The Last Jedi has fans divided. The movie currently sits with a 56% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and an even worse 4.9 on Metacritic. In fact, negative reviews on Metacritic outnumber positive reviews by 116. I’m firmly in the camp that Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an absolute awful movie and the worst Star Wars film ever created. And here’s five reasons why.
**Massive Spoilers Below**
5. General Hux
Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi turns the imposing General Hux into a bumbling fool and idiot. He’s no longer someone the Resistance should fear, instead he’s now an incompetent nitwit who falls for the idiotic prank phone call. This is a drastic deviation from what we saw from General Hux in The Force Awakens. Hux is a rival to Kylo Ren in Supreme Leader Snoke’s eyes. He plays more of a Grand Moff Tarkin role who actually has the respect of not only Darth Vader, but the Emperor as well.
In fact, he stands up to Kylo Ren on multiple occasions. He even advises Snoke to destroy the Republic and is able to figure out what exactly Poe and Finn are up to when they return to Jakku. Just watch these scenes – they are in complete contrast to what we saw in The Last Jedi. This guy is truly fearsome and rivals Ren in Snoke’s favor.
In The Last Jedi, he actually accepts a hail from the enemy and is distracted by what I describe as a prank phone call. I’m sorry, General Hux is the man who immediately ordered his troops to fire upon Finn and Poe as they escaped the Star Destroyer. He would not accept the hail from the enemy or be so easily deceived. But this was just the beginning. Snoke even begins to refer to Hux as a pawn instead of his trusted General. What makes this even worse is the entire characterization defies the opening text of the movie which says the First Order have pushed the Resistance to extermination. Guess what, Hux was leading those forces.
But Hux wasn’t the only character Rian Johnson ruined as you’ll find out below.
4. First Order vs Resistance Fleet
The entire movie is wrapped around the chase between the First Order and Resistance Fleet. The First Order’s fleet is too slow to keep up with the Resistance so they must stay within range and wait for the Resistance’s fleet to run out of fuel. This might be the absolute dumbest thing I have heard, especially after what we saw in Rogue One and what we know of the technology in Star Wars. Rian Johnson must have forgotten that Star Wars has lightspeed. What was stopping Hux and the First Order from either calling in a separate fleet to head off the Resistance or sending one of their Star Destroyers through lightspeed to head them off? It’s not like this tactic is unheard of. In fact, we saw it play out in Rogue One. Darth Vader’s fleet arrives at Scarif to pin the Rebellion down, squeezing them between the defensive fleet already stationed at Scarif and his own formidable fleet.
It’s a tactic Hux, Snoke, Kylo Ren, and the entire First Order didn’t think of. It reeks of lack of research or at the very least a military advisor. This is Disney, they can afford to hire a military strategist or two to make your battles more believable.
3. Canto Bight subplot
Where to start here. This entire sequence was a complete abomination and should have never even been added to the final cut of this film. But let’s start at the beginning. Finn and Rose are somehow able to avoid detection of the First Order and jump to lightspeed. This is a slap in the face to the very first Star Wars film.
As you can see, the Empire was able to track escape pods and even determine if there is life on board. How in the world did they not notice a shuttle jump to lightspeed from the fleet they are pursuing? At least in Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo avoids their sensors by landing on the Star Destroyer. He then has to exit with the garbage in order for them not to track him. He only fires up the engines after the Star Destroyers jump to lightspeed. Instead Finn and Rose just jump to lightspeed with no consequences.
The entire idea of trying to get a person to hack the system is also a brand new idea to the Star Wars movies. Normally this task is left to R2D2, or in this new trilogy, BB-8. It’s confounding why they would need to go find some hacker in the first place. The Resistance should already have that hacker in BB-8. He was good enough to hotwire an AT-ST, he should have been good enough to break the First Order’s defenses.
Once they arrive, they are complete and bumbling fools and don’t even try to sneak in. They land on a giant public beach and are immediately threatened by the authorities. They apparently ignore these warnings off screen and pay the price. They then don’t even get the guy they are supposed to. Instead, they settle for some random guy in a jail cell. We then get scenes showing us how the rich live off the poor and how awful horse racing is. It just doesn’t really have an emotional appeal because it felt so hamfisted. It wasn’t authentic.
2. No Understanding of the Force
Rian Johnson doesn’t seem to understand The Force whatsoever. In fact, his explanations from Luke directly contradict what we see in the actual movie.
But before we dive in, here’s a refresher on what we learned about The Force from the original trilogy.
“The Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds, it penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together,” explains Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Then Yoda offers more insight in Empire Strikes Back.
But Yoda also reveals that there is a Dark Side to the Force. He even calls the cave on Dagobah a domain of evil.
But what we see from Luke when he is teaching Rey about the Force is that there is no Light Side or Dark Side. In fact, that’s the first lesson he tries to teach her. He reiterates the Force is all around us, but he rejects the idea of Light Side and Dark Side which was intrinsic to the original Star Wars trilogy. He even explains this by saying that’s why the Jedi fell to the Dark Side because the Light Side and Dark Side don’t really exist.
This goes against pretty much everything we know about the Force. There is a Light Side and a Dark Side and they are opposed to each other. In fact, you could say the Dark Side is a warping of the Force. It’s the use of fear, anger, and hate to control and manipulate the Force to do your own bidding. It’s why we never see Dark Side users become One with the Force. They can’t become One with the Force because they only know how to control and manipulate it. It’s why Darth Vader was so baffled when he struck down Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Johnson also believes one can close oneself off to the Force. This doesn’t make any sense if the Force is literally all around us and it penetrates us and binds the galaxy together. You can’t close yourself off from it.
1. Luke Skywalker
This might be the worst strike against Rian Johnson. He fundamentally didn’t understand the character of Luke Skywalker from the original trilogy. This is the young boy who chases his dreams. He might constantly fail, and even when he struggles he finds a sense of hope. He might have lost all faith on Dagobah, but Yoda shows him to never give up. Even when Luke finds himself succumbing to his anger in the final battle against Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, he finds that sense of hope in himself. He tosses his lightsaber away and refuses to do the Emperor’s bidding. He would rather die than fall to the Dark Side.
Rian Johnson rejects this. Luke Skywalker no longer has hope in The Last Jedi. In fact, he’s even “closed” himself off from the Force.
But that’s not the worst part. Luke explains to Rey he had a moment of weakness and ignited his lightsaber, ready to strike down Ben Solo. However, it quickly faded, but it was too late to stop Ben from bringing the hut down on him. You even hear Luke try and explain to Ben to stop, and it was a misunderstanding. But that’s it. Luke retreats to Ahch-To and becomes a hermit. This is not Luke Skywalker. This is not the man who would sacrifice his own life to redeem his father. He would have gone after Ben Solo. He would have tried to bring him back to the Light Side. Instead, Luke believes Kylo Ren is a lost cause by the end of the film. This is the complete opposite of the character we saw go from a boy to a man in three movies in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Disney sacrificed epic storytelling for a soulless cash grab. Rian Johnson should not go anywhere near a Star Wars movie ever again. He fundamentally doesn’t understand the Star Wars world.