Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is the second chapter of Lucasfilm’s latest trilogy set within the Star Wars universe. Writer/director Rian Johnson takes the reins from J.J. Abrams, who kicked off this new installment of the Skywalker Saga in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Even though Episode VII was clearly a cut and paste retelling of A New Hope, it successfully relaunched the Star Wars franchise for next generation of movie goers. Now, Rian Johnson not only had to come up with a worthy follow up to keep the momentum going, he had to bridge the gap between The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode IX.
In my opinion Rian Johnson had a few options.
First, build upon the burning questions that were set up in The Force Awakens. Like who are Rey’s parents? How will Finn find his place in the resistance? Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? How did Kylo turn to the dark side?
Second, he could have scaled back some the epic battles and see with how everyone deals with the death of Han Solo at the hands of his own son.
Third and in my opinion, the worst thing to do when a franchise gets successfully rejuvenated. Take everything you love about its history and throw out the window.
Usually I am all for shaking up a tired formula in a franchise, but this was definitely the wrong time to start to shake things up. Most Star Wars fans are still getting over those dreaded prequels, and The Force Awakens gave the fans a new hope that the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm’s may not have been such a bad idea after all.
If it were up to me I would have made a few tweaks here and there to bring in both new and old fans into this new journey into a galaxy far, far away. Then once the fan base settles in then you start reinventing the lore as new characters and trilogies get introduced.
I understand that Rian Johnson wanted to shake things up to keep the momentum going. But, it seems like he is trying way too hard to shake things up, just to get people shocked. I would be alright if the changes to the Star Wars lore had any value to them, but for the most, it seems that their purpose here is to simply shock the fan base. Haven’t we’ve been through enough already?
So, if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, then please do not read the rest of the review. Here are some the changes that I thought served little or no purpose to the film or to the franchise.
****Spoiler Alerts*** in case you have been living under a rock.
First off, this is hands down Mark Hamill's best performance in a Star Wars film. Unfortunately, Hamill is not playing Luke Skywalker. It was like watching a grumpy old man from a deleted scene of Space Balls.
Second, the death of Supreme Leader Snoke? We have waiting two years for the back story of Snokes’s origin, only to have him be killed by his apprentice Kylo Ren?
Third, the true identity of Rey's parents is one of the biggest mysteries J.J. Abrams brought up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That Rey’s parents are "nobodies", junkers who sold their daughter for alcohol money, was not only disappointing but a complete waste of time.
Delivered so nonchalantly; I do hope that Kylo Ren was simply not telling truth and that the big reveal will present itself in Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still an entertaining watch and deserves to be seen on the big screen. Just keep in mind that Rian Johnson and his creative team have decided to tear apart the lore that Star Wars fans grew up with and hold dear. Like I mentioned earlier, I would understand some slight tweaking of the formula to guide the franchise to an epic conclusion, but that simply isn’t the case here. To shock simply for shock value does not make for a good Star Wars sequel. I applaud Johnson and his creative for trying something different, but in this case, it was wasn’t executed properly ,nor was it the appropriate time to do so.