evidence that he's responsible for the virgin birth (that Shmi Skywalker claims in Episode I), the audience is left to make up its own mind whether or not he's telling the truth.

And yes, Rey does have the ancient Jedi texts with her. They are shown very briefly in a drawer on the Millenium Falcon at the end of the film. It's a really quick moment, but she does have them. Yoda tells Luke in the earlier scene (something along the lines of) the books don't contain anything that Rey doesn't already possess (meaning it literally, but not letting on). This works with Yoda's playful personality with "Young Skywalker", but it's also why he isn't afraid to set the place ablaze.

A moment I really liked was the futures that both Rey and Kylo saw. Rey says she sees Kylo turning against Snoke (implying he will turn to the light) and Kylo argues that he knows Rey will fight along side him (implying she will turn to the dark). BOTH happen, just not in the way that either interpreted it in their visions.

Scott Hardie | February 2, 2018
It seems strange that they would make such an important plot point (the survival of the Jedi texts) into what is essentially an Easter egg that only sharp-eyed fans will notice, but there is perhpas no series with more intense fandom than Star Wars and so it's not like the detail would go unnoticed and undiscussed. I look forward to seeing what meaning, if any, they'll have in future films.

Scott Hardie | July 19, 2018
Having watched the movie again on Netflix, I realize now that the survival of the Jedi texts is not an Easter egg. It's right there in the center of the frame, intended to be noticed. I simply didn't register it the first time, that those books were the books.

Matthew Preston | June 13, 2019
This made me laugh. The whole series of these "pitches" really picks on the negatives (and gets old fast), but it's worth a watch.

Scott Hardie | June 13, 2019
That's a pretty brutal, and pretty fair, assessment of the movie's problems. Well, some of the problems. :-)

I have a feeling that Captain Phasma will be back, disfigured from her injuries. And I have a feeling that Rey's parents will matter in the next movie, the revelation that they're "nobody" being a lie (intended that way or retconned). I personally couldn't care less about Rey's parents, since they're not what makes her interesting, but people keep mentioning them as if it matters.

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