So, seems Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a bit polarizing among the more die-hard fans. I guess you can’t please everyone, and Star Wars fans can be fickle and occasionally irrational; I’m one of them, so I would know!
But I’m not buying some of their complaints this time.
Here are some quick thoughts on a few of the main “complaints” from “fans” I’m seeing online. Big-time spoiler alert, naturally.
Holdo didn’t tell Poe her plan, and that was dumb!
The argument here is that if only Vice-Admiral Holdo had told Poe of her plan to abandon ship and head for Crait, Poe wouldn’t have launched his own plan, which ended up backfiring and getting almost everyone killed.
But the thing is, there’s absolutely no reason for Holdo to tell Poe anything. She’s a Vice-Admiral; Poe is just a fighter pilot. That’s how command works in any sort of military. It’s doubly true in this case since, as far as Holdo knows, Poe’s not trustworthy. They’ve never met before today, and the one thing she does know about him, is that on his previous mission he disobeyed direct orders from his commanding officer, got their entire bomber squadron killed, and got demoted for it. So it seems pretty damn obvious to me why she didn’t tell him. Until he got his orders to board a transport there was no reason for him to know anything.
They set up Snoke to be this big bad guy and cheated us out of learning his background!
The argument here is that Snoke’s background was teased as a mystery in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and that—with his death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi—we’ll never know his background, and that’s “bad storytelling.”
But there is no mystery behind Snoke’s background. We, the audience, don’t know anything about Snoke or who he is, true. But none of the characters act like it’s a mystery. They discuss him in both films matter-of-factly; they clearly know all they need to know about Snoke. It’s not a mystery to anyone in the story, and they’re the only ones that matter—not the audience. Revealing details about Snoke’s background wouldn’t move the plot forward in any way.
Besides, if you look a little closer, Snoke’s story arc plays out almost identically to the Emperor’s in the original trilogy. We first saw the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back as a giant floating head who was manipulating things from afar; Snoke was exactly the same in The Force Awakens. In Return of the Jedi, Vader visits with the Emperor in his throne room, and then brings Luke back to the throne room in handcuffs so that the Emperor can turn him. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren visits Snoke in his throne room, and then brings Rey back to the throne room in handcuffs so that Smoke can turn her. In ROTJ, a fight ensues and Vader kills the Emperor; in TLJ, Ren kills Snoke then a fight ensues.
Here’s the takeaway: We learned NOTHING about the Emperor in those two movies. We never even learned his name! We knew he was in charge, and he was strong with the dark side, and that he wanted Luke on his side. Then he died. And no one’s complaining about that. Snoke’s exactly the same! So why does it matter that we don’t know anything about Snoke? It doesn’t. That “mystery” was nothing more than fan expectation.
What’s with all these new Force powers? That’s not how the Force works!
We see Luke use some new power of Force projection or illusion, and ghost Yoda causing a lightning storm, and Ren and Rey communicating via the Force, and people think that’s phony.
But just because you haven’t seen it before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And “new” force powers have been revealed in pretty much every movie to date. Remember, all Obi-Wan did in Star Wars was his mind trick, and speak to Luke after he was killed; so everything that’s happened after that, from Luke levitating rocks to The Emperor casting lightning from his hands, is a “new Force power”.
On top of all that, let’s remember that Luke and Yoda are two of the most powerful Jedi that ever lived. Luke’s the Last Jedi, son of the chosen one, finally brought balance to the Force etc. and he has access to the sacred Jedi texts! I bet he can do some crazy Force shit like you’ve never seen.
Yoda’s been around for 900 years, and he helped Qui-Gon Jinn discover the Force afterlife, and he’s had nothing else to do for 30 years so he’s mastered it.
Problem solved. Not everything needs a detailed explanation, especially when they lead to amazing movie moments like Yoda’s final lesson and Luke’s total own of Kylo Ren. And every scene with Rey and Kylo is incredible. So give me the new Force powers if they give me goosebump moments!
Luke would never abandon his friends! It’s a betrayal of his character!
So this seems to be the big one. Luke’s turned into a crotchety old man, and when his friends need help, he doesn’t jump into his X-Wing and go help, and that’s not who Luke Skywalker is, they say.
I disagree with the premise entirely, because Luke doesn’t actually abandon his friends. He goes into hiding when the universe is at peace, remember? He’s not abandoning anything; he’s not needed. And when he is, he does come back—eventually, with a little arm-twisting—and he literally saves them all in the end.
But furthermore, why do you think Luke wouldn’t experience hesitation or doubt? Yes, he ran off in Empire to save Han and Leia… and look what it cost them! (Also, do you not remember how much of a whiner he is in Star Wars? Is it any surprise he’s off sulking when things aren’t going his way?)
I wrote in my review of what I liked most about The Last Jedi how I thought the intervening years affected Luke and that I totally bought his arc, as someone who was broken down by failure and needed the support of his teacher to get back on his feet.
Beyond that though, I believe Luke experiences hesitation and doubt multiple times in the original trilogy. Remember, he initially doesn’t even agree to go with Obi-Wan on his mission to save Leia; that only comes after he learns he has no home to go back to. In Empire, he starts to think coming to Dagobah was a bad idea, fails Yoda’s tests repeatedly (“I can’t do it, it’s too heavy; you want the impossible”), and then runs off as mentioned. In Jedi, after Yoda dies Luke despairs that he can’t go on alone, and that he can’t kill his own father. And after he and the crew reach Endor, he starts to think he shouldn’t have come on the mission at all. And, he does ultimately succumb to the Emperor’s manipulations—grabbing his lightsaber and preparing to kill the Emperor before Vader intervenes.
So trust me, folks, Luke isn’t the super-confident, headstrong, rush into action and make the right choice all the time kid that you think he is. He never was.
His arc between Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi is true to the character. And in the end he does the right thing, just as he always did before.
The hyperspace suicide jump ruins space combat in the Star Wars universe!
So the argument here is that if you can ram one ship into another at lightspeed, destroying it both, why do you need weapons; all you need is something with a hyperdrive and a droid to pilot it. The Rebels could have destroyed the Death Star by flying a Y-Wing into it at light speed!
The thing about this one, is… well, it’s… ah, crap. This one’s true. All of it.
I can’t really argue it. It’s a cheat code. I’m sure you could come up with some sort of technical explanation… but it’s a cheat.
Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a kick-ass moment, because it sure was—one of the highlights of the film.
But, it’s a cheat. I’m with the die-hards on this one.
OK, so there you go—I’m not completely in disagreement over all of the complaints. But mostly, I don’t really get the negativity towards The Last Jedi from die-hards. Every Star Wars film can be nitpicked apart, if you really want to. This one has great performances, stunning and unexpected twists, great visual effects and creature effects… why is it getting all the scorn?
I don’t get it.
But ignore the noise, I say. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great movie.
One last thought: Imagine if today’s Star Wars fans had been adults when The Empire Strikes Back came out. They would have lost their shit when they found out Vader was Luke’s Father!