I really did not like the Last Jedi as a Starwars film.
Maybe I am being to harsh, yet I feel like it was a bit of a betrayal and killing of one of my favorite franchises. Starwars and Star Trek defined my growing up. Before they rebooted Starwars with the prequel trilogy, I remember going to watch the remastered special editions in the theater, and how much I loved them. I played with Starwars toys, read massive amounts of Starwars books (Timothy Zahn's dark empire trilogy is just... <3), read comics, and watched all the movies time and time again.
To be fair, Starwars has had a lot of ups and downs, and perhaps we're seeing a downward moment here, but the Last Jedi ended with me not excited for another Starwars film. I have never felt that way before. While the Force Awakens was a decent Starwars film, it at least ended with me excited for more Starwars and a hope of the franchise getting better again. Not so with the Last Jedi.
So what did I not like?
1. the destruction of characters: I don't mean character deaths. I love a good character death. What I despise is the destruction of the character. A really big example of this (to me) is the character of Poe Dameron. In the Force Awakens, he was a man committed to the mission of the Resistance, able to put off personal saftey and desire to complete the mission at all costs. He was a good soldier and a hotshot pilot. In the Last Jedi, he was watered down to a simple hot head with no respect of leadership. It wasn't the same character that I enjoyed. The other example is General Hux. He is supposed to be the ruthless head of the military of the First Order, a Hitler figure, which they captured pretty well in the force awakens. In the Last Jedi, he simply becomes the slapstick comic relief, which kills all sense of forboding that you feel about the first order. How can you fear something when you see the leader of it being used for laughing stock and being tossed about with as much care as you'd give to tossing a pebble. You can't, which is a big reason why actual propaganda films and cartoons make those sorts of people and those that they lead look silly. You aren't afraid of what you can laugh at. which leads to:
2. The humor is off(putting)/killed all tension: The Last Jedi is a film that should've been taken seriously. A lot of people die, and the stakes should've felt high. However, they never did. A big part of that was that whenever there was a tense situation, they would crack a joke, and it would feel out of place. The very start of the movie, they try to set up this tense scenario, where the resistance is trying it's best to get away from the fleet of the First Order. It was exactly what I wanted... until Poe hails General Hux and keeps the General on hold, literally (which for some reason he takes rather than blowing a lone xwing out of space without a moment of hesitation). The scene was really funny in and of itself, but it instantly killed all the tension that they were trying to build, and unfortunately, it set the trend for how the rest of the movie would flow. A bit of tension building, a joke that would release all that tension, and then an inability to bring the stakes back.
3. Dropped plot lines: Snoke? Eh, kill him. Rey's parents? no need to do much with that. Why did Luke go missing and leave a crumbtrail to find him? Let's just have it so that he wanted to wander off and die and hide that little inconvenience. Really, all this film did was drop every plot element that was being built up in the previous film. It was very, very disappointing.
4. Pacing/theme: The pacing was terrible. Any time your start to get really invested in a situation, it seems like the movie will cut away to something else.
5. the proverbial middle finger given to fans: I get it, Disney. You want to do your own thing with Star wars. But the reason you purchased it was because you know that it has a massive fan base. This movie really hurt a lot of those fans love of the series, and more importantly, the trust we had in you for making Star wars. So when you go and just pretty explicitly tell fans that all the past needs to die, you have to realize that fans are not going to like that you are telling them to give up a huge portion of what made them fall in love with the franchise.
6. It did not redeem the character of Rey: I have not been a fan of Rey. How could I? She is the definition of a Mary Sue. She picks up the use of the force super quickly. She can pilot. She can do everything without ever showing the growth needed. I had hoped that much like the original series, this movie would see the growth, the change, and possibly even some failure from her. But no. None of that happens. She is a perfect saber fighter, despite no training. She doesn't need training. There is nothing that brought her into the likable area.
7. Finn/Rose love story/arc: I don't think that I have ever seen such a forced story arc in a movie. Not only did it kill the pacing, but there was no chemistry there. *le sigh* Finn should've been able to sacrifice himself. much better tension, gives some credibility to the threat, and would've just made the film that much better.
Is everything bad with the film? Not at all. Visually, it is a treat. The scene where the Raddus gets flown into the first order fleet was absolutely breathtaking, even if I have some problems with the scene. The Battle in the salt flat was likewise stunning. The last ten minutes of the film were spot on for the most part, and was the only part of the movie that pulled me in and felt like Starwars. However, it wasn't enough to save this film, in my opinion.
I would love to see y'alls opinions about this, though