Star Wars: The Last Jedi

These movies keep talking about "hope", and yes, I too keep hoping, only to have my hopes dashed. Not as much this time, however. Just somewhat dashed — like a concussion, instead of my brains all over the street. The Last Jedi is a good movie and a bad movie meshed into one: the good side of the storytelling force plus the dark side of commercial intent and pandering. There are many parts that are good and truly cinematic in The Last Jedi, and I still think the lead actors were inspired choices. But at the same time it suffers from a serious case of blockbuster-itis, never letting up like a hyperactive child. It has no rhythm.

Or think of it this way: say you have a glass vase, and you fill it with rocks — big rocks, small rocks, medium rocks... lots of variation, with eye-catching spaces in between where they lean on each other. Now let's also fill the vase to the top with sand: that's what they did with The Last Jedi. The movie is stuffed with extra nonsense to the point that the core story is buried and in some cases given short shrift, robbing the movie of an overall emotional arc.

An example: the scenes on the island with Luke and Rey — wonderful but short and interrupted too often. Let it breathe! The super-busyness prevents a sense of scale or build-up, so that the truly important scenes (like the incredible light-sabre fight) lose stature. The same is true in terms of character: the evil emperor, for example, is like another bit player, a silly CGI cartoon; we never get a chance to be really afraid of him, story-wise (aside from him being little more than unappetizing visually), because there are too many other battles going on, one after another. It makes no sense that The Last Jedi dared to reframe the Force in a more subtle way, but then piled on so many tons of other garbage.

David Roberts of Vox recently wrote a great article that echoes a lot of things I felt:

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