The pressure was on for Rian Johnson, writer and director of The Last Jedi, to produce a Star Wars that was different. And that’s exactly what we got. Love it, hate it, or spend hours questioning your own existence — this is not the Star Wars you were expecting. Which has its benefits and pitfalls. The high moments of the film were mind blowing, leaving you wanting a lot more. And the low points were borderline abysmal. This odd combination left the audience confused and emotionally exhausted.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Rian Johnson took risks with The Last Jedi that others haven’t before. Risks like having Yoda show up as a force ghost. Yoda sets fire to the force tree (knowing Rey took the books) after Luke chickens out. He calls Luke out on his impulsiveness and has a good laugh at his expense. Then Yoda says, “We are what they grow beyond, this is the burden of true masters.” Change is good, embrace it.
Making choices and learning from mistakes is an underlying theme within The Last Jedi. Johnson is likely hoping the UPF’s (ultra-passionate fans as Hamill calls them) will grasp this and forgive him for going too far. Instances like Rose having a secret Resistance decoder ring which looks like it came out of a Cracker Jack Box.
If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, go see it right away. It’s worth every penny despite its flaws. Put a bookmark in this and be sure to come back, leaving your thoughts in the comment section. If you’ve seen it once and are unsure about your thoughts. Go see it again, but read through our choices first and let us know what you thought were the best and worst things that happened in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
20 Best: This Will Not Go How You Expect It Too
Throw out every preconceived notion of how a Star Wars film is supposed to look because nothing in The Last Jedi will go as you expect it too. Luke Skywalker speaks these words to Rey, but little did we realize this was the main theme of the movie. Johnson writes in misdirects every chance he gets, trying to throw the predictability factor out the window.
The twists were great and a majority of them you won’t see coming, even with a noticeable misdirect. Johnson will have you laughing, crying, and rolling your eyes all at the same time. It’s an emotional ride, but worth every penny. Especially on the second go around when you know which misdirects to ignore. Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride because this is what we asked for.
19 Worst: Pushing The Envelope To A State Of Ridiculousness
While the unpredictability of The Last Jedi was spectacular, there were a couple beats that pushed the envelope too far. The Force Awakens leaves off on one of the greatest cliffhangers of all time. TLJ waits a moment before bringing us back to this pivotal moment, but then has Luke throw the lightsaber over the cliff edge. Is it funny? Yes, but this isn’t Guardians of the Galaxy. Dropping it on the ground or tossing it nearby would've had a whole different effect, creating balance with the following beat.
Another ridiculous moment is General Leia floating like a witch in space, using the force to prevent her death. It looked fake, removing any emotions the audience might have had about Leia surviving or Carrie Fisher no longer being with us. But poor General Akbar gets sucked off into space and all he gets is a namedrop.
18 Best: The Forced Bond Between Light And Dark
Kylo Ren and Rey are the future of this trilogy. Snoke creates a bond in the force between them, allowing thoughts, words spoken, and environments to be felt. The dynamics between Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are intense and amazing. Not to mention the camera shots and framework were spot on each time they interacted.
As Rey and Kylo Ren move into their positions as the “light and dark,” these scenes of them connecting provide the backdrop needed to understand their eventual conflict.
Finding out that Snoke made this connection happen was Star Wars force manipulation at its best. It also showed how powerful Snoke is. Adding a dramatic effect to the throne room scene that wouldn’t have been there if not for the forced bond.
17 Worst: Fanservice Ruins The Canto Bight Storyline
The entire Canto Bight arc is fanservice at its worst. Fandom forgave Lucas for the mistakes made in the prequels, but nobody asked to have them incorporated back into the movies. With child slaves attending the racing horses to Rose having a secret Resistance ring. Canto Bight’s storyline felt like a parody created by a substance-induced Brooks and Lucas mashup.
The images of the casino were also a letdown, especially after seeing the behind-the-scene shots of the set. Even the characters in the casino all had a Jar-Jar affliction to them, and the jokes fell way flat.
This storyline also was a disservice to Finn and Rose’s characters. The distractions of their journey take away from a natural chemistry between the two.
Cutting this entire storyline out wouldn’t affect the outcome of the movie much at all. It was simply filler topped with way too much fanservice.
16 Best: Greatest Star Wars Fight Scene From New Generation
Everything about the throne room scene was thrilling to watch. If Star Wars can be classified as anything, this scene is an embodiment of it. Snoke is setting Kylo up for his official last step into the dark side, but drastically underestimates him. Rey is there to bring Kylo back to the light, also underestimating Ren.
The result ends with Snoke being sliced in half, along with a killer fight scene between the Elite Praetorian Guard pitted against Kylo and Rey. The team work and choreography were top notch. Beats like Kylo stabbing the last Praetorian Guard in the eye satisfy the Star Wars soul.
The throne room scene in The last Jedi deserves to be ranked right up with Darth Vader’s scene at the end of Rogue One. From beginning to end, with Luke’s lightsaber exploding, this was off-the-charts good Star Wars content.
15 Worst: Evil Gets The Shaft
The tone used throughout The Last Jedi left some questioning Johnson’s decisions. Take for instance how General Hux’s character gets treated. He’s humiliated, thrown around like a rag-doll and essentially gives evil a bad name. What makes the situation even more uncomfortable is knowing Hux was mentally and physically abused by his father. This makes the humor borderline uncomfortable for fans in the know how.
Topping the poor representation of Hux by a landslide, would be what was done with Captain Phasma. Less than five whole minutes of screen time and she might be dead?!?
The original trilogy was appealing because fans were invested equally in both the light and dark sides of the force. The Last Jedi made the First Order look like it was run by a bunch of evil rejects (Spaceballs again).
14 Best: Interaction Between Luke And Rey
Luke throwing his old lightsaber over the side of the cliff was distracting. But get past that moment and you’ll discover an amazing balance of human interaction between Rey and Luke. Johnson introduces this new relationship beautifully through Rey following Luke around for a day. From stabbing fish to drinking green milk, the events set the tone for their interactions.
Rey and Luke fit the mold of angry parent and teenager ready to save the world. His years of experience and knowledge leave him reserved, and slightly insane, while she still believes in rainbows and unicorns.
The time spent on Ahch-To was awesome, including R2-D2 and Chewbacca’s roles. The only thing missing was a resolution scene between Rey and Luke, but perhaps that’ll happen in Star Wars IX with a force ghost.
13 Worst: Let The Past Die
Kylo repeats the phrase “let the past die” several times, which we agree with. It’s time for a new generation of Star Wars movies. However, setting up the new hero’s while not paying homage to the canon material gives The Last Jedi an odd feel.
Phasma and Vice Admiral Holdo are excellent examples of this. Laura Dern did great with Holdo as did Gwendoline Christie with Phasma. But neither character was represented like their book counterparts. Poe also crossed over the line a few times, as did Leia. What’s the point of making the side material canon if it’s not represented in the movies?
We’re willing to let the past die, but Disney and Lucasfilm need to get on the same page regarding all the characters and their respected futures within the franchise.
12 Best: From A Certain Point Of View Changes Everything
The question of what happened the night Luke’s Jedi school was burned to the ground has finally been answered. And the way Rian Johnson went about presenting it was captivating. Luke tells it from his perspective and it's shown in a flashback. While later Kylo presents his point of view, also through a flashback.
The tension between Luke and Kylo finally makes sense after seeing their respected point of views. Why Skywalker holes himself up on an island also gets answered through these flashbacks, adding much needed depth to the story.
Tension created between Poe and Leia also use this method, showing how each character sees things differently. General Organa slapping Poe on the face was classic and well-deserved. Poe trying to start a coup also embraces this direction, showing off his failures as a leader.
11 Worst: Execution Of Maz Setting Up Canto Bight
The biggest issue with having too many characters is providing them adequate screen time. Maz was thrown in as a fanservice, but the execution of her time on screen felt forced and unnatural.
She never inquires as to the fate of her favorite smuggler Han Solo (awkward) and her speech to find a slicer felt like something out of a campaign in Battlefront 2. Maz was a character that audiences wanted more of, but not in a fanservice way. Her short arc was unfulfilling and felt like a distraction.
Ironically, the poor execution of Maz’s character sets up the disaster waiting within the Canto Bight storyline. It all felt forced (pun intended) in the most unnatural of ways. Fifteen minutes of politics would have been better than what we got.
10 Best: New Ships And Destroying Dreadnoughts
Introducing the B/SF-17 heavy bomber and the Dreadnought were enough to send a space geek to a better place. Add in the powerful emotions felt through Paige Tico’s sacrifice and it’s Star Wars at its best. The shots of the ships were visually stunning. From Poe taking out cannons to the arrival of Snoke’s Mega-class Star Destroyer the Supremacy looming over the fleeing Resistance.
Just when you think the space battles can’t get any better, Vice Admiral Holdo does the unthinkable. She turns the Raddus (named after Admiral Raddus who led the assault on Scarif in Rogue One) around and sacrifices herself to save the Resistance. Punching the Raddus into lightspeed, it slices the Supremacy clean in half. The camera angles used during these shots, along with a lack of sound made this act breath taking to watch.
9 Worst: Saying Farewell To An Old Jedi
Luke’s time had to end. But how he left was both powerful and distracting. Luke enters the mine base of Crait and heads straight towards Leia. His apology and goodbye to Carrie were touching, but his CGI character distracted from the emotional exchange.
Luke heads out to stop the First Order as a distraction. Which is fine, except he fails to tell Leia or Poe his plan before heading out. He then gets hit with two minutes worth of blaster fire, but doesn’t have a scratch on him. Yet, for some reason, Kylo Ren can’t decipher that Luke is a force image until he lands a blow.
The fight seemed out of place and out of character, which ultimately takes away from the impact of Luke fading away into the force. Which is a shame because the potential for a tear jerking moment was there.
8 Best: Slicers And Smugglers Needed
Benicio Del Toro’s performance of DJ was killer. Sadly, it was lumped in with the whole Canto Bight storyline, making his arc seem pointless. Slicers and smugglers are a huge part of the Star Wars lore, and fans want to see more of DJ’s type of character. Del Toro’s take on DJ was spot on, and we wish we had seen more of it.
DJ’s stuttering, thievery, and ability to survive by flipping sides gave The Last Jedi a touch that was necessary. Hopefully, his character will become more than fanservice, showing back up in episode nine, causing more havoc and chaos again.
Watching Del Toro slice into the Supremacy and hack his way through the ship was entertaining, almost redeeming Canto Bight, until the weak Phasma and Finn fight.
7 Worst: No Answers Regarding Origin Of Rey’s Powers
Just when we think we’ll catch a glimpse of who Rey’s parents are, a misdirect is thrown and audiences were given a mirror image of Rey herself. Kylo mentions that her parents were drunks who sold her for drinking money, but it still doesn’t explain her origin of powers. The scene with her on Ahch-To, however, with hundreds of Rey’s was neat and unexpected.
Rey can’t be some random child in the galaxy who awakened within the force. She’s way too strong, meaning there must be an explanation. Her parents were drunks, and she was abandoned — that’s all fine and good, but where’s the rest of the tale? We’ll have to wait until the next Star Wars movie, because this subject was breezed over like a Sunday morning nap.
6 Best: Natural Chemistry Between Finn And Rose
Despite poor character arcs, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran had excellent chemistry. The initial scene in which they first meet was executed like a well-oiled machine. Rose stunning Finn for trying to bail, no matter his reasoning, was creative and entertaining. John and Kelly feed off one another in a natural way.
Canto Bight may have taken some of that magic away, but the flow created between both actors will shine when put in the right circumstances. This is one area we hope Rian Johnson and J. J. Abrams will learn and improve upon.
There have been comments about the “love triangle” between Finn, Rey, and Rose being childish — but we like it and have no qualms about it. Teenage drama is fine if it keeps the story moving in the right direction.
5 Worst: Stupid Actions And Choices On Crait
The images and camera shots from Crait were amazing to see on the big screen. But this is the only positive aspect concerning the old Rebel base planet. The red was visually stunning, but it also made a Stormtroopers job easy. Who can’t hit a target with a red trail coming from behind it?
Only one way in and out of the base was goofy. Add in how Finn and Rose survived to get back into the base, and the third act is starting to fall apart. Speaking of. Finn going all sacrificial over a single cannon was over-the-top and strange, since it wasn’t likely the only blasting cannon the First Order owned.
Rey turns up in the Millennium Falcon with Chewie just in time, and Luke tells no one his plan, mostly to confuse the audience. All these mishaps put together makes the planet Crait a giant letdown. After a great beginning to a third act, Crait failed to finish the job.
4 Best: Music Keeps The Last Jedi Alive
John Williams does a great job (as always) of incorporating music from almost every single Star Wars movie ever made. The score was a beautiful balance of old mashed with new.
Music plays a larger part in movies than most realize. This is especially true within the Star Wars franchise, where nostalgia is key. Even in the sequences that were rough, jumpy, or confusing, Williams keeps the flow moving with his talented score writing.
John Williams was given a nomination for The Force Awakens, but his last award win for Star Wars dates to A New Hope. The great thing about his scores is they cater to audiences of all ages, even those without a classical music bone. The Last Jedi score will hopefully reverse the awards trend and pay tribute to the talent contained within John Williams.
3 Worst: Where Are The Knights Of Ren?
The question gets answered regarding how the Jedi school burned to the ground, but the issue of the Knights of Ren was largely ignored. Kylo mentions that half of the students joined him in his rebellion against Luke. But where are they now? Did Snoke snuff them all out, or are the Knights of Ren simply a figment of Kylo’s imagination.
The most frustrating part about the Knights of Ren stems from Abrams putting them into Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens. What was the purpose behind that if we never get to see them in action? Plus, bringing them into the story at this point would be counterproductive. Which means fans of the knights best write them off because we doubt you’ll be seeing them soon.
2 Best: It’s All A Machine
This is the best quote from DJ when speaking to Finn regarding individuals who profit from both sides of war. While the subject might be a little close to home on the reality scale, it’s a major part that wasn’t overlooked. This also adds to Finn’s confusion regarding if he wants to choose a side or keep running.
Speaking of machines. BB-8 controlling the AT-AT on Snoke’s ship was ingenious. BB-8 is a cool addition and were glad to have him, although it would have been nice to see R2 and C3-PO have more action.
We have a strong feeling this theme of “it’s all a machine” will carry over into Star Wars IX. It’s a great concept and we’re looking forward to seeing more of it.
1 Worst: Disjointed Beats Like Riding A Roller Coaster
The most common response to The Last Jedi on social media was the feeling of exhaustion. With the beats jumping all over the place and the extreme highs and lows, our biggest complaint would come down to the final edits of TLJ. The flow overall was off, which happens when risks are taken and they all don’t pan out.
TLJ isn’t a bad movie by any means, but this “new” version of Star Wars still needs some tweaking. Seeing the film for a second time clears out most of the emotional roller coaster and lets you focus on the good parts. The misdirects were a great concept, but we hope that the future writers and directors will notice what worked — and what didn’t. May the mistakes made in The Last Jedi be a learning tool, bringing fans more Star Wars for decades to come.