Mark Hamill turned up at my hometown the other day to open the “Sky Walk” bridge (just like me, the locals love a good pun). I decided to commemorate the event by watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As someone who enjoyed The Force Awakens and Rogue One, I have to say that this film is the weakest of Disney’s post Lucas efforts. Hopefully Solo will put the franchise back on track, although I am pessimistic on that prediction due to the film’s well-publicised production troubles. Replacing directors, partway through filming, sounds like a recipe for disaster. It certainly didn’t save Justice League from being a disappointment.
Following on from The Force Awakens’ conclusion, Rey has located Luke Skywalker on an isolated alien world. She hopes that the legendary Jedi will teach her the ways of the Force. Unfortunately for her, Luke has become a reclusive hermit who is opposed to mentoring new apprentices. Skywalker would rather spend his retirement alone drinking green milk, which he harvests by pinching a hideous extra terrestrial’s nipples. Believe me, the image is even more grotesque than my written description. Meanwhile the Resistance is on the run and begin the film pursued by a First Order fleet.
X-Wing ace Poe Dameron earns the good guys a reprieve by leading an attack that fells a First Order dreadnaught. The assault however comes at the cost of many casualties. In the battle’s aftermath, the surviving Resistance craft find themselves low on fuel and still hounded by their enemy’s armada. Perhaps they can flee if someone infiltrates the First Order flagship and hacks their computers, with the aplomb of a Cambridge Analytica Facebook App. Ex-Storm Trooper Finn volunteers to find a code breaker who is up to the task. He begins his search on a casino world, ably assisted by his new yandere girlfriend Rose.
I am awarding Star Wars: The Last Jedi a two and a half out of five. Despite the lengthy 152 minute running time I can’t say that the movie ever bored me. I was however underwhelmed by how the script squandered the potential set up by its predecessor. Director Rian Johnson inherited a story packed with juicy mysteries, but chose not to explore any of them. The question of Rey’s parentage was answered in a most anticlimactic manner. Meanwhile audiences hoping to learn of Snoke’s backstory will find nothing here. Just like Darth Maul, this villain looks sinister but doesn’t have much substance. I suppose the character’s origins will be left for novels and spin-offs to expand.
Just like The Force Awakens, this movie recycles material from the original trilogy. AT-AT Walkers on a snowy battlefield, a protagonist training under an eccentric master and heroes ending the movie on the ropes all harken back to Empire. One thing that really bugged me was Luke’s portrayal. I understand that people get grouchier with age, but Skywalker’s personality shift was too much. He’s completely apathetic to the plight of his friends and family, just because he discovered that his nephew is a bit emo. Let’s hope that J.J. Abrams can salvage this mess in Episode IX. Otherwise, I too may join the despondent ranks of Kylo Ren by moping about, dressing in black and listening to Simple Plan tunes.