Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
December 13, 2017 1:52 PM - Subscribe

Having taken her first steps into the larger Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.
posted by Start with Dessert (1516 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Saw this last night at the midnight screening.

So many thoughts that I won't do justice to here - I'm sure others will come along with much more articulate comments.

In a nutshell, I thought it captured what I take as the spirit of Star Wars. It was wild, wacky and fun. It has some very moving and serious scenes but I snorted out loud and a number of intentionally hilarious moments (which is how I always felt about the original films as I watched hem much later and as a grown up).

It was long. It felt long, but not in a bad way? For a timeline that took place over a couple of days - I definetly got that impression, I felt absorbed in the world.

I was actually a little bit "eh" on Adam driver in TFA but I thought he knocked it out of the park in this movie. His "scenes" with Rey were brilliant.

I really appreciated Johnson's filmmaking style, there were some interesting visual cues (thinking off the scene in the "temple" with the books etc) that I really liked and wasn't expecting in a Star Wars film.

I had a pang of bittersweet sadness every time Carrie Fisher on screen, but it was all the more meaningful to see Leia as a result.

Not sure how to feel about Rose. I appreciated the casting and that she was smart and comic relief and was afraid she would die as a non-essential. I also liked that she wasn't ended up cast as stereotypical asexual side-kick and it seems to imply that Finn might have similar feelings. Not sure that was so necessary but if it opens the door to more Reylo feels (omg!!) then I'm on board.

I feel like we are slowly (in a good way) moving away from the original films. TFA was too much fan service to those films - but maybe that was necessary. Kylo has "destroyed" his idol of Vader, Solo and Luke are now dead and Leia is probably not going to be in the next film (one would assume). This is necessary for the storytelling to evolve even if the archetypes remain the same - the story of good and evil and balance will always be there. But now, maybe, the old way is done.

Also, porgs. Yes, they were everything I wanted them to be.
posted by liquorice at 2:15 PM on December 13, 2017 [37 favorites]


Ah damn you beat me to this post! Just about to leave to see it at the midnight screening :)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:10 PM on December 13, 2017


Saw it this morning, and liquorice has it exact.

It was long, but man, that was a good ride.
posted by Seeba at 3:41 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am sorry about the typos, I didn't get much sleep and was excited that this thread appeared so I could discuss!
posted by liquorice at 3:44 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


The porgs were cute, but no, I lost my heart to those crystal foxes. I want one.

I reallyx56 like this one, but briefly, I like it for a lot of reasons I know full well JJ Abrams isn't particularly strong in so count me as super-not excited that he's back for the next one.

As I was watching it, I thought that Rian Johnson managed to do in half an hour (in terms of exploring the themes) with Finn and Rose's subplot what it took Lucas the whole prequels and nowhere near as well nor as concisely. In fact, taken on the whole, I feel like their subplot really stated the intent of the movie, which was moving away from the Great Men of History idea, which, back to the Skywalkers, meant he had to spend time deconstructing all the fanservice rubbish TFA left him with. In fact he really did manage to make a lemonade out of that lemon, by leaning on all of the implications the last movie was more than happy to not think of. And it's not like it was done that it became a soft reboot. The movie was having an active conversation with the whole legacy of the franchise and what it's become and meant to ppl (in that galaxy, but also to us).

And in terms of how the original trilogy borrowed heavily from Asian cinema, this one did too, but it somehow felt ... Well it doesn't feel like it was aping the Star Wars pastiche so it became a copy of a copy, but more like a first-cut Star Wars movie that reproduced its Asian influences. In fact, it just feels like a really well-done riff instead of a nostalgic fanservice, so yes, there are parts that are definitely callbacks but it was there first as a needed story point, not just because It Was Cool™.

And, for a couple of major reasons, Leia's arc in this one was truly bittersweet for me. It really felt apparent the next one was going to be her movie.
posted by cendawanita at 5:14 PM on December 13, 2017 [34 favorites]


Ha. Saw it hadn't been posted and wanted to have it ready by the time I came out of the theatre. Hopefully, people won't read this before seeing the film but I'll warn anyway.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I'm pretty critical about most movies immediately after I've seen them. I definitely need to spend some more time processing but I'll get a few things out now.

Loved having old mischievous Yoda back. Super happy that they went with puppet Yoda rather than CG Yoda (although I admit it could have been CG puppet Yoda.) Plenty of nods to the older movies but better integrated than in the Force Awakens.

Happy they didn't go the obvious route by killing off Leia. It does leave me wondering how they'll approach her death in the next film. There's no way they'd get away with a digital double like in the spinoff movie.

I might have preferred Luke to be disappeared in person rather than in spectral form, but then we wouldn't have got binary sunsets (which I loved.)

I liked Del Toro's fatalistic rogue and thought he fit in nicely as the Han Solo character. Plenty of room there for development.

Phasma has got to be the most wasted character in the series so far. Even if they give her a badass Boba Fett sarlac pit survival story and bring her back, there hasn't been enough made of her to make me want that.

Heaps more to say but I'll mull on it a little longer.
posted by Start with Dessert at 5:20 PM on December 13, 2017 [6 favorites]


I just got out, thought it was very good not great. Overall satisfied though.

Things that didn't work so well:
There were some pacing issues, esp in the first half. They spent too long on jedi Island without really doing anything and there was too much intercutting for no real purpose.

Despite the leisurely run time, some of the plotting felt a bit forced and arbitrary esp in the first half. I wanted something that felt a bit more organic, and the best parts of the film did feel that way.

They were a bit trigger happy. I get it, kill the old guard, sure, but they are wiping out a lot of momentum and a sense of continuity every time they do it.

What I loved about it :

Mark Hammil was bloody magnificent. His irritable jedi was hilarious, believable, tragic, everything. He bought a stage presence to the role that outshone everyone else.

Rose, and women and star wars diversity in general. I thought the first two "new star wars" were a total dude ranch outside the main characters, a white dude ranch. As a father of two non white girls, it warms the cockles of my heart to know they have heroines to look up to in movies like this and it wasn't so long ago there weren't any.

Fin, rey and the gang. They are still great, great chemistry and acting.

The humour. I feel like Johnson didn't take himself too serious and I liked it. The lols were great.

The opening sequence was awesome, I did feel that the other starship battles were a bit blah. Nowhere near as good as rogue squadron. Lacked a sense of spectacle.

Overall I was happy, looking forward to watching it again.
posted by smoke at 6:23 PM on December 13, 2017 [8 favorites]


omg how did i forget to mention....

***SPOILERS*********


FORCE USER LEIA ayyyyyyyyyy
posted by cendawanita at 6:38 PM on December 13, 2017 [29 favorites]


Further reflection: I felt that Johnson kinda muffed the "pursued rebel ship" angle - he could have/should have gone for a kind of Das Boot claustrophobia sense of impending doom. As a set up there's a lot of tension in it - but he didn't really do much with that.

He should have shown them trying desperate gambit after desperate gambit, watching their fuel gauges slowly running out as repeated gambles don't work. It didn't escalate very well, partially because they never did anything on the ship (no wonder Poe was frustrated, why did they need to keep the plan secret??), partially because it seemed to play out in about four hours, which is just nutso.
posted by smoke at 6:50 PM on December 13, 2017 [24 favorites]


Favourite bits:
Adam Driver
The Kylo/Rey scenes
Grumpy Luke
The fucking hyperspace-into-the-flagship shot - I think the whole cinema gasped.
And holy shit, the "close your eyes, reach out, oooh can you feel that? That's the force" bit - that was probably my favourite joke in a surprisingly funny film.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:39 PM on December 13, 2017 [42 favorites]


I enjoyed it overall, but felt it was a highly mixed affair with some strange mixing of pacing and tone. The whole casino section felt very cartoony and out of place, dare I say prequelesque, and could have easily been replaced with mr codebreaker being phoned on the hololinkthingy while they were claustrophobicly under siege. It was a bit like an episode of Rebels, with Hondo and Ezra riding the animals to freedom while a moral/political metaphor is clumsily shoehorned into the plot. And Maz Kanata's inclusion felt like some kind of obligation fulfilment rather than something the narrative needed.

I saw the film as a double bill with The Force Awakens, and in that context the lack of Snoke backstory expansion felt like a let down. But meh, these are all negatives. The flip side is that it had some really roaring action sequences and I continue to find Rey to be a hugely likeable character.

4 out of 5. Would watch again.
posted by samworm at 11:52 PM on December 13, 2017 [14 favorites]


So getting in again before everyone and their dog sees it.

I agree with the strange pacing but to me that's what made it so "Star Wars-ie." It felt extremely episodic, and there was quite a lot of cross-cutting between the characters. I'm going to have to see it again, but I miss when Lucas used to have fun with his wipes.

Cool to see the Red Cloaks finally see some action, even if they completely failed in their job and were pretty much fodder for Ren and Rey.

Another bit that I very much liked was BB8 imitating the little black Death Star droids. Oh! And C-3PO giving us the odds! Most of the humour actually worked pretty well. Although, maybe one or two too many shots of the Porg getting swung around inside the falcon while on manoeuvres. First time got a chuckle, the rest, crickets.

Does anyone feel like John Williams is phoning it in these days? It seemed like most of the film had been pre-scored with all of his previous music. No significant new themes - a little of Leia's theme here, a little of Rey's theme there. I'm kinda missing the opera part of this space-opera.

With Snoke gone, and us left with a "conflicted" Kylo Ren, it's unlikely we'll see him reestablished as the "big bad." Yeah, he killed Snoke, yeah, he managed to become Supreme Ruler, but he was also handily manipulated by both Snoke and Luke. Most importantly, he failed to take the shot at Leia.

So there really isn't much of a Rebellion left, but the First Order has been left on shaky ground. I love how petulant Kylo Ren is - he has so much of his grandfather in him.

Anyone want to make something out of Rey's meaningful look at Finn when he was tucking in Rose? Are we seeing Rey's path to the dark side?
posted by Start with Dessert at 12:58 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


I loved it, but agree with smoke that Jedi Island was too long. There was some very jumpy edits there as they went back and forth between the different plot threads. The 'let's leave the ship and go to a casino to get the McGuffi...I mean, some guy' bit was just...weird? It just seemed to throw me out of the movie and into some bizarre James Bond crossover. As samworm notes above, the whole bit felt like one of the prequels in a way that Mos Eisley, Jabba's palace and Maz Kanata's bar didn't.

Was half expecting a Sixth Sense moment after Ben tried to cut Luke in half - 'ha ha I died on the island ages ago and I've been a Force ghost this whole time!' but the closing scene with the twin suns was just great.

I'm really, really glad they didn't kill Leia off.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:44 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


I can't wait to rewatch this this weekend, but I am a little perplexed at how the initial reactions have been dismissive of Finn & Rose's plotline. I guess no one pays attention to hobbits if you're raised to only pay attention to the great stories of the men of Numenor (or Skywalkers in this example). I can definitely agree that it could feel more integrated, but literally out of everyone it was Finn and Rose (especially Rose) who directly inspired the next generation of rebels who witnessed them. I also thought at first that what was the point of all that macguffin hunt if they never got to destroy it, but then I realised, that's the point. Their story wasn't about being another cog in Struggles of Great Men, and the Last Desperate Play (which the story was very consistent about critiquing, see: Poe's entire arc, and Finn's last run at the tractor beam), it's about being inspiring just by being themselves. I mean, Finn retreated to his old habits before Rose, more than Rey even, literally changed his thinking about being part of the struggle. In a way, what Rose is, would've felt more at home with what Rogue One intended.
posted by cendawanita at 3:03 AM on December 14, 2017 [38 favorites]


(Thanks for spoiler warnings above: I am seeing it Friday morning at 9:00, so I only need to stay unspoiled for the next 27 hours. I’ve managed to ignore most of the speculation, previews, and general crouton-petting so far, but I needed a little dose of enthusiasm to cover this last stretch.)
posted by wenestvedt at 3:21 AM on December 14, 2017


I was hoping for a Finn and Poe romance. I keep forgetting that we can believe in aliens and Jedi, but a lgbta+ romance is unbelievable.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:18 AM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]


I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was very frenetic, wouldn't have minded it slowing down at between action scenes. The plot seemed like an improvement on The Force Awakens, this time the most obvious thing doesn't always happen. I really liked Rose as a character, was good to see an ordinary person who gets stuck in without having any special ancestry or elite training.

I thought it was well balanced on the whole, some epic battles, some facedowns, the comedy elements fitting in well instead of undercutting the drama.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:13 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


i'm not reading anything until i see it tonight, i'm wearing this to the theater. so excited
posted by numaner at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Does anyone feel like John Williams is phoning it in these days? It seemed like most of the film had been pre-scored with all of his previous music.

Yep I felt that.

I'm sure I read somewhere that Johnson had asked Williams to record the score before the shooting wrapped so that he could edit to it. From what I know, Williams usually composes at least to a work print.
posted by popcassady at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Whoah I just remembered the six-boobed sea creature blue milk bit, what was THAT all about
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:55 PM on December 14, 2017 [45 favorites]


I mean I guess Luke really likes blue milk.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2017 [25 favorites]


Did anyone else think they saw the Ancient Jedi Texts in the drawer on the Falcon at the end? Did Rey steal them before she left?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [64 favorites]


I saw some things that looked more like sticks with runes on.
posted by popcassady at 3:37 PM on December 14, 2017


I definitely thought that was the Ancient Jedi Texts in the drawer.

Also, yes, that milking the sea creature thing was weeeeeeiiiiiiiird. I did side-eye a bit at that.

While I'm with the majority that the casino scene seemed unnecessary and a bit out of place, I've come around to it a bit - I think it's important establishing scene for the "future generation" of rebels. Everything else in the movie that happened was very removed from the real world happenings - it's the only thing that actually had a real impact on the people just living their life outside of the whole Rebel/First Order war. In which case, I felt like it needed to be that long so at least it felt a bit more earned than if they had just shoehorned it in.
posted by liquorice at 3:43 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


The casino and escape were also the only chance the film gave itself for some exploration of the Star Wars universe itself. Everything else was constant spaceships, bases and Luke's Island. Like someone else said, I don't think the whole slow pursuit section worked as well as it might have. The game FTL got that encroaching sense of dread right, here it felt artificial after the fast-paced battles and pursuit, as did the easy accessibility of the planet where the unneeded wonder hacker hung out.

I thought it was less episodic than I would have preferred too. Shades of The Dark Knight where there were always things happening and then something else happens and then something else. More wearing than tense.

All that aside the short version is, I liked it!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


Cat-foxes, goat-horses, and gerbil-birds.
posted by grubi at 6:27 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


Oh, and the Battle Of Hoth’s Deep.
posted by grubi at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2017 [24 favorites]


Leia the Space-Angel.
posted by grubi at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2017 [17 favorites]


And give Hamill that Best Actor Oscar NOW. He was incredible for every second he was onscreen.
posted by grubi at 6:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [15 favorites]


I wanna see him take that gold statue in one hand and casually brush lint off his shoulder with the other.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [40 favorites]


[Spoilers]

After reading other discussions I feel a bit stupid for not noticing that Luke didn't leave red footprints. But I guess Kylo Ren and the entire First Order army made the same mistake.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:43 PM on December 14, 2017 [76 favorites]


***** Spoilers ******

Chewie sitting down to a meal, interrupted. Hilarious.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:54 PM on December 14, 2017 [29 favorites]


One question I had is if Kylo Ren was lying about Rey’s parents and they really were Force users or if it was more a populist sentiment that a special Force user could arise from anywhere.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 PM on December 14, 2017 [11 favorites]


There’s a cut of THE LAST JEDI that’s an hour shorter and the best STAR WARS movie of all time. Fundamentally I think they were up against a wall with Carrie Fisher's death; nearly all of her scenes are in the first half of the movie and if they cut that down (or out entirely) she's barely in it. If they were able to say "but the 9th one is all about Leia" I think they cut the self-sealing Poe/Finn/Rose distraction plots down to almost nothing, or out entirely, and the movie is better for it. Even a version that literally just stayed on Rey and Luke on the Island Planet for an hour and then follows Rey back to a catastrophe in process would have been more compelling than that basically pointless and fundamentally silly Bond homage in the casino. At least give me a Lando shoutout! He should have been the owner.
posted by gerryblog at 9:12 PM on December 14, 2017 [22 favorites]


One question I had is if Kylo Ren was lying about Rey’s parents and they really were Force users or if it was more a populist sentiment that a special Force user could arise from anywhere.

I much prefer the second, and I think that's where the movie is going (read with everyone else esp Finn and Rose, even Poe if you disregard the extra-canon stuff). The one Skywalker of the new generation is such a third generation legacy wealth born-on-the-third-base doofus compared to the rest.

Luke is such a cranky old xifu, it tickled me how much his plot with Rey is not just part of an ESB callback but pretty much every training montage wuxia trope.
posted by cendawanita at 9:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


***SPOILERS****

read with everyone else esp Finn and Rose

and that faux-Anakin
posted by cendawanita at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Do we need spoiler tags here? People should really gtfo if they haven’t seen it.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 PM on December 14, 2017 [42 favorites]


I'm giving myself till the weekend tbh; it's not even a proper Friday yet in the northern hemisphere.
posted by cendawanita at 9:52 PM on December 14, 2017


Also, I was amused to see elements and set pieces of this one hinted at when playing through the campaign mode of Star Wars: Battlefront II on PS4 earlier this week. That’s actually a lot better primer than just binging the previous films.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 PM on December 14, 2017


Loved:
Yeah, I'm holding for General Hux?
The Finn/Rose plot, especially del Toro.
Grumpy Master Luke and his distraction ploy mirroring Poe's.
The light-speed attack - the whole theater gasped here too.
Rey/Kylo

Disliked:
No backstory for Snoke, I guess?
PoochieLuke is needed back on his home planet, I guess?
Thinking about Carrie Fisher took me out of a lot of the scenes with Leia :(

Overall, however, I loved it. Hard to imagine how they will deal with Leia not being in the next one, especially with Luke.gone too.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:13 PM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]


Yeah, spoilers are always allowed in FanFare for the episode/film being discussed. SPOILERS!

So, Poe violated orders twice (once with help from Finn/Rose/others) and the result is that nearly all of his comrades died. But Leia’s final call is, “Follow that guy!” because, what, he’s a handsome trouble maker like Han Solo? Or maybe Vice Admiral Holdo was right and that guy shouldn’t be leading anybody. (But also if she has a plan it’d be cool if she could tell people about it.)
posted by mbrubeck at 11:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [32 favorites]


and the result is that nearly all of his comrades died.

I'm glad at least someone else is complaining about this. Holdo had a risky, superb plan that would've worked flawlessly except for Poe broadcasting the plan within earshot of a non-Rebel slimeball. So 90% of the force is wiped out.

Saw it with my sis who didn't pick that up and her first response was "Holdo should have been more transparent." It was a secret plan!!! Argh!!

[Really liked the movie overall. A couple jokes fell flat but mostly it hit the right notes. Furthermore, my main fears the last two years were (1) predictable Rey falls to dark side for a while plot and (2) "surprise" reveal that Rey is Luke's daughter, so I'm grateful for what they didn't do.]
posted by mark k at 11:34 PM on December 14, 2017 [14 favorites]


Scattered first impressions:
-So.Many.Women in this! Unapologetic, unforced, unmitigated. This rebellion (like so many) is run by ladies, and the bench is deep, and it was glorious to see.
- I laughed A LOT.
- All I want for Christmas is a real live porg and a crystal fox. They absolutely had my number with those fuckers. Shut up and take my money.
- Yes to everyone saying the pacing was...strange. But also yes that that strange and often clunky (?) pacing felt very OT to me.
- Did that casino have a black-and-white dress code? Then how did Rose and Finn get in?
- Re: The whole casino thing: I get that they were making a class argument in that subplot, and I'm so there for that...but these wealthy/amoral caricatures had no teeth, so the message fell really flat. They were a set design, not people.
- I spent so much of the movie bracing myself for Leia's death, that I was not at all prepared for Luke's. I think I'm going to need to see it again before that really sinks in.
- Got super emotional when Leia was drifting and crystallizing (literally) in space. (Her turning into a floating force witch kinda took me out of it though...). Got super emotional again when Luke and Leia meet. Oof.
- I think Kylo Ren is perfect, and terrifying, and I wish I could articulate why. He is just such a distillation of everything I fear about the way that the toxic masculinity and all the garbage of our culture scrapes and scrapes away at people and festers and rots them from the inside. His anger and insecurity is SO POWERFUL and so beyond reasoning and so REAL, despite it being encapsulated in a space opera. Adam Driver is incredible.
- I love Rey. Everything about her. Full stop.
posted by Dorinda at 11:36 PM on December 14, 2017 [72 favorites]


At least give me a Lando shoutout! He should have been the owner.

I'm delighted that they didn't. The problem with the prequels (ok, a problem) was that they took this giant universe and shrunk it to nothing. Not everything has to be connected.

Where TFA was all about flashing back to the original trilogy the message of this film was (explicitly) let the past die.
I love that Rey is just a nobody. That she isn't some chosen one with a heroic lineage.
The universe can start to expand again.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:51 PM on December 14, 2017 [28 favorites]


Overall, I liked it. It felt a bit long, but I'm not sure what could have been cut. I am sad, though, that it felt like Leia was set up for a big setup in the next movie and imstead we'll get... her dying somehow.

I am sad the rumor of Snoke = Jar-Jar isn't true, though.
posted by RyanAdams at 11:52 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


I spent so much of the movie bracing myself for Leia's death, that I was not at all prepared for Luke's.

oh man... and the way it went, with him looking at the horizon, bookending his intro in ANH :((((((((((((((((
posted by cendawanita at 12:03 AM on December 15, 2017 [20 favorites]


I spent so much of the movie bracing myself for Leia's death, that I was not at all prepared for Luke's.

I thought the two - twin - stars setting was particularly poetic.

Other thoughts:
I saw Luke not leaving foot prints and thought that the dust was going to be a plot point. I loved that surprise!
The pacing felt disjointed. The movie wanted to be another hour longer - and agreed on the missed potential for tension during the starship chase.
Snoke felt entirely too one dimensional and wasted.

I'll have more tomorrow, I'm sure. It was a really solid movie. I really enjoyed it. And that opening fanfare always makes me bawl like a baby.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:57 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Loved it. Ten-year-old son sitting next to me loved it. So many great moments, so many genuinely funny moments, and the scene in Snoke's chamber was utterly breathtaking in a way that took me back to watching Luke and Vader at the end of ESB in 1980. The Force Awakens and Rogue One each, in their own ways, provided everything I wanted in a Star Wars movie, far more than the prequels ever did, but this gave us things I didn't even know I wanted in a Star Wars movie. Johnson has set the bar very, very high for Episode IX; I hope Abrams can clear it.
posted by rory at 2:43 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


So, Poe violated orders twice

Literally every plan Poe comes up with goes badly and needs a woman to save the day:
- Bombing run (entire squadron killed, only succeeded due to Rose's sister)
- Hacking plan (they didn't deactivate the tracker, was unnecessary anyway because Holdo never planned to hyperspace jump again)
- Escaping by following the foxes (the route was blocked, Rey had to free them)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:15 AM on December 15, 2017 [67 favorites]


Soooo, none of the Star Destroyers could go faster than the rebel ships, is that it, really? None of them thought of jumping to light speed to get ahead of that rebel scum?

Maybe the Rebels should have abandoned ship earlier to pull the lightspeed trick? Maybe star cruisers should have an auto pilot?

Why you gotta waste Gwendoline Christie like that?

Loved Leia saving herself from space. It was hokey in a sense, but thematically it worked so well and looked so beautiful.

Mark Hamill killed it. Loved seeing playful Yoda again

Wtf is up with Poe this movie, he constantly made terrible decisions. Maybe he was metaphor for the old fans vs the new fans, I dunno know, it was just weird how irresponsible it was.

Especially since the admiral wouldn't tell him about the secret plan.

The casino planet/code breaker was awkward and could have been lopped off.

I want a crystal fox.

Loved Kylo and Rey fighting together. So I guess Snoke was just macguffin in a movie full of macguffin.

Like TFA, I fell in love with the characters and their interactions, especially the introduction of Rose. But the paper thin plot and villains along with the awkward pacing just kills it for me, like TFA. So much potential there, and it's just squandered on cheap gimmicks.

Am disappointed by the intrusion of Rose onto the Rey/Finn possible romance, the later is where I really want things to go. But Rose was such a delightful character and the danger/excitement of Rey/Keylo is interesting and a different change of pace.

Not keen on Poe/BB8, 'cause the latter can do so much better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 AM on December 15, 2017 [11 favorites]


Wow, the Twitter hate is strong with this one. So many people pissed off that Rey isn't some sort of lost Skywalker. So many pissed off that we didn't get some big, lumbersome Snoke backstory (as if Snoke was anyone's favourite character from TFA, or something). Ha. I loved the direction Johnson took on those and other plot points: away from the prequel-like need to over-explain every detail, and towards, at every step, the heart of this trilogy: the struggle between Ren and Rey for one another's souls, and their conflicting instincts about what it means to bring balance to the Force.
posted by rory at 4:27 AM on December 15, 2017 [33 favorites]


This tweet kind of sums it up, I think.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:35 AM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


I, for one, am super pleased that there wasn't a big Snoke backstory (although there's still time) and that Rey isn't some famous person's kid. Lost heir / orphan stories are pretty played out, and one of the things I really admire about the film is that it's grappling with the idea of how we tell stories, how we cling to them, and when it's time to forge new paths instead of following old footsteps. Like Empire, this installment is about something more profound than the next chapter in a space opera. Pretty much every speaking character gets a moment to tell us what kind of character they're trying to be, which is amazing when you think about it. It's a story about stories, which I'm just a huge sucker for, especially when they're done well, and I think this one is.

By the end, I did think there was probably one set-piece too many. The obvious-to-me cut is the extended casino scene. I appreciate what they're trying to do, but it does seem to drag on a bit. No disrespect to Finn and Rose, who have great chemistry and make a fun duo. Here I was getting ready to be all pissed about blowing up a perfectly nice Asian lady without even giving her lines, and then they go and make one a major character. You win this round, cinema.

I remember thinking "wait, how come Luke's saber is blue right now, they shook that one apart" during the face-off. In retrospect, I think it's really cool to make his idealized form into the image of his father as Anakin should have been and into the student Obi-Wan trained. I love that green lightsaber unreservedly, but I think it's a nice touch to have him choose to return to the beginning, as with the binary sunset.

Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley are absolutely astonishing in this movie. The former especially. They're both complete inhabitants of their characters. I bought all of it. Other than leaving me feeling like it's probably a little too long, I thought the movie was fantastic, and the more I think about it, the more impressed I am. I was hoping for big things from Rian Johnson, and I'm not disappointed at all. I thirst for fanboy tears.
posted by Errant at 4:50 AM on December 15, 2017 [68 favorites]


I'm amazed at the Twitter hate. Truly amazed.

The kid right at the end with the broom. When he picked it up it looked like there was a hint of force telekinesis, like, it moved to his hand, or was I imagining that?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:38 AM on December 15, 2017 [53 favorites]


I missed that bit on my (first) viewing, but I love it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:54 AM on December 15, 2017


Yeah he def force-pulled the broom to his hand. A hint that Rey's not the last Jedi after all.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:57 AM on December 15, 2017 [50 favorites]


I liked that Rey didn't have famous parents. It didn't make sense for her to have been Kylo's sister or Luke's daughter - neither Luke or Leia would have abandoned their kid to the life as a scavenger on a desert planet. If anything they would have left her in the care of a loving foster family like they were. It also fit as a struggle for Rey to overcome, and a lever for Kylo to try and tempt her.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:00 AM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


À significant corner of the theater I saw it in cheered wildly when he picked up the broom, and the rest of us were very confused, but maybe that was it.

I had fun. I liked the "This is the Empire Strikes Back" parallels - the cave, the rock lifting, Yoda, Rey learning her origins, being double crossed by a somewhat affable rogue, a place full of indulgent aliens. And Luke's sunken x-wing, which I am glad he did not fly off in.

I loved the cast - particularly Rose and Laura Dern were great additions. Watching the First Order try to manage with toxic masculinity in charge was very satisfying. Rey and Luke were great. Leia was excellent, though I guess the vacuum of space works very differently in the Star Was galaxy.

My main complaints were with the constant wisecracking/slapstick. And what was with all the boob jokes? And also the island nun aliens speaking space Italian?

And also, I've spent the past 25 years or so getting soundly mocked for loving Return of the Jedi and enjoying the Ewoks because that was apparently blatant pandering to children and marketing who ruined the purity of the Star Wars experience. So why is everyone all about the porgs, the cute pandering marketing ploy of all cute pandering marketing ploys?

My final complaint was that the movie felt loooong. I was ready for the ending climax when Luke showed up, and then there were another 4 possibly satisfying endings until I literally sighed and rolled my eyes when Finn popped back up. If this movie was cut down to an hour and a half, it would have been tight and amazing. As it was, it was fun and I'll see it again, but I was kind of disappointed.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:01 AM on December 15, 2017 [13 favorites]


I kind of agree with the length.
I'd like to see modern films focus a bit more, but as it is "fans" were complaining that 28 minutes of material was cut out. People seem to want big long epics.
Apparently, The Hobbit films didn't disabuse them of that notion.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:05 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Also, not crazy about the ending, as it seems to want to mimic Luke on Tatooine, longing to be elsewhere. For a film that made some very nice choices to not slavishly follow the originals, that seemed like a cop out.

The kid being force sensitive was a nice touch, mimics the end of Buffer the Vampire Slayer. Smashing the idea that only certain people can be Jedi or use the force was great.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 AM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


For ultimately, really enjoy most of the characters in the new films and they have great chemistry. I've often thought and said that when characters have great interaction, one could watch them talk about peeling paint or any mundane situation and it would still be enjoyable.

The TFA and TLJ have convinced me I was so very wrong about that. Having such interesting characters repeatedly put in such hamfisted and poorly written scenes is such a distracting waste.

But I still want a crystal fox.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


My comments, some of which are in response to some of the criticisms:

- I didn't mind that there wasn't a big-deal origin story for Snoke. It always seemed a little weird to me that there were only two Sith in the entire galaxy when there were something like ten thousand Jedi at their height. Even if there were only two "official" Sith at any given time, Sidious seemed to have potential candidates cued up, as he had three apprentices in relatively short succession. Snoke was just this guy who was probably in the queue and stepped up after the Emperor went bye-bye.

- Ditto for Rey not being the secret Skywalker. I'm glad that space Hermione Granger gets to be the heroine rather than The Boy Who Lived And Drew The Sword Out Of The Stone Or Gets A Scimitar Lobbed At Him Or What The Fuck Ever. Nothing wrong with coming from Muggles, y'all.

- Poe being kind of dumb about the general strategy doesn't bother me, because he's more focused on tactics. He got some good moments and Laura Dern wasn't wasted on being the person who's on our side but that we hate anyway and is there mostly to make Sexy Pilot Dude look better; I'm always up for a good "ramming speed" scene, and this one was great.

- Glad that they let one of the new mains (Finn) have a moment of weakness; gladder that they had Rose pull him out of it. And that was neatly bookended by her saving him on the salt flats.

- I didn't mind the casino scene, because it was paid off with Rose making the point about how all these people made their money. Also nicely bookended with DJ pointing out later that the arms dealers sold to both sides.

- A bit disappointed that we didn't get more Phasma. I hope that she survives and shows up in IX.

- May be the funniest of the SW films. I hope that everyone who was worried that the Porgs were going to be the new Ewoks were mollified by Chewie having killed and being ready to eat one.

Overall: was fun, will see again.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:44 AM on December 15, 2017 [24 favorites]


Musings & spoilers from Todd VanDerWerff at Vox. Highlights the idea of 'the chosen one' possibly being anyone.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:51 AM on December 15, 2017


Y'all, I'm not so sure we can trust what we have been told so far about Rey's parents. Kylo told Rey he could see her parents (may or may not have been true) and that they were nobodies from nowhere (also may or may not be true). He said that she already knew, but I got the feeling that that was just him playing on her insecurities, and that she didn't actually "know".

I agree that I hope it turns out she is not the Chosen One, but there is some reason she had that intergalactic mind meld with Kylo, and I think the only other characters to have a similar connection are Luke and Leia.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


but there is some reason she had that intergalactic mind meld with Kylo

I seem to recall Snoke saying that he facilitated that connection. Sneaky bastard.
posted by sutt at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2017 [16 favorites]


Yup it's Snoke. It was a nice fakeout both in-verse and out, because the film made us remember Luke and Leia also having the same ability.
posted by cendawanita at 7:11 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh, hmm. I didn't catch that. Thanks for the tip!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:14 AM on December 15, 2017


I seem to recall Snoke saying that he facilitated that connection. Sneaky bastard.

Yes, it was actually a pretty good villain scheme: Play up the weakness and loneliness so Kylo is unwittingly bait.

For an often unsubtle movie both that and Holdo's plan were well executed pieces of classic cinema sleight of hand. I can't remember the exact line about Holdo but it was something like "more interested in saving the fleet than in looking like a hero." This makes sense on its own terms but also meant that there was a consistent reason to keep the audience in the dark too; we were seeing from Poe's POV.

Incidentally the decision not to tell Poe makes sense. The plan hinged on secrecy and Poe did, in fact, leak the information almost as soon as he had it.
posted by mark k at 7:18 AM on December 15, 2017 [24 favorites]


Film Crit Hulk nails it.
posted by rory at 7:29 AM on December 15, 2017 [32 favorites]


Even if there were only two "official" Sith at any given time, Sidious seemed to have potential candidates cued up, as he had three apprentices in relatively short succession. Snoke was just this guy who was probably in the queue and stepped up after the Emperor went bye-bye.

This is borne out by the expanded universe stuff, particularly the comics and cartoons. The Rebels animated series introduces multiple lesser Sith as villains, with the understanding that the true meaning of the Rule of Two is that every Master is shopping for a new Apprentice, and every Apprentice wants to be the new Master. So basically Vader and Palpatine both cultivated a bunch of secret Sith protegees that the other probably knew about to varying degrees.

My headcanon is that Snoke was the would-be apprentice who got dumped via text message after Palpatine met young Anakin Skywalker.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:36 AM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


rory: Wow, the Twitter hate is strong with this one.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Will Bother Some People. Good. (Angela Watercutter for Wired)
The Last Jedi isn’t here to appease the old guard.

And that goes for both categories of reactionaries—the Star Wars fan upset that the franchise’s heroes now include (::clutches pearls::) women and people of color, and the misogynist, racist, classist, dark side of the populace that’s always been present, wielding power in one form or another. In themes and plot, The Last Jedi asserts again and again that monolithic dominance isn't good for anyone. The movie isn't here to Make the Galaxy Great Again. It's to tell the stories of the people who want to actually fix it.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on December 15, 2017 [29 favorites]


taking it back to the production side of things, now i'm finally catching up on the various interviews and promos etc, and it's really struck me, now that the movie's out and it's actually good AND inventive, how well Rian Johnson fit into the working culture of Lucasfilms/Disney corporate side of things, when yet, the last 2 movies were by 'safe' directors (or removed in favour of a still-uncredited safe director), and this upcoming Solo one and Ep 9 is back to safe mainstream workmen directors as well (and both after removing their initial directors! Though I for one was glad Trevorrow is out, not that Abrams returning is any good news). Maybe that's why they're so keen to have him stay on and develop this other non-Skywalker trilogy idea he just pitched.

i don't know, it's just making me appreciate this movie more for the lightning-caught-in-a-bottle feel of it all.
posted by cendawanita at 8:08 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


My headcanon is that Snoke was the would-be apprentice who got dumped via text message after Palpatine met young Anakin Skywalker.

I love that. I didn't need some huge backstory that tied him into the original trilogy or anything (though I did enjoy the Darth Binks idea), but it would have been nice to know who he was and where he came from.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:13 AM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


it would have been nice to know who he was and where he came from.

EU writers will feast for years on an unanswered question like this. We'll definitely learn, and it will definitely be ridiculously overdone.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


The Twitter (and Tumblr) hate makes total sense to me.

- Some people felt like Luke is portrayed badly to make Kylo Ren look better.
- Some people felt like Kylo-Ren was elevated to co-lead status and didn't like that as Luke and Anakin both got three movies about them and Rey doesn't.
- The stuff about Rey's background and the director calling Kylo the "protagonist" of the film probably didn't help with the above.
- Some people feel like if anyone was going to be the co-lead it would have been Finn but it wasn't and he was relegated to a subplot.

It's the second part in a trilogy so I'm not bothered even though I see the point with the above arguments.

And if the third movie sucks, well, whatever. I survived the prequels, I can survive this. But it is fun to see watch how the RT audience rating on this movie has been fluctuating. Right now it's at 61% compared to 93% for the critics.
posted by asteria at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Uniqlo has released a bunch of Star Wars licensed t-shirts and they're allllll for the First Order. I will never get that. I want to be part of the rebellion, dammit!
posted by liquorice at 8:36 AM on December 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


I've seen those points, and honestly, that's the lemon TFA left this movie, imo. Kylo being Ben Solo was just a bad It Looks Cool fanservice, to actually integrate his parentage with what we knew of the OT characters pretty much meant inevitable character assasination/darkening. And I truly think a lot of the (pre-emptive) dislike came from very real concerns (if you follow TFA's unfortunate implications) that he'll get the Sad Whiteboy Redemption Arc. Instead, like mentioned above, the whole deal about Kylo is being made explicitly about being some kind of avatar of toxic masculinity and The Little Edgelord That Could.

Which probably explains a fair bit of the fanboy raging - Kylo's just not cool, he's pathetic. Unlike what they've been imprinting on him for the last 2 or so years.
posted by cendawanita at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


So I lol and lol at the whole First Order merch. I truly appreciate that this movie made no bones that they're a joke like the neo-Nazis/alt-right.
posted by cendawanita at 8:38 AM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


And sorry sorry last point (for now), it's driving me spare that ppl keep saying Finn is 'relegated' to a wholly extraneous subplot. If he and Rose didn't go to Canto Bight, there would have been NO ONE to have witnessed the last of the Rebellion and be inspired. The Rebel armada was the last and (for now) it was explicitly noted no one answered their call. Finn and Rose were the spark for the next gen, not the grand shennanigans that's going on in a part of space no one even knew about.

the preemptive tumblr hate is such a bad look i had to unfollow people.
posted by cendawanita at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2017 [32 favorites]


Saw this on Tuesday and absolutely loved it. Some random thoughts:

It was definitely a fresh and invigorating take on what had become a little stale and predictable.

Loved the new characters of Holdo and Rose. Rose's line about fighting for what you love will resonate into the next movie.

Loved that Rey is a nobody and I don't believe that Kylo was lying to her. He is brutally honest and they have a force bond now. She accepts it and the vision she has in the Dark Side cave reflects it back to her. She has denied it her whole life but she knows.

Loved the fight scenes, loved Rey/Kylo teaming up--they fought like a well-oiled machine and I hope we see more of that in the next film.

Loved how Holdo was a hero and a visionary leader. That light speed attack deserved the moment of silence because it was truly breath taking.

Hated Poe. Hated how he fucked up twice and was a mutineer but everybody made excuses for him. He is directly responsible for the decimation of the Resistance forces. His character is dead to me.

I think the Canto Bight sequence did slow down the movie a little but the message was clear. The rich don't care who wins as long as they are removed from it all and they profit. Rose is instrumental in showing Finn what he is missing and giving him a reason to fight.

I'm holding out for the return of Ben Solo in IX. Now that the evil, manipulative voice in his head is gone and his uncle's death is no longer a goal, what is going to happen? Let the past die, indeed. As Luke says, "No one is ever really gone."
posted by nikitabot at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


Finn should be the other Skywalker tbh.
posted by asteria at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2017 [9 favorites]


It's like saying Han and Leia were relegated to the B-plot about some stupid cloud mining facility.

In the end, the main series is about the Jedi and the Force. The A-plot of these movies is always going to be about that and about those people who can wield it. If that's not your cup of tea, that's cool, but you might not like Star Wars very much.

Speaking of which, as much as I appreciate the straightforward declaration of universal Force potential, I thought it was pretty well established that anyone could be a great Jedi / Force-user. I'm a little surprised to see this point singled out as "the point". Maybe it's just because people have spent two years madly theorizing who Rey's parents are, and I've been spending that time hoping that they were just some folks, so I'm feeling much relieved this morning.
posted by Errant at 8:55 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


What rory said about what Film Crit Hulk said.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:06 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Hating Poe for his impulsivity misses the whole point of his character and what looks to be his arc into Episode IX imo.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:10 AM on December 15, 2017 [9 favorites]


Yoda basically shows up to tattoo the message: FAILURE IS A TEACHER on everyone’s foreheads. It’s not exactly subtle. Poe’s biggest failure (to-date) is his flyboy impulsivity.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:13 AM on December 15, 2017 [20 favorites]


That light speed attack deserved the moment of silence because it was truly breath taking.

The entire theatre was dead silent at that - except for the 9/10 YO kid who whispered "WOAH!". You said it, kid. It brought back memories of ANH when I was 7 and the Falcon went into hyperspace.

That scene alone was worth the 3d premium - I desperately want to see it on IMax.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:22 AM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


“Can’t you put on a cowl or something?”
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on December 15, 2017 [46 favorites]


That reminds me, Burhanistan. I thought this one was genuinely hilarious in parts. My theater was kinda disappointingly subdued last night, so I restrained my literal lols. But Johnson’s comic sensibilities were unbeknownst to me until last night. (And not just the silly sight gag or two, mind.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:01 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't hate Poe for his impulsiveness, I hate that his actions get hand-waved off by characters in the film and by fandom. Glad that everybody died so he could be a leader /s.
posted by nikitabot at 10:12 AM on December 15, 2017 [12 favorites]


Have to say the lightspeed attack set off my nerd pedantry, because if it works why don't they just use it all the time? Hyperdrives are small and cheap enough to fit in an X-wing, autopilots are good enough the Empire thought the Falcon might be unmanned on the first Death Star, they ought have dozens of lightspeed rammers hanging around.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:58 AM on December 15, 2017 [55 favorites]


OKAY. Saw it last night in the fancy theater I like where they bring drinks and food to you. Only way to watch a movie, imho.

Things I liked:
- The Porgs, obvs. Omg I want one so bad. Like not as a stuffed animal but I guess I'll settle for that but like I wish with all my heart that they are real and that they can be pets and I would take such love care of one omg please Santa.
- YODAAAAAAAAAA!
- Rey accidentally destroying parts of the first Jedi Temple, and then Yoda straight up setting the ancient tree on fire with lightning from beyond the grave. The whole movie was basically: heh, it's the last Jedi, but also fuck this whole Jedi thing lol.
- Rey being saved by Kylo. I'm betting so hard they're siblings, and that's where his conflict with her stems from. He won't kill her even though he wants to turn evil emperor.
- Kylo's conflict was so raw. Snoke was right that killing Han broke his mind. And then he couldn't kill Leia, and then he had to save Rey.
- Luke dying in the best way possible. I didn't want it to happen, but I'm glad this is how he went out. More on deaths below.
- The goooorgeous final battle on the mineral planet Crait. I saw that in the trailer and I was already in love. I want very much to live there.
- A straight up message of "fuck you but not your horses they can trample everything you own" to the wealthy and war profiteers. But also a nuanced look with the fact that the Rebels also benefit from their arms. It wasn't necessary to the movie, but it was still a nice bit to include.
- The utter failure of Poe's plan. I think it was a good gamble, and I would've gone for it too, but riding everything on that to the point of mutiny was too much. I put both him and Holdo at fault for not considering both plans, but I appreciate that Holdo's pragmatic solution was the best. It's a stern rebuke of olden ideas of maverick plans being the best.
- Rose saving Finn. "Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love." My heart went "awww". The entire movie started with sacrifices after sacrifices. And the movie teased a major character death so many times. I was all set to bawl when they showed Leia floating out in space. And then they tossed all these seemingly great characters into the flames, with Rose's sister, with Holdo, and all those nameless pilots. So when Finn was sacrificing himself, with the fake-out from Leia earlier and the way they filmed it, I really thought that was going to be it for him, and I could already feel my opinionated fingers ready to type out "THEY KILLED THE BLACK GUY?!" But they didn't! And an Asian girl saved him! I was ecstatic! And then when I realized they weren't faking it with Luke, at first I was mad that they didn't even have him actually fight for real (damn energy projection), then I realized in the scheme of things, he had already given up his role because he's shifting the burden to Rey, however selfish that can be. But like he also said, he can be more powerful, ala Yoda, in his death.
- The stable boy with force! Yay new trilogy!
- The whole movie was funny! Like way more than the last one!
- The damn Porgs man, I really want one.

Things I didn't like:
- No exposition about Snoke at all. Just this guy that was really powerful that died. I mean, he couldn't sense the other lightsaber next to him being turned?? What kind of "supreme leader" is that? I guess we'll have to wait till the next movie to find his origins, but I guess it might not even matter now. Come to think of it, there wasn't any exploration of The Emperor in the original trilogy either, or Vader for that matter, except we find out he's Luke's father. Those early films focused on moving the plot along, however holey, without bothering about a lot of backstories. I think this is kind of an homage to that. But it still bothers me because we're so ingrained with modern (holy shit the OT isn't modern anymore!) storytelling that is exposition heavy (see: any Marvel/DC movie in the last 10 years).
- The Last Jedi but not really. I was really buying into Luke's spiel about how the Jedi's order needs to end, and then at the end he goes "jk Rey's the last one!". I was waiting for him to explain what we've all talked about, that you can't have an order about only light and not constantly have to worry about the dark side. I know that the Jedi was a response to the dark side existing, but I was expecting them to evolve to the idea that it's best to train people that walks the balance itself, instead of training only the light to fight the dark. And actually people with force really fuck over the galaxy, so maybe no force-sensitive people would be best for everyone. Order-66 all of them!
- Chewbacca didn't get enough action screen time except piloting the Falcon. Actually, the Falcon didn't get enough screen time either! But these are petty concerns.
- I might have to rewatch but I didn't feel like the music was effective enough saved for when they used the themes from the old trilogy and the best ones from the last movie (aka Rey's theme).
- Whyyy do they not have auto-pilot that can be controlled remotely? And lightspeed attacks like what Holdo did? (on preview, what TheophileEscargot said.
- I need to know if DJ (Benicio Del Toro) died or not. I would very much like for him to eat it.
- Obvious complaint that will probably be resolved by the next movie: WHO ARE REY'S PARENTS???
posted by numaner at 11:09 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


TheophileEscargot: Maybe the amount of damage that would be inflicted by a smaller/non-capital ship being used as a rammer wouldn't be worth the trouble. Maybe you have to have the hyperdrive attached to a big ol' Mon Cal job like the one Holdo used, which would in any other circumstance be overkill for anyone designing a one-shot weapon.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:09 AM on December 15, 2017 [14 favorites]


I don't hate Poe for his impulsiveness, I hate that his actions get hand-waved off by characters in the film and by fandom. Glad that everybody died so he could be a leader /s.

Yeah, but he had a point at the end, when they were slowly being picked off and the leadership seemingly had no plan. Pulling Poe and explaining the plan would have made a certain sense and we still would haven't gotten the awesome and beautiful light speed attack.

Poe doing a mutiny and then failing to keep the bridge was just maddeningly idiotic distraction. Basically Poe's lesson was not try everything he could, but to just shut up and accept orders. Which is odd.

Finn's willingness crash into the energy beam was great and as someone else said, would have given the film a missing emotional weight. I kept expecting Rey to swoop into on the Falcon, Han Solo style and destroy the cannon and save Finn. But no, another character crashed into him to prevent him from the destroying the cannon that would kill their friends. Isn't that what heroes do, sacrifice themselves for the greater good, if there's no other known choice?

It was weird that Poe backed off from that and ordered everyone to pull away. Would have expected everyone to fly into the cannon, so interesting narrative choice, one I'm still mulling over.

Still want a crystal fox though, but expanding that to include a pup too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:23 AM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Come to think of it, probably the loudest crowd moment in a moderately responsive theater where I saw it was when one of Snoke’s guards got a lightsaber opening right in the face. But plenty of applause and laughter from the opening Poe troll onwards.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Rey being saved by Kylo. I'm betting so hard they're siblings, and that's where his conflict with her stems from.

The problem with this is that it makes both Han, Leia, and Luke all look kind of awful for 1) stranding her on a desert planet to live as a scrapper, and 2) not telling her the truth when she was right there in front of their faces. I think Kylo is right, her parents are nobody in particular.

The question in my mind is: They might be nobody, but are they necessarily dead?
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2017 [17 favorites]


One quibble (or possibly just point of confusion): I didn't really get the "tracker" thing that Hux was so gleeful about. It felt like he had done something really clever and unusual (not just the fact that he was using advanced technology), but we never saw what the tracker was. For a while I thought it was the dark BB-8 that I saw on the rebel ship because I'd heard there was an evil BB character, but no.

A lot of people seem to hate it but I kind of liked the hokey look of Force Leia. They obviously COULD have made it look cooler and it was a deliberate choice not to, right? It felt like kind of a callback to the kind of effects that were in the OT.

Anyway, I'm kind of perplexed by the level of vociferous hate that this thing is getting from some quarters. I rather liked the extreme fallibility of all the heroes, but then again I'm very much a affable tourist in Star Wars fandom and don't have any emotional investment in it.
posted by acidic at 11:35 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


My biggest question, and please forgive me if this has been answered and I missed it, is what happened to the other Knights of Ren? Luke said that some of the other students went with Kylo, so where are they now?

My least favorite part of the movie was the Red Vines I got from the concession stand. It pains my old-fashioned contrarian aesthetic to admit it, but Twizzlers really are better.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:39 AM on December 15, 2017 [12 favorites]


the tracker was the macguffin tht sets Finn and Rose to casino planet, you see it on the Star Destroyer just before Finn and Rose got caught, it's tht triad poles set in a circular panel.
posted by cendawanita at 11:45 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


“Can’t you put on a cowl or something?”

Snoke's line "take off that ridiculous mask" was good too. Everyone ragging on Kylo's dress sense.

the tracker was the macguffin tht sets Finn and Rose to casino planet, you see it on the Star Destroyer just before Finn and Rose got caught, it's tht triad poles set in a circular panel.

I think the question is what was it tracking? Like was there a tracking device hidden somewhere on the Rebel cruiser? "Tracker" implies it's following a signal not just a regular starship sensor that can track through hyperspace. I thought that given the continued shots of the Rey/Leia's something something tracking bracelets that that's what the First Order were tracking.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:52 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Anyone have a post-viewing podcast or two they’d recommend on this episode in particular? I think the Laser Time crew did ones for TFA and Rogue One, and I’d like to listen to an amiable group of folks discuss the latest one.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


I assumed for a while that they were tracking Finn (some sort of embedded chip or something), but I guess that didn't make sense once they went to Mon'Tecarlo.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:55 AM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


Finn's willingness crash into the energy beam was great and as someone else said, would have given the film a missing emotional weight. I kept expecting Rey to swoop into on the Falcon, Han Solo style and destroy the cannon and save Finn. But no, another character crashed into him to prevent him from the destroying the cannon that would kill their friends. Isn't that what heroes do, sacrifice themselves for the greater good, if there's no other known choice?

Finn's ship was melting; there wouldn't have been anything left to do damage to the cannon. He would have died for nothing.
posted by gerryblog at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2017 [20 favorites]


My biggest question, and please forgive me if this has been answered and I missed it, is what happened to the other Knights of Ren? Luke said that some of the other students went with Kylo, so where are they now?

Maybe they got demoted to Royal Guards.

TheophileEscargot: Maybe the amount of damage that would be inflicted by a smaller/non-capital ship being used as a rammer wouldn't be worth the trouble. Maybe you have to have the hyperdrive attached to a big ol' Mon Cal job like the one Holdo used, which would in any other circumstance be overkill for anyone designing a one-shot weapon.

Maybe it's so random that the only time you'd have a chance of hitting something is if some idiot made a massively wide ship that was impossible to miss.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2017 [13 favorites]


After going back and reading all the comments:

- Yeah it felt long, I actually expected to be done when they got down to Crait and it would end with a cliffhanger of the First Order descending on it, and then we'd get a shot of Rey and Chewy racing in light speed to get to them, and a mournful look of the resistance, and then credits. But then it kept going and I was like oooh yeah we haven't seen that scene with the red dirt and the racers yet!
- I also want more Phasma. To be fair, I want more of everything from these movies.
- I didn't like that the little force-sensitive kid was another white boy.
- If Yoda could do shit like lightning strike while a ghost, why don't Jedi ghosts intervene more often?
- Yeah that milking part was weird too. I would've left that out.

I can appreciate what everyone is saying about Rey's parentage. It actually doesn't bother me that much in terms of making a good movie, it bothers me on a level of curiosity that's been fostered by modern movie storytelling. But you're right, on a certain level, it's actually pretty great that she came from nobodies, most likely also the stable boy. I need a rewatch to full appreciate the symbolism, especially when the dark mirror showed her herself as her origin. The echoing now reminds me of Avatar's idea of multiple lives, as in the force picks its possessors at random, maybe heredity gives you a better chance, but you might not necessarily be the most powerful.

I didn't take it to heart then but after some reading I'm recognizing more of Luke's words: "let the past die".
posted by numaner at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2017


Brandon, of course you would want the one thing that doesn't look cuddly ;-)
posted by numaner at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2017


I'm looking forward to Storm of Spoilers' take, as well as the /Filmcast's, because they're a couple of good groups of TV/film nerds with thoughtful, non-toxic takes on pop culture.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


Brandon, of course you would want the one thing that doesn't look cuddly ;-)

It's looks beautiful, don't need to touch it to admire that, you Mystic scum :)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


It was nice to finally have an illustration of the "can of ravioli vs a Star Destroyer" effect.
At around .985 c (Cerenkov 1.2 or so), the ravioli now weighs twice what
it used to weigh. For a one pound can, that's two pounds... or about sixty
megatons of excess energy. All of it turns to heat on impact. Probably
very little is left of the space-cruiser.

At around .998 c, the impacting ravioli begins to behave less like ravioli
and more like an extremely intense radiation beam. Protons in the water
of the ravioli begin to successfully penetrate the nuclei of the hull
metal. Thermonuclear interactions, such as hydrogen fusion, may take
place in the tomato sauce.

At around .9998 c, the ravioli radiation beam is still wimpy as far as
nuclear accellerator energy is concerned, but because there is so much of
it, we can expect a truly powerful blast of mixed radiation coming out of
the impact site. Radiation, not mechanical blast, may become the largest
hazard to any surviving crew members.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:32 PM on December 15, 2017 [19 favorites]


I also got stuck on "how come they don't just throw cee-fractional strikes at everyone then", but the visual was pretty awesome, so it is forgiven.

I'm going to have to try to follow Rose and Finn's conversation about how the lightspeed tracker works next time I see it, because that much technobabble goes by pretty quick. But honestly, in the intervening years between childhood and adulthood, I've come to realize how absolutely awful SW is science-wise, so at this point I just shrug and go, "ok, no one could do that before, these guys can now and think they're so smart. got it."

And yeah, I agree that it seems like Finn wouldn't have done shit to the battering ram, he was just looking to go out in a blaze because he'd run out of ideas.
posted by Errant at 12:48 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


"can of ravioli vs a Star Destroyer"

but my ravioli
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:52 PM on December 15, 2017 [27 favorites]


I liked a lot about it, but man, there were a few things that really broke my suspension of disbelief.

The lightspeed attack. The technology is literally thousands of years old, and this tactic has not been exhaustively analyzed and made into part of standard warfighting doctrine? At least throw in some lines explaining why the First Order wouldn't consider this tactic a threat. (And pointing to the suicidal nature of the attack is laughable. Seriously, how many suicidal battle tactics were employed just in this movie alone? Sacrificing one capital ship to take down an entire fleet is better odds than just about anything actually done on-screen. You'd have to be a fool of a commander not to try this every time.)

The whole slow-speed chase setup. The idea that both sides are restricted to sublight space -- when multiple ships are in fact arriving and leaving the scene through hyperspace during the chase -- leaves so many open questions it's hard to know where to begin.

Where did Chewie get a couple of immaculately prepared rotisserie chickens? Those were definitely not wild birds, and they were definitely not cooked on a spit over the fire. At least they didn't seem to be porgs, which was my first thought. I mean, given that the island was Skellig Michael I took the porgs to be the equivalent of puffins, so I assume they stink to high heaven, but at least they aren't cannibals to boot.
posted by bjrubble at 12:53 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


they’re roasted porgs, dude. that’s the joke.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:54 PM on December 15, 2017 [53 favorites]


Oh, I also wanted to talk about this: I don't know if they re-edited after Carrie Fisher's passing to make this more stark, but when the bridge of the flagship is destroyed and Leia gets sucked out into space, you could have heard a pin drop in my theater. Everyone was thinking the same thing I was thinking: ohshitohshitoshit is *this* how they're going to do it? You had a whole theater of SW nerds actually thinking, this is it, Leia's fucking dead, they really killed her off. The stunned horror was palpable. That is both crafty and nerveless filmmaking. What a moment.
posted by Errant at 12:57 PM on December 15, 2017 [44 favorites]


Have to say the lightspeed attack set off my nerd pedantry, because if it works why don't they just use it all the time?

A friend of mine made this same objection, and I've been thinking about it.
Possibly a small ship wouldn't cause much damage, like the damage it inflicts is broadly proportional to mass and a smaller ship wouldn't damage it much. After all the cruiser was a huge ship and it didn't fully destroy Snoke's ship. So you need a giant ship to do much. The expense isn't worth it.
The deathstar being even bigger still that attack wouldn't have done that much damage.

It's almost certainly not a very precise weapon. Maybe you need a biiiig target.
It looked like she was aiming right for the middle of the ship and ended up several star destroyers off from that.

It takes a while to line up, so it only worked because they were shooting at the transports and ignoring the cruiser. Maybe you need to shut down main shields to jump. So if you did it a lot they'd just blast you to pieces before you got going.

They didn't try it with their medical frigate or other ship because they just didn't have the fuel to spare for a risky manoeuvre which might not have worked.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


Loved it. Don't understand the hate I'm seeing in other places. Seems like general lashing out cos there hardly seems like there's a consensus on why they hated it.

"This is not going to go the way you think" - Luke Skywalker

Quite the prediction, sir. And I'm very glad for it.

I do have a nerdy quibble. Not just with this film, it's been something going on since the prequels at least. Earlier, probably. These force sensitives and force users. They're very good at detecting a "disturbance in the force" and subtle changes in each other's moods from across the galaxy and all that. But if, say, you're mind melded by a third party or a light sabre is spun through 90 degrees right next to you or you have daily meetings with the most powerful Sith who ever lived and you never work it out then I would personally be asking for a refund on my training. I was dirt poor and a kid when you took me on. I want the detect imminent danger coming at me laterally below nipple height skill.
posted by vbfg at 1:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [10 favorites]


Huh, I never would have guessed that under the fur a porg’s body shape is exactly the same as a modern factory-farmed fryer chicken.
posted by bjrubble at 1:07 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


I got the impression that that worked because Kylo Ren was specifically thinking "My Lightsaber" and as far as Snoke is concerned that lightsaber is Luke's or Ren's. But as far as Kylo Ren is concerned that's his lightsaber. It belongs to him.
(plus the "My enemy" ambiguity)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:08 PM on December 15, 2017 [9 favorites]


they’re roasted porgs, dude. that’s the joke.

So I just...I just cut them up like regular chickens?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:09 PM on December 15, 2017 [13 favorites]


I am slightly surprised that they didn't re-edit the film to make her do Laura Dern's sacrifice. Seems like it would have been pretty easy since it's basically just a shot of her sitting in a chair and looking concerned, which I'm sure they had already. I suppose it wouldn't have made total sense because what rebel would allow her to make that sacrifice, but that would have made an already epic image all the more incredible.
posted by acidic at 1:09 PM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


Huh, I never would have guessed that under the fur a porg’s body shape is exactly the same as a modern factory-farmed fryer chicken.

do I really have to explain this? it’s a quick visual gag. for it to work, you need your audience to grok “roasted bird” visually in just a couple seconds. this is like complaining that the ❤️ on a valentine doesn’t actually resemble the human heart.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2017 [26 favorites]


Another podcast has their thoughts up, Fighting in the War Room, which includes Dave Gonzales, who's on the aforementioned Storm of Spoilers. It's a great mix of critics, so it should be a good or at least interesting take.

Per the hyperspace attack, I'd say mass, timing, and proper aim, all play important roles. Note in Rogue One, small ships pretty much smashed to pieces against a star destroyer as they were jumping into hyperspace. In Rebels, Hera Syndulla flies a U-wing through a hangar at the moment of light speed and does cause some damage, if not catastrophic. Best bet is that for the jump to be effective, it'd have to be initiated at a close range, and in this case, the First Order had been too distracted trying to shoot down the transports to notice and take appropriate action to counter the attack.

If I understand correctly, the name of the Mon Calamari ship was Raddus. Aw.

It really hasn't been mentioned much, but in the same attack where Leia was almost killed, we did lose Ackbar. God dang hero of the Republic, that fellow.

Huh, I never would have guessed that under the fur a porg’s body shape is exactly the same as a modern factory-farmed fryer chicken.


Spoken like someone who's never had porg.
posted by Atreides at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


(wait. are you a droid?)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


The porg looked delicious with improbably glossy crackly skin and I am really craving Peking duck right now.
posted by acidic at 1:14 PM on December 15, 2017 [13 favorites]


The best part is the porgs are total set pieces (for now). The trailers didn’t show them nesting and trashing the Falcon, just the one in the cockpit—which made me think they might be in on the fight somehow. Total gravy train for licensing.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on December 15, 2017


I also haven't seen a consensus on the dislike of this movie. It's definetly not just coming from the "old guard" aka those afraid of diversity and whatnot. It's making me antsy because if there's one thing I struggle with - it's when someone on the internet has a different opinion to me.

A friend said this was the worst SW film and Attack of the Clones was better. To which i have nothing to respond to.
posted by liquorice at 1:16 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


A friend said this was the worst SW film and Attack of the Clones was better. To which i have nothing to respond to.

"Amazing. Every word you just said was wrong."
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:17 PM on December 15, 2017 [155 favorites]


Leia the Space-Angel.

That reminded me of the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, a little.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just saw it this morning.

I liked the jokes. I think it kept the movie from getting too heavy, what with all the dying and defeat.

I thought that it felt a little less like an old Star Wars movie because it wasn’t a steady build-up to one peak, but instead it was a stream of short fight/flight scenes that just. kept. coming.

On the whole, I thought it was good.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


God but I hate pouty, whiny Adam Driver, though.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:21 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's pretty wild how this movie has fractured the fanbase along fault lines of love and leave it. I think it pulls at some very deep heart strings and feelings about what is Star Wars and who specific characters are, and throw in a dash of expectations being dashed or completely wrong and it's a strong recipe for disappointment.

When Luke vanished, I was devastated. That easily could have turned to resentment over the whole film, because I wasn't expecting it, and Luke was the OT character I most identified with. I can see someone reacting the same way and walking out hissing and cussing.
posted by Atreides at 1:21 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Just today I noticed that Ren is like Ben, and Kylo is ike Solo. Is Rey like anyone's last name?

And did everyone else think of this two years ago?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:22 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Rey is like Bey, Poe Dameron's mother's surname. HMMMMM.
posted by Atreides at 1:25 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just saw it and was compelled the whole time, yet I'm not sure how good it was, though it was good.

I think my main issue was that it was just too packed. What made TFA good was that it had a slow start, and you got a good sense of character and place by watching Rey and Finn's daily lives for a while. Here, you get a new character, like say Rose, the thief guy, or Admiral Holdo, and they're already in the middle of tons of shit.

The whole casino thing was so thin and rushed that it might as well been on Star Trek Holodeck. Also, I don't get why thief guy was motivated to help? He just hangs around in a jail cell, looking for extremely risky work?

I did like how Luke's current state was established, though. I wish there were more slow scenes like that.

It had me thinking for moment when he was talking about the legacy of Jedi failure that he was going to condemn the entire concept of Jedi, in some kind of Martin Luther and the Catholics moment. That it was a flawed institution, and maybe everyone should get involved in the Force in their own way, like the monk from Rogue One or Maz. But no, it was just the failing to train a dark side guy again.

I felt like there was actually a bit of that with Yoda! Him burning the Jedi Temple was amazing. He seemed to be saying that you don't need any of that Jedi nonsense that I did for 900 years; Rey's got it just by being a good person. Did I misinterpret that?

I completely did not understand why Holdo said she liked that rascally troublemaker Poe after he had committed mutiny, mostly because we're just not given much of that character.

Illusory Luke was amazing, and so much better than "Luke teleports there, deflects a bunch of AT-ST fire, and can now only be hit by +3 lightsabers or better."

I do wonder how they're going to handle Carrie Fisher's death. For a second, I thought she was going to die in the vacuum of space when the bridge was blasted.

Finally, the chromey Imperial Guards and Captain Phasma really looked like dancing robots in this movie for some reason. I kept thinking of them all getting together and breakdancing.
posted by ignignokt at 1:29 PM on December 15, 2017 [13 favorites]


Also, I find it weird that this one did not dig them into a dramatic hole, the way Empire did. The resistance is decimated and needs to be rebuilt, but they always are. There's no tension around that because you know of course they'll rebuild. There is no, oh, shit, Han Solo is dead, maybe?

I'm not sure this is a reasonable expectation, though.
posted by ignignokt at 1:32 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


I hadn't really noticed it, but I suppose Luke's passing was intended to fill some of that gap. But the film also played against Empire, as well, and this may be one way Johnson wanted to declare that this isn't the same film.
posted by Atreides at 1:35 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


When Luke vanished, I was devastated. That easily could have turned to resentment over the whole film, because I wasn't expecting it, and Luke was the OT character I most identified with. I can see someone reacting the same way and walking out hissing and cussing.

I can see that. Personally, I'm an unwavering Luke fanboy, and I thought this was a wonderful end to his arc (although I'm certain there will be a Force ghost coda in Ep IX). It didn't occur to me until this movie, but Luke's never just straight-up confronted evil. He's always tried to turn it, deflect it, or redeem it. In a sense that's what he does now too, but it's almost like this is the moment when he finally becomes a Jedi, with a lightsaber in his hand and peace in his heart, facing down the darkness and not giving in.

It had me thinking for moment when he was talking about the legacy of Jedi failure that he was going to condemn the entire concept of Jedi, in some kind of Martin Luther and the Catholics moment. That it was a flawed institution, and maybe everyone should get involved in the Force in their own way, like the monk from Rogue One or Maz.

Well, I think he does do this; he says that the Jedi Order should end, because they claim to have a monopoly on the Light and it isn't so. I don't think that Yoda's saying you don't need any of that Jedi stuff, more that what is Jedi stuff can't be contained in musty books or old temples.
posted by Errant at 1:36 PM on December 15, 2017 [18 favorites]


The thing that threw me, though, is at the end, he tells Kylo Ren that there is another Jedi. Maybe he meant a sort of "lowercase jedi"?
posted by ignignokt at 1:40 PM on December 15, 2017


Oh, and "tooling" Hux at the beginning was amazing.
posted by ignignokt at 1:44 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


he tells Kylo Ren that there is another Jedi. Maybe he meant a sort of "lowercase jedi"?

The Jedi that can be named is not the eternal jedi.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:47 PM on December 15, 2017 [12 favorites]


Oh, and the thing that blew my mind the most is that there's a Lockheed Martin-type company (or a consortium of companies) that makes both TIE Fighters and X-Wings?! Why don't the good guys buy a TIE Interceptor now and then? One of the off-year movies should just be entirely about the defense industry.
posted by ignignokt at 1:47 PM on December 15, 2017 [22 favorites]


Also, I'm disappointed to find out that Maz is a union buster.
posted by ignignokt at 1:50 PM on December 15, 2017 [47 favorites]


Oh, and the thing that blew my mind the most is that there's a Lockheed Martin-type company (or a consortium of companies) that makes both TIE Fighters and X-Wings?!

I assumed that these high-rollers were merely value-added resellers of military aerospace superiority tech purchased from first-party vendors, since X-Wings are a product of Incom Corp and TIEs are made by Sienar Fleet Systems.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:53 PM on December 15, 2017 [29 favorites]


And no, I didn't need to look those up.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2017 [83 favorites]


I think he listens to Yoda and kind of reverts to our original trilogy conception of Jedi, which is "a person who uses the Force to serve the Light", in which case Rey fits the bill. On the other hand, he might just be saying, "there will always be another Jedi", in the same way that there will always be a Resistance or a Rebellion against tyranny.

Oh, and the thing that blew my mind the most is that there's a Lockheed Martin-type company (or a consortium of companies) that makes both TIE Fighters and X-Wings?!

Probably not canon anymore, but different companies make TIE-line craft and X-wings. I thought the ship readout was more, "here's a dude who sells whatever to any side", not about a manufacturer making both. (I did have to look those up, to my discredit.)

Also, I'm disappointed to find out that Maz is a union buster.

She says it's a "union dispute". I took it to mean that it was some kind of internal conflict, not that she was breaking teamsters.
posted by Errant at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Ah, OK. Likely a reseller, but it seems that if a reseller can get both, it can sell both!
posted by ignignokt at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2017


A number of the Resistance pilots come from either serving in the New Republic or experience with the original rebellion (looking at you, my man Nien Nunb!). The New Republic flies (flew?) X-wings (newer models, even, I think) and obviously, the X-wing was a rebellion fighter of choice, so it makes sense that the Resistance would go with X-wings. Likewise, the FO has their Imperial style and ain't going to fly something associated with the rebel scum who got lucky somehow 30 years ago.

We also had the addition of a-wings to the Resistance fleet, which made my heart soar.

For a fun look at Canto Bight, I recommend the collection of four short stories in Canto Bight. They exist purely to establish the setting of the casino/city, but are fun, well written stories, that casts the city as a place that caters to the rich, while devouring the poor and unfortunate (the children at the stables are indentured servants, for example).
posted by Atreides at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


this is like complaining that the human heart doesn’t actually look like the ❤️ on a valentine

I’d say it’s more like complaining that this thing that’s supposed to be a real live heart is portrayed on the screen with a ❤️.
posted by bjrubble at 2:33 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Uniqlo has released a bunch of Star Wars licensed t-shirts and they're allllll for the First Order. I will never get that. I want to be part of the rebellion, dammit!

Jumping ahead from when I saw this comment above. I've noticed the same thing with Under Armour - when they started making Star Wars gear, it was all First Order/Stormtrooper/Vader themed, with the exception of one shirt with the "Do or do not, there is no try" quote - but even then the quote is rendered in an Empire looking font.

This actually flashed across my mind for a sec in the movie when Leia says the bit about "our symbol is known throughout the galaxy" - I want to see more Resistance gear out in the world!
posted by dnash at 2:42 PM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


I’d say it’s more like complaining that this thing that’s supposed to be a real live heart is portrayed on the screen with a ❤️.

thanks to this exchange over bog-standard comic tropes i have now completed my transition to the dark side. well played.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:47 PM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


So - a ragtag band of freedom and diversity loving rebels faces off through seemingly impossible odds against an army of fascists led by a petulant, narcissistic man-boy drunk on hate and his own self-importance, while a gaggle of rich oligarchs live it up by selling both sides out against each other.

Now WHERE have I heard THAT story before?
posted by dnash at 3:24 PM on December 15, 2017 [47 favorites]


I don’t get why people give a shit about Snoke. He is Evil From Wayback Man. It doesn’t matter. The focus is this generation, that was the whole point. Everyone with an attachment to the past suffers from it. Luke, Ben, everyone. Never their minds on where they are. Rey’s parents are broke ass morally compromised addicts because royalty is bullshit and it doesn’t matter where you come from. No one is destined to greatness anymore. They stand up and help.

Adam Driver was wonderful. Daisy Ridley was wonderful. Mark Hamill was the best I’ve ever seen him. Yoda going all SCREW IT, BURN EVERYTHING AND HIT PEOPLE WITH STICKS had me laughing and tearing up.

It was long, yes, and could have been tightened up, but it was worth it. It was funny and full of heart and tore the whole universe down while remaining true to its principles. And I love that the Nazis are pissed off.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2017 [65 favorites]


I cannot be the only person who did not believe Kylo Ren's explanation of Rey's origins. Not that I think she has to be someone related to an "important" bloodline, but there are a few reasons I didn't believe him.
1. In TFA they had a sort of familiarity even at their first meeting.
2. I do not think Snoke was what had psychically connected them. I think that link was created in TFA when Kylo first tried to read her mind and she pushed back into his mind. Snoke just took credit for it. The link persisted at the same strength after Snoke's death. (Snoke said that as Kylo's darkside abilities got stronger, someone would show up with equal lightside abilities. If that explains why Rey suddenly started being able to force-grab and read minds, why was she the one linked to him in this way?)
3. Kylo is obviously desperately lonely. He'd lie to convince Rey she had no choice but to join him.
4. In the Darkside cave, she was still blocked from seeing her origins.
5. Making a big thing out of shocking origin reveals is kind of Star Wars' jam. The mythical type of story Star Wars is doesn't just have random orphans whose origins are never explored.

So while I like that she isn't a Skywalker, or a Kenobi, or even a Palpatine, I feel like there's got to be a satisfying explanation why she and Kylo had such affinity. I'm 100% on board for a more populist story (Rogue One did an excellent job with this), but it doesn't fit the Joseph Campbell-style storytelling of this universe. I guess I expect there will be something more mystical and cosmic that explains why Rey just suddenly developed full-blown Jedi powers.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 4:00 PM on December 15, 2017 [17 favorites]


During the stuck-bomber-trigger scene, I thought there was a chance we'd see a Dr.-Strangelove-style bomb riding.
posted by ignignokt at 5:39 PM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]




I guess I expect there will be something more mystical and cosmic that explains why Rey just suddenly developed full-blown Jedi powers.

I have no doubt Abrams will completely misunderstood the course correction this movie took and make this happen for Ep9.

Basically, what I took from this movie is that this aspect from TFA has been actively disregarded, or if you're feeling charitable, TFA did a feint which this movie resolved.
posted by cendawanita at 6:30 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Omg, that article about toxic masculinity makes me even sadder that JJ is doing the next film.
posted by liquorice at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Didn't hate it, but I guess I would have wanted to like it more. I felt the tone had a mismatch vs the previous movies, some characters talked/acted in ways that just felt wrong.

+ more diversity, that was great
+ the new cast is great
+ light speed ram, such a nice shot
+ it's Star Wars
+ Luke Skywalker, it's been a long time old friend
+ Yoda
- the whole casino side adventure, it was kinda pointless felt like a thing from the prequels
- the chase with ships coming and going, didn't work for me
- ships have finite fuel now?
- the first Poe attack, it felt wrong to me in some way, too simple and the thing with the call...
- I don't mind the callbacks to empire (the base escape, snow battle, big door base, fleeing, ...) but don't do half assed version of it, make it so good that comparaisons with the original are in your favor
- Overall the pace of the movie didn't work for me, it should have felt urgent and desperate but it didn't
- Snokes, all that for that? A bad rethread of the Jedi confrontation with the emperor. I felt Snoke hadn't earned that scene yet. Rey & Kilo were good in it though.
- The First Order, just keep calling it the Empire keep the old logo and start hiring proper vilains again. That general just ain't right for the job (that is a TFA peeve of mine too)
- Rey's parents, I have no problem with her not being linked to the main families, but why make a big deal of it for a whole movie? Get your stories straight Disney.
- The score, heck you don't need to write new music, just mix the existing themes appropriately. I felt the score was just ok, not great.

I guess I like my SW movies to blend maximally with the other ones.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:35 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Making a big thing out of shocking origin reveals is kind of Star Wars' jam. The mythical type of story Star Wars is doesn't just have random orphans whose origins are never explored.

Aaaand Star Wars doesn't let previously established facts get in the way. "What I told you was true, from a certain point of view."
posted by jason_steakums at 7:44 PM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


Just saw it tonight in a brand new theater at the local science center with this huge 70' screen which looked great and even the 3D was great and I never like 3D. Great film. I have some quibbles but I loved the acting and visuals and how it tried to poke holes in a lot of the mythology.

My main criticism if I have one is the pacing which seemed a little rushed at the end. I know it ran a little long but I'd have liked about ten more minutes to build up to the final act.
posted by octothorpe at 7:44 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Has anyone mentioned the Resistance Rebel with the amazing nose yet? Don't know if she was one of the handful of survivors, hope so and that she gets more to do next time.

"Just today I noticed that Ren is like Ben, and Kylo is ike Solo. Is Rey like anyone's last name?"
I'm quietly confident that one of Rey's three parents is Ree-Yees. Her third eye is obviously mystical rather than physical, hence the strength of her connection to the Force.

" he tells Kylo Ren that there is another Jedi. Maybe he meant a sort of "lowercase jedi"? "
Only Jedi can parse jedi.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:50 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


At first I thought that Benicio del Toro was Buster Poindexter. That would have been sweet in the most 1990s way possible.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:53 PM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


"My main criticism if I have one is the pacing which seemed a little rushed at the end. I know it ran a little long but I'd have liked about ten more minutes to build up to the final act."
The last minute rush was odd. I kept expecting a cliffhanger cut to credits, notably when Luke went out to face off against the entire First Order ground force.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:53 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


I really dug the aesthetic and humor of this. It was all very Flash Gordon (Snoke's throne room!!!!), which is fine, because Star Wars is very Flash Gordon.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:56 PM on December 15, 2017 [15 favorites]


That was some of the most obnoxiously ham-fisted music scoring I think I've ever heard in a movie. So ridiculous, telegraphing everything so absurdly.

Such a disappointingly clumsy, chaotic and, yes, stupid movie. I love the SW universe - I was 13 when I saw the first one in the theater in 1977 - but this was a huge letdown. Part of it is the decision to tell the story of Luke/Han/Leia/Ben in such a bizarrely chopped-up way, so that any emotional resonance from Han's death in the last episode or Luke's almost-killing of Ben in this one are robbed of any narrative impact, but most of it is the....utterly mainstream lameness of the filmmaking. Ugh. I'll stop now since this is clearly a minority opinion, but this felt like such a mediocre addition to the canon that I wouldn't recommend anyone see it in theaters this week. Don't believe the hype and wait for the DVD.
posted by mediareport at 8:45 PM on December 15, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'll very briefly add that my hopes remain high for the next trilogy, which will apparently bother to tell a new story, but as recent scifi movies go, this one has to rank near the bottom of the pile in terms of intelligence and excitement.
posted by mediareport at 8:57 PM on December 15, 2017


I went in with a feeling of dread because there were so many things I didn't want out of this part of the series, and they were all super predictable things. I watched with a feeling of tension, and not the "will they succeed?" sort of tension of being invested in the story, but rather a more meta form of "Oh god am I gonna haaaate the story direction?" tension.

...and in the end it was like they went down a checklist of shit I didn't want to see, and said, "Okay. We can avoid all that. By the way, would you like this 'War Is a Racket' message that you never would have thought to ask for out of Star Wars?"

So in the end, I loved it.

As far as things that troubled me: The pacing felt weird, both for individual scenes and the film as a whole. Especially the spaceship fight stuff.

Where I'm really torn is the interaction between Poe and Admiral Holdo. If they were going for a message of "men should listen to women," then thumbs up all the way and that's a good thing for Star Wars to do... except I never sensed a shred of sexism out of Poe. Some entitlement, yeah, but then that's partly a product of Leia's leadership style and treatment of him. He's used to being in the loop, so when he's suddenly not (justifiably so), it's jarring. Also, Star Wars has a long stretch of women as respected leaders, so if there's sexism, it's the audience projecting sexism rather than it being a core part of the setting as written. At that point, I'm left with "Poe screwed up and he's not seeing it until after he screws up even harder," which creates a message of "respect the chain of command." It feels like a really weird note for Star Wars to take.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:08 PM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


What was up with all those space tuxedos in the casino scene? It felt like something out of Fifth Element, and then all those little kids riding mangalores?
posted by Catblack at 9:12 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


I was thinking about how Luke finds a non-violent other way to help his friends and the Rebelliony Resistance while still being true to his commitment to hermitage. And as mentioned above I was pondering how it's a shame that the old characters don't get as much screen time together as you'd hope for in the new trilogy, the Luke/Leia moment notwithstanding.

This admittedly shallow read has only now occurred now to me though that at the end Luke also completely Luke Skywalkers the situation in that he literally hears that a General née Princess is direst trouble and drops everything (including his corporeal form) to save her. Obviously it's more complicated than that and she's his sister who he loves and it's not just her he's saving and he's also passing the torch to Rey who does the heavy lifting and it's not like R2 didn't make the point more forcefully much earlier, but still, I like that thought a lot. Definitely still Luke Skywalker, right to the end.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:25 PM on December 15, 2017 [17 favorites]


What I mean is, he did that thing he does without being Super Mario about it.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh I love that. Man, I haven't talked much about Luke, but it's because I love him so much and I have all these feels. After what they've done to Han and Leia in TFA, I was bracing myself, I won't lie
posted by cendawanita at 9:38 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


I loved Poe in TFA, and him spending the whole movie screwing up and being really aggressive and arrogant about it was a real let down. And I'm not sure I get it, unless the pay off is in the next movie where he learns from his failure.
posted by Mavri at 10:58 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh, one other thing that stood out for me about this one was when Laura Dern's character said "Godspeed" to the fleeing remainder. Is this the first time that "God" is mentioned specifically in the canonical bits? It seemed like an odd line to me.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:13 PM on December 15, 2017 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I found that a really jarring note too.
posted by Coaticass at 11:54 PM on December 15, 2017


I really enjoyed it. I teared up every single time Carrie Fisher was on my screen, mind you, and then I cried for like, the last 20 minutes of the movie, but I loved it. Some notes:

Rey's Parentage: I 100% believe that Rey and Kylo are siblings. I've thought that since the first movie and this movie did not do anything to change my mind. I think Kylo was trying to manipulate Rey into joining him and, to do so, drew heavily on her feelings of worthlessness by telling her who her parents are (allegedly). Kylo knew Rey existed in the first movie, he reacted when someone mentioned "a girl". So I believe that Kylo knew Rey from before. When? Possibly even from the time when Luke was training him. What if Luke took both Han and Leia's kids to train them? And what if it was presumed that Kylo killed his (possibly more talented) little sister? What if it was Kylo who left her on Jakku? The train the Jedi young, after all, don't they? Wasn't Anakin old at the age of what, 7? Is it possible that Rey doesn't remember much, Luke and Leia think she's dead and Kylo is the only one who truly knows?

It's a lot of meandering to keep my theory intact, I know. And while I love the concept that she is just a regular person, this is freaking Star Wars. Vader is Luke's dad. Luke and Leia are twins. That's what this movie franchise does! ;)

Rey: Loved that she went "dark" without hesitation. I don't think she'll turn, but it's fascinating to see how the dark side might have promised her what she most wanted in life...

Casino Planet: So there's a gambler who calls a woman next to him "Lovey" in a very Thurston-Howell-III voice. Is it just me or is this an actual Gilligan's Island reference?? Also, loved how they inspired the kids. And yes, that kid with the broom is totally force-sensitive! So cool.

Poe: Interesting article on toxic masculinity. I liked Poe in TFA and I even liked him here, but holy crap, dude, so much death.

Rose: I could have done without the Finn/Rose romance stuff.

Finn: Could have done without his stupid almost-suicidal run.

Leia: When the bridge exploded, my brother and I (and half the theatre) gasped. How could that be it? How could they kill Leia LIKE THAT? I mean, we were all expecting it, given the loss of Carrie Fisher, but I was ready to riot in the streets at how brutal that was. I am so glad for the (otherwise cheesy) scene where she makes it back to them. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Leia.

Luke: I wasn't ready for this, either, and it surprised me how much it affected me. I had heard rumours that Episode IX was supposed to be a more Leia-centric one, meaning that this one would likely be more Luke-centric... but I didn't catch on to the force projection and I didn't anticipate Luke dying and it just basically hit me right in all the feels. Luke Skywalker was just this kid on Tattoine. He wasn't a prince, he wasn't a warrior, he was just a kid. He was the most relatable of the gang to me, in the OT, since I wasn't a princess or a pilot or a wookie or a droid or a master jedi. The prequels focused so much on Anakin and his fall into the dark side and his transformation into Vader that it kind of ruined the story for me, since everything after that was tainted because it was the continuing story of Darth Vader. The prequels made it all Anakin's story, instead of Luke's. (Highly recommend Machete Order of 4, 5, 2, 3, 6 to reframe it as Luke's story again.) And this one wasn't Luke's story either, but it closed his chapter and, for that, I'm grateful.

Luke II: SO MANY SHOTS of Luke look just like Hayden Christenson Anakin (ignoring the beard, of course). I mean, look at this and this. I also loved how his force projection: a) looks younger, b) uses his blue lightsaber, c) has basically the same hairstyle he had in Return of the Jedi. Interesting perhaps idealized version of how he saw himself prior to taking on Ben as his student?

Too funny? It had a lot of jokes and laughs. I don't think the "You think you got him?" line from Hux was necessary, particularly as we're now like "uh, wtf, did Luke survive????" A lot of oddly-placed humour, I found. Though I did enjoy quite a bit of it -- the stuff with Hux and Poe, the roasted porg, the "reach out -- that's the force", all great.

Dark Side is Dumb? Throughout this entire movie, it felt like Kylo and Hux were Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I had trouble taking either seriously (unless Kylo was opposite Rey). I remember being terrified of Darth Vader and the Emperor back when I was a kid. Vader was ruthless, cruel, harsh. The Emperor, being his master, even more so. I feel like Hux and Kylo are just... silly, more often than not.

Okay. I should stop rambling...
posted by juliebug at 12:24 AM on December 16, 2017 [16 favorites]


I will bet actual human money that Rey's parentage is exactly what this film's text says it is.

Moreover, if she's related to the fucking Skywalkers it undercuts so much of what made the movie good—and if she's literally Han and Leia's long-lost daughter (???) that would be the worst possible variation of the already-bad "Her Parents Are Important" thing.

She and Kylo have a connection because they're both traumatized and both tremendously powerful. I don't think their connection requires any further explanation than that.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:34 AM on December 16, 2017 [62 favorites]


utterly mainstream lameness of the filmmaking

This particular reaction baffles me. And I say that as someone who, in the callow cynicism of adolescence (and beyond), threw around “mainstream” as a pejorative in some pretty embarrassing ways myself.

I love the SW universe - I was 13 when I saw the first one in the theater in 1977 -

I was wondering earlier whether the polarized response we’re seeing so far might have a generational component. (For the record, I was born in ‘77. So I’m an outlier to my own hypothesis). I’m sure someone will pick this up and spin it into a bit of millennial-vs-Gen X-or-whatever clickbait, and I generally loathe this sort of thing...

But I still can’t help wonder if there aren’t some folks (not necessarily you in particular, mediareport) of a certain age who resent (perhaps on some not-so-conscious level?) the themes of this one? I’m going to muse on this more, but not here. Every movie doesn’t have to be for everyone, and that’s cool. Nor is this an “olds don’t get it!!1!” hot-take. I’m an old who’s genuinely bummed that some folks in my cohort were so disappointed. Ah well.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've seen it twice. I didn't enjoy the film the first time around. I'd already booked the second tickets and I wasn't looking forward to a repeat viewing. But when I saw it last night, I came with different expectations.

The first time, I went in expecting Empire or something similar. If the critics are saying it's the best ever, it must surely be like ESB? I cried when Leia died and cried again when she became Mary Poppins in space, I thought Snoke looked amazing, the camera was beautiful, and that dreadnought captain was spot on, but the jokes rubbed and I spent the whole film waiting for it to become more Star Warsy; waiting for something more familiar. And so I was disappointed.

So I sat down with the kids, popcorn already spilled, and prepared for another tedious three hours. But this time, I enjoyed it. That was probably because I paid attention to it (and maybe also because I went for a toilet break). I wasn't measuring it against my expectations, I was actually listening to what it was quite blatantly saying: Old Star Wars is dead. This is something new. Without his helmet, Ren's dropped all pretention of being Vader. Luke isn't going to sort everything out with his laser sword. Yoda might have well set fire to a pile of Kenner toys, 20th Century Fox film cans and Jedi cosplay costumes. Kylo and Rey -- the new leader of the First Order and the future leader of the Resistance -- set in motion a new universe when they tore everything up in the throne room. Everything from now on begins there.

The jokes still rubbed a bit but not as much. No tears this time when Leia's ship gets blasted, but I still shook when she came back. I enjoyed the film on the second viewing. No boredom, except from the kids. They have no plans of seeing it again but perhaps they weren't the target audience. The film is clearly intended as a dialogue with existing core Star Wars fanbase -- those who had grown up with the original trilogy and won't let go. Star Wars is dead, long live Star Wars.

Oh, and:
- Ade Edmonson. I can't believe I saw the whole film for the first time without noticing him.
- Lots of sliding in this film.
- Did he say bastards?
- She said Godspeed. Does that mean God is added alongside Angels and Hell to SW canon?
posted by popcassady at 3:35 AM on December 16, 2017 [17 favorites]


Some very surface thoughts:
1) the film had nuance
2) what is the thing going on between Kylo and Rey?
3) totally shallow, but Kylo shirtless was a Glen Danzig moment. Man, it freaked me in the last film when Kylo unmasked and I thought, damn but he looks like Neil Gaiman. I am obviously messed up.
4) pacing was a bit off and seemed long
5) was the code breaker the real code breaker?
posted by jadepearl at 3:51 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


Fuck! I thought that was Ade Edmondson! Also yeah bastards. And there was a bloody iirc.

I kind of liked Kylo's mask. I guess that's gone now though?

Could have done without his stupid almost-suicidal run.

I dunno, it's very Finn. He spent TFA trying to run away. He starts TKJ trying to run. But Rose got him invested in the Resistance and his friends, so now he's doing something equally impulsive but opposite.

Is this the first time that "God" is mentioned specifically in the canonical bits?

"Your tauntaun'll freeze before you reach the first marker!"
"Then I'll see you in hell!"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:53 AM on December 16, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think Hux is a little out of place. All his subordinates are very much old trilogy officers, reminiscent of Ozzel and Piett, but Hux is simultaneously a total believer and a bit inept. Maybe the former is what got him promoted though.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:56 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hux lost his opportunity to kill Kylo. The empire is going to need time to adjust with Kylo as supreme ruler. The tension between force users and the military has been evident for decades and a dead emperor, an unstable supreme leader (kylo) and a "rabid cur" of a general speaks of instability. The various factions have to recalibrate and consolidate with this new situation.
posted by jadepearl at 4:18 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


After letting it settle a bit.... If I was less busy/lazy I'd write an essay but overall I liked it... Really liked it, best one since Empire etc. Loved old man crazy Luke. Ray's arc. God even the Porgs weren't annoying.

Quibbles: Yeah, Snoke and Plasma seemed short-changed... I'd have liked to have known a bit more about Snoke and I could see his death coming a mile away. I fully expect Plasma to be back, but yeah, would have liked to have seen more. More exploration of their characters like there has been for the good guys.

I really dug the aesthetic and humor of this. It was all very Flash Gordon (Snoke's throne room!!!!), which is fine, because Star Wars is very Flash Gordon.

This especially. I thought the casino stuff (which I seem rare in likely) - the look of it especially, the art-deco styling, really harked back to the old Buster Crabbe serial. And the pacing and constant mini-cliffhangers of the film seemed to be going back to the series origins in old movie serials of the 30 and 40s
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:22 AM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


Didn't notice it the first time but spotted it the second: Rey finding joy in the rain water spilling off the Millennium Falcon. Coming from a desert planet, that must be pretty wild.
posted by popcassady at 4:54 AM on December 16, 2017 [53 favorites]


Just came back from a second viewing. I'm STILL cracking up at tht Gareth Edwards cameo, that lucky nerd. Ppl need to finish directing a movie, usually.
posted by cendawanita at 5:44 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


I would have traded the casino story for more about Ben Solo going bad (and bringing some fellow students with him to the dark side somehow??).
And expanding on how Luke was so close to killing him, which seems extremely out of character.
posted by starman at 6:04 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


Now I'm curious what "themes" you think folks of my generation might resent in this movie, Barack Spinoza. I just saw a fairly dull, loud and shallow mess, with many characters put in wheel-spinning mode, that was put together in a disappointingly ordinary way.
posted by mediareport at 6:09 AM on December 16, 2017


I totally missed all the celeb cameos / actors notable for other things in bit parts - but extreme spoiler avoidance meant I wasn't primed for them. Also being a bit face blind puts me at a disadvantage for a start. Though I did have a 'Hang on. that's somebody....?' moment with, it turns out, Lilly Cole.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:23 AM on December 16, 2017 [6 favorites]


popcassady put it quite nicely, above:

Old Star Wars is dead. This is something new. Without his helmet, Ren's dropped all pretention of being Vader. Luke isn't going to sort everything out with his laser sword. Yoda might have well set fire to a pile of Kenner toys, 20th Century Fox film cans and Jedi cosplay costumes. Kylo and Rey -- the new leader of the First Order and the future leader of the Resistance -- set in motion a new universe when they tore everything up in the throne room. Everything from now on begins there.

The film is clearly intended as a dialogue with existing core Star Wars fanbase -- those who had grown up with the original trilogy and won't let go. Star Wars is dead, long live Star Wars.


This isn’t directed at you, mediareport. Your distaste for the film was just abother datapoint that got me thinking, is all. I thought I made it clear that you’re welcome to your opinions, as is everyone who didn’t enjoy this one. I just think there might be something zeitgeist-y (ugh) going on here, but I could be super wrong. Which is why I said I would take this line of musing elsewhere until I can articulate it more clearly.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:28 AM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


Was just listening to the podcast of the R4 film program and they were saying they think one of the reasons for the Porgs is there's that many puffins on the skellig islands it was easier to turn them into Porgs than to digitally remove them all.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:28 AM on December 16, 2017 [30 favorites]


(The film’s treatment (or lack thereof) of Snoke exemplified this for me.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:29 AM on December 16, 2017


Now I'm curious what "themes" you think folks of my generation might resent in this movie, Barack Spinoza. I just saw a fairly dull, loud and shallow mess, with many characters put in wheel-spinning mode, that was put together in a disappointingly ordinary way.

It's about how you move into early adulthood, isn't it? About whether or not you should kill your parents or the idea of your parents to build something new or whether you need synthesis. Whether that destruction will destroy you and the next generation of relationships you're trying to build.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:30 AM on December 16, 2017 [17 favorites]


I honestly think this one was more true to the themes of the original trilogy than anything we've seen since. Luke doesn't win by killing Vader but Vader's love saves him. Our redemptive hope for our parents will save us, not the total vilification of them (even if they deserve to be vilified). It's not about rejection of the dark side but acceptance of the fears that are a part of us.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:36 AM on December 16, 2017 [27 favorites]


It's about how you move into early adulthood, isn't it?

I saw it as slightly broader - authority and how to deal with it - but yeah, that works too. I was just hoping for a more deft take.

As to the death of Old Star Wars, I've been calling for these movies to start doing that for a long time now. Instead we get New Improved Ghost Yoda who can now affect the physical world just like when he was alive!

Eh, I'll bow out now, and maybe revisit after the bluray hits Redbox. It'll be interesting to see if the current, surprisingly low audience score at Rotten Tomatoes goes up significantly as opening week continues.
posted by mediareport at 6:43 AM on December 16, 2017


But I still can’t help wonder if there aren’t some folks (not necessarily you in particular, mediareport) of a certain age who resent (perhaps on some not-so-conscious level?) the themes of this one?

Thank you, you just kinda helped me figure out one of the things that bother me about the sequels. (I'm an Xer) The OT is largely a coming-of-age type story for Luke and Luke's story is largely about undoing his parents' mistakes (redeeming his father, end the Empire). The OT ends on a hopeful note about moving forward, making progress, building something better.

The sequel trilogy starts and there has been no progress made. We're back at the exact place of OT in terms of the galaxy. It was like Luke's generation accomplished nothing.

It was hard to see Luke as broken person, but he was still doing what he thought was right by hiding from the galaxy.

His third act send off was truly worthy of a master: showing up at the last moment, seemingly withstanding an impossible barrage effortlessly, a defensive duel much more reminiscent of Kurosawa than the prequels (the Force is used for knowledge and defense, never for attack), and giving the good guys one more chance to keep the flames alive.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:05 AM on December 16, 2017 [15 favorites]


The Leia death fakeout was pretty weak, and took me right out of the movie - Leia was badass enough as is, giving her force powers actually weakens the character, particularly when they're not really necessary: she could be badly hurt and put in a coma without being thrown off the ship, and the rest of the movie wouldn't change one bit.

The codebreaker subplot was pretty weak too, what with the way they got the reference and everything in the galaxy being about 15 minutes of hyperspace travel away from everything else - convenient for going on sidequests with an enemy armada on your ass.

Overall I liked it a lot though - random high points:

* Gwendoline Christie was wasted, and delivered a great performance even with just one eye
* Snoke turned out to be a pretty cool villain, it's a pity he didn't last longer (also got stuck with a silly name)
* Idiot Space Nazi Blixa Bargeld is my new favorite rabid cur
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:09 AM on December 16, 2017 [6 favorites]


The one serious problem I had, that bothered me even while watching, is the intercutting between two storylines that clearly shouldn't be happening at the same time. The rebel fleet being pursued by Snoke's ship is established as taking about 18-20 hours to play out, while Ren/Luke on the island is clearly the events of several days. Also the side quest at the casino also seems to stretch the bounds of belief that they could get there, go through all of that, and get back in 18 hours. (Notice they seem to arrive at the casino planet pretty instantaneously, but their hyperspace journey back seems to be slower because they have multiple chats with Poe along the way. I get that was done for added tension and suspense but it just adds to the timeline messiness.)

Once all the storylines were back together, it was great stuff. Although after the light speed ramming attack, I thought sure the movie was over. I thought we were about to have a few epilogue scenes of the rebels arriving on that mining base planet, the First Order would fly off to regroup, and that would be it for now. I was really surprised that we were heading for a whole other battle scene, so I think it took me a sec to get my mind back in the game for it.

When the trailer came out months ago with that part where Luke says it's time for the Jedi to end, I was one of those who freaked out a bit, like "what??? The Jedi and the Force are the coolest best parts of the movies!" But now that I've seen it and heard the whole thing, I think it's quite interesting, because it's really about change. It's like the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist lamas reincarnating - the current Dalai Lama has said he might not reincarnate, due to the changing nature of politics and the times. I think that's sort of like what Yoda does here. The Force is still there, the underlying teachings about it are still true - the external trappings that grew up around it, over time have become a block and a barrier to it. The Traditions are empty and useless if they are not functioning as paths to the truths that gave birth to them in the first place.
posted by dnash at 7:56 AM on December 16, 2017 [19 favorites]


I saw it last night. While it had some flaws (it felt very episodic, and some of the episodes kind of didn't go anywhere), I was thoroughly entertained and intend to see it at the cinema several more times.

* I'm relieved that Rey's parents weren't Important. I didn't think there were any narratively satisfying candidates, found the fan theories frustrating, and thought it would be a massive cop-out for her to be yet another Skywalker relative. If she had to be Someone Important I was holding out hope for a secret descendant of some Dark Side force user, but a straight inversion like that would probably have been too obvious. This is better.

* Man, I don't know what they're going to do with Leia in the next film. We're definitely not going to get whatever the original plan was, which is sad. I suspect there's going to be some kind of time skip to make her absence less jarring, but there are potentially various clever things they could do with a dead, invisible yet still somehow present-via-the-force Leia which an audience aware of the practical limitations will be on board with.

* I loved the ambiguous Kylo heel-face-turn-or-was-it and the lingering ambiguity at the end of the movie. It did not, indeed, go the way I thought it would go. I think it was handled in a way which was interesting, not too obvious, and left his character arc in the next movie completely up in the air. I still hope that he ends up both redeemed and alive, because it would avoid some predictable and fatalistic movie tropes, and because of what it would mean for Leia's arc for her to succeed in saving her son after seemingly giving up hope completely.

* I don't think Snoke's origins were ever supposed to be Important either. He was this guy and he was evil, and now he's dead. I wasn't expecting him to die in this movie, and I'm happy to be surprised. Again, this makes the next movie less predictable.

* I was also pleasantly surprised that Hux survived, although less pleased that he has been relegated to a comic relief character.

* Poor Phasma, underused again. I'm hoping that she'll be back in the last movie with an eyepatch (probably to be underused one final time).

* I loved grumpy and depressed Luke and his entire arc.

* Finn and Rose's trip to the Space Casino seemed like one of those plots that ran into a dead end, but I can appreciate that while their plan completely failed they ended up inspiring some urchins, one of whom will probably be particularly useful later. So that's OK.

* I'm glad that Admiral Purple did actually have a plan, but I didn't really buy the necessity of keeping it so secret that it sparked an actual mutiny. The hyperspace ramming was awesome. It's clearly not a completely unheard-of manoeuvre, given the startled realisation of that officer aboard the ship -- just something that is very rarely attempted. I'm happy with the various headcanons that explain why people don't do it all the time (needs a big, expensive ship; skill; a big enough target; a lot of luck; etc.).

* I'm not sure how I feel about Poe's repeated screw-ups in general.
posted by confluency at 7:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


The rebel fleet being pursued by Snoke's ship is established as taking about 18-20 hours to play out, while Ren/Luke on the island is clearly the events of several days.

This is almost exactly how Luke's training on Dagobah is done, and while it seems like that took place over a long time, that is not actually the case.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm glad that Admiral Purple did actually have a plan, but I didn't really buy the necessity of keeping it so secret that it sparked an actual mutiny

Even considering that Poe leaked the information to the First Order almost as soon as he got it? I mean, he passed it on to operatives he was running at high risk of capture in enemy territory, one of whom wasn't even a rebel.

I'm tempted to do a long write up on Poe at some point, but on this point I'd say it was not just a secret plan, it 100% relied on secrecy for effectiveness. If there was ever a case for "need to know" this was it, as evidence by how it got screwed up so easily.
posted by mark k at 8:07 AM on December 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


Poe's arc I really appreciated the second time around, it was clear his hero-moves-turning-out-to-be-costly-mistakes thoroughline was building to his arc of taking his place as the future rebel leader (if Leia's 'what are you looking at me for?' wasn't enough). I mean he finally got to the mental space necessary to see through Luke's gambit and also Holdo's maneuver earlier. In fact I'm really happy the the triumvirate of the new trilogy each got a real complete character journey respectively.

Watching the various interviews, I have to admit cracking up a bit at Mark Hamill's observation that each of them were different aspects of Luke in the OT. There really isn't a straight Leia or Han analogue is there?
posted by cendawanita at 8:09 AM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed seeing older women in charge, and seeing them prioritize survival over fighting and cleverness and have those priorities, and their leadership, validated by the narrative.

Also

When Kylo pulled an almost straight-up PUA move of negging Rey about her parents and then offering her partnernship, I wanted to pull her aside and say, "Girl, no. I dated this guy in college. Just walk away." Fortunately she didn't need my advice.
posted by jeoc at 8:13 AM on December 16, 2017 [80 favorites]


This is almost exactly how Luke's training on Dagobah is done, and while it seems like that took place over a long time, that is not actually the case.

Here, Luke speaks of "tomorrow morning we start." We see Rey going to bed and waking up more than once, as I recall. It's pretty clearly multiple days on that island. It's possibly explainable by assuming that the Rey/Luke storyline here starts, in time, before the other parts of this movie start. But it didn't feel that way, just in terms of how movies are structured. Like, if you're going to do a Nolan-esque tinkering with timelines, give me better clues that that's what you're doing.

[Although maybe it's just my own issue. It took me at least a third of Dunkirk to grok that the three plots were playing out in different amounts of time, even though the titles had stated as much right from the beginning.]
posted by dnash at 8:19 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


The one serious problem I had, that bothered me even while watching, is the intercutting between two storylines that clearly shouldn't be happening at the same time. The rebel fleet being pursued by Snoke's ship is established as taking about 18-20 hours to play out, while Ren/Luke on the island is clearly the events of several days.

If we're going to complain about departure from realism: How do space bombers drop their non-propelled space bombs on their targets in the absence of gravity, and why does every major spaceship from two enemy fleets use the same local definition for up?
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:25 AM on December 16, 2017 [32 favorites]


If we're going to complain about departure from realism: How do space bombers drop their non-propelled space bombs on their targets in the absence of gravity, and why does every major spaceship from two enemy fleets use the same local definition for up?

The way artificial gravity works in Star Wars is that the generator is locked on to the gravitational center of the galaxy, which is why all ships of significant size share the same orientation when close by. Each ship with an anti-gravity generator possesses its own gravitational envelope that causes all objects in its immediate vicinity to fall from "up" to "down." The Resistance bombers, which do not have their own generators, only have gravity when inside the envelope of the Star Destroyer.

I made all of this up.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2017 [65 favorites]


They're loaded into tubes so that an electromagnet can activate and push them all out the bomb bay doors and let the law of inertia take care of the rest.
posted by absalom at 8:37 AM on December 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'll admit that I really would have liked a brutal cliffhanger or a mystery to puzzle over while we wait for ep 9. Much as I appreciate the way they casually rendered the big questions of TFA moot, they didn't really serve up much else for us to feverishly fantheorize about, did they? Almost feels like this could wrap up as a duology right here.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:54 AM on December 16, 2017 [7 favorites]


Here, Luke speaks of "tomorrow morning we start." We see Rey going to bed and waking up more than once, as I recall. It's pretty clearly multiple days on that island. It's possibly explainable by assuming that the Rey/Luke storyline here starts, in time, before the other parts of this movie start. But it didn't feel that way, just in terms of how movies are structured. Like, if you're going to do a Nolan-esque tinkering with timelines, give me better clues that that's what you're doing.

They are on alien planets. Who knows how long a day is.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [47 favorites]


That’s a head-slappingly great point, PhoB.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:04 AM on December 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Even considering that Poe leaked the information to the First Order almost as soon as he got it?

Fair enough, but if we're talking about the same thing, he didn't know the entire plan at this point; just half of it -- the half which made it seem unreasonable, which is why he was trying to stop it. If he had known from the start that it was a solid, workable plan he may not have attempted to undermine it in the first place.

I'm not strongly bothered by the way this went down -- the admiral may have been justified in treating the plan as need-to-know, and not anticipated what lengths Poe would go to because he was out of the loop -- but it feels a little too much like the kind of plot contrivance where a misunderstanding leads to tragedy because people don't talk to each other.
posted by confluency at 9:05 AM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


How do space bombers drop their non-propelled space bombs on their targets in the absence of gravity, and why does every major spaceship from two enemy fleets use the same local definition for up?

Because Star Wars uses World War II dogfighting rules for its space battles, just like Star Trek uses 18th Century naval engagement rules for its space battles.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:29 AM on December 16, 2017 [47 favorites]


So usually, I really dislike plots that only move ahead because people fail to communicate, but I was fine with the Poe/Admiral Purple thing. Because their entire organization had just been decapitated, so all the normal ways of communicating and organizing where messed up, chain of command or not.

I also really really loved Rey's parents being no one in particular. I really really hope they stick to that, because that was such an important point. Also note how it's juxtaposed with Snoke's mention of Kylo's "bloodline".

I also feel that the film was kind of long, but don't know what I would actually cut. I liked the pleasure planet excursion bit, because otherwise it would have been a lot of Skellig and space fights and not much else. And again, the war profiteers thing was more, er, woke than I would have expected Star Wars to be.
posted by Zarkonnen at 9:29 AM on December 16, 2017 [6 favorites]


Wait. I’ve apparently missed a super important plot point...
When/how did Poe reveal Admiral Laura Dern’s secret plan to the First Order? I legit don’t remember that...
posted by Dorinda at 9:47 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


When/how did Poe reveal Admiral Laura Dern’s secret plan to the First Order? I legit don’t remember that...

I think what people are referring to is Poe leaking it to Finn and Rose when he sends them on the mission. They in turn leak it to the shady codebreaker (or maybe he overhears them on the comms with Poe), and he sells the information to the First Order. But I've only seen the movie once and I don't remember the details of the timeline.
posted by confluency at 9:51 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah, when he was on the comms with Finn & Rose on the stolen ship they were on speaker with DJ the codebreaker listening.
posted by cendawanita at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


This feels strange to say after the prequels, but I really wish they had more politics. Because I’m still mystified how the First Order has apparently turned itself into the Empire in such order.

In ANH, when Tarkin announced that the Emperor had dissolved the Senate, the first reaction was, “How will he maintain control without the bureaucracy?” As a kid the meaning of this was lost on me, but eventually I realized this is a really fucking important question.

The First Order didn’t just decapitate the New Republic — which itself is an indictment of just how badly Our Heroes screwed up the peace after ROTJ, that their political order was so fragile — but the Galaxy didn’t fall into anarchy! The First Order was able to somehow step in and take control of local systems, despite lacking any real claim to legitimacy. I mean, shit, it took the Empire 20 years to reach the point of ruling solely by fear, and even then it was a big step.

It felt like the filmmakers just blazed the straightest possible line to recreating the Empire/Rebellion dynamic, and really didn’t care much at all how they got there.
posted by bjrubble at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [29 favorites]


My head-canon for now is that Phasma will return as a bounty hunter (of which we have zero so far this trilogy), having mysteriously escaped death, like Boba Fett from the Sarlacc.

If we're going to complain about departure from realism: How do space bombers drop their non-propelled space bombs on their targets in the absence of gravity, and why does every major spaceship from two enemy fleets use the same local definition for up?

The bombing run was The Last Jedi's World-War-2-bomber-fleet-over-enemy-territory to A New Hope's dam-busters-trench-run. Also why did Snoke's cruiser fire shots that travelled in a parabolic arc like artillery shells (head-canon: they had to make guided projectiles to compensate for the Imperial Lack Of Accuracy).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:09 AM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


All my exhausted child wanted to know after getting out of the midnight showing is how many people Finn can marry now, when Luke is coming back from his ghost holiday with Yoda and can she watch it again. She was riveted for the entire thing.

I'm pretty sure I have food dye in the pantry and can wake her up with blue milk. Roasted porg may not go down so well.

I think Rey is a clone (remember the Snoke as that Darth master of medical science theory?) Hence her vision. Kylo straight up lied.

Also, so very much looking forward to the twisting weirdness that the kylo/hux fandom will have to put itself through. I misheard Snoke as calling him a "snivelling rabbit" which was just delightful.

Rose is brilliant. Someone mentioned how women go deep in this film, and that's true, there were women and poc everywhere, not just sprinkled lightly. The worlds felt Bechdel.

What hit me most re: Carrie Fisher was scenes with her daughter in them. Had I not known the link, I'd have liked her well enough. Seeing her on the bridge and knowing these are her last scenes with her mother, is so bittersweet.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2017 [37 favorites]


I think that Luke drinking the blue milk (beyond being obviously necessary to survive) and smiling at Rey was a nice callback to Luke being grossed out at Yoda's food in exile on Dagobah.
posted by Start with Dessert at 11:37 AM on December 16, 2017 [27 favorites]


I may have more to say later, but:

I had the strong feeling that Holdo's whole self-sacrifice thing was originally going to be Ackbar's. The voice actor for Ackbar died soon after performing in Force Awakens. Ackbar doing it would've had more resonance, and I could totally see Poe and Ackbar butting heads on tactics just as he and Holdo did here.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:04 PM on December 16, 2017 [41 favorites]


No matter what the final reveal is, I don’t trust a word that Kylo said to Rey — about her parents or anything else.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:27 PM on December 16, 2017 [7 favorites]


I think Kylo was telling her the truth because she acknowledged that she has known all along. I really don't get why people seem so keen to thrust her into being a legacy character--she's no one but she is important. And as a woman it is infuriating to constantly hear that along with the Mary Sue accusations. What she does matters, not whose holy seed she generated from. Darkness rises and light to meet it so her powers might be just the Will of the Force.
posted by nikitabot at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2017 [39 favorites]


Yeah, to repeat a thing I said in the TFA thread, it's always seemed to me that Rey's parentage is a mystery to us but not to her. She isn't on Jakku waiting to find out who they are, just for them to come back, which they won't. She doesn't ask the Dark Side mirror to tell her who her parents are, she asks to see them. All of the "hype" about her parents was fan-generated, not something the movie's trying to get you to focus on. Maz even tells her, stop looking behind you, start looking ahead. I'm very glad they stuck with this explanation, but I don't think they ever suggested otherwise.
posted by Errant at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2017 [21 favorites]


Okay. I'll offer the dissenting opinion. First, to be absolutely clear, I love the shift to a diverse cast and bringing women to the fore and the critique of toxic masculinity and arbitrary dichotomies.

But I am so tired of action movie plots where the actions only make sense because we had to get characters from here to there and if you give it an ounce of thought it falls apart. So many things in this movie arbitrarily happened because that's what needed to happen for X to live or Y to get from here to there. Boring, predictable (not in the details but that it will happen because it has to happen).

Just one example... why doesn't a dreadnought or the pursuing fleet have squadron after squadron of tie fighters that would make short work of the incoming bombers or the fleeing rebel ships. Why? Because even though it makes perfect sense that they would, it would ruin the plot so they can't.

This movie was fun, even one of the better SW offerings, and yet it had the potential for so much more. Drop the entire casino story and make it a tight set of personal interactions between Poe/Holdo/Leia over what action to take during the slow-motion escape (and oh how I wanted more Holdo/Leia scenes) and then in parallel more of Rey/Luke exploring his new understanding of balance and shedding his cynicism because of her influence.

That said, this movie was not made for me... it was made for my 10yo son who loved it and clapped and cheered and shouted 'head shot' when Rey tossed Ren the light saber and he finished the last red guard.

Me? I'll go live on Luke's island and eat giant fish.
posted by kokaku at 1:16 PM on December 16, 2017 [12 favorites]


I think that Luke drinking the blue milk (beyond being obviously necessary to survive)

Blue Milk was a childhood favorite of Luke's.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2017 [8 favorites]


Jan Orso had blue milk in her family home too. What's the deal with blue milk being the galactic standard? Are those sea creatures all over the galaxy being farmed? Clearly it must be imported to Tatooine, for example. Do people just prefer the colour? Is all Star Wars milk blue, whatever the animal? I feel like this is the real mystery left to solve.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:21 PM on December 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


So here’s the thing. I’m not sure Ren was asking Rey to come to the Dark Side. He knows she’s not Dark. What you really feel from him towards her is that he accepts her as she is. He sees that she balances him and the Darkness. And he knows he needs that. That was Luke’s message to Rey. The Light is not gone without the Jedi. And the Dark is not gone without the Sith.

Interestingly, looking at the end of Empire through this lens casts a fully different light on Vader’s overture to Luke to join him.

Vader and Ren’s tragedy is that they think they need to use the Force to rule the galaxy for there to be order and balance. Luke and Rey’s tragedy is that they think you need to fight the Dark Side to defeat it.
posted by dry white toast at 2:59 PM on December 16, 2017 [41 favorites]


The First Order was able to somehow step in and take control of local systems, despite lacking any real claim to legitimacy.

I think there's a strong case to be made that the systems have basically been doing their own thing since the Empire fell, and that the fight between the First Order and the new Rebels are essentially fighting a little war off by themselves. The only tangible impacts being that some systems have gotten rich by selling weapons to both sides. The New Republic sounded pretty tenuous, easily destroyed by the Planet Gun thing from TFA. But it sounds like they were part of the New Republic in the way that Eddie Izzard's Italians were fascists: "Umm, sure. Ciao." Scrolling text aside, I'm not sure the First Order were controlling much of anything.
posted by dry white toast at 3:08 PM on December 16, 2017 [13 favorites]


Is all Star Wars milk blue, whatever the animal?

Even human?!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:20 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's all that midichlorians??

Rian Johnson talks about Rey's parentage. as far as he's concerned, the text is what it is, but he's not involved in 9 sooooo....
posted by cendawanita at 4:26 PM on December 16, 2017


But I am so tired of action movie plots where the actions only make sense because we had to get characters from here to there and if you give it an ounce of thought it falls apart. So many things in this movie arbitrarily happened because that's what needed to happen for X to live or Y to get from here to there. Boring, predictable (not in the details but that it will happen because it has to happen).

This sums it for me, thanks. I really do love the new characters and like what the movie is saying thematically, But the plot is completely shitty and ridiculous and pulls me out of the movie with its reliance on tropes.

BUT!

When I started taking my daughter to movies at a early age, she loved various shitty scifi/adventure movies because she was new to the various tropes. They weren't tropes to her yet, they were just a story.

I definitely think it's the characters in fiction that the audience almost literally needs to fall in love with. Because once they fall in love with them and their chemistry, the plot doesn't matter as much. If you love something, you don't see all the faults or can easily ignore them. Hell, those faults might even come off as charming. Which pretty much sums up Star Wars.

So that's where I am with The Last Jedi. The initial viewing was a bit of a let down, but further thought has warmed me to the movie. The ridiculous plot and its mechanics still bothers me though. Surely they could have spruced that up a bit, right?

But what ultimately brought me over to the side of TLJ is the huge middle figure it gives to TFA and its director. It worries me that he'll be back for the next one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:34 PM on December 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


Bantha milk is blue, which is why most people on Tatooine drink it. It looks and smells a little weird, but it's nutritious.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:35 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Not only is Abrams back for 9, his co-writer wrote BvS and Justice League.

So, I'm just going to spend the rest of my life just appreciating this anomaly of a SW movie.
posted by cendawanita at 4:36 PM on December 16, 2017 [16 favorites]


(ok ok he wrote Argo too. But yeah well, I'm not holding my breath.)
posted by cendawanita at 4:39 PM on December 16, 2017


The question isn't "Why is all Star Wars milk blue?" it's "Why is all ours white?"

#deepthoughts #soooodeeeeep #notsureifothercolourmilkisathingIRLactually #iwanttomilkyoulikeananimal
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:06 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


I don't know why you are all going on about the blue milk, at the screening I saw it was definitely green, not blue. Was there something wrong with the projector?
posted by Coaticass at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2017 [19 favorites]


A friend insisted it was green to the point that I doubted myself. I saw blue but you are not alone.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:14 PM on December 16, 2017


Lol I've been playing along but it's green. As confirmed in the visual dictionary fwiw
posted by cendawanita at 5:15 PM on December 16, 2017 [6 favorites]


*furrows brows* Blue or green, green or blue? Can’t...remember....now!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:57 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


I feel like there's got to be a satisfying explanation why she and Kylo had such affinity.

If you wanted to go for relationship, Han "I like to wander around the galaxy hanging around with smugglers and not my estranged wife" Solo seems like an obvious one. Han knocks up a random woman, who is also married to some dude. He never knows about it. Crappy parents abandon little Rey. Ta-da, she and Kylo are half-sibs, enough to have a bond.

Now the funny part is that this implies the Force runs either in Han's blood or in that of Rey's mom, and Rey didn't get any of her abilities from the Skywalkers whatsoever.

And I'd be fine with that.

I enjoyed the casino bit because it had a nice animal-rights + Jesus Chasing Out the Moneylenders vibe (though I worried about those racing critters hurting themselves). Also adorable orphans as future Rebels.

In general, I got bored with all the "fighters in space shooting lasers" scenes and was much more engaged during the "people being interesting/funny/afraid for each other" scenes.

I didn't have any Carrie Fisher feels till the scene where Mark Hamill kissed her forehead. Then I started to tear up, imagining how sad he must be about her.

My kid's favorite shirt is the Porg shirt we got him for his birthday. The Porgs are awesome.

I saw the ramming thing coming a mile off, and had to suspend disbelief that the FO wouldn't also, but the special effects were AMAZING and the whole audience did gasp, so well done.

Luke totally Bullet-Time dodged one of Ren's laser-swipes. I LOL'd.

I think it would be ok if Finn's rushed crush on Rey, his Second Real Friend and Precious Flower, fades in favor of Rose, who won't take any of his shit but loves him. Rey will survive it; she and Poe were giving each other looks, also, so who knows.

I totally thought Poe was crushing on Laura Dern at first and was like wha, keep it in your pants horndog.

Though he still loves BB-8 more than any human. It's almost a little disturbing.
posted by emjaybee at 6:00 PM on December 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


I amused myself that as the next last Jedi it means Rey can never be with Finn because it will be revealed tht they're siblings

Oh also belated shout-out for not acknowledging part of Mark Hamill's amazing performance was his superb voice work as always. He sounded very much like young Luke when he was back on the Falcon and talking to R2 as well a bit of tht for Yoda
posted by cendawanita at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2017 [8 favorites]


I got bored with all the "fighters in space shooting lasers"

Move along, this might not even the movie you're looking for :)

I kid, but this is kinda the reason those movies are liked.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ok WaterandPixels, but in the first movie, it wasn't just "ooh space fight" it was;

1. Brand new awesome special effects no one had ever seen before PLUS
2. Really engaging/terrifying stuff like Vader and his troops taking over Leia's ship--i.e, human beings in danger, i.e., stakes.

The impact of scenes of a giant cruiser in space shooting lasers isn't as great anymore, so you have to put more work into the stakes part.

The newer effects technology is better for on-planet flying/fighting scenes, though. And I thought those were pretty good in this movie.
posted by emjaybee at 6:56 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think it would be ok if Finn's rushed crush on Rey, his Second Real Friend and Precious Flower, fades in favor of Rose, who won't take any of his shit but loves him. Rey will survive it; she and Poe were giving each other looks, also, so who knows.

I ship Kylo/Rey. It's not a good ship. It's a horrible haunted derelict. It's not a ship I'd send a friend of mine on. But it's got a lot of narrative power, and I think they're building up to it, if only to deny it in a tragic fashion.

I just saw this movie today, not expecting much but wanting to have some of the fun that people appear to be having. And I was blown out of the water. I set the bar pretty low for SW screenwriting, but this movie leapt over it.

When the double sun was setting, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and -- even though I had pretty much expected a heroic death from Luke -- I choked up a little. I even said aloud, "Luke Skywalker's dead!" although thankfully not too aloud. That was somebody I'd known all my life, somebody Mark Hamill had known for most of his, too. I'm sure it wasn't without some big emotions on his part. There was a real tenderness in Luke's scene with Leia.

When Yoda showed up, it made sense that he set the tree on fire himself. He always was the most Buddhist-Taoist in this Buddhist-Taoist-mashup religion. I also caught him using syntax properly. I think Yoda kept his accent simply to disturb people, much as I have.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:31 PM on December 16, 2017 [22 favorites]


‘The Last Jedi’ Has Something That No Other Franchise Can Claim - "In Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, the new ‘Star Wars’ movie foregrounds something Marvel, DC, and the rest of the major movie series have not been able find: a complex villain"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:57 PM on December 16, 2017 [13 favorites]


I went in wanting to really love it but I just liked it. It was too busy. I agree with emjaybee that the "fighters in space shooting lasers" scenes, focusing on Poe, Holdo, and Leia, could have been cut down on. The first was well done. Johnson repeated his tension-raising tricks I'd also seen in the Breaking Bad episode he directed (where Walter White's trying to get this fly that's getting into his preciously pure meth--reminded me of Rose's sister trying to get the hand-paddle in reach).

Luke's island was probably my favorite part. It felt like a real place. When Lucas went back and edited the original trilogy, he filled each frame with extraneous creatures just to show off. Somehow the rhythm of the porgs, caretakers, fish, sea monsters, etc. felt real. I also liked that the movie was giving us not only more of the future of Star Wars, but more of its past. That's part of good fantasy-world building. In the OT, we knew there was a past of a Republic, stuff went down between Obi-Wan and Vader, there was something called the "Clone Wars", etc. Similarly with Tolkein, there were always references to a past. I don't think we got that at all in the prequels. They were as far back as Lucas's imagination had gone. Here we get some hints of how and where the Jedi started, and I would have rather seen more of that back-story than Snokes's.

I liked the Casino Planet interlude. When they set loose the fahirs and ride through the cobbestone streets and into the meadows, it was a wild joyride, when too much of this movie could be a dutiful rendezvous with where each character has to arc to make sense.

Empire Strikes Back didn't have an abundance of space battles. It had the Hoth AT-AT battle similar to the salt-planet battle at the end, and the Falcon escaping the Star Destroyer and riding through the asteroid field. It juggled just two sub-plots: Han and Leia and 3PO in the Falcon, and Luke on his own, preparing to meet Vader.

I think some of the longing for a resolution of Rey's parentage is not just the idea that bloodlines are important, but what made Empire stand out the way it did was that Vader's reveal was the peak drama in that subplot, it was surprising in a way that made you re-evaluate what had preceded it (Obi-Wan's stories to Luke). I was hoping for some kind of similar (but not too similar) revelation here.

I had one fan-theory going in, which was that Holdo (I'd learned there was a Laura Dern character) might be Rey's mother. And I thought maybe they could boldly ret-con: the whole plot of Luke and Leia being siblings seemed to be something a bit forced in to the original trilogy just because Lucas couldn't resolve the Luke-Han-Leia triangle. It stood out that Luke had been trained in the force but not Leia (who was always more level-headed). And so I thought: maybe if there were Skywalker twins, there had been a further switcharoo to keep the girl's identity a secret, and it could have turned out to be Dern's character. (Also this makes the Luke-Leia flirting prior to the sibling revelation more palatable!) And maybe as speculated above, Han could have been the father, so Rey is a force legacy, and half-siblings with Kylo, who now has to come to terms with having no Vader ancestry, and HE being the muggle with force powers.

I thought the humor was well done, but I don't remember Star Wars as being humorless.

One final thing: these days we're so used to the idea of progress, at least technologically. Star Wars time to our time is Apple ][ to latest iPhone. And even though progress has been made in the diversity of the cast, I don't think this was a better movie than Empire, which was simpler and more elemental.
posted by Schmucko at 8:58 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]




Saw it tonight, loved it, have read about half the thread but don't have time to finish all of it. I wanted to say in regard to this:
Rose saving Finn. "Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love." My heart went "awww".

I did NOT think "awww," I thought wtf? Obviously the whole thing they'd been doing the whole movie (Rose included) had been fighting what they hate. (Also I was worried that Rose was going to die, which would have made no sense, as it would have traded what would have been the loss of Finn--weep!--but for the purpose of a successful suicide mission, for the meaningless death of the woman who saved him. But that didn't happen, so okay.)

ANYWAY here is my thinking, the only way I make thematic sense of Rose's line there. I think that in the final installment, Rey does turn Kylo, and victory indeed comes through saving what is loved rather than fighting what is hated. This resolution actually seems more realistic, given everything that happened and was hinted at in TLJ, than an ending in which the resistance manages to build itself back up from a couple dozen fighters to a force that could actually defeat the Order.

Also I believe there has to be a payoff for Kylo's ambivalence.

Also as someone said above, Rey and Kylo fighting together are a well-oiled machine. They are a pair.
posted by torticat at 10:09 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Hm looking back I see I made the same argument last year.

And lydhre had a pretty sharp (in all senses) response.
posted by torticat at 10:25 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


I was fine with the Poe/Admiral Purple thing. Because their entire organization had just been decapitated, so all the normal ways of communicating and organizing where messed up, chain of command or not.

Upon reflection, I like this plotline a lot better when I think about it as an unfortunate consequence of the rapid turnover in the rebel command structure.

Poe would have trusted Leia. Leia knows Poe well enough to have picked up that he was up to something. But Poe and Holdo know each other only by reputation, which is why they misjudge and mistrust each other.
posted by confluency at 11:20 PM on December 16, 2017 [22 favorites]


Dropping in with a comment about the kid with the broom in the end:

I thought it was really funny and exciting because I immediately drew a connection to Star Wars Kid, and was honestly expecting him to do a little bit of a twirl to make the allusion more explicit. And it felt so nice and sympathetic too, like Star Wars Kid got super bullied and roundly made fun of by everybody online and off, but here in an OFFICIAL movie in the franchise you have a scene basically saying "It's cool and normal to be inspired by kid stories about heroes, and to pretend you're them, because that's how it starts!"

Unrelatedly, seeing Michaela Coel on the bridge of the Rebel cruiser was A+++++
posted by coolname at 11:31 PM on December 16, 2017 [44 favorites]


That's such a great take, coolname!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:43 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


Was the dude on Casino planet with the brooch Justin Theroux? I laughed when I saw that character - such a stereotype. I'm glad it was Benicio del Toro's character they found and I have high hopes that we'll see him again.

I loved it. I thought the jokes were trying a bit hard at times but the bit with the blade of grass slayed me. I'm going to see it again this week and hopefully I'll be more eloquent with my thoughts then.
posted by h00py at 12:01 AM on December 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


When Kylo pulled an almost straight-up PUA move of negging Rey about her parents and then offering her partnernship, I wanted to pull her aside and say, "Girl, no. I dated this guy in college. Just walk away."
posted by jeoc

I’m waiting for the inevitable “Last Jedi/Cat Person” mashup.
posted by chrisulonic at 3:04 AM on December 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


Not only is Abrams back for 9, his co-writer wrote BvS and Justice League.

I'm so tired of screenwriters getting pigeon-holed by their worst work.

Chris Terio is also the Oscar-winning writer of ARGO.
posted by crossoverman at 3:10 AM on December 17, 2017


I think Rey's parents dying in the Jakku deserts is about the only time in the movie where a character admits to themselves something they don't want to accept. Rey wants a place in the world, and she admits to herself she doesn't have one. Buuuuut then they don't do anything much with that, I mean she goes back to the Rebellion with the Jedi texts but it's still kind of a default.

I enjoyed Poe being Very Bad at rebellion (every plan he instigates results in catastrophic failure), but then I always enjoy the trope of rebel leaders who make things worse because they're too gung-ho about doing the first thing they think of. Snow in FFXIII has the same problem, and he gets thrown off a building for it.

Finn and Rose's subplot was important because the casino and what it represents is the real Big Bad of this series: the people who will restart the First Order's replacements, who profit from war and lose out during peace, and who the Rebellion are relying on for resources. Snoke's not the Big Bad! He dies halfway through the movie, and his ***aesthetic*** literally burns down.
posted by Merus at 3:24 AM on December 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


Chris Terio is also the Oscar-winning writer of ARGO.

which I also mentioned? and it was a movie I did like, despite its issues.
posted by cendawanita at 3:55 AM on December 17, 2017


How can baby Rey have watched a ship fly away from Jakku while crying and have her parents junk traders who died in the deserts of Jakku?

CLONE
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:59 AM on December 17, 2017 [10 favorites]


The sequel trilogy starts and there has been no progress made. We're back at the exact place of OT in terms of the galaxy. It was like Luke's generation accomplished nothing.

That really sums up how I feel as a Gen X'er in the current zeitgeist.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:18 AM on December 17, 2017 [40 favorites]


Does it have to be flying from Jakku? Could just be going to the next side of the planet or town.

But that sounds like a fun fic to read though.
posted by cendawanita at 6:26 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Kylo Ren’s story has so much misinterpretation in it. Snoke and Rey and Luke and Han all interpret his actions based on what they want or fear. And he in turn gets his vision of Rey’s future wrong and doesn’t realise how Luke is both baiting him and trying to atone at the same time. So I think that although he may have the basic facts right about Rey’s parents, it will turn out to be not-like-that.

Also how amazing is Mark Hamill here? So amazing. My pacing problem was with Casino Planet - I would have liked it to be a bit tighter and to have given that time to him and Ridley on the island. Even if all he did was meaningfully glare at her while drinking milk a few more times.

Also porg. Porg.
posted by harriet vane at 6:54 AM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


My son has the best theory about the Porgs: There were so many puffins on Skellig Michael that they couldn't keep them out of the shots, so they just CGI'ed the critters on top of them.
posted by whuppy at 6:54 AM on December 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


It occurred to me just now that Leia & Holdo's plan was just as doomed as Poe's was, because it depended on the incorrect assumption that Leia's distress signal would receive a fast and enthusiastic response. If all the lifeboats had reached Krayt safely while the cruiser drew off the First Order...then the Resistance would have been stuck on a nearly sterile planet with no supplies, no light-speed transport, and no hope of relief. And that situation would have lasted until the First Order intercepted their distress calls and returned to finish them off with an orbital bombardment. Maybe that's why Holdo was so cagey about the plan; she knew it contained an element of chance, and she didn't want anyone raising objections and airing doubts when it was absolutely crucial for everyone to pull together.

I'm not sure what lesson to draw from that, except that war is hard and leadership is hard, especially when you have extremely limited options and face overwhelming odds.
posted by Iridic at 7:28 AM on December 17, 2017 [16 favorites]


When Kylo pulled an almost straight-up PUA move of negging Rey about her parents and then offering her partnernship, I wanted to pull her aside and say, "Girl, no. I dated this guy in college. Just walk away."

Episode VIII: Revenge of the Emotional Labour
posted by dry white toast at 7:59 AM on December 17, 2017 [17 favorites]


I was curious about who the hell Snoke was, but I remembered that I used to be curious about Emperor Palpatine too and that just got us the prequels. A one-liner about his past would be appreciated but if it’s prequels or mystery, I’ll take the mystery thanks.
posted by harriet vane at 8:06 AM on December 17, 2017 [21 favorites]


Quite. There is simply no way we don't get the Snoke back story / First Order origin as a spin off movie.
posted by vbfg at 8:10 AM on December 17, 2017


As long as they tell us how Snoke manages a clean shave with that terrain of a mug.
posted by kokaku at 8:17 AM on December 17, 2017 [10 favorites]


"it’s always hot when a space goth murders a lazy magician". The 10 Horniest Things in Star Wars: the Last Jedi.

Got to agree on Kylo & Rey's thing. That's the kind of conflicted they-probably-shouldn't-but-it's-so-clear-they-both-want-to chemistry that would have made Padme + Anakin a compelling romance. In fact, Adam Driver does all the acting things I wish they'd done with Hayden Christiansen.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:32 AM on December 17, 2017 [29 favorites]


Leia & Holdo's plan was just as doomed as Poe's was, because it depended on the incorrect assumption that Leia's distress signal would receive a fast and enthusiastic response [ . . . ] the Resistance would have been stuck on a nearly sterile planet with no supplies, no light-speed transport, and no hope of relief.

As I settle into my role of apologist for top Rebel leadership, I'd like to point out the response to "Hi guys we need a ride" might have been more enthusiastic if it didn't include the follow up "Also can the transport ships you are sending defeat a half dozen star destroyers? Just asking."
posted by mark k at 8:33 AM on December 17, 2017 [18 favorites]


Here's where I blame the writers for setting up an essentially no-win situation for the Rebellion. There's no way other than through lazy writing that all those star destroyers shouldn't have wiped out the couple dozen Rebellion ships or later that few dozen remaining people.
posted by kokaku at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


... followed by Episode IX: 125 minutes of debris silently floating in space.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:57 AM on December 17, 2017 [7 favorites]




no way...all those star destroyers shouldn't have wiped out...that few dozen remaining people.

I'd be surprised if this contingent of the First Order has even one star destroyer in working condition after that furious Derning. I have to watch the ramming scene again (I have to watch it again; it was incredible), but I think virtually every ship they had was destroyed or disabled by the impact. Kylo later orders Hux to dispatch all the ground forces he can find, and he only scrounges up maybe a dozen walkers (complement: 40 stormtroopers) and a handful of TIE fighters. Relative to where they began the movie, the First Order ends at virtual parity with the Resistance.

But yeah, during the stern chase, when the Resistance was fleeing at sublight speed in a straight line, there was nothing to prevent a couple of star destroyers from jumping to a farther point on that line and launching a pincer attack. Nothing except for cruel single-mindedness and a lack of imagination; wouldn't be a shock coming from the "Hey, what if we built an even bigger gun?" people.
posted by Iridic at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


I agree with Iridic. The First Order has taken heavy losses thanks to the destruction of Starkiller Base. The small party they bring down to Crait is probably what's left, in keeping with Luke's early throwaway line about taking on the entire First Order single-handed. I didn't get the impression that the First Order was in a position of central power like the Empire had been, but that they were picking at the edges of the Republic until their devastating attack in TFA left the Republic in chaos and probably shattered very new and tenuous alliances between systems.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Abigail Nussbaum's review is up and it's fucking excellent as usual.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:41 AM on December 17, 2017 [26 favorites]


Some thoughts:

Kylo’s line to Rey, “You’re nothing, but not to me,” is the underlying theme of recruitment by any fascist gang. It only works two ways: if someone is told all their lives they are nothing, which requires cradle-to-grave spiritual beatings; OR when someone is given everything all their lives and deep down knows that they have done nothing on their own. Drawing parallels to postwar American domestic and foreign hegemony are left as an exercise to the reader.

Rey’s gene donors don’t matter to me. Kylo Ren is the Force adept son of two Rebel generals and the grandson of a Tatooine slave, so bloodlines mean only what someone lets them mean.

The final scene with broom boy contains all the tension of the Force from the entire series so far. The boy is a slave who resents his masters and finds fellowship with his co-slaves. But he has a secret affinity with the universe he keeps to himself. At first, he uses it to make his own life easier, as another boy on a desert planet did. His resentment smolders underneath, and he senses that one day he can strike back with his power, as that same other boy also did. But then he looks to the stars and dreams of escape instead, as yet another boy did.

It takes a truly great person to wield such a Force and use it primarily to ease the lives of others. That is what Leia did and taught Rey to do by example, that is what makes Leia Rey’s true mother no matter what her genome is, and that is why I’ll miss Leia in the next film.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2017 [32 favorites]


It really shows how far-reaching Anakin's betrayal was. Even after Luke "redeems" him, the problems plaguing the Rebellion aren't solved. His legacy and all the legends of his grand, tragic destiny warp both Luke and Kylo. Luke reacts with such horror at Kylo's interest in the Darkside--forgetting perhaps his own youthful conflicts--that he fails to guide Kylo through that temptation. And Kylo, the 3rd-generation trust fund baby of a galactic legend, overreacts to others' fear of him while completely misapprehending the hard lessons of the preceding generation.

Kylo's attempts to build a new world by letting the old one be destroyed nonetheless preserves his position of power. In that throne room scene, I asked myself "Why is it that Rey must sacrifice her friends in the rebellion while Kylo gets to keep control of the First Order?" It echoes Anakin's invitation to Padme in RotS to join him in remaking the world according to their vision. In both cases, it seems what the male character wants is not so much a partner as a possession.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:18 AM on December 17, 2017 [19 favorites]


I just got home from seeing this and I loved it.

Lots of truly funny parts, but I think the thing I laughed the most at (and was the only one in the theater to do so, apparently, so hi everybody that was me) was Finn dumping out the Imperial trash bin to camouflage BB-8. My heart forever sings for the gonk droid, and this was a nice little bit.
posted by phunniemee at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2017 [16 favorites]


Abigail Nussbaum's review is up and it's fucking excellent as usual.

Hm, yeah, that is really insightful. I didn't even notice the fact that TLJ did not establish bad vs good; it simply relied on the previous movies to have done that.

Excellent paragraph:
But it's awfully weird for the movie to hold back from calling bad people bad in the Rey-Kylo storyline, and yet go in so hard on people who refuse to pick a side in the Finn-Rose one. Once again, the fact that in the Star Wars universe evil is so completely associated with the dark side, rather than with the effects of evil acts, ends up making a statement that I suspect Johnson didn't intend. Rose can point to the concrete effects of the indifference and amorality that run rampant on Canto Bight--the poverty and exploitation experienced by the city's urchins, of whom she was once one. But Rey can't show Kylo the monstrous effects of his actions, because to do so would force the film to admit that he wasn't worth engaging with in the first place, and that it's only the conventions of the Star Wars story that made us think that he was.
posted by torticat at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Broom = Sorceror’s Apprentice because Disney Star Wars.
posted by larrybob at 1:43 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]



‘The Last Jedi’ Has Something That No Other Franchise Can Claim - "In Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, the new ‘Star Wars’ movie foregrounds something Marvel, DC, and the rest of the major movie series have not been able find: a complex villain"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:57 AM on December 17


::An entire planet full of Loki fans swivel thier heads to give some HARD side eye::

-_-
posted by Faintdreams at 1:53 PM on December 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


I had the same thought about Sorcerer's Apprentice, totally.

And the iron! Is that from Spaceballs or Hardware Wars or what?
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2017 [20 favorites]


And the goat-horses crashing through the casino wall = those old Schlitz malt liquor ads.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


The third one will have to suck, to keep with tradition. The first one over-relies on past pulpy tropes, but modernizes them enough to excite the audience and make everyone feel like a kid again. The second one complicates the story enough to make it feel appropriate for adults to chew on. The third one will be the director overindulging himself and the merchandising running amok and we all sigh and think how much better it was in our imaginations. Still 2/3 better than the prequels!
posted by rikschell at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


When Kylo pulled an almost straight-up PUA move of negging Rey about her parents and then offering her partnernship, I wanted to pull her aside and say, "Girl, no. I dated this guy in college. Just walk away."

That's not my take at all. Kylo is neither a stand-in for the Trench Coat Mafia nor a misogynist nor a privileged white man. It appears that he hasn't had a day of peace in his life. He might have come from privilege but that privilege neither protected him from the insidious voice inside his head grooming for a dark purpose nor did it allow him to sail through life with no repercussions. He is very powerful and he knows it. Rey is the only person he has ever met , especially now that they have established a bond, who can understand what he is going through. He knows he's done wrong. He tells Han in TFA, "..it's too late." He tells Rey in TLJ that he is a monster.

Will the Resistance welcome back such a person? Poe (and Finn), for one, would immediately demand a trial and execution. Where does he go from here? Being Supreme Leader sure looks attractive bearing that in mind.
posted by nikitabot at 3:12 PM on December 17, 2017 [16 favorites]


Snoke's gold robe: Trump reference, yes or no?
posted by condour75 at 3:27 PM on December 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


They said that the battering ram was a miniaturized death star cannon. I thought the death star cannon was giganticized blaster.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:39 PM on December 17, 2017


And the iron! Is that from Spaceballs or Hardware Wars or what?

Its from Hardware Wars.

You can relive the adventures of Fluke Starbucker, Augie Ben Doggie, and Princess Anne Droid, at this link.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:13 PM on December 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


Snoke's gold robe: Trump reference, yes or no?

Entire movie: 2016 election allegory, yes or no? Angry petulant man-child takes over the First Order and the old guard (Hux) bends the knee despite hating him, in the end we're left with the First Order on top but the Resistance, led by women and POC, rebuilding anew while the standard bearer of the old Rebels, Leia/Hillary, steps back and the new generation has to run the show.

I mean I don't think it's that clear cut and it wasn't the whole point but it was definitely in there.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:24 PM on December 17, 2017 [21 favorites]


No! Basketball is a peaceful planet!
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:26 PM on December 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


Kitty Stardust: Got to agree on Kylo & Rey's thing. That's the kind of conflicted they-probably-shouldn't-but-it's-so-clear-they-both-want-to chemistry that would have made Padme + Anakin a compelling romance. In fact, Adam Driver does all the acting things I wish they'd done with Hayden Christiansen.


Among a thousand other half-baked thoughts about this movie, my first real opinion is that Kylo Ren is such a good villain because he's basically Anakin, but with slightly better writing and he's about 1000x better an actor than Hayden Christiansen. I wonder if him playing Anakin (granted, were he of the correct age at the time) would almost make the prequels bearable.
posted by General Malaise at 6:01 PM on December 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


The third one will have to suck, to keep with tradition.

I said before in another conversation around here that I didn’t share in people's worries about Abrams directing TFA. I am worried about Abrams now. I don’t hate him like a lot of people here do; on the contrary, I know what his strengths are as a director. I think he’s done some good work, even if he is hit and miss.

But his strengths don’t play to following this kind of story. He’s a danger to undoing everything meaningful that was done in this film. I can see him being all Ha, head fake! Rey is a Kenobi! Force Ghost Luke saves everyone! and undoing everything meaningful that Johnson accomplished here. Whatever critic (Hulk?) who talked about Abrams being all about moments over narrative and growth was dead on. I’m worried. But, hey. We got two good ones in a row, and to be fair, Abrams made one of them.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:11 PM on December 17, 2017 [18 favorites]


Yeah, I love Rey and Fin and Rose (not so sold on Poe now), but if their story isn’t wrapped up perfectly, their work at expanding the universe is already done. I am looking forward to a new trilogy not tied down to the Skywalker mythos, though! But could we get some women to write and direct, please?!
posted by rikschell at 6:19 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have to watch the ramming scene again (I have to watch it again; it was incredible)

Is it ok to post a few seconds gfycat of it for clarification? You can see it clearly wrecks all the star destroyers as well.

The Resistance cruiser is about twice the size of an ISD, but only 1/20th the size of the Supremacy.

It was cool and all but I feel it opens a can of worms, it feels like a tactic that should have been commonplace, given how fond the Rebels were of literal suicide missions. It's a literal WMD, the shrapnel from the collision shredded an entire fleet of Star Destroyers. In fact it's Mutually Assured Destruction - if the space battle is going badly and your ship is about to be blown up, fire up the hyperdrive and ram into the nearest enemy ship and you'll wreck not just it but their entire fleet also. Space combat would be too dangerous to contemplate!

You don't even need a cruiser, really, just build a hyperdrive frame and navigation system around a dense metal asteroid and fuel it up, and there you have FTL weapons that are impossible to detect or defend against.
posted by xdvesper at 6:22 PM on December 17, 2017 [17 favorites]


Entire movie: 2016 election allegory, yes or no?

No, that's Bloodline.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:29 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


The FTL weaponry has to go into the same bin as light sabers: bring your big BIG suspension of disbelief. This is a Space Opera, it makes no pretense to science.
posted by rikschell at 6:31 PM on December 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


Am not talking about a suspension of belief of the technology: am talking about the practical consequences that such a technology exists at all.

For example, in a story you write, if you want there to exist the ability for, say, force users to instantly kill anyone else with a spoken word, then you also need to deal with the consequences of such a thing existing in the world: why wouldn't people use it to eliminate their enemies all the time? How is law and order enforced? How would criminals be brought to justice?

And you especially can't get to 8 movies in and suddenly have your force user instant-kill an enemy with a word, and say, well actually all force users have this power, just for unexplained reasons no one talks about it and no one decided to use it until now. That's lazy writing at its worst.
posted by xdvesper at 6:41 PM on December 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


Is it ok to post a few seconds gfycat of it for clarification?

Intercut this with Leia forcedrifting back to the ship and you've got yourself the best anime music video of 2017
posted by theodolite at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


That's not my take at all. Kylo is neither a stand-in for the Trench Coat Mafia nor a misogynist nor a privileged white man. It appears that he hasn't had a day of peace in his life. He might have come from privilege but that privilege neither protected him from the insidious voice inside his head grooming for a dark purpose nor did it allow him to sail through life with no repercussions. He is very powerful and he knows it. Rey is the only person he has ever met , especially now that they have established a bond, who can understand what he is going through. He knows he's done wrong. He tells Han in TFA, "..it's too late." He tells Rey in TLJ that he is a monster.

But this kind of individual-level sympathy runs a very real risk of being an apologetics for his privilege, which he has, in spades. No one wakes up daily intentionally wanting to be an avatar for White Supremacy or Fragile Masculinity (to derail, eg poor Taylor Swift and Tina Fey and their whole life re: white feminism), but it doesn't mean their choices don't in fact resonate with those same dynamics. What more for a fictional character, and one who in this iteration, that's filled with so much unmistakable gendered dynamics, pretty much seems intentionally written to illustrate every petulant privileged rich kid who's tortured? He resembles Anakin very much now, but either thru clumsy writing and/or the need to still have him as a good guy for 2/3rds of the prequels, if you want to take a similar read, the awareness is there that it's contrary to what the movies wanted to say. Not this one and not Kylo.
posted by cendawanita at 7:16 PM on December 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Abigail Nussbaum’s piece was great on how un-redeemable Kylo Ren ought to be. He’s killed too many people to just choose to be good again. Steve from Stranger Things is a male douchebag character who changes his behavior and gets to be considered an actual good guy by season two. If Darth Vader had lived after killing the Emperor, though, you don’t just get to reintegrate him into the Skywalker family and the New Republic.
posted by rikschell at 7:27 PM on December 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


Lol, and now that TLJ's out, Emo Kylo Ren has returned.

hey girl am i a Death Star
because i feel like you should keep trying to rebuild me in spite of my obvious flaws and the lives i’ve destroyed

posted by cendawanita at 7:36 PM on December 17, 2017 [46 favorites]


I think Chewie went vegan.
posted by ridogi at 7:55 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that gif!

just for unexplained reasons no one talks about it and no one decided to use it until now.

A few hypothetical reasons why light speed attacks are not common despite being so effective:

-A capital ship's particle shields can usually tank smaller objects, like fighters, traveling at relativistic speeds. Only very large objects can attain enough kinetic energy to punch through the shields. However...
-...the size and complexity of the engines required to accelerate an object to light speed increase geometrically with mass. Outfitting a dense asteroid with a hyperdrive system would make for a hideously expensive one-shot missile; it's almost always more practical to invest your year's worth of Mon Cala's GDP in a ship, which has broader sustained applications.
-The calculations for hyperspace jumps to or from gravity wells are incredibly fraught. Because of latency issues and certain limitations of droid cognition, an extremely skilled pilot must be physically onboard to perform the jump; no one wants to waste a pilot like that on a suicide run unless there's no other option.
-Even a skilled pilot is going to find targeting an individual ship very difficult because extreme velocity and distances turns small errors into big misses. The timing is also crucial; in the Star Wars universe, ships enter a hyperspatial dimension shortly after hitting light speed. If Holdo had accelerated too quickly, she would have passed "through" the Supremacy without hitting it; too slowly, and she wouldn't have accumulated enough energy to overwhelm its shields.

Holdo only succeeded because a bunch of factors aligned: she was a good pilot, her target was very close and very wide, she had no nearby allies in the blast radius, she and her ship were expendable, and the math broke her way.
posted by Iridic at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2017 [50 favorites]


(I realize all of my comments so far have been getting into the nitpicky weeds, so let me just say that I love this movie. I love its lunatic ambition, I love the way it looks, I love that it makes me want to get out there and help people. I'll probably see it again within a week, and I'll mist up all over again when Yoda appears.)
posted by Iridic at 8:06 PM on December 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Threepio had to talk to the Falcon's hyperdrive in ESB, maybe hyperdrives are made to not let you do that in some three laws of robotics way, because as a galaxy we've decided that's a can of worms we don't want easily opened so hyperdrive manufacturing is extremely limited and locked down tight (and hyperdrive manufacturing CEOs are selling to every side and sitting at the high roller tables on Canto Bight). And like it's possible to create a hyperdrive that doesn't have restrictions in its AI or get a hyperdrive to go against programming but it's very difficult and not really worth the risk of accidentally creating a really glitchy hyperdrive that shoots you into a star if you tinker with the intricate AI that keeps you alive while it's in operation?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by jason_steakums at 8:23 PM on December 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Thank you Iridic. Now, if you could kindly boil that down to two or three snarky sentences and send it via tachyonic transmission to 2016 so the screenwriters can hang a proper lampshade...
posted by condour75 at 8:25 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Apparently the first cut was well over three hours. For all we know, Johnson shot a scene in which Poe suggests ramming the near-derelict medical frigate into the Supremacy, and Holdo counters acerbically with all the reason why that's a terrible idea unless you're truly desperate.
posted by Iridic at 8:38 PM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don’t think Kylo Ren being the epitome of privilege makes him irredeemable, not in the Star Wars universe which let Vader reconcile with his son. I dunno if it’s where they want to take the story, or if Abrams could handle it if they did. But it would be heartening to see a villain actually understand why his trauma doesn’t entitle him to destroy worlds and rule the ashes.
posted by harriet vane at 8:48 PM on December 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


But what if Rey's birth parents are nobodys. Like actual nobodies and she's a magical force baby?
posted by sweetmarie at 8:52 PM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Someone dropped her off on Jakku.

I don't know. After watching TFA last night & seeing TLJ again tonight, I'm changing my mind. Kylo was telling her the truth about her parents. Abrams just couldn't resist faking us out by making it look like that would be a really important element of the story in the first movie. I can be okay with this if the next episode shows how Rey copes with this knowledge.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:58 PM on December 17, 2017


Yoda singling out how important it is to pass on your failures as a lesson makes me see a path open for Kylo to find a different role. Maybe not as a part of the galaxy at large, but: Kylo and Rey on that island, teaching the next generation, both of them teaching the failures of an unbalanced path? I can totally see that. Confronting the dark side during training is established as A Thing with the spooky caves on Dagobah and Ahch-To, and I can see Kylo serving his penance in that way with Rey taking responsibility for keeping him in check while they both train a new kind of Force user beyond Jedi and Sith. The new movies seem to really really want to be all Balance Is Everything so it would work narratively.

It would kind of suck in the same way that Both Sides news reporting sucks, putting the Jedi failure to not disappear up their own asses on the same level as the Sith drive for domination through genocide and fascism, but it would be internally consistent. I hope there's a curveball that puts things on a different track, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:15 PM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


That ship that Rey saw her parents leaving in in TFA was just the free shuttle to the budget casino moon off Canto Bight.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 PM on December 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


in the first movie, it wasn't just "ooh space fight" it was;

1. Brand new awesome special effects no one had ever seen before PLUS
2. Really engaging/terrifying stuff like Vader and his troops taking over Leia's ship--i.e, human beings in danger, i.e., stakes.

The impact of scenes of a giant cruiser in space shooting lasers isn't as great anymore, so you have to put more work into the stakes part.


I kept this in mind with today's rewatch and it's something I would love for future writers and directors to print out and keep with them while working on these movies. Opening bomber scene, hyperspace ramming scene: the stakes felt real so they worked. The Falcon doing its third (?) close-quarters flying pursued by TIEs bit: not so much. Same with that chase riding those creatures on Canto Bight, during the segment I was thinking about why a frenetic chase like the speeder bikes on Endor felt gripping to me but this chase didn't, and it's the stakes of two main characters isolated deep in Imperial territory operating speeding deathtraps on this terrifying knife's edge of inhuman reaction times versus just this chaotic run from casino cops. There were still some moments where the visuals could wow you enough for that to carry things, but too much screen time for things we've seen.

None of that ruins the movie for me, I loooved this movie! But focusing on bringing new things to the table in those action moments or making sure the stakes justify seeing the action, and ideally both, would really push these new movies even further over the top.

Special mention for the Rey/Kylo throne room teamup, we haven't seen this kind of teamup between Jedi and Sith before in these movies and the stakes were high and it had a lot of new creative bits of action and it was an emotional moment for characters we cared about and it was a visual spectacle. Really good Star Wars, that scene.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2017 [24 favorites]


Without Carrie Fisher, do they have to kill Chewy in the next movie?
posted by snofoam at 10:31 PM on December 17, 2017


Sorry, I meant Chewie.
posted by snofoam at 10:39 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


British SF author Paul Cornell posted his very personal response to the movie here.
posted by Coaticass at 10:44 PM on December 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


Saw this today. Loved it.

I saw it with my husband and my children: my eleven year old daughter and my seven year old son. I’ve teared up every time I’ve seen a commercial for Star Wars merch that appeals directly to girls, because I remember so bitterly what it was like to love a movie that had literally one woman in it who was barely represented in any of the toys. My kids are growing up in a world in which Star Wars has women in it, and people of color, and that’s huge.

My biggest quibble with the movie is that it seemed like one and a half movies. You could have ended it right after they got to the Ruby Planet of Ice Foxes and it would have been a much more conventionally structured movie; you could have done the whole casino subplot in a side short, too. But as lumpy and as weird as the pacing was, I really did love this movie.

Whoever decided to have Holdo’s lightspeed suicide run be done in silence is a fucking genius. I gasped in shock in a way that I haven’t done since “Luke, I am your father.” Just terrific. I loved the fact that both Kylo and Rey got a lot more complicated, I loved the fact that Luke died even though I wept. God help me, I loved the fucking Porgs.

See this movie with a child, if you can.
posted by KathrynT at 11:03 PM on December 17, 2017 [14 favorites]


I loved it. Loved it loved it. I'm strictly old school Star Wars; I watched the first three as a kid and then, grudgingly, The Phantom Menace in 1999 and was disappointed. So this is the first SW I've seen in nearly 20 years and it's definitely the best one of the ones I've seen so far.

I loved all the women in leadership, all the people of colour who actually got to be more than just side kicks. I loved Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. CF's scenes with Kaura Dern and Mark Hamill made me teary eyed!

The porgs were cute, the crystal foxes beautiful, the light speed attack stunning. It just totally exceeded my expectations and I am so glad I saw it.

The one thing I didn't like was Adam Driver's whiny baby Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. Like, I know it's the character more than AD, who I think is a good actor, but DAMN I was irritated by him.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:27 PM on December 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


Only one thing bugged me - I have so far only seen movie once - but I thought Wookies were canonically vegetarian?

No?
posted by Faintdreams at 12:56 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thoughts on the Force...

It's just this thing that connects everything, right? (And, as we know, makes things float.) But sometimes it has disturbances, and those disturbances accumulate and must be counter balanced. So if there's a Vader, there must be a Luke coming up to counter-balance.

Rey notices that Luke has 'cut himself off from the Force,' suggesting that Luke has come to see the whole 'chosen one' thing - along with the Jedi as a whole - as a bum game. You can't just have a Luke without a Vader coming up in opposition, so just removing himself from the equation should help restore the balance.

Given all this - and Luke's general 'burn it all down' approach to the Jedi traditions - I was kinda hoping for a moment that Rey and Kylo were going to just ditch all the light vs dark stuff entirely and turn out to be complicated creatures existing in opposition to each other. (this was, it turns out, a little too much to hope for; and anyway, Kylo's got a few too many war crimes under his belt at this point...)
posted by kaibutsu at 1:55 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


My son called Snoke 'Disco Sith'. The golden tunic freaked his melon.
posted by h00py at 2:50 AM on December 18, 2017 [19 favorites]


I thought Wookies were canonically vegetarian?

Too lazy to google but they definitely have prominent canines - maybe they are bear-like omnivores? In further support of my argument I present the obvious lack of a nerdrage hellstorm about this.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:12 AM on December 18, 2017 [12 favorites]


H00py, I want to hear more of your son’s thoughts, I like his vibe.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:14 AM on December 18, 2017


I liked it when Luke cast project image and Kylo failed his Int check.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:39 AM on December 18, 2017 [35 favorites]


I’m looking forward to next years movie, Han Solo:Origin of the Dice:A Star Wars Story.

This movie was really about killing the past. Luke’s dead, Han’s dead, Leia is defacto dead. My Star Wars is gone, and hopefully there’s a place in the new universe for me.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:24 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Wookiees are definitely carnivores: in RotJ Chewie couldn't resist a trap baited with meat, and got them captured by the ewoks. My vegan family at TLJ were delighted that Chewie eschewed eating that porg; in their head canon, Chewie will be the vanguard for a revolution in wookiee dietary habits.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 6:25 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Last Jedi Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score Is Fake News
It's 2017 and troll culture is very much a part of everyday life on the internet, but nowhere is that more apparent than the infamous website 4chan. Anonymous users on the forum-like site have admitted to making multiple "burner" accounts to give The Last Jedi a bad score on Rotten Tomatoes in an effort to anger Star Wars fans. One user said that he/she had over a dozen accounts specifically to trash The Last Jedi, which apparently is really easy to do and only takes a few minutes. However, to write a few bad reviews takes some more time and really shows the effort in the mission to tear down the movie.

Some of the reviews have even been credited to bots, which further politicizes the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, much like the last United States election. Reviews for The Last Jedi tend to use some of the same rhetoric as Trump supporters including such phrases as "Social Justice Warrior" and "forced diversity" along with some more that aren't appropriate to write. It's fun to hate on the popular things, but the internet trolls of 2017 may have just raised the bar up a few notches and into a perverse art form.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:25 AM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


I saw a bunch of twitter accounts really hating on the movie and posting screenshots of rotten tomatoes showing the low audience score and had assumed that it was something like that.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:42 AM on December 18, 2017


It's not all alt-right/4-channers tho. For whatever reason the anti-Reylos and those who uh, would usually reblog/retweet social justice stuff, are also hating for this movie for ... I'm... not... sure... what. (I've read them, I don't understand them. Like... apparently this movie is racist..............................................)

Anyway:
32 Delightful Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cameos You Might Have Missed

Someone asked about Justin Theroux, aye, that's him.
posted by cendawanita at 6:43 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


There is good crit about the LGBT representation, though. Just because Holdo's supposedly pansexual in the novel with Leia, doesn't mean a thing. (Shades of Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok)
posted by cendawanita at 6:45 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


But Rey can't show Kylo the monstrous effects of his actions, because to do so would force the film to admit that he wasn't worth engaging with in the first place, and that it's only the conventions of the Star Wars story that made us think that he was.

This is the argument that Obi-Wan Kenobi basically makes to Luke in Return of the Jedi, that Anakin is gone and Vader is such a monster that there's no point to trying to save him from the Dark Side. The Last Jedi completely hooks onto this theme from the original trilogy with Rey playing the same part as Luke, and Kylo, his grandfather - except it up ends it (like The Force Awakens did with other expectations) by having Rey be wrong. The idea that one person is worth saving, despite their past actions, is completely legit and not a flaw in the script. Johnson is playing in the sandbox of the franchise and riffing off expectations, and to call this out as a problem, would be to call out the same issue in Return of the Jedi.
posted by Atreides at 6:48 AM on December 18, 2017


Too lazy to google but they definitely have prominent canines

But surely Wookies could have chosen veganism, regardless of their evolutionary biology.
posted by snofoam at 6:53 AM on December 18, 2017


1) Chewie is unkillable
2) Y’all know Rey and Kylo are gonna hook up and have a force baby
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


What was the thing that lured Chewie and the Rebels into the Ewok net, then? Endor tofu?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:05 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


those who uh, would usually reblog/retweet social justice stuff, are also hating for this movie for ... I'm... not... sure... what. (I've read them, I don't understand them. Like... apparently this movie is racist..............................................)

There are some fans, mostly younger, who don't really differentiate between a character being badly treated by a writer and a character experiencing genuinely difficult events and development in the story. Their issue is that Finn, Rose and Poe did not in fact save the Rebellion in their subplots, and some fans feel that this made them look stupid -- that it was deliberately done to make them look stupid (or, in Finn's case, cowardly). Saying that Poe was turned into a "hotheaded Latinx," and similar. Obviously, I'm white and I can't be speaking from a place of personal experience, but I disagree. I respect where they're coming from, though.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:06 AM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


2) Y’all know Rey and Kylo are gonna hook up and have a force baby

The long distance chat scenes in this are perhaps the horniest Star Wars has ever been.
posted by selfnoise at 7:12 AM on December 18, 2017 [16 favorites]


Box office wise it's had the second biggest opening weekend of all time (second to Force Awakens)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


The long distance chat scenes

Force skyping
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:48 AM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


I saw this on Friday and have been thinking about it all weekend.

I loved it, and I think it might go down as one of my favorites. It explores so many parts of SW that I've wanted to see and does it in a way that still works within the context of the previous films.

I'd like to see it again before I commit any time to writing a Very Long Comment but I feel like I have a few thousand words I could type about it without even breaking a sweat.
posted by Tevin at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


Okay, first off I was soooooo very happy that I got my wish and Rey is a nobody. I am so tired of the Skywalkers and their inherited bullshit, and it's about damn time the Force was democratized.

Secondly, here is my broad theory and why I was so very happy with this amazing version of Star Wars.
1. The Rebels won in Jedi, but because they were still trying to rebuild the Old Republic out of a world that had been subjugated by the Empire for a generation, it was hard to break through the inherent oppression built into the system. And let's be honest for a moment, the Old Republic wasn't all hugs and puppies either. There was still oppression and slavery throughout the galaxy, but the core planets could pretend they were enlightened, and the Jedi made everything okay.
2. Because of the systematic oppression and a political system built on the archaic family-based traditions of inherited power, the First Order could step right back into the void left by the Empire and the Rebels are forced back into the only thing they are good at, being rebels.
3. Luke, because he wasn't well trained himself, saw a huge amount of power in Ben and because he didn't understand that you can train a kid to be responsible and kind he tried to squash the power and this lead directly to the kid turning away from the light and into the power mad path of the Dark Side. Basically, Luke is like the dad who sees that his son is going to grow up to be really tall and strong and he decides to beat him into submission rather than teaching him to be careful with his strength and respectful of others.
4. The force isn't this black/white, Light/Dark thing and the Jedi's false oversimplification of it has done a lot of damage over the years. The fact that Rey can go straight to the Dark and then come right back out proves that the "seduction of the Dark Side" is bullshit and just a sign of freaky cultural twist that makes the Jedi into some crazy monks who have to live apart from the world rather than in it.
5. The Galaxy has effectively been at war for three generation because of this Light/Dark bullshit, and it needs, desperately, to find a balance between a world order that wants to openly oppress everyone and a world order that wants the illusion of civility for most at the expense of slavery for some. Maybe some actual even distribution of power and resources?
6. The rebellion needed a spark of hope, and they turned to the old guard to provide it, but in actuality, it was the combination of what Luke did and Finn and Rose's actions on the casino planet that reignites the spark of hope in the galaxy. Additionally, when word gets out that a nobody with the Force took on the great Kylo Ren, twice. People will start, hopefully, seeing a new path in the world that we can all be a part of something greater and the force is for all of us.
posted by teleri025 at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2017 [20 favorites]


who don't really differentiate between a character being badly treated by a writer and a character experiencing genuinely difficult events and development in the story.

yeah, that's what i suspect too. obviously i'm not a western POC or anything, just a confused thirdworlder.
posted by cendawanita at 8:03 AM on December 18, 2017


I just realized that the Kylo & the Knights of Ren vision from TFA is now shown to not be a flashback to the destruction of Luke's training temple, which is what I had assumed post-TFA. Now I'm thinking those Knights must be the trainees Kylo absconded with, and maybe we'll see them in action next movie? It would be a shame if they were just a one time flashback.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I just realized that the Kylo & the Knights of Ren vision from TFA is now shown to not be a flashback to the destruction of Luke's training temple, which is what I had assumed post-TFA. Now I'm thinking those Knights must be the trainees Kylo absconded with, and maybe we'll see them in action next movie? It would be a shame if they were just a one time flashback.

I had the same realization (not to mention, I had expected the other Knights of Ren to pop up in the movie!). Though, I'm still shaky on the premise of this conclusion of events, but it seems it goes:
  1. Luke freaks out Ben Solo with his night time visit.
  2. Ben flees into the open arms of Snoke, who's been messing with him the entire time, along with some of his fellow Jedi apprentices (padawans, fine).
  3. Ben becomes Kylo Ren, as he and Luke's other former pupils become the Knights of Ren.
  4. Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren return to the Jedi Temple, while Luke is gone, and destroy it and the remaining Jedi/Jedi apprentices.
What gets wonky is whether the Knights of Ren actually pre-existed Ben's departure from the Temple, which the original information on them seemed to indicate, and if so, whether the other Jedi apprentices were absorbed into the existing group. What this also implies, not only did Luke Skywalker totally mismanage Ben Solo, but he failed to realize that he was losing a number of his students to the Dark Side / Snoke's manipulations.

On the note of the First Order's take over following the destruction of the New Republic, it was apparently built in part due to a lot of systems simply surrendering to the First Order after the display of power by Starkiller Base. It was pretty much what Tarkin had implied would happen after the Death Star was put into working, menacing order, the other star systems fell into line. Not to mention, there was a substantial number of powerful planets (many known as the "Centrists") in the New Republic who were actively conspiring to bring back the Empire through the First Order. Claudia Gray's Bloodline does a great job setting up this environment (in part due to Rian Johnson's request).
posted by Atreides at 8:40 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Holdo only succeeded because a bunch of factors aligned: she was a good pilot, her target was very close and very wide, she had no nearby allies in the blast radius, she and her ship were expendable, and the math broke her way.

I live for this kind of Star Wars apologetics. Well done, Iridic.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:41 AM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think it's interesting that everyone (from the reviews I've read that care about Rey's lineage) - assumes that Kylo was telling the truth when he told Rey who her parents were.

I think he was lying. Because manipulating her into doing his Will is a constant with his character.

I mean it would be a in interesting take for Rey to have made herself into a hero - that echoes the entire franchise message about fate vs personal autonomy, but .. I'm not so sure we've canonically heard the last about who Rey's parents were / are.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:45 AM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Chuck Wendig: The Last Jedi: A Mirror, Slowly Cracking. Nice review.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:51 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


Re: Rey's parentage

I kind of think that she's the child of Luke's students.

They meet and fall in love at the academy. They fall in love. They have a kid. Happy times.

Uh-oh Kylo Ren has destroyed it all. Happy family escape.

They're on the run from Ren and all the horror of what the Force has brought them. They become addicts of one kind or another because their lives are wrecked. They either decide they don't want to bring Rey down with them or decide that they don't want to put her in danger as they go to face Ren and end the threat. They leave her on Jakku to protect her, one way or another. Perhaps they even became Knights of Ren to protect her and that's why we haven't seen the Knights yet.

Ren knows there's the child of two force sensitive parents who were also probably his friends. He knows she has potential as a Force user. He's technically accurate: they were vagabonds. But he doesn't tell her that he's the one responsible for their vagabondery.

That's my best guess at Rey's true parentage. I don't think she's a Skywalker or a Solo but I think she's tied to their past somehow.
posted by Tevin at 8:51 AM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


Not to mention, there was a substantial number of powerful planets (many known as the "Centrists") in the New Republic who were actively conspiring to bring back the Empire through the First Order. Claudia Gray's Bloodline does a great job setting up this environment (in part due to Rian Johnson's request).

That's interesting, but none of that is actually in the actual film (or in TFA). I really didn't expect to be wanting more time spent on galactic politics after the prequels, but even a throwaway line or three would have done wonders for giving both TFA and TLJ geopolitical context. I think this is really a problem with TFA that TLJ inherited, to be fair to Johnson, but both films kind of felt like a reset to 'Rebellion v. Empire' without ever narratively justifying that within the film(s).
posted by cjelli at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'm convinced that Lucasfilm's long-term story goal is to merge Light & Dark into one Force. They are just two sides of the same thing, after all. Both Jedi and Sith have it wrong: the Jedi are almost Vulcan in their rejection of emotion and attachments in order to serve the common good, while the Sith embrace and unleash their feelings and passions to selfish ends. A truly balanced view of the Force would combine both approaches: one can have feelings and save the universe at the same time. It's long been a thread running throughout the EU/Legends, featuring several notable "grey Jedi", and think we've been seeing tentative moves towards that resolution in the new canon (Ahsoka Tano being the best example, white lightsabers and all).

I was really encouraged by things that Luke and Yoda said in this installment, and I think their comments about the Jedi order needing to end not only highlight Rian Johnson's desire to sweep the old away, but also reflect the story group's long-term goal of resolving the old (and hoary and tired) conflict of good & evil. I also suspect that might be why Lucas finally retired and withdrew from the scene back in 2014, as he never got on-board with that view of the Force; it was always very black & white for him.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


That's interesting, but none of that is actually in the actual film (or in TFA). I really didn't expect to be wanting more time spent on galactic politics after the prequels, but even a throwaway line or three would have done wonders for giving both TFA and TLJ geopolitical context. I think this is really a problem with TFA that TLJ inherited, to be fair to Johnson, but both films kind of felt like a reset to 'Rebellion v. Empire' without ever narratively justifying that within the film(s).

The thing is, you don't necessarily need to know any of the background information because we're given enough in the opening crawl. It tells us that the New Republic has been decimated and that the First Order is deploying its legions to take control of the galaxy. Only the Resistance survives to fight the FO. Also recall, in The Force Awakens, C-3PO specifically mentions that the New Republic fleet was wiped out by the attack on Hosnian Prime. Outside of figuring out which planets have their own defenses, fleet capabilities, etc, it's a clean slate to appreciate that there's nothing to stop the First Order from taking over the galaxy - as referenced in the crawl.
posted by Atreides at 9:12 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Was anyone else emotionally exhausted by that? I`m not much of a star wars fan (outside of my numerous clone bros from the books) but that whole thing was... intense.

I would have loved a moment on Crait where they realize tons of people are receiving the distress call, but each one of them is unaware of the other recipients and so do nothing because they think they are alone. That`s not really a complaint though, I just want more of this movie. There may be moments of weakness, but as a whole it`s a stunning accomplishment.

(i`m sorry, i don`t know why my apostrophes are weird)
posted by LegallyBread at 9:47 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


From Vietnam To Trump: THE LAST JEDI As Protest Film

Though Star Wars would come to represent a new height in post-Jaws ('75) escapist blockbuster cinema, it still begins with the opening line "it is a period of civil war." These were young artists who were pissed off about a conflict that'd killed many of their friends and torn their country apart, channeling that rage into even the poppiest of output New Hollywood offered .

So, it should probably not come as a surprise to anyone - or maybe it should, given the Saga's evolution to Disney toy-selling advertisement - that the first Star Wars we've received following the election of Donald Trump (who enjoys constant comparisons to Richard Nixon) plays not only as a willful act of franchise upheaval, but social protest, as well. It's a movie that asks us to not only let the past die, but to "kill it, if you have to." Our heroes no longer hail from legendary lineage, but are children of junk traders, sold off for drinking money. At the same time, the elite are the ones leading a fleet of veritable Space Nazis, thrilled to decimate not only the Republic, but also put down anyone who objects to their growing First Order. Johnson's The Last Jedi is a space operetta for viewers who've lost hope in those who're supposed to have their best interests at heart, calling for resistance against foolhardy men and the worshipping of legacy.

posted by cendawanita at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2017 [13 favorites]


Biggest disappointment: Rey didn't have to carry Luke around in a backpack during Jedi training.

The real reason Kylo Ren rebelled:
BEN SOLO: This is bantha shit! There's nothing wrong with your legs!
LUKE: This is how Jedi education works. You have to carry me around on your back—it's always been done this way.
BEN SOLO: That cannot possibly be right. How would you even know that?
LUKE: The Ghost Jedi Masters assure me it's true, and it's how Master Yoda trained me. The backpack method works!
BEN SOLO, OTHER JEDI TRAINEES: Screw you. We quit!
GHOST JEDI MASTERS: (endless snickering)
Those other Jedi trainees aren't dead. They're just dead to Luke.
posted by asperity at 9:51 AM on December 18, 2017 [18 favorites]


from that article I linked, I just found out that the stable boy is a kid with possibly kazakh muslim background, so... i don't KNOW for sure of course, but um, i'm taking it as my own personal representation too.
posted by cendawanita at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


Cendawanita, this Star Wars reminded me anew how important representation is. I was viscerally delighted when I realized the movie was going to have an Asian woman as a main character (and I really felt Rose and Finn were main characters, not sidekicks or supporting characters). I don't get to see myself represented in blockbusters very often, and it means a lot to me.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2017 [20 favorites]


high-five back atcha, hurdy gurdy girl.

(speaking as a southeast asian though, i'm super-tickled that we're comparatively over-represented in the sw universe (even without claiming donnie yen just because he likes durian so much). between rose and paige, the indonesian guys from the raid in TFA, the fact that jawas the name is taken from how the javanese call themselves, and maybe even the rotational system of naboo which resembles malaysia's.)
posted by cendawanita at 10:12 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


But this kind of individual-level sympathy runs a very real risk of being an apologetics for his privilege, which he has, in spades. No one wakes up daily intentionally wanting to be an avatar for White Supremacy or Fragile Masculinity (to derail, eg poor Taylor Swift and Tina Fey and their whole life re: white feminism), but it doesn't mean their choices don't in fact resonate with those same dynamics. What more for a fictional character, and one who in this iteration, that's filled with so much unmistakable gendered dynamics, pretty much seems intentionally written to illustrate every petulant privileged rich kid who's tortured?

But isn't unloading a whole lot of assumptions about his role in this movie and attributing real world concerns to a character that is explicitly not benefiting in any way from his perceived status? I don't mind broader views and perspectives on media but I am kind of sick of the Tumblr take of just seeing characters and stories through a social justice microscope and ignoring the actual story. I'm a WOC and sometimes I just want to watch a sci-fi movie with laser swords.

This ties in with harassing the director and referring to Kathleen Kennedy as KKK and accusing LF/Disney of racism and of promoting White Supremacy.
posted by nikitabot at 10:34 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


This ties in with harassing the director and referring to Kathleen Kennedy as KKK and accusing LF/Disney of racism and of promoting White Supremacy.

O.o
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


I thought it was pretty clever to intersperse Luke's speeches about ending the Jedi order because they're terrible with Rey being terrible to the caretakers of the island. That scene where she nearly flattens a couple of them, then just stares for a bit before returning to her Important Jedi Business without even an apology spoke volumes. Then Yoda just burns down the thing they've been doggedly protecting for generations and chuckles about it. Prick.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2017 [17 favorites]


Rey is totally Lando's kid.
posted by Catblack at 11:17 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I really need to rewatch TFA. Wasn't there a scene where somebody is getting Ren up to speed and says "oh there was this girl too" and he flips out? Was that just because Snoke warned him there would be a light side version of himself? At the time it seemed like he knew who she was out something.
posted by selfnoise at 11:20 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


You are right, there is a scene where the mention of a girl causes Kylo to whip his neck around, so to speak. It has to do when Hux (or someone) reports that Finn, Rey, and BB-8 escaped on the Falcon.

There's no real reason at that time in the film to suspect why Kylo Ren cares about a girl, but there is a practical reason for this response - something that had been clipped out of the script. In one of the drafts for the film, Rey's force vision included a moment where she sees a boy at the end of a tunnel/hallway, and it was theorized that she was seeing a young Ben Solo. Then, additionally, there was more theorization (I honestly can't remember the details - maybe the Art of TFA has it) but Ben Solo would have seen a young Rey in a vision, too...leading him to have an interest in a girl being involved in his future. (This all may be slightly off....recollection based on things two years old. Bah!)
posted by Atreides at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


It was after the escape from Jakku (in TFA). Ren angrily trashes a bank of computers onboard with his lightsaber after hearing the fugitives and BB8 got away. He calmly asks "anything else" to the poor schmo random deck officer relaying the news, who says there was a girl spotted with him. Ren then Force yanks the officer to him and says "what girl?" while holding him by the neck. Scene. (I watched it again yesterday.)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Not only is the Emo Kylo Ren twitter is active again, but the brains behind it have been revealed as belonging to National Treasure Alexandra Petri. [tim_eric_mind_blown.gif]
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2017 [42 favorites]


I'm still trying to digest the scene in the dark side cave. I feel like the theme of mirrors is perhaps connected to the idea that Rey struggles to create an identity for herself beyond being Kylo Rens reflection?
posted by selfnoise at 1:55 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


who don't really differentiate between a character being badly treated by a writer and a character experiencing genuinely difficult events and development in the story.

I find this fascinating because from my perspective, I appreciate it even more when POC are shown as facing challenges, making mistakes and, well, not simply being token. I think real efforts were made to treat Poe, Finn and Rose as human, and well, if that bar sounds low to you - welcome to (western) film.

That was my real fear when Finn was going in for the suicide run. That we were going to lose one of our main POC characters in a heroic self-sacrifice moment. They deserve better. They deserve to grow, change, go through character arcs like Rey and Kylo (and Luke and Han) are going through.
posted by liquorice at 2:05 PM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


Everyone assumed Vader was lying right after first seeing Empire Strikes Back, too, but there's no take-sy back-sies in Star Wars.
posted by rikschell at 2:19 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Everyone assumed Vader was lying right after first seeing Empire Strikes Back, too, but there's no take-sy back-sies in Star Wars.

That really depends on a certain point of view.
posted by Atreides at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


Is this the first Star Wars movie in which a character (Rose) mentions having read anything? Or not having read something, in Luke's case. Not much evidence against widespread illiteracy in the Star Wars universe, but I think it might be the best we've had yet.
posted by asperity at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Is it ok to post a few seconds gfycat of it for clarification? You can see it clearly wrecks all the star destroyers as well.


To my mind, the overhead (or from-beneath shot) in the gif above evokes the Jedi symbol we saw in the trailers.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:44 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is this the first Star Wars movie in which a character (Rose) mentions having read anything? Or not having read something, in Luke's case. Not much evidence against widespread illiteracy in the Star Wars universe, but I think it might be the best we've had yet.

It's the first film to have books (unless you count whatever the Jedi Library has - but those all appear to be more datapads), but even in the original trilogy, farmboy Luke Skywalker reads R2's communication in the cockpit of his X-wing on the way to Dagobah In the prequel trilogy, you see ads and signs, something that continues into the animated Star Wars shows. It's more or less the absence of paper and direct writing which is kind of the big thing - I've mentioned Bloodline in this thread once, but there's a handwritten note which is discovered in that book, and the fact that it's handwritten is an observation all unto itself (by Leia) outside of the role the note plays.

For what its worth, there's three stories in the Marvel comics' title for Star Wars which is based around Luke reading Obi-Wan Kenobi's journal from his time on Tantooine.
posted by Atreides at 2:52 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


versus just this chaotic run from casino cops.

I felt the stakes in that scene, they needed to escape and find the codebreaker and return to disable the tracker.

I enjoyed the Canto Blight segment. There was a clear reason why they were there with a clear mission, no matter how flimsy it was. But it ended with them inspiring a bunch of kids for the next generation of rebels. The Empire/First Order isn't going away any time soon; and that whole segment both set up how unreliable Poe's plan was, and the next generation of new movies.

Chuck Wendig: The Last Jedi: A Mirror, Slowly Cracking. Nice review.

That was a very accurate assessment of why I think this movie is much better than my initial reactions. Once you overcome the fanperson within you, telling that noise to shut up so you can think, there's a lot of good things that the subversion has brought to the franchise. My favorite idea about IX is that I have no idea what to expect.
posted by numaner at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


This ties in with harassing the director and referring to Kathleen Kennedy as KKK and accusing LF/Disney of racism and of promoting White Supremacy.

To clarify my post above, which might be taken in the wrong way. I meant that Tumblr and Twitter have been abuzz over the last few months with accusations of Rian Johnson, LF, Disney and Kathleen Kennedy being Nazis Apologists and White Supremacists. The greater discourse of using Kylo Ren as representative of that kind of mind-set or as an avatar of the Richard Spencer ilk, is frankly disheartening to me and it is a bludgeon used elsewhere on the Internet to control the discussion about characters in a space opera.
posted by nikitabot at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


yeah to me there's a noticeable difference between the creator of these characters vs something like taylor swift not denouncing actual nazis that uses her music.

also, POC inspiring a diverse bunch of kids to be rebels FTW
posted by numaner at 3:42 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I saw it again last night. Everything I had quibbles with, I was much more comfortable with (although not totally ok with; how Poe isn't in front of a firing squad is beyond me), and everything I liked, I liked even more.
posted by Errant at 4:02 PM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm still trying to digest the scene in the dark side cave. I feel like the theme of mirrors is perhaps connected to the idea that Rey struggles to create an identity for herself beyond being Kylo Rens reflection?

It was the Test of the Cave. What is in the cave? Only what you take with you, says Yoda. In the Dark Side, you are always alone, trapped with yourself, fighting with yourself, unable to see anything else but yourself.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2017 [27 favorites]


Loved it, but the resistance reminded me about of the black Knight from Monty Python and the holy grail -- they suffered enormous losses over and over, but kept pretending everything could still be salvaged. I mean, spark of hope, I get it, but it kind of took me out of it.
posted by Rinku at 4:16 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


well I think the difference between this and the Black Knight was that he had no clue he can't win. The resistance have hope because they're not staring down an execution, they're always on the run since they still have legs.
posted by numaner at 4:38 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Saw it today and loved it. I was born in ‘71 and was obsessed with the original trilogy, and I absolutely love the theme in this movie of moving on from the past. To me, The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film since Empire. I would not mind at all if the next film kills off every remaining original trilogy character (even Chewie and R2D2) to give the series a clean slate.

Funniest scene: When Luke instructs Rey to “reach out.”

Best reversed expectation: When Luke survived the barrage from the AT-ATs on Crait, I thought to myself, “If this were Star Trek or Doctor Who, it would be because he’s a hologram right now. Good thing we’ve established that Star Wars holograms are crappy and low fidelity.” Nice twist!
posted by ejs at 5:12 PM on December 18, 2017 [12 favorites]


To clarify my post above, which might be taken in the wrong way. I meant that Tumblr and Twitter have been abuzz over the last few months with accusations of Rian Johnson, LF, Disney and Kathleen Kennedy being Nazis Apologists and White Supremacists. The greater discourse of using Kylo Ren as representative of that kind of mind-set or as an avatar of the Richard Spencer ilk, is frankly disheartening to me and it is a bludgeon used elsewhere on the Internet to control the discussion about characters in a space opera.

That first half is nonsense but not wanting at all to make such a basic literature analysis on a fictional character just because he's Sad Jedi in Snow is honestly throwing the baby out with the bathwater imo.
posted by cendawanita at 5:24 PM on December 18, 2017


Re: the joking about Chewie going vegan above, I felt like the movie actually had a pretty strong vegan (or, animal-conscious?) sensibility? There's the confront-a-live-porg-while-holding-cooked-porg scene, the confront-the-physicality-of-green-milk scene, the abused goat-horses.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:31 PM on December 18, 2017 [11 favorites]


On the new episode of The Incomparable podcast, one of them (John Siracusa?) called it Forcetiming. Genius.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


The 10 Horniest Things in Star Wars: the Last Jedi.

How could they leave out the first appearance of naked breasts? Sure, they were on a humanoid walrus creature, but still.
posted by ejs at 5:49 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


they suffered enormous losses over and over, but kept pretending everything could still be salvaged. I mean, spark of hope, I get it, but it kind of took me out of it.

This seemed to be a problem with the scale to me. I think they said they were down to about 400? Then about 2/3 or so of the transporters got destroyed, leaving maybe 150 max. Then they had a battle where they lost at least 10 pilots plus a bunch of foot soldiers. It will be interesting to see how far they jump for the setting of Ep IX if there is going to be anyone fighting back.

Didn't the republic have any military at all?

I was disappointed overall though with some exceptions. Finn was my favourite new character from TFA but felt pretty wasted in this. The only thing I found convincing about the casino planet were the racing creatures. I didn't much like Rose generally, I felt she started off fairly sanctimonious and didn't get that much better. I did like the advance in the Rey-Ren story and the best bit for me was the misdirection around Snoke's demise. I thought Ren made a pretty good argument for doing away with the whole Jedi/Sith shebang and starting over with the two of them. The end of Luke was pretty good (well except for ghost-Luke I assume) though it also brought home that Carrie Fisher will not be around to finish out IX. There was one really nice bit, an early-ish shot on the island where there is a close up on Luke's face and he is lit just as in a scene on Tattooine in IV.

I really felt they could have done more with Holdo, she was underserved by the script. There should have been more strategic pushback from the fleeing ship, actually demonstrating that she is capable. The jumping to lightspeed at the enemy ship was an obvious tactic, and although the effects were done well why didn't she order the other two ships to try it rather than just being blown up when they ran out of fuel? Failing that, why didn't she tell them to go their own ways while they still had fuel?

The pose-down sad cases in Snoke's bodyguard were pitiful.

During the scene where they are in the bunker at the end when they set up the mobile tactical desks it looks like they are setting up for a game of Battleship. While on the topic, how the hell did Finn drag Rose from basically right by the walkers/cannon to the bunker?

As an aside, the tracked device with the sort of three nodules forming a triangle pointing at the middle within a glass square? Did that seem like a visual reference to something in another movie or TV show? It really reminds me of something in but I can't place it. The thing I'm thinking of was hand sized but the same shape.

For Adm. Ackbar:

.
posted by biffa at 5:54 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Flux capacitor from Back to the Future.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:02 PM on December 18, 2017 [13 favorites]


How could they leave out the first appearance of naked breasts? Sure, they were on a humanoid walrus creature, but still.

Watch ROTJ a little more closely.
posted by prize bull octorok at 6:02 PM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


leaving maybe 150 max.

Well given that they all fit on the Falcon that makes sense (Wookiepedia claims the cargo capacity is 100 tons, but people don't stack as well as cargo, so hard to say, but 100ish sounds like it could be right if everyone was packed in).
posted by thefoxgod at 6:09 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Didn't the republic have any military at all?

Mostly destroyed in VII, I believe.

Also in the books (which I have to admit I read) they talk about the New Republic demilitarizing after the treaty/whatever with the Empire after the battle of Jakku (when what became the First Order fled). [If I'm remembering all this right] And as someone else mentioned above some New Republic member-states/politicians were secretly (or not so secretly) allied with the FO. Hence there was the separate Resistance. But the actual remaining New Republic military was largely destroyed by Starkiller Base, and the NR itself was a much weaker alliance than the Empire (so presumably a lot of worlds decided to stay out of the whole FO/Resistance battles).

Much like with the original trilogy, a lot happens offscreen or is just never really explained (and then filled in with excruciating detail in books/games/comics/etc).

[Which is for the best, as the prequels were the ones that focused more on "explaining" everything and look how that turned out]
posted by thefoxgod at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah. It was super clever to have Luke say "laser sword" the way Lucas still does.
posted by ignignokt at 6:17 PM on December 18, 2017 [12 favorites]


Where did Chewie get a couple of immaculately prepared rotisserie chickens? Those were definitely not wild birds, and they were definitely not cooked on a spit over the fire. At least they didn't seem to be porgs, which was my first thought. I mean, given that the island was Skellig Michael I took the porgs to be the equivalent of puffins, so I assume they stink to high heaven, but at least they aren't cannibals to boot.

"Boy, I hope somebody got fired for THAT blunder!"
posted by codacorolla at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2017 [11 favorites]


Kid at the end - a slave or indentured, powerful in the force, the competitive racing - he's liable to be the next Vader.

Poe - "the greatest teacher, failure is."

Diversity - The Empire and the Order are human supremacist, but the Rebellion and Resistance are also very human dominant. The Old Republic seemed fairly mixed, though I don't recall any species besides human having multiple senators. In the originals and sequels, heavily mixed-species places tend to the unsavory - Mos Eisley, Jabba's barge, the Jakku barter town, Maz's bar, the casino...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:42 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks LM.
posted by biffa at 6:43 PM on December 18, 2017


(I'm just glad someone else saw it! I thought it was really obvious and then it isn't mentioned in the stuff I've read.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]




The "Turn pornhub into Porghub every May 4th" isn't a dumb petition. I love it!

Full disclosure - my birthday is May the Fourth.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:16 PM on December 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


Observation from the comments here:
Do you remember the bit when Yoda blew up the tree, and Luke was all, “But the books!” Yoda said, “There is nothing in that library that the girl does not already have with her.”
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:23 PM on December 18, 2017 [37 favorites]


It's really "interesting" but all the 'top' comments on Facebook for all the sci-fi/nerdy/fantasy website pages that are writing articles about The Last Jedi are being accused of being Disney shills for 1) writing about TLJ and 2) for being positive about the film. They cannot seem to fathom that critics liked the film, or find it believable that maybe those websites are just publishing a lot of TLJ articles because - I dunno, it would be of interest to their audience?
posted by liquorice at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't think of myself as somebody who had a lot of Luke Skywalker feels, but this movie proved that I've been wrong. I wanted so much more grumpy Luke wandering around the island, grossing out Rey with his weird foodstuffs. And his scene with Leia was a thing of beauty.

I have a lot of quibbles about the movie - how overstuffed it was in both good and bad ways, how I liked Finn and Rose but their adventure together was sort of oddly structured, how whatever is happening with Poe is confusing (am I supposed to be as upset with him now as I am? Will the last movie bring about an actual arc where he learns from this stuff?), how it's going to be difficult to see the Resistance as having any chance of surviving when there are apparently six people and Chewie left to put things back together.

But there was a lot it got right in the emotional department, which is the stuff that lingers for me. Luke and Rey's storyline was just great. I loved Laura Dern and how she and Leia were so clearly old friends who trusted each other and it never had to be said. I really like the way Rey and Ren's story is developing (and hey, I will shamelessly admit it, I have endlessly loved vampire-esque bad boy/good girl stories so bring it on, Id-Fic. They had grrreat hand chemistry, and "we fight people together" is one of my plot trope weak spots.) Yoda materializing just to bop his trainee in the head one last time made me so happy. And Luke staring into the light of the twin suns...well, yeah.

I'm worried about the last movie not recognizing all the good stuff this one had and making it less meaningful. I hope that's not the case.
posted by PussKillian at 8:13 PM on December 18, 2017 [12 favorites]


Poe is shown to have learned his lesson to some degree. Earlier in the film he says something to the effect of, “if you start a mission you have to see it through to the end,” in defense of the bombing of the dreadnought. Later on, when they’re speeding towards the big gun he recognizes it as a suicide mission and calls it off. So he can be taught.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:20 PM on December 18, 2017 [14 favorites]


Poe also recognizes what Luke is doing on Crait before anyone else does.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:43 PM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Plus, there’s his call to lead people out of the back of the cave somehow and save them, rather than endangering them by continuing the fight. That’s when he finally gets the Organa seal of approval.
posted by ejs at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2017 [19 favorites]


One of the things that kept catching my eye during the Rey+Ren fight is their different fighting styles. Rey obviously uses the lightsaber as an extra-good staff, landing somewhere between the prequels' flips-and-spins style and the OT's treatment of the lightsabers as stiffer and heavier. She's got precision and finesse.

Kylo, on the other hand, frequently has his lightsaber pointed down, with the tip practically dragging in the ground, swinging it around in huge, powerful strikes. It seemed sloppy to me, and it wasn't something I remembered from their TFA duel. But I think it's a nice extension of the character's rage and lack of control, and something that would make him seem childish if it wasn't so damn terrifying, especially combined with his saber's crackling, unstable beam.
posted by Maecenas at 9:00 PM on December 18, 2017 [14 favorites]


Poe is shown to have learned his lesson to some degree. Earlier in the film he says something to the effect of, “if you start a mission you have to see it through to the end,” in defense of the bombing of the dreadnought. Later on, when they’re speeding towards the big gun he recognizes it as a suicide mission and calls it off. So he can be taught.

This and,

Poe also recognizes what Luke is doing on Crait before anyone else does.

this were my takes on it. As mentioned upthread (maybe in reviews) it's a doubling and deconstruction of the Han Solo "never tell me the odds!" schtick. That same thing is repeated again, when Finn tries to do a suicide run down a mini Death Star gun, and is saved from his meaningless (and somewhat selfish!) sacrifice by his new friend.

A good question is whether or not Poe should be redeemed from this... I don't really have the answer to that, but I do think that the film lays out redemption somewhat in its language.
posted by codacorolla at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


I could live with redemption being treated less as an end-state than as a process in Star Wars. (As in life, really.)

Because honestly there's really no single thing Kylo Ren could do to make up for all the deaths he has caused or assisted in causing. Billions, literally, if you count the use of Starkiller on the New Republic.

But if he realized what he was responsible for, and regretted it, and wanted to make up for it, I could appreciate that. I don't want him redeemed and dying in glorious sacrifice: I want him to work to make up for what he's done. I want sweat and guilt and angst. I want to see active penitence, and nobody being willing to grant him forgiveness because he's a genocidaire.

(I may have watched too much Angel: the Series, but that was basically the theme of the show, and it made for interesting drama that didn't offend my moral sensibilities.)

I don't think I'll get what I want, but it would be interesting.

(Yes, I was raised Catholic, whydoyouask?)
posted by suelac at 9:25 PM on December 18, 2017 [27 favorites]


I agree, with both real life and with star life interpretations of redemption. I count my lucky... uh, stars, that we have master of nuance JJ Abrams to tackle these interesting plot threads in 2 years.
posted by codacorolla at 9:29 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kylo, on the other hand, frequently has his lightsaber pointed down, with the tip practically dragging in the ground, swinging it around in huge, powerful strikes. It seemed sloppy to me, and it wasn't something I remembered from their TFA duel. But I think it's a nice extension of the character's rage and lack of control, and something that would make him seem childish if it wasn't so damn terrifying, especially combined with his saber's crackling, unstable beam.

Yes! I noticed in that mind meld scene where he's shirtless, he's not all gangly like I thought but built with a broad torso but long arms, like a dang ape. And he carries himself in a fight in this hunched way, shoulders rounded and arms dragging, like a beast. Really great physicality.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:44 PM on December 18, 2017 [11 favorites]


After watching again last night, my girlfriend, seeing it for the first time, said, "I always liked Star Wars, but I never understood why people were so crazy about it or resonated so much with it. Now I get it."

For every disaffected fanboy, an enthusiastic convert. I'll take that trade.
posted by Errant at 9:48 PM on December 18, 2017 [44 favorites]


Also, from my friend who works with lightsaber cosplay troupes, talking about the throne room scene and Kylo Ren's feral style: "As a stage director, that was everything I've ever wanted."
posted by Errant at 9:51 PM on December 18, 2017 [19 favorites]


Ren’s swordplay style seems he learned enough not to cut off his own legs and let the big laser sword do the rest.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 PM on December 18, 2017


Is this the first time that "God" is mentioned specifically in the canonical bits?

It's against my programming to pretend this was the first time Star Wars has mentioned a deity.
posted by straight at 10:18 PM on December 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


I mean, he couldn't sense the other lightsaber next to him being turned?? What kind of "supreme leader" is that?

But if, say, you're mind melded by a third party or a light sabre is spun through 90 degrees right next to you or you have daily meetings with the most powerful Sith who ever lived and you never work it


Oh, but I loved that part so much. Kylo feels Snoke in his mind and feeds him exactly what he craves: his purest Dark intention to turn his saber and strike down his enemy. He gets Snoke salivating for it so much it's all he can pay attention to. And then Kylo gives it to him.

Easily one of the best portrayals I've seen of psychic combat that relies on dialogue and character rather than posing, grunting, grimacing, and FX.
posted by straight at 10:30 PM on December 18, 2017 [54 favorites]


He gets Snoke salivating for it so much it's all he can pay attention to.

Also—maybe I'm getting this wrong—while Kylo is rotating the Luke-saber with the force, he is simultaneously rotating his own lightsaber with his hand. Perhaps that threw Snoke off, because he sensed 'rotation of lightsaber' and saw it before his eyes.
posted by Maecenas at 10:39 PM on December 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


I don't know if they re-edited after Carrie Fisher's passing to make this more stark, but when the bridge of the flagship is destroyed and Leia gets sucked out into space, you could have heard a pin drop in my theater. Everyone was thinking the same thing I was thinking: ohshitohshitoshit is *this* how they're going to do it? You had a whole theater of SW nerds actually thinking, this is it, Leia's fucking dead, they really killed her off. The stunned horror was palpable. That is both crafty and nerveless filmmaking. What a moment.

Yes. But for me the best part was how Kylo Ren targets the part of the ship he Force-knows his mom is in, but can't do it. And then his wingman (apparently) kills her instead. That blew my mind almost as much as the shock of Leia. How much more is that going to screw him, and in what direction?
posted by straight at 10:43 PM on December 18, 2017 [17 favorites]


Emo Kylo Ren has returned.

Emo Kylo Ren previously:

there is nothing worse than when you are watching a stirring tribute to young Darth Vader and then someone has photoshopped in your mom
posted by straight at 10:49 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just watched this today, and this movie definitely feels like a thing that has to settle in your head for a while -- there's so much in. It captured the "toybox" feel the first two films had, that every scene felt like an independent little diorama for your brain to play with later. There's so much in this film, so many interesting little scenes and moments that all exist side by side. I liked it a lot. Some of it felt generic and overblown and loud, but a lot of it magically managed to be both specific and mythic, and both smart and heartfelt, in a way that felt very true to the best of Star Wars.
posted by Rinku at 10:54 PM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


The long distance chat scenes.

ForceTime?

ForceBook?
posted by New Frontier at 11:48 PM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm convinced that Lucasfilm's long-term story goal is to merge Light & Dark into one Force.

The other day on the radio, I heard a Star Wars themed commercial for the Nissan Rogue where some buyer was conflicted over whether he wanted the white one or the black one, with a punchline that they also have it in grey. So I think we can pretty much call this theory confirmed.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:38 AM on December 19, 2017 [11 favorites]


Just got back from a second viewing and yeah this movie is packed full of clear explanations of what's going to happen that you ignore on first viewing because you Know Star Wars.

Kylo Ren also explained the whole force projection setup too when he and Rey first have a Force Skype chat - along the lines of 'are you projecting yourself here? but that's impossible, it'd kill you!' which perfectly sets up the Luke confrontation.
posted by xiw at 12:45 AM on December 19, 2017 [18 favorites]


ForceTime?

ForceBook?


The joke I heard and I assume is canon is Forcebook Messenger.
posted by Merus at 12:54 AM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


On the turning lightsaber thing, IMDB thinks Snoke's words are:
Pathetic child. I cannot be betrayed, I cannot be beaten. I see his mind, I see his every intent. Yes. I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true. And now, foolish child. He ignites it, and kills his true enemy!
So it looks like Kylo Ren definitely misdirected him with ambiguous thoughts.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:31 AM on December 19, 2017 [12 favorites]


Mrs. Wombat and I saw it this evening in 3D. The 3D detracted rather than enhanced. I think we saw it at 30fps. If I had a chance, I'd watch it again in 2D at 60fps.

But I would watch it again! It's a simply wonderful movie! It echoed right back to 7-year-old me seeing the first movie in 1977. The huge, visually gripping opening after the (now unavoidable) scrolling exposition. The sudden expansion of scale. Establishing the goodguys/badguys in a few seconds. The desperate tension of the bomb run. The heroism! The stupidity! The sheer derring-do! The fickle fortune as the bomb release tumbles away to infinity! The utter lack of concern for physics!

I would happily spend my weekend writing a critique of the whole shambles (and it is a shambles), celebrating its wit, focus (and lack of it), humour, tension, and sheer visual spectacle. I loved this movie. It's right up there with Rogue One, and maybe ahead of The Force Awakens.

I was delighted that so many non-conventional-looking people were cast in lead roles. Nose you could open a can with? That's a Flag Captain's nose! Asian and actually eats breakfast occasionally? Lead role for this and the next movie! Weird cheekbones and a distressingly English accent? You might be the next BigBad!

Mark Hamill absolutely smashed the "I am old, and while you think I am good, I am evil in ways you can never know" bit.

Frank Oz was fucking hilarious. That's the canonical Yoda. Yoda is the only one that knows the whole thing is a joke, imposed upon the world by gods we cannot see. (meta - what gender is Yoda?)

Then the whole theme of "Poe fucks up, and the grown-up women have to fix it." I think this is an important part of the overarching saga: some people are great at a point in time. They take an X-Wing and blow Stuff Up. Then they overreach.

Poe was a *disaster* in this story because he had no ability to think strategically. He had a single focus in hitting the enemy. It was the strategic leaders (all women yay!) who had to deal with his shit.

I loved seeing Rey and Kylo 'Level Up.' They now stand as co-equals in the balance of the Force. Their personal connection - which Snoke saw develop, and which he claimed untruthfully to have created, and which then killed him - needs to be explored a lot more.

I love that the Force is no longer a Lightside/Darkside thing. The tree is dead, the temple is gone.

I'm sad and happy that the old Jedi are gone. The new Force Sensitive have to build a new way.

The Rose/Fin arc was lovely. I know a lot of people are saying it could have been edited out completely. If the director wanted a tight, engaging, emotionally mature movie with humour and space battles and the good guys winning, then yes. Edit the Rose/Fin arc out.

But this is not meant to be a tight, lean standalone movie. It's a stanza in an epic. Will Rose survive? (bet you a dollar!) How will Fin cope with Rey levelling up? How will General EnglishAccent capitalise on Kylo Ren's humiliation? How will Rey's power develop? How will the kids with access to the Force fare?

Where will the kernel of the Rebellion end up? How will they build a movement as the First Order fractures under weak leadership?

This is my longest comment ever and I loved this silly, flawed, awesome movie.

Three Oscars. Mostly for tech.
posted by Combat Wombat at 6:01 AM on December 19, 2017 [27 favorites]


So here's a wild theory about how Episode IX could handle the absence of Carrie Fisher.

Opening crawl:
General Leia Organa has been assassinated by a Force-user in the employ of the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, KYLO REN. The RESISTANCE suspects the assassin to be one of the Knights of Ren, a group of LUKE SKYWALKER's former students who betrayed the JEDI.

In the years since Luke's death, the ranks of the Resistance have been bolstered by allies new and old from across the galaxy. General LANDO CALRISSIAN's plan to find the assassin has been rejected by the other Resistance leaders.

But Lando is not alone in his desire for justice for Leia. His rogue team [which includes Rey, Finn, Chewie, possibly Poe and Rose] is en route to a secret rendezvous, pursing a tip that they all know could lead them into a First Order trap....


This way:
-the Knights of Ren matter to the overall story (it would frankly be weird if they didn't, given all the hints);
-you bring back Lando;
-you have at least one familiar OT face in the Resistance leadership, since Ackbar's gone now too;
-you give Rey a chance at some more flirtation with darkness (i.e., revenge);
-you separate Our Heroes from the Resistance fleet (which really HAS to have grown since TLJ);
-Leia's loss has weight in emotional and story terms, but it doesn't have to be played out on-screen (which I think would end up feeling clunky and awkward and maybe a little forced);
-and you can open your movie with a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy to echo ROTJ opening at Jabba's Palace.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:02 AM on December 19, 2017 [12 favorites]


Yoda is male
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


If I had a chance, I'd watch it again in 2D at 60fps.

Does this exist? I watched it in Dobly Cinema which is support 60fps, but I'm pretty sure what I saw was less than that because of perceptible flicker in the longer panning shots.

Also, I thought that the last big movie to experiment with a high frame rate was one of the Peter Jackson/Tolkien films, and everyone hated it.

But, putting that aside, any tips of finding a theater with 60fps?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:16 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


At some point I'll write a novel-length post, but for now:

I liked this a good deal, but it's definitely flawed.

The movie is at least 20 minutes too long. The codebreaker character should have been left on the cutting room floor, and if not for the fact that they cast Benicio Del Toro in the role I suspect they would have done so. The Casino Planet wasn't bad but could have been tighter. I liked the stuff with Rey and Luke but that too was too long, there was at least 3-5 minutes too much of Mark Hamill doing a grumpy Yoda impression. It's fun but too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.

Moreover, I think they really missed the boat with Ackbar. Even if Holdo was left in the script, it would have been way better to end the movie with her established as a sort of new Mon Mothma, with Ackbar (who we know, who we've seen go through shit, who we care about) making the ultimate sacrifice. Having him die as background noise in Leia's force flight was a real missed opportunity.

But: Kylo and Rey were great! They dealt with Snoke exactly as I wanted! (No long backstory, no big reveal, he's just a villain who overestimated his control of a powerful subordinate). The Hux/Kylo stuff also was great and ended nicely.

I hope to god the next movie lets some time pass to breathe, though. Please, give us a 3 or 5 year gap, so we can re-enter the story with a newly revitalized resistance along with new force users being trained by Rey -- if Ep IX starts a week after Ep VIII it will give very little time to get interesting stuff rolling for that movie.
posted by tocts at 6:20 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


I would love there to be a 60fps version of this movie.

Old school movie people rise up on twitter every time they are exposed to actual flowing movement. For some people, flickering is part of the experience. As the next generation come through, used to 120fps on 60" screens three metres from the nose, the studios will do the Right Thing.

Other things I loved! The casino scenes! Fin *loved* the casino, because he had no context. It's gaudy and glamorous and conveys wealth and respectability! You must be one of the high-rolling elite sir! May I take your coat? Rose could see the real casino: a cheap scam to take money from the stupid, while exploiting an invisible underclass.

Then she released the SpeedGoats to freedom, with the help of the slavechildren.

There are *SO MANY* awesome messages in this movie.

But: 2d/60fps is what we want.
posted by Combat Wombat at 6:31 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


I loved that the existence of war profiteers came up, and was thrilled that the film commented on that injustice -- and filled in some of Rose's backstory in the same breath. A similar comment is made in the current Thor film as well: "Where do you think all the gold came from?" If social commentary in popcorn blockbusters causes the man-babies to cry and wail, so much the better.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 6:51 AM on December 19, 2017 [34 favorites]


-Leia's loss has weight in emotional and story terms, but it doesn't have to be played out on-screen (which I think would end up feeling clunky and awkward and maybe a little forced);

Part of what makes this situation so borderline-intractable is that you almost have to give Leia Organa an on-screen death. I feel you on what you're going for, and I agree that it'd be hard to do anything on-screen that wouldn't feel contrived or artificial, but to begin the movie being informed in print that she's dead before the action starts is just damn near a non-starter for the fans. People went frothy when they started Alien 3 by letting everyone know that Newt had died between movies, and she didn't carry nearly the weight that Leia and Carrie Fisher do.

The only way out on this may be just frankly acknowledging that it's hard and weird and giving the audience a farewell that doesn't shrug all that off or pretend it isn't there. If you did something like "assassinated by the Knights of Ren" (which is a good idea), there may be a way to handle that with a stand-in, signifying visually that it's her while pointedly not showing her face, maybe? Keeps it on screen while sending the very clear message that Carrie Fisher cannot be replaced in this role. I dunno. I don't know how Abrams is going to handle this, but I imagine you can't shoot for better than "least bad option" in a situation like this.

The codebreaker character should have been left on the cutting room floor, and if not for the fact that they cast Benicio Del Toro in the role I suspect they would have done so.

I go the other way on this. I think they cast BDT in the role because they knew he would prove to have more significance to the series. He's almost certainly going to be a Lando-style character with a redemption arc in IX. Appearance in this movie was a setup for what is to come, otherwise yeah, you could have found a way to do the third act setup that didn't take nearly the time of the casino-to-betrayal subplot.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:58 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


As the next generation come through, used to 120fps on 60" screens three metres from the nose, the studios will do the Right Thing.

Given that Rian Johnson, for example, has urged his Twitter followers to turn that 120fps setting OFF on their 60-inch screens, I think it’s going to be a while before you get your wish.
posted by Mothlight at 6:59 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


-Leia's loss has weight in emotional and story terms, but it doesn't have to be played out on-screen (which I think would end up feeling clunky and awkward and maybe a little forced);

One of the things I liked about the Space Angel Leia scene was that she was using Force, something we've never seen her do in the movies. It was great, even if the premise was a hokey, 'cause I love the character of Leai.

I do wish that she had managed to grab someone else and save them (Ackbar maybe), that speaks more to the character, but I'm not complaining.

All this is just to say that the greatness of the character, combined with the love of her and Carrie practically demands a meaningful on screen death. Had she done the Light speed battering ram, I would have been very satisfied with that. Perhaps with a twinkle in her eye as she says "Don't worry, I'm a pretty good pilot too".

But yeah, Abrams & Co HAVE to stick Leia's death, no questions. They could do everything else right, but if they fuck that up, their name will be mud, to fans at least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Given that Rian Johnson, for example, has urged his Twitter followers to turn that 120fps setting OFF on their 60-inch screens, I think it’s going to be a while before you get your wish.

Even as a person who's so far not pro-60fps, there's an important distinction here. TVs with a 120fps or motion smoothing setting aren't showing 120fps video, they're showing 24fps or 30fps video with computer-generated frames spliced in on the fly to simulate 120fps. Every instance of this I've seen ends up being an uncanny valley hellscape and I cannot watch TV with it turned on. If the film was actually shot at 120fps or 60fps, the result would be much different.
posted by tocts at 7:15 AM on December 19, 2017 [12 favorites]


Had she done the Light speed battering ram, I would have been very satisfied with that.

I'm really surprised they didn't change this after Carrie died. They could've put together something with existing footage, stand-ins, and CGI to put her on that bridge during the light speed suicide mission. Leia has to have an on-screen death, and CGI'ing an entire death scene in the next movie will be . . . not good for a lot of people.
posted by Mavri at 7:21 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


They've already said they ruled out CG Leia for the next film. So I assume offscreen demise or stunt double from behind, or repurposed footage from a prior film.
posted by selfnoise at 7:28 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


I feel like we are slowly (in a good way) moving away from the original films.

Yes. There were a lot of Star Wars tropes subverted in this movie and usually in the best possible ways.

Kylo flying into the hangar on the Resistance cruiser for an attack.

Yoda's additional lesson for Luke. I squeed.

Leia's near-death and self-rescue was weird. Yeah, using the force and all -- which we have never seen her do other than a vague sort of telepathy/empathy -- but complicated by thoughts about Carrie Fisher it felt very awkward and off-putting. I found myself wondering how much was rewritten after her death vs. how much it was supposed to emotionally tie in to Han Solo's death.

I felt like Admiral Holdo could have said something like "Yes, I have a plan, trust me, trust the force and don't do anything else stupid." That would not have convinced Poe, but might have helped resolve what felt like completely artificial ambiguity about her. I liked her but wasn't sure if we were meant to at first, if that makes sense. That said, the more I think about it the less this bothers me.

I'm not sure how I feel about Luke's end. His confrontation with Kylo was perfection, but if he was going to do the fade-away thing, I wish it had been without the falling off and getting back up bit. The binary sunset was absolutely a nice touch though.

Rey's thing in TFA was learning Force powers basically instantaneously when they were used against her. I would have loved it if she'd Force-dragged Snoke out of his chair and across the floor toward her at least briefly. But Kylo had to be the one to kill Snoke and that scene did not disappoint.

The fight against the Praetorian Guard seemed a little bit lacking IMHO; not as much martial arts awesomeness as there could have been.

I love that Rey is the daughter of losers and has forged her own path, and the little bit with Broom Kid at the end who is likely to be the same; it's a fresh start for the Force. Kylo Ren broke under the weight of his own ancestry.

I want to see more hints that Finn is Force sensitive -- I thought for sure his use of the lightsaber in TFA was leading toward that.

Overall I like how unpredictable this movie was. They could seriously have killed off major characters, or even the entire Resistance minus Rey, Finn and Rose, at any time. They came damn close to killing off Finn and/or Rose too, and it would not have surprised me (but I would have hated them for it). Rey could have killed Luke, with or without discovering that he'd turned to the dark side first. Rey could have turned to the dark side herself, or joined Kylo in a continued attempt to turn him, and it wouldn't have surprised me either.

The length of the movie felt fine to me.
posted by Foosnark at 7:36 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Wombat and I saw it this evening in 3D. The 3D detracted rather than enhanced.

I saw it in 3d. Loved it. I've seen other movies where it's a gimmick and breaks the immersion, but you get such a great sense of scale in the wider panning shots. And that ramming attack was mindblowing in 3d. So too, the battle in Rogue One.

I do agree that things get washed out in 3d and the resolution is lower. I'll be going to see the 2d version today or tomorrow, but overall, the SW 3d has been fantastic. I'm 3/4 tempted to drive over the mountains to see it at the Imax.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:40 AM on December 19, 2017


I'm really surprised they didn't change this after Carrie died. They could've put together something with existing footage, stand-ins, and CGI to put her on that bridge during the light speed suicide mission. Leia has to have an on-screen death, and CGI'ing an entire death scene in the next movie will be . . . not good for a lot of people.

They could have even shoehorned in some reason that the Force was required to successfully accomplish it, to quiet all the nerdwhiners about why it isn't done all the time.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:44 AM on December 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


Rey's thing in TFA was learning Force powers basically instantaneously when they were used against her.

I watched TFA last night and.. I can't believe I never figured this out before, but Rey starts to manifest the classic force powers immediately after Kylo Ren tries to dig into her mind. She must have just sucked the techniques out of his brain while they were mind melding.

I think this made more sense to me after seeing how intimate and unprecedented their connection was in TLJ.
posted by selfnoise at 7:44 AM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


Saw it Saturday night and I'm still processing - I think I need to see it again to speak intelligently, but I'm glad to see so many of my impressions here (the flux capacitor! The Hardware Wars iron! SoMuchPorgs!).

I didn't love the casino scene - part of what I loved about Mos Eisley is how real everything was, and how grungy and unexpected. The casino was meant to be upper-echelon money, so it wouldn't have the grunge, but everything about it felt fake and superficial (not least because it was clearly all CG including all the aliens), to the point where seeing it destroyed just didn't matter - it all felt like a set piece. And then to have BB-8 all crammed with gold pieces just to use them as a weapon just felt like a cheap shot. I thought it would have weighed it / her? down, or interfered with the robotics, but instead it was another convenient jokey moment. I love what it stood for, for Rose and for the series continuing, but I don't think it made it stick.

I really didn't like Leia's returning from the dead via the force. But because I know this is the last we get of her, I forgave it in a way I don't think I would have if Carrie Fisher were still alive. I just don't want her gone yet. But still.

I also thought that C3P0 didn't sound like himself at all - I was surprised to see it was Anthony Daniels after all, it sounded so different. Not just a different voice, but even the rhythm felt off a bit - I loved how competent he always sounded, while saying whiny things. This just felt like pure, ignorable, whining from him. I think he deserved better. And I missed the red arm.
posted by Mchelly at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I didn't love it, but I'm not a Star Wars fan, so I got what I wanted out of it.

I did crack up when everyone made the transition to calling it the "Rebellion" though. Like, I could just picture Rian Johnson watching TFA thinking "fuck this 'Resistance' shit", and throwing it out at the first possible opportunity.

That said, TLJ didn't really answer my one big disappointment with this new trilogy, which is that: what is this all for? ROTJ ends on such a positive note, and now we're just retelling the story of the Empire vs. the Rebellion again. I made a joke to my brother after we walked out of the theater that TLJ was an allegory for boomers vs. millennials, the Rebel generation won a decisive victory just to get complacent and throw it all away, leaving the next generation with a massive mess to clean up, but that's still just a joke.
posted by Automocar at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think that rewriting it after Fisher’s death so that Leia replaces Holdo on the suicide mission would have been a terrible idea. I’m glad they didn’t.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


Also, in terms of Rey and Kylo Ren, the scene in TFA you reference also has a moment early on when Ren says, “Don’t worry, I feel it too.” Probably another one of JJ’s mysteries that he didn’t have any resolution for, but TLJ makes it look like that connection between them has been there, and is now getting stronger.
posted by dellsolace at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


The white/red salt is such a beautiful idea and it is used so well. It's not just the crazy but convincing monoski stabilizers on those rickety ships leaving those gorgeous trails. It's not just the clue about what Luke's up to when he leaves no footprints.

But also when Luke walks out to stand before the enemy like Space Jesus and Kylo tries to just obliterate him with overkill, it leaves this horrible red splatter like a bloodstain.

And wow do I love how after Rey and Kylo show us that mastering the Force is all about being a badass stabbing, slicing and killing your enemies with your best lightsaber moves (and it's kind of horrible--Rey is fighting for her life, but this is the first time she's ever killed someone with a lightsaber), Luke shows up and saves the Resistance without killing or even harming a single person.

After Rey glimpsed Chekov's X-Wing under the water, I thought sure Luke was going to swoop in and be The Best Pilot, and when he just walked in out of nowhere it felt like such a pathetic, disappointing entrance. But in retrospect it was perfect.
posted by straight at 8:06 AM on December 19, 2017 [46 favorites]


I'm really surprised they didn't change this after Carrie died.

Putting Leia in the Holdo role would have meant cutting her scene with Luke.

Not even remotely a good trade.

"No one is ever really gone..."
posted by anastasiav at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2017 [18 favorites]


Yes, Leia's "I know what you're going to say" line is one of the best in the movie. It seems like just a charming joke, but the subtext is, "I'm not sitting here with the expectation that you're going to come back and grovel with an apology. I'm just glad to see you."
posted by straight at 8:18 AM on December 19, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'm thinking/hoping that Leia's death will only be mentioned and not shown. Maybe even in the opening narrative crawl. It's otherwise kind of extra creepy to portray an already dead actor's death. Usually, an onscreen death has a kind of cachet to it for the actors, so it would be doing Fisher a great disservice othwerwise. That would also be a great pretext for setting episode IX a few years in the future.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking/hoping that Leia's death will only be mentioned and not shown.

Yeah, at this point we've already had her last scenes with Luke and Han, I don't really feel the need for any more "closure" with her. It does need more than just a passing mention - perhaps a funeral scene. But I don't want them pushing that "computer re-creation" thing any farther than they already have with that clip at the end of Rogue One.
posted by dnash at 8:32 AM on December 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yeah, at this point we've already had her last scenes with Luke and Han
Not to mention giving Chewie the hug he should have got after Han's death in TFA.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:36 AM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


If not a funeral scene/allusion, then perhaps a giant statue or a planet re-naming ceremony? Something cool without turning Fisher into a CGI NPC, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


The casino was meant to be upper-echelon money, so it wouldn't have the grunge, but everything about it felt fake and superficial (not least because it was clearly all CG including all the aliens)

No, it wasn't. Maybe a few were CG but quite a lot of it was actual set and costumes.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:47 AM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


I am wondering if they even need to have Leia die? Couldn’t she just be off rallying support to the movement? Maybe they can piece together some voice conversations with the leads as Finn, Rey, Poe and Rose are off doing their thing. I don’t know, but I think it’s overly limiting to think she has to be dead just because Carrie Fisher is dead. I don’t like killing her off screen, and I agree that having a body double or something die in a flashback or whatever wouldn’t be satisfying either. Not sure of anything except that the makers of IX have a tough job ahead of them.
posted by dellsolace at 8:53 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


I made it through the movie last night without tears but have cried twice today after learning that Carrie Fisher re-wrote a lot of the best Leia scenes with Rian Johnson (and Laura Dern), and not just because I wondered if it was true last night.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:57 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


That also makes me wonder about any ideas for storylines, script punching, etc that Fisher had put down privately, being an accomplished screenwriter herself. Not so much for any Star Wars fanservice, more just as biographical material. Probably lots of NDAs and whatnot around that sort of thing, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2017


After a day or two to ferment, I only love it more. It's rather interesting, every person that I talk to in real life adored the movie and there seems to be a lot of consensus among my friends that Rey being a nobody is perfect and just and exactly what it should be. And yet, I read about angry fans that were disappointed. Maybe my friends are just odd, but nobody's been pissed yet.
posted by teleri025 at 9:02 AM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


Based on what I've seen so far from the behind-the-scenes and what Rian Johnson have talked about, about spending time with Carrie Fisher, just talking and breaking the story down, and just plain having fun, it's apparent she had quite a hand in contributing to the story development. I hope they can get into this aspect more in the extras, but I remembered binging quite a bit on their interaction just before she passed away.
posted by cendawanita at 9:07 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Same here . Some of my "real life" friends on the Internet have moaned about the movie being kind of a mess and maybe overlong, which I can see, but Rey being a nobody is basically considered a net Good Thing. And the whole "Skywalker Clan as necessary legend but not what really wins rebellions" is the considered the same thing. That said, there's a lot to be said for self-selection when it comes to ones friends in these discussions.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


My experience has been the same as yours, teleri025: everyone I know personally has (at least) really liked TLJ. It may just be my/our bubble, but it may also be evidence of the Great Bot Army that, for whatever reason, decided to mobilize against the film, RJ, and Disney.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 9:12 AM on December 19, 2017 [7 favorites]


Well god forbid, war profiteers get their feelings hurt.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2017 [16 favorites]


I have the unfortunate luck of having geek guy friends displaying all the classic obtuseness I've come to expect, and sweet summer children who haven't quite got the hang of either social justice or media criticism. So I'm just finding refuge in memes.
posted by cendawanita at 9:17 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Kylo Ren also explained the whole force projection setup too when he and Rey first have a Force Skype chat - along the lines of 'are you projecting yourself here? but that's impossible, it'd kill you!' which perfectly sets up the Luke confrontation.

I'm glad somebody was able to discern what he was mumbling here. Seen it twice now and still didn't catch it. It's a really important line and his delivery does it a disservice (though otherwise Adam Driver is excellent).
posted by wabbittwax at 9:41 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


Oh, here’s another slightly esoteric question I had. When ghost Yoda raises his hands to summon lightning to set fire to the dead jedi tree, was that his ghost manipulating the Force directly, or was he praying to whatever Force diety and it was an indirect effect? Because if ghost Yoda can just make lightning strike on command then this is a huge tactical advantage being underutilized!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2017


Like, are Force ghosts actually independent entities or was it just The Force assuming the personifications all this time so Luke can buy a clue?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


Wait... is the Force actually the *Speed Force*? #flashfansunite
posted by hanov3r at 9:48 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


[E]very person that I talk to in real life adored the movie and there seems to be a lot of consensus among my friends that Rey being a nobody is perfect and just and exactly what it should be. And yet, I read about angry fans that were disappointed. Maybe my friends are just odd, but nobody's been pissed yet.

On balance, I very mildly disliked The Last Jedi, although I loved a lot of its individual components; a lot of that dislike, though, stems from decisions made in/for The Force Awakens (which I also disliked, despite loving a lot of pieces of it in isolation). And Rey's being a hero for her actions, rather than for her upbringing, despite TFA hinting otherwise, is absolutely something that TLJ got exactly fucking right.

I can understand where fans who are disappointed are coming from, in that TFA set us up for a reveal...but that's a problem with Force Awakens, which should have just established that she's a hero and her parentage didn't matter -- in the sense of 'I am your father' mattering; Rey's upbringing, or lack thereof, obviously helps define her and that's great. That Rey isn't Luke's son (or whatever) is, emphatically, not a problem with Last Jedi, and the fact that people (& bots) are getting so het up about it has rather put me off putting down any insubstantial critical thoughts, lest I lend that view support; and I haven't had the time to write up any substantial thoughts.

And I don't really have the time now, but in incomplete summary: I loved the character work; I loved the dialogue; I loved the broad themes that Johnson developed. But the pacing of the film was off, and the central tension of the multi-day chase was rather undermined by it not making any sense within the established logic of the prior films (even if you limit yourself to TFA). Without that tension, the excursion to Canto Bight feels even less necessary, the drama of Poe's Bad Decisions feels unneeded, and the final stand & escape on Crait was...a thing that happened? I can suspend my disbelief for laser swords and and ray guns, but the universality of logistics, travel times, and politics are the glue that holds that all together. One of the reasons that TFA didn't work for me was that the underlying framing of a beleaguered Rebellion vs. an all-powerful Empire felt like a Disney-driven fiat; and the destruction of 'the Republic Fleet' by the Death Star #3 just...doesn't really make any sense. It takes time to go places; even if you're at peace, putting all your ships in one basket very far from all your other baskets just isn't a done thing. In short, TFA had big issues with scale & time & how governments work; TLJ didn't rectify them, but it would be unfair to blame Johnson for mistakes that Abrams made. I would echo, though, the issue that people already raised up-thread about weaponizing hyperspace technology: that's a door that, stunning visuals aside, would have been better left closed. What I was expecting was a very-last-jump-to-FTL that brought Holdo right next to Snoke's flagship, and then a more conventional crash. That wouldn't have raised any questions about How Star Wars Works, and yet still would (if the writers allowed it) have bought the escapees time.

I'm also maybe not the audience that Johnson was writing for, in that Star Wars has never been about the Force to me; nor has it even been about the Skywalker family. I loved Star Wars because of how it created this sense of place, with its callbacks to offscreen Clone Wars and never-seen Bothans, and how it didn't constantly fold back on itself the way some genre fiction did. And last year, we had Rogue One, which managed to be a Star Wars story without (mostly) any Jedi, that spoke to how regular people could make a difference, and to the harms that war does to bystanders. So while I laud Johnson's (perhaps needed) deconstruction of some of TFA's and the earlier films tropes, I think what I really wanted from him was a post-deconstruction movie: I want the movie Johnson would make if TFA hadn't doubled-down on geneology and mystery and baton-passing. That's not really a criticism; not exactly. Because clearly there are a lot of fans who were really into the idea that bloodlines really matter. And in that sense, I think The Last Jedi is a necessary correction; it just happens to be a correction that I didn't find enjoyable. That's more than okay.
posted by cjelli at 9:50 AM on December 19, 2017 [13 favorites]


When a Jedi dies, she is said to "become one with the Force". I think Force ghosts are like talking to a single element of a great hive mind. The Force hive mind has decided that Luke needs a good talking-to, and they send the Yoda-conciousness to do the job.

I think you have to start Ep. IX with Leia's funeral. It has to be addressed right out of the gate to get it out of the way and move on with the story. The only other option is to get a new actress to play Leia, and that's just unacceptable. No one can replace Carrie in this role.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:51 AM on December 19, 2017 [11 favorites]


Because if ghost Yoda can just make lightning strike on command then this is a huge tactical advantage being underutilized!

Any significant battlefield unit (think AT-AT) is essentially a big metal box. Given the effectiveness of simple grounding and/or Faraday cage effects, I expect the tactical advantage against non-tree enemies would be limited.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:51 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Like, are Force ghosts actually independent entities or is it just The Force assuming the personifications all this time so Luke can buy a clue.

(Yoda voice) Perhaps all of us are only masks the force wears, hrmmmrmmrmmm?
posted by Rinku at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2017 [29 favorites]


Oh, here’s another slightly esoteric question I had. When ghost Yoda raises his hands to summon lightning to set fire to the dead jedi tree, was that his ghost manipulating the Force directly, or was he praying to whatever Force diety and it was an indirect effect? Because if ghost Yoda can just make lightning strike on command then this is a huge tactical advantage being underutilized!

It's Yoda manipulating the Force to cause a lightning strike. Things get sticky if you go down the road of "Force diety," because there are/were personifications of aspects of the Force that exist(ed) that were part of the Mortis Arc of The Clone Wars television show. The story arc, which is actually not bad, delves into the Force mythos, the idea of balance and a balancing figure.

When a Jedi dies, she is said to "become one with the Force". I think Force ghosts are like talking to a single element of a great hive mind. The Force hive mind has decided that Luke needs a good talking-to, and they send the Yoda-conciousness to do the job.

Yes, no! Qui-Gon JInn discovered a technique to allow a Jedi to retain their individuality after death, so certain Jedi (we're talking him, Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin - who gets a freebie) all have this ability via the technique (this is a retcon introduced in the prequel trilogy era of the franchise - initially by George Lucas, though it never accounts for Anakin other than his own unique nature with the Force).
posted by Atreides at 9:55 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


No one can replace Carrie in this role.

Does Leia's monologue at the end of Last Jedi cover other actors playing existing heroes?

I will pay good money to see a bitter divorcees -- single mum, absconded dad -- Han/Leia spinoff starring David Harbour and Winona Ryder.
posted by popcassady at 10:14 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


I think you have to start Ep. IX with Leia's funeral.

Yes. And a massive state funeral, for whatever value of 'state' exists at that point: thousands of mourners, all the pomp and reverence she deserves. Lando gives the eulogy. Everyone cries.
posted by nonasuch at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


The casino was meant to be upper-echelon money, so it wouldn't have the grunge, but everything about it felt fake and superficial (not least because it was clearly all CG including all the aliens)

To be fair, that's how the Bellagio felt like to me in Vegas. Entirely fake, including the probable mobster in an expensive-looking suit walking around with very fashionable young women on each arm.


It may also be evidence of the Great Bot Army that, for whatever reason, decided to mobilize against the film, RJ, and Disney.

I actually did start to wonder whether the haters were Gamergaters and Russian social media bots. And then that also made me wonder about the people who hated the fact that women and PoC were major characters in TFA, and people who hated Fury Road, and so on. Russia taking on a Snoke-like role in turning people toward the Dark Side.
posted by Foosnark at 10:39 AM on December 19, 2017 [13 favorites]


I'm still trying to digest the scene in the dark side cave. I feel like the theme of mirrors is perhaps connected to the idea that Rey struggles to create an identity for herself beyond being Kylo Rens reflection?

I think this is a crucial scene, so much so that the voice-over soliloquy—which feels clunky and out-of-place—strikes me as added for clarity, to help the intended meaning of the scene stick.

My read is that, like so much of TLJ, it both relies upon and subverts the older viewer’s knowledge of ESB. Rey’s trip into the dark side, necessary for a training Jedi to confront and experience all of the Force, is also necessary because, like Luke in ESB, it has something important to tell her. It essentially tells Luke that Vader is his father, it at least makes clear that reckoning with Darth Vader is his task; but for Rey, it just gives her that seemingly infinite loop of self.

Instead of panicking and striking out like Luke did, Rey—who is clearly shown to have better understanding of and perspective on the totality of the Force—calms her initial flight response by reasoning that the terrifying infinite loop of self has to end, because the dark brought her there to tell her something important. So she’s able to face the open horror (supposed) of the dark side of the Force with focus and calm, and then it tells her the thing, which is showing Rey her own reflection in the mirror.

From this, Rey ascertains that her worst fear is true, her parents are nobodies and she is alone in the universe and always has been. But instead of being crippled by her most fundamental fears being true, she also—in my reading of the scene, anyway—understands that this is how it always is, you’re always only the person you make yourself to be, through your choices and actions, no matter where or whom you are from. She also further understands that the “dark side” is neither evil nor separate from the light “side” of the Force: it’s just the parts of the Force with the hard or ugly truths, and is the energy that can feed the dark parts of ourselves if we choose to let it.

So where Luke came out terrified and committed to defeating Darth Vader, Rey came out understanding her own origin and much wiser about both the Force and human nature. I found it to be a compelling scene.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2017 [64 favorites]


I actually did start to wonder whether the haters were Gamergaters and Russian social media bots.

I haven't delved deeply into the haters, but my impression is that the haters are toxic white fanboys (Gamergate) and people who are upset that Luke is not perfect. I don't know how much the two overlap. I find it kind of hilarious that the same people complaining about Rey being a Mary Sue are probably the same ones who are upset that Luke isn't one anymore (to the extent that he ever was one, but that's an argument I don't really care about).
posted by Mavri at 10:45 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


So where Luke came out terrified and committed to defeating Darth Vader, Rey came out understanding her own origin and much wiser about both the Force and human nature. I found it to be a compelling scene.

Luke was lied to for all his life, while Rey was "lucky" enough not to have anyone around to lie to her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


I just found this whole movie so infuriating. Yes, the representation was great, and there were lots of great things in it, but the tone felt off right from the text crawl ("brave heroes" instead of "small band of rebels" or "freedom fighters"), the characters kept making choices that didn't matter, the slapstick was excessive and poorly integrated into the story, there were so many characters who could have been cut right out with no narrative consequence.

I watched the beginning of Rogue One right after, and it was the antidote to this film. To give you an example of how other Star Wars films integrate slapstick effectively, watch the scene at the beginning when Jyn Erso gets clotheslined by the tall droid, who then snarks on her hard. She is the butt of the joke and it matters and we sit with her as she feels the sting. It sets up the dynamic of their relationship for the rest of the movie. Most of the comedic bits in the last jedi are a side show that don't matter. I sat there for the last 30 minutes so bored because so little of it mattered. They should have started the film where it ended.

And I can't believe they used voice-over in the belly-of-the-whale cave scene. Completely destroyed the central point of that kind of scene - "I thought I might be stuck there forever". Classic tell-don't-show. So sloppy.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 10:56 AM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


I kind of feel like you're supposed to think that Canto Bight is a sideline along with the whole rest of Poe's dumb-ass plot at the time. Like, on a second viewing, it's so obviously a terrible plan - it's not just canto bight, but the whole 'break into the lead star destroyer! blow up the mcguffin! the captain doesn't need to know!' selfcontained section tightly fits together as a whole sub-movie in itself, but pretends to be The Star Wars Movie Plot here. But then it all fails for completely plausible reasons, and so does Holdo/Leia's corresponding better plan

And then we cut back to the kids, and hey, the failure of both plans actually sparked the hope from the rest of the universe that they needed - just not how they expected.
posted by xiw at 10:59 AM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


Luke was lied to for all his life, while Rey was "lucky" enough not to have anyone around to lie to her.

She also had Luke’s hard-won, lifelong perspective rattling around in her brain, as if the failures and shortcomings of the previous generation were hugely valuable in helping Rey on her journey. (Didn’t Yoda show up to mention something about this?) I don’t find it very useful to measure Rey against Luke, or vice versa, because Rey is only possible because of Luke’s struggle.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


I at first disliked Rey’s voiceover in the cave as well. But when it turned out that what we were hearing was Rey confide in Kylo about her experience in the cave, that was a big “whoa” moment for me, in that she was opening herself up to the ostensible bad guy while Luke was shutting her out for even considering going into the cave. It started as a seemingly poor formal choice but ended up being a thrilling bit of character development and plot development.
posted by ejs at 11:24 AM on December 19, 2017 [41 favorites]


sure it was good for the relationship development, at the cost of feeling the risk of total annihilation. Which is what I mean by sloppy filmmaking. They could have done that same surprise reveal without compromising the belly-of-the-whale moment.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 11:38 AM on December 19, 2017


Also I know this is trivial and I'm ashamed that it matters this much to me, but I was so disappointed to see Rey still doing the three buns hair... if there's one thing I expect from my Star Wars heroines, it's new hairstyles. I am dealing with it by telling myself that her scenes are immediately after TFA and she didn't have enough time to change it up (plus it works for her), but still. I refuse to accept that that's just a Leia thing.

But I love how Holdo's shoulder cutouts made it look like she had a nonhumanly long neck, so there's that.
posted by Mchelly at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


I mean, he couldn't sense the other lightsaber next to him being turned?? What kind of "supreme leader" is that?

I was stuck on that as well, but I caught the end of RotJ the other day on TV just in time to see Darth Vader just walk up to the Emperor while he's spraying lightning all over the place, pick him up and throw him into the hole. If anything, Snoke's death strikes me as a little more realistic.

Which makes me think, in re: Yoda's lightning: Maybe when he returned to the Force in death, he achieved pure balance, which would give his ghost dark side powers?

Finally, in re: Admiral Akbar (RIP), I read somewhere that originally the idea was for him to FTL attack the ship, but his voice actor died last year, so they write in the Holdo part. It would also explain his general absence from the rest of the film.
posted by General Malaise at 12:21 PM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm just surprised Rey didn't trade up to some cool Resistance leather jackets and boots and is still wearing the gauze sleeves.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:23 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Mchelly: I like Rey's hair because it's odd enough to be otherworldly, but actually possible for human beings. One of my first memories is my mom gamely trying to fix the Princess Leia buns I wanted to wear, both of us unaware of their deception. As a teenager in a heavy SW phase, I often made one long braid and pinned it across my forehead like Leia in ROTJ. I truly hope that the awfulness of the result burned its way through the negatives of any snapshots taken.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:23 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, he couldn't sense the other lightsaber next to him being turned?? What kind of "supreme leader" is that?

To me, that was a sign of how strong Kylo had become with the force - that Snoke was reading his mind (and by extension, his feelings) and still not seeing what he was doing. It's more about being better at manipulating minds than objects. It also feels like a response to Snoke's saying that he was behind the Rey / Kylo connection - maybe, but also maybe not anymore.
posted by Mchelly at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


OK, weird parallel. The iconic, "I know", of ESB is matched with Kylo Ren's, "but not to me." line?
posted by jadepearl at 12:29 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, he couldn't sense the other lightsaber next to him being turned?? What kind of "supreme leader" is that?

Taken from the Twitters: 'Check out this sick 180° NoSnoke!'

And: hubristic confidence that someone absolutely understands a situation and is in absolute control, immediately met with their dramatic downfall, is a cornerstone of the series; and, practically speaking, as already noted, it's no more egregious than the Emperor not noticing Darth Vader's betrayal. Snoke saw what he wanted to see.
posted by cjelli at 12:39 PM on December 19, 2017 [8 favorites]


The tone felt off right from the text crawl ("brave heroes" instead of "small band of rebels" or "freedom fighters"), the characters kept making choices that didn't matter, the slapstick was excessive and poorly integrated into the story, there were so many characters who could have been cut right out with no narrative consequence.

The same arguments could be made for many of the Star Wars movies to date.

I cringed a bit at "brave heroes" but figured it fit in with the over-the-top language other crawls have used, usually applied to the bad guys (e.g. "the evil lord Darth Vader.") And in this movie "brave heroes" turns out to mean "people who are kind of cowardly at times" and "stupid assholes who almost get everyone killed" and "people who really cannot handle failure", so it was probably left that way very intentionally.

For dumb slapstick look no further than Jar-Jar Binks.

Star Wars has always been populated by characters with no direct relevance to the plot. It adds color and sells action figures.

As far as choices that didn't matter, I'd argue the opposite; this movie was more about consequences than many of the previous ones.
posted by Foosnark at 12:46 PM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


(Also the irony of "brave heroes" who were doing everything they could to run away Sir Robin style.)
posted by Foosnark at 12:47 PM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


One thing I was sure to do before seeing this one that helped me immensely was to remind myself before the opening crawl that it was a movie aimed at childred to sell merchandise, and anything deeper than that was all gravy.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:52 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just remembered that someone in this movie uses the word "parsec" clearly as a unit of distance (Finn, I think?). So throw that in along with all the other little repudiations of earlier star wars movies.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


Which makes me think, in re: Yoda's lightning: Maybe when he returned to the Force in death, he achieved pure balance, which would give his ghost dark side powers?

Nah, the emperor casts Lightning Bolt, and Yoda invokes Call Lightning. They're from entirely different classes.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2017 [33 favorites]


I definitely saw Snoke's downfall built into his hubris. He was so intent on what he expected to happen that the unexpected happened, more so, I think he also saw what Kylo was planning to do, but assumed it was Kylo planning to execute Rey. One cool touch I realized yesterday, both Palpatine and Snoke sat on their thrones with lightsabers that belonged to a Skywalker sitting on an arm next to them. The whole thing is part of a wonderful play on Return of the Jedi, wherein the apprentice turns on his master, but as it turns out, unlike Anakin Skywalker, Kylo remains like Vader, deciding to rule the galaxy. He even offers Rey the chance to be his Luke, to join him and to rule side by side.
posted by Atreides at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


I just remembered that someone in this movie uses the word "parsec" clearly as a unit of distance (Finn, I think?).

The scene in TFA where Rey and Finn meet Han and Chewie on the stolen Falcon is where I recall that. Rey brings up the Kessel Run and Han corrects her on the number. (Han Solo was famous to Rey because of his smuggling exploits, not Rebellion ties.) I don't recall that being brought up in TLJ, although I have only seen it once.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on December 19, 2017


It's in Last Jedi, but they're not talking to about the Kessel Run, just the distance they have left to go.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:11 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Nah, the emperor casts Lightning Bolt,

It's chain lightning - Darth also gets hit.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


Put me down in the "Loved it" camp. It's growing in my opinion as time goes on - this was a pretty great movie. Not much to add here that hasn't already been said above, but:

Minor annoyances: the Monte Carlo aside was pointless, milking sea cows for blue milk was totally avoidable, and Leia's unconscious Force-flight felt out of place.

Bits I loved: the Flash Gordon throne room set, the silent hyperspace-ramming, the anonymous little boy who turns out to be Force-sensitive.

But the movie was pretty blunt about its major theme: "The greatest teacher, failure is." "The history of the Jedi is a history of failure, hypocrisy, and hubris." Every single person in the movie fails. Even Luke, who fails Rey, and whose failure with Kylo Ren has really set this train in motion. Poe, of course - blowing some stuff up with no strategic sense, and leaking the crucial plan details. Finn, who fails even at getting his heroic death wish. Holdo, who could have avoided a mutiny with better leadership, rather than "Shut up and follow orders".

Oh, and "Let the past die. Kill it, if need be." That's Disney talking to the fans, and some of them aren't happy about it, are they.

Predictions:

* The next one has to open with Leia's funeral. Maybe in a secret hideaway, not a state funeral, but I don't think we see her back on screen again.

* No matter what Kylo Ren says, we haven't heard the last of Rey's parentage. Even if she really is a random compensating fluctuation in the Force to balance Ben's turn to the Dark, there's going to be more to it, I bet. The cavern scene, where the mirror reveals only her own reflection, is saying something deeper.

* I think Force-ghost Luke comes back to teach Rey the third lesson about the Force. He promised "three lessons" and only got through one and two. That's very deliberate, no doubt.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:14 PM on December 19, 2017 [14 favorites]


The next one has to open with Leia's funeral. Maybe in a secret hideaway, not a state funeral, but I don't think we see her back on screen again.

A secret funeral for Leia would be the perfect place for our heroes to shame all of the allies they called for ignoring their plea, and start rebuilding the ranks of the Rebellion. Because you know those jerks will still show up despite ghosting everybody in TLJ.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:02 PM on December 19, 2017 [13 favorites]


They could have done that same surprise reveal without compromising the belly-of-the-whale moment.

But the reveal is that it wasn't a belly-of-the-whale moment, other than facing oneself, one's deepest fears. The whole reveal of that scene, to me, is that Rey is right, the "dark side" is just the parts of the Force that respond to the selfish, darker parts of ourselves; it is not evil or malicious on its own.

I do agree that the voice-over is stylistically clunky (that device nearly always is), but as I mentioned, my sense is that it was added to clarify what was happening inside of Rey, because it's a pivotal insight for the character.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:24 PM on December 19, 2017 [10 favorites]


I liked the voice-over part, because it was very unlike Star Wars direction. Much like the shot where Kylo and Leia's faces are superimposed on one another, as well as the recurring Rashomon style telling of what happened on the night of Ben's insurrection. That was the first time... maybe ever that Star Wars felt like a modern film, and not like a toy commercial aping serials from the 50s. I mean, I like the original trilogy, but apart from technical aspects they aren't really masterpieces of film-making. Those scenes mentioned above felt like actual film-making, with choices that went beyond conveying some piece of story-line.
posted by codacorolla at 3:58 PM on December 19, 2017 [19 favorites]


WAAAAY up above, popcassidy mentioned Rey enjoying the rain falling on the Falcon. Of all of the beautiful visuals in this movie (and there are a LOT), I was *completely* taken by the mirroring of the rain pouring off the Falcon and the immediate jump to Kylo, standing above one of the fighter bays, repairs obviously going on above his line of sight, and a stream of sparks spilling down in front of him.

Rey, watching the cool flowing water; Ren, watching trails of fire.

Rian Johnson has some amazing visual storytelling under his belt.
posted by hanov3r at 4:05 PM on December 19, 2017 [42 favorites]


RedOrGreen : I think Force-ghost Luke comes back to teach Rey the third lesson about the Force. He promised "three lessons" and only got through one and two. That's very deliberate, no doubt.

Apparently*, the second lesson (the one which was skipped) was filmed, but cut for time/etc. Will appear on the bluray as a deleted scene

* Source: a youtube video somewhere in the depths of my watch history
posted by coriolisdave at 5:09 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]








I somehow knew (and pre-agreed) which scene that article was going to reference. Which simply goes to prove that both I and the writer are right about everything forever, no back answers!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:03 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]




Another important distinction between Rey and Luke, and their respective attempts to redeem someone, is that Luke saw his father—at least partly—as a victim, as someone ‘seduced by the dark side.’
This both attributes malicious agency to the “dark side” of the Force, as if it were a devil tempting poor Anakin, and absolves Anakin-as-Vader of at least some responsibility for his actions because there’s a good person under all those evil actions, and he can be saved!

Rey doesn’t fall for that. She believes that Kylo can still choose a better path, to start being the powerful, light-bringing Force adept he’s capable of being, as Luke did before, but she understands that there is no Kylo Ren separate from his actions, and he must choose to actually be different to do so. Whatever he—or anyone—chooses, is the “side” of the Force that they will make manifest. Kylo cannot let go of the comfort and succor that his rage and fear provide.

Rey sees this at the end of the Throne Room scene, and knows that he’s made his choice. There will be no further redemption story arc unless JJ Abrams profoundly misses the point of this film.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:47 AM on December 20, 2017 [26 favorites]


There will be no further redemption story arc unless JJ Abrams profoundly misses the point of this film.

It feels like this story needs a further two films. Episode IX Part One…
posted by popcassady at 1:37 AM on December 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


That green milk take that numaner linked is extremely on-point! The thing that has been missing since the original trilogy is strangeness – everything is too familiar! That's why the first third of TFA was so amazing. Weird new stuff and unknown new characters. I wish TLJ had even more spending time in new locales and cultures.
posted by ignignokt at 4:45 AM on December 20, 2017 [12 favorites]


'Fish nuns'... oh god, make it stop
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:52 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm also enjoying TLJ Spoilers with No Context

I don't get Number 8 or 11, can anyone enlighten me?
posted by like_neon at 5:15 AM on December 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


11 is the way Kylo runs out into the hallway and skids slightly the first time he's Forcetiming with Rey.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 5:41 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Rey sees this at the end of the Throne Room scene, and knows that he’s made his choice. There will be no further redemption story arc unless JJ Abrams profoundly misses the point of this film.

I think the redemption arc is set up in this. No one can save Kylo/Ben but himself. There are no outside influences any more to blame or distract. Snoke is dead, Luke is gone. All the things that he was striving for and influenced by are going to be absent. How to fill that huge void? All the decisions are now up to him.

The final scene between Kylo and Rey shows that the force bond is alive and well despite Snoke's death. Was Snoke lying when he said he created the bond? I think so. His manipulation of Kylo and utter conviction that he still had him in his grasp led to his ignominious death. Rey looked at him in disappointment as she closed the door but he was left holding his father's dice, kneeling alone like a penitent in a space filled with light.
posted by nikitabot at 6:28 AM on December 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


Played hooky yesterday from all my grown up responsibilities and went to see this. Found it very enjoyable; I'm still unpacking it and everything it had to say.

But my biggest laugh on the drive home came from the realization that ghost Yoda chides Luke for being the same - "never his mind on where he is" - and the next Luke scene is him Forcetiming himself across the galaxy.

I was almost completely suckered in by Force Luke but I couldn't figure out the lightsaber - at first I thought it would be his green one, but it was blue, which was destroyed...but by the time I worked it out, Kylo had already sliced him through and it was rapidly becoming apparent what was really going on.
posted by nubs at 6:46 AM on December 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


The thing I was reminded of with the Rey in the Cave scene was "oh, it's making her think it's basically the Mirror of Erised, but at the last minute it fakes her out."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


like_neon: "I don't get Number 8 or 11, can anyone enlighten me?"

Number 8 is from an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where Charlie and Mac are in the same restaurant and keep staring at each other. As best I can tell it's a reference to the constant Kylo/Rey conversations.
posted by komara at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thinking about the fish nuns (they have nostrils! does this mean they're not fish? wait, do fish have nostrils?) led me to this fun fact, which I now share with you:

"The nostrils of fish do not open into the back of the mouth and are not used for breathing. They actually lead into organs of smell which are very sensitive, so that a fish can detect the presence of food in the water at considerable distances."
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Some more thoughts now that I have time and everyone has left for their days while I get an early start on the holidays:

So Snoke...I actually really liked the fact that Snoke just got smoked, with no real explanation of who he was and where he came from. It doesn't matter (as much fun as I have had in a different Star Wars thread digging up the ridiculous backstories on background characters in the previous films, this choice with Snoke felt right - I don't need to know who he was, only that he was); this story is up to Rey and Ren and Finn and Poe now. That, to me, was the point of the cave - Rey learns there are no answers out there besides herself; what matters now is the choices she makes, not what came before. Like Luke before her, what was in the cave was what she brought with her - and her choices will have echoes down through time.

I really felt Snoke's "rabid cur" speech, while supposedly about Hux, was really about Ren...and that Ren knew that. Ren spent the whole movie fighting phantoms - other people's perceptions & expectations of him, Snoke's negging, Rey's belief in him, and Luke as the ultimate phantom menace in his mind. In the end, even the dice he holds - his father's dice - fade; they were never real. He has nothing real to hold onto because he never really had an identity, just a sense of entitlement & expectation...Rey, on the other hand, learned to hold onto and to trust herself because she was all she ever had. That, in the end, is what matters.

Ren is toxic, even to himself - he refuses any attempt at control, which is where Snoke failed; he thought he had control of his rabid cur, but Ren is always going to slip the leash and turn on whoever put that leash on.

I knew there was a bit of a negative fan reaction to this one, and I could certainly tell the moment when it lost the fellow sitting next to me: the moment that Rose saved Finn, he flapped his arms in exasperation, and then again when she did the whole "we win by saving what we love" line. But - as unsubtle as it was - that was the big underpinning theme of the movie. Leia and Holdo are working to save what they love; the cause and the people who keep it alive. Rose almost dies to save Finn. Poe finally learns that lesson at the end; that saving what we love is more important than smashing what we hate. Luke gives his last ounce of ability to save what is left. This is the light side: sacrifice, compassion, defense - it is not that you don't fight, but you don't fight heedlessly. Contrast that with the First Order, which is nothing but snarling hate, which comes trailing blood to the gates of the mining outpost, having lost a tremendous amount of resources in chasing down three ships and ultimately failing.

One of the criticisms I have seen elsewhere is that the film has left itself no where to go - the Rebellion is smashed, the First Order apparently triumphant, the original cast all gone - what's left? And all I can say is let your imagination run - they smashed all the walls so that we now have a larger sandbox to play in. It can go anywhere - a civil war inside the First Order between Hux and Ren while the Rebels regroup and build a refuge on the Outer Rim (to save what they love); the story of the final engagement at Crait and Holdo's sacrifice becoming a rallying cry; Rey becoming a grey Jedi; Finn and Rose traveling the galaxy to recruit; Poe becoming a leader; the fight against the war profiteers.The next film could start with a group of indentured servants fleeing the casino planet and joining up, with Rey and the rest almost being background figures. Who knows? We've cut our ties with the past. I'm honestly a little flabbergasted after all the criticism of TFA as being too much of a pastiche of the original film that TLJ is going to be criticized for breaking all expectations and leaving the path open to telling a completely new story.

Luke with the milk was a fantastic scene. It was weird and wonderful and a great way of being part of bringing Luke's circle to a close; he was a Jedi Master, now again a farm boy, and not your savior.

And Holdo - the spark that ignites the flame. How apt.

As always, there are things to nitpick and dislike, but perhaps my biggest takeaway from both TLJ and Rogue One has been that Star Wars is now much bigger than it was, and not all of it is going to work for even the big fans. Rogue One didn't do much for me, but to many others it is one of the top Star Wars films. That's a good thing - what has always intrigued me with Star Wars is how vast its potential is, how much room it has to go almost anywhere and tell any story...and it therefore follows I may not like every story it tells. Yoda burnt down the tree - he took Ren's advice to let the past die, to burn it if you must - in perhaps the most meta moment of the film: a message to fandom to let go of what you think you know, to not build shrines to the past. To not cling so tightly, and to save that which you love and not try to destroy the rest with hate.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on December 20, 2017 [37 favorites]


as much fun as I have had in a different Star Wars thread digging up the ridiculous backstories on background characters in the previous films

We all had fun with that, nubs. :)

the original cast all gone

There is a Mr. Chew Bacca outside who would like to speak to you about this.
posted by hanov3r at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


Fair point, I will go re-attach my arms.
posted by nubs at 9:14 AM on December 20, 2017 [14 favorites]


Not to mention R2 and C-3PO. And actually, unless I'm forgetting someone, C-3PO is the only original character that's still around and still played by the original actor.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:20 AM on December 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


The thing I was reminded of with the Rey in the Cave scene was "oh, it's making her think it's basically the Mirror of Erised, but at the last minute it fakes her out."

It's the Brownie (Girl Scout) investiture. "Twist me and turn me and show me the elf! I looked in the mirror and saw—myself." The Brownie story is that the helpful, kind elf can be you.

She asks for her parents, for guidance and direction. She's told she needs to be her own parent, and make her own decisions.
posted by asperity at 9:22 AM on December 20, 2017 [11 favorites]


Speaking of Chewie (and, also, R2)... with the two of them still being part of the Resistancebellion, I really wonder what their perspective is on things. They're the only part of the SW universe that we've seen as part of the action from the very very beginning (obviously, Maz has been around and Seen Some Shit, but we only just met her).

And, of course, to us, they're non-verbal. We'll never know what they have to say about things.

Which... one of my other favorite things about TLJ is how much more natural dialog between verbal and non-verbal characters was. Contrast:

A New Hope
R2: *whistle*
3PO: No, I don't think he likes you
R2: *whistle*
3PO: No, I don't like you, either.

The Last Jedi
Rey: When you see Finn, tell him....
Chewie: *ROAR*
Rey: Yes! Tell him that!

There's far less... loquaciousness in service of telling you exactly what non-verbal characters are saying to other characters.
posted by hanov3r at 9:34 AM on December 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


Which... one of my other favorite things about TLJ is how much more natural dialog between verbal and non-verbal characters was.

For what it's worth, the everpresent "I have a bad feeling about this," line that seemed to be missing in TLJ is actually spoken by BB-8. Poe had a line cut where he would have replied to make it clearer, though, according to Johnson.
posted by Atreides at 9:38 AM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


This could be the ultimate lampshade:
Resistance soldier: Why don't we always do hyperdrive kamakazi attacks?
Chewie: *ROAR*
Soldier: Oh, yeah. Of course.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:39 AM on December 20, 2017 [51 favorites]


Oh yah, Fish Nun info....they're actually bird nuns according to the Visual Dictionary for the film. They share a common ancestor with the porgs! :D
posted by Atreides at 9:41 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


(They look like turtle nuns to me.)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:45 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I hadn’t realized that nobody had said, “I have a bad feeling about this.” That’s the gutsiest subversion yet.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:49 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Which... one of my other favorite things about TLJ is how much more natural dialog between verbal and non-verbal characters was.

BB-8 beeps 'I've got a bad feeling about this'

I was looking out for it and I was all 'did I miss it some how?'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:53 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think it’s more telling that I didn’t even notice it was missing. It’s a completely unnecessary line at the best of times. It was just a tradition.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:06 AM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


And: hubristic confidence that someone absolutely understands a situation and is in absolute control, immediately met with their dramatic downfall, is a cornerstone of the series; and, practically speaking, as already noted, it's no more egregious than the Emperor not noticing Darth Vader's betrayal. Snoke saw what he wanted to see.

One could say that his overconfidence was his undoing.
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:17 AM on December 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


more links:
The Curious Case Of THE LAST JEDI And Its Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

Rian Johnson Addresses the Big Changes to the Force in The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi Killed My Childhood, and That's Exactly Why It's Great

(i went back to read my TFA comments, and I only commented twice. welp i really didn't think much of that movie. in any case, were there this many articles and thinkpieces abt TFA? Must be, right?)
posted by cendawanita at 10:20 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


I hadn’t realized that nobody had said, “I have a bad feeling about this.” That’s the gutsiest subversion yet.

Did we even hear from Wilhelm in this one?
posted by radwolf76 at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have a Facebook friend who is the absolute last person I would expect this from, but... he claims TLJ was "the worst Star Wars movie by far" and keeps repeating that. He says it fell flat, there was no emotion and no tension and exciting battles and... I am so completely confused by his reaction, that I've looked at his recent posting history to confirm he still has control over his own account.

I thought if anything, he'd appreciate the more nuanced take on the Force, the overall theme, Yoda's lesson for Luke, Rose's lesson for Finn, etc. But nope.
posted by Foosnark at 11:23 AM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Did we even hear from Wilhelm in this one?

According to this easter egg list, the scream is woven into Kylo Ren's freakin' lightsaber swipe sound! Brilliant! The one in TFA (Stormtroopers getting it from the TIE fighter that Finn and Poe stole) was as clear and unsubtle as thunder.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:57 AM on December 20, 2017 [11 favorites]


ffs bruv [NSFW language]
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:06 PM on December 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


(Everyone in the theater was a little overcome looking at that dude's jacked pecs.)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I thought that shot was really interesting, because it's so... not a beefcake shot? Something about it (maybe just the costume, or the framing of the shot or...?) made it feel to me like the camera's emphatically not saying "check out this sexy dude" but "check out this teenager who's showing off and simultaneously uncomfortable in his body". I found it really effective, I had those interactions with male friends in my teens and this felt exactly the same. Did anybody else get that sense?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2017 [31 favorites]


LobsterMitten, I absolutely got that feeling, too. It was unsettling just for that reason; I felt how uncomfortable he was.
posted by cooker girl at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Asking for a friend (honestly!): Does anyone remember if the word 'porg' is actually spoken in the film
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Did anyone catch what Phasma's last line of dialog is before Finn calls her "Chrome dome"? I've seen it twice now and missed it both times. I really dislike the voice effect they gave Phasma, mostly because it really makes her hard to understand. I guess I caught the gist of their discussion but I'm curious as to what she says.
posted by obtuser at 12:57 PM on December 20, 2017


According to this easter egg list, the scream is woven into Kylo Ren's freakin' lightsaber swipe sound!

Holy crap, I caught that and assumed that my brain was making it up!
posted by General Malaise at 1:00 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the shirtless scene was awkward for everyone. Rey expressed it best with roughly, " can't you put on a cowl or something?!" What was interesting was how unextraordinary beefcake it was. It was not so amazing as in the various Marvel or superhero films where the body is perfection and on display. He was in shape but not cut, awkward and the female gazer, Rey, was peturbed. It let the audience perceive seeing something very private and intrusive. Vulnerabilty in multiple directions.
posted by jadepearl at 1:05 PM on December 20, 2017 [13 favorites]


I heard "towel," not "cowl."
posted by cooker girl at 1:10 PM on December 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


Makes more sense with the word, "towel", though "cowl" is funnier. This means I fight against the haters by watching it a second time. Who knew I would be feeling bad for a Star Wars film as an underdog when it has made Sarlacc pits of money?
posted by jadepearl at 1:14 PM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure it was cowl. Which makes sense as it's part of the whole cloak/hood thing he wears.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:24 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Rey grew up somewhere there was only dry. Would she even know what a towel is?
posted by phunniemee at 1:25 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with being wrong, I just heard towel.

#notcowlist
posted by cooker girl at 1:27 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


I also heard "towel." Cowl is just not A Word That People Say Out Loud very often, even in movies, so maybe it was my brain just "fixing" what my ears took in. Anyway, the bit works either way.
posted by AndrewInDC at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2017


It's cowl

Source: saw it again last night
Confidence: high
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure it was cowl.

So she was saying, "Mmm, nice chest, but could you cover that face? It's kinda ruining it for me"?
posted by straight at 1:36 PM on December 20, 2017 [19 favorites]


Would she even know what a towel is?

It is far more important that she knows where it is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2017 [29 favorites]


Maybe she was bothered by the facial injury she had given him on Starkiller Base?
posted by biffa at 1:44 PM on December 20, 2017


Halloween Jack: that's great. Most folks are seeing dad-height pants and I'm seeing RULE THE GALAXY WITH ME

I got to thinking -- and maybe somebody here remembers enough EU to know -- does the Rebellion/Resistance have a code of laws? It must have a military code if it has ranks and brigs. What about civil and criminal law? Is that planet-based? Is there a federal code? What could Ben even do about his own war crimes? Be executed? Go to Space The Hague for the rest of his life?
posted by Countess Elena at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think Phasma says "I always knew you were scum."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:52 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Man now I'm thinking how stressful it would be for Rey to be taking a bath and suddenly she feels Ren Force-hovering in her mind and has to be all NOT NOW DAMN IT GIVE ME LIKE 30 MINUTES TO WASH MY DAMN HAIR BEN
posted by emjaybee at 1:52 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Nevermind, I'm wrong. Different part of the fight.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:53 PM on December 20, 2017


I got to thinking -- and maybe somebody here remembers enough EU to know -- does the Rebellion/Resistance have a code of laws? It must have a military code if it has ranks and brigs. What about civil and criminal law? Is that planet-based? Is there a federal code? What could Ben even do about his own war crimes? Be executed? Go to Space The Hague for the rest of his life?

The Rebellion against the Empire definitely had some kind of rules of war that it followed in its engagements with the Empire, it's what helped drive a wedge between the rebel leadership and Saw Gerrera, for example. The rebels even had a secret prison during the war with the Empire for high level Imperial prisoners, and after the Battle of Jakku, did conduct hearings concerning Imperial officers (see Lost Stars by Claudia Grey).

As for the Resistance, there isn't much out there. They essentially operated on the fringe with some support from people in the New Republic, but they probably would have a similar operating procedure as the rebellion regarding rules of war (what's appropriate, what's not). I think since their main mission has been to fight the First Order, they've left the judicial aspects of governing to the New Republic.*

*Which has only been gone for about a few days or whatever.
posted by Atreides at 1:56 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Rebellion was formed from remnants of a legitimate galactic government whereas the Resistance was formed ad hoc by people with access to weapons and ships in the aftermath of the First Order attacks.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:41 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kylo Ren is bringing back Z Cavaricci pants.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:50 PM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


I also heard "towel", but I'm also fine if it turns out to be wrong after my inevitable second viewing.

I don't remember if "porg" was actually spoken, but it would probably have been by Luke, I remember he was telling Rey about them.
posted by numaner at 3:11 PM on December 20, 2017


What I liked:

*Mark Hamill was great. He's pretty much always great.
*It was better than the prequels.
*There were some cute aliens. I liked the porgs and the turtle ladies.
*The characters worked better in this one than in The Force Awakens.
*Snoke's death was a real shocker.
*When Ren double-crossed Snoke and then double-crossed Rey, he leveled up, villain-wise.
*Carrie Fisher seemed much more engaged this time. I loved that lady as much as any geek, but her performance in TFA was just not very good. This time she seemed much more alive and Leia-like.
*Yoda seemed more like Yoda than anytime I've seen him since 1983.

What I didn't like:
*If I had to watch Luke Skywalker die, this wasn't the worst way for it to go. This was a big, noble death. But I don't feel like I needed to see him die, especially not as a capper to this reeking shitpile of a year. I'm getting awfully tired of seeing beloved stuff from my childhood hauled out of the attic and set on fire by JJ Abrams. (I know he didn't direct this one. I blame him anyhow.) The Force Awakens was almost sadistic in how it abused the characters of the original trilogy, where we found out that nine minutes after the happy ending of Return of the Jedi every goddamned thing went absolutely wrong for everybody. R2D2 was in a grief coma, FFS. In this movie we find out that Luke has spent the last few decades as a broken recluse, and then we watch him die. Well, fuck that. Increasingly I find myself wishing the whole damn franchise had ended with ROTJ. Lucas held off making these sequels because he said there was no story there. I think he was right. There's no story there unless you make one, by unmaking everything that was satisfactorily resolved in the original trilogy. It wouldn't surprise me if, in the next movie, we find out Lando is one of the arms dealers, he's spent the last few decades being a self-hating shit and he gets one last noble act to redeem himself before he dies. That seems like the MO of these pictures.
*Too much CGI. Abrams at least has a healthy respect for rubber monsters.
*Some of the aliens were kind of lame. The crystal fox things felt like they escaped from the cover of somebody's 1987 Trapper Keeper.
*Some dialogue that was trying so hard to seem naturalistic that it felt fake. I appreciate that they're trying to get as far as possible from the stilted weirdness of Lucas' prequel dialogue, but... "He's tooling with you"? Did Oscar Isaac really call something "big-ass"?
*The stuff on the casino planet dragged. It felt like expanded universe stuff, but taking up space in a real movie. People have said it felt prequel-y, and that stung because it was true. I interviewed Johnson years ago, and he was a good Joe and a smart cookie. He's from OC originally and I actually got a creepy OC feeling from the casino stuff, it seemed entirely too familiar. All these wealthy creeps living in a tacky, very Laguna Beach opulence, while the poor folks slave away keeping things looking pretty. As a fellow OC escapee I'm 100% on board with the message, but I felt like Johnson was spending way too long venting some spleen in the middle of a Star Wars movie.
*These movies are definitely better than the prequels, but that's a low bar. Taken purely as their own thing, they're OK space epics. But as a continuation of the original trilogy? Hell naw. There are ways to pass the torch without just burning down everything that came before. I keep hearing that these movies aren't for me, they're for a new generation, blah blah. Well, great. I wasn't asking for endless fan service, but I wasn't expecting to be chased out of the theater either. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish they'd paid more attention to George Lucas' story notes for these new movies. If they did, maybe these things would feel more like actual Star Wars. He badly lost his way, but it was his way to lose.

In some ways I liked this better than TFA. But in terms of Star Wars stuff, I liked the Holiday Special better than either of these things.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:32 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


*Some of the aliens were kind of lame. The crystal fox things felt like they escaped from the cover of somebody's 1987 Trapper Keeper.

see, Brandon, only you Valors likes them
posted by numaner at 3:44 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Random thought just now while out bike riding: the Knights of Ren that survived were conscripted by Snoke—they were his squad of red shirted energy weapon goons.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:47 PM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me if, in the next movie, we find out Lando is one of the arms dealers, he's spent the last few decades being a self-hating shit and he gets one last noble act to redeem himself before he dies.

I think Luke's arc was the right choice given the story's parameters, but it would be nice if we finally meet Lando in the next movie, and he's just living out a happy retirement amidst his doting and well-adjusted family. And Uncle Lobot comes over for dinner every weekend, bringing his patented heart attack potatoes and a bottle of cognac.
posted by Iridic at 4:26 PM on December 20, 2017 [8 favorites]


They essentially operated on the fringe with some support from people in the New Republic, but they probably would have a similar operating procedure as the rebellion regarding rules of war (what's appropriate, what's not). I think since their main mission has been to fight the First Order, they've left the judicial aspects of governing to the New Republic.*

We only saw Starkiller Base blow up a handful of planets. The Ep IV republic/empire was pretty big, with lots of planets far apart. It seems unlikely that SB wiped out a big military in that one attack, there would surely be a load of stuff outside the scope of that attack? What was going on before that and for the last 30-40 years in the republic for them to be that crap? It seems like large fractions of the galaxy remained pretty sucky under their oversight, with what looked like slavery on the casino planet just as on Tattoine in Phantom Menace. The republic proved to be useless at creating any protection for itself, its saviours responsible for (i) dropping the ball on the politics of making the galaxy safe and with basic human rights (ii) setting up another bunch of superpowered loons to take over the galaxy and (iii) parenting a key superpowered loon (iv) smuggling. But those individuals aside, the post-RotJ republic seemed to be as useless as the one that Palpatine ended.
posted by biffa at 4:34 PM on December 20, 2017


I like to think of the Resistance as the New Republic's way of dealing with people who make great rebels but lousy politicians. "Hey thanks for overthrowing the Empire, guys, now, uh, go fight the remnants of the Empire over there away from all of us."

Heck, that ought to be the origin of the First Order too. "Look, guys, your space nazi thing is done. If you don't want to give it up, just take all your space nazi toys and go do it somewhere else. We've got some rebels here who will keep you busy."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:36 PM on December 20, 2017


While I think of it, did Rose provide any evidence for all the rich people being weapons dealers as she asserted? Leaving aside that she is part of a voluntary military organisation so could exhibit a little more introspection, the only person we know the actual job of is some sort of codebreaking expert.
posted by biffa at 4:57 PM on December 20, 2017


oh no my heart
posted by jason_steakums at 5:00 PM on December 20, 2017 [36 favorites]


It's true, this galaxy was left in a hell of a state, the way TFA set it up. I guess I had two years coming to peace with the implications of that nonsense, and I'm happy TLJ tried honestly to make a decent story out of it. But the sociopolitical stuff in these two movies is fucked to all hell. I remember saying post-TFA, I never thought I'd see a day where it's apparent that for all their flaws, the prequels clearly have some clarity on the politics that led to the Empire. TLJ can't fix everything, even if it doesn't approach the whole thing as fixing.
posted by cendawanita at 5:21 PM on December 20, 2017


While I think of it, did Rose provide any evidence for all the rich people being weapons dealers as she asserted?

DJ provided proof that at some of them were arms dealers when he called up the holographic sales brochures for TIE fighters and X-Wings on the stolen ship.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:28 PM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh, Christ. The Benicio Del Toro character was originally going to be Lando. So, my prediction about what they were planning for him actually wasn't bleak enough.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:39 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Random thought just now while out bike riding: the Knights of Ren that survived were conscripted by Snoke—they were his squad of red shirted energy weapon goons.

Agreed, this was my thought, but it's awkward, as they're serving Snoke now, so uh...hey I liked those foxes.

Shaddup your mewtwo less mouth, numaner.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017 - i've had it open in my tabs, I think this wasn't shared yet?
posted by cendawanita at 6:46 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


The more I chew on this chapter, the more I like it. Underneath some messy parts, this might be my favorite Star Wars movie.

I have some sympathy for Poe. He's thoroughly inside Star Wars' Plucky Hero playbook. I felt a note of sadness when Leia and Holdo talked about him. I didn't think of them as saying, "He's a pain in the neck, but I respect his gumption!" I heard it as, "I wish it really worked that way."

I love Rey, Fin, Poe, and Rose. I love Kylo Ren, even. I'm more invested in their success than I ever was Luke, Leia, and Han, even when I was a kid. I think because this world is harder on them than it was their predecessors.

Kylo, you are nobody's Darth Vader. Rey, you have no birthright to anything. Poe, your longshot plots suck. Finn, that charismatic scoundrel's heart is not gold.

None of this works the way any of them thought it did, and the audience is left there with them. I am pulling so hard for them to rise above that.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 6:49 PM on December 20, 2017 [19 favorites]


Benicio Del Toro
Billy Dee Willims
posted by HeroZero at 6:54 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I also thought that C3P0 didn't sound like himself at all - I was surprised to see it was Anthony Daniels after all, it sounded so different.

Daniels is 71, which messes with the kind of vocal production he does for the character (pitched considerably higher than his actual speaking voice), even looped in a studio.

This movie had problems--it doesn't really earn its length, for starters--but its play with audience expectations was great, not least Kylo Ren as eternally doomed to be sub-Vader and the anti-Han. More to the point, it was fun without insulting the intelligence (unlike certain prequels I can think of), which is all I ask of a Star Wars film.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:00 PM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh neat! Remember when I mentioned that I suspected the stable boy's actor is of Muslim background? Well, here's a comment that confirms it:

He is little Russian boy, and a member of a Muslim national minority (Kabardins). And I read about it not on some local site proud that we Russians finally have a good guy hero we deserve (though later I found those articles), but on an American site where fanboys were ENRAGED that they were represented by (insert many ugly anti-Russian slurs here) and wishing ill towards poor boy.


yay! all those anti-russia haters can suck it too
posted by cendawanita at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


The Ep IV republic/empire was pretty big, with lots of planets far apart. It seems unlikely that SB wiped out a big military in that one attack, there would surely be a load of stuff outside the scope of that attack? What was going on before that and for the last 30-40 years in the republic for them to be that crap?

The situation makes sense to me? (Going just on the movies I have not looked at any current tie-in stuff)

Ep. 1-6 - Old Republic / Empire is indeed large, going by the size of the Senate.

Return of the Jedi - Empire decapitated, loses command fleet. Many planets overthrow local Imperial administration.

Rebellion and Empire keep fighting, Rebellion gains the upper hand, presumably gaining many more supporters after the Emperor's death. At some point the Empire as such surrenders or has just undeniably been broken up.

The Rebellion sets up the New Republic, but it is a pale shadow in the fragments of the Empire and does not have the power to subjugate the former territories of the Old Republic. Some planets/sectors will remain under the control of their formerly-Imperial rulers. Others taken over by Hutts, space-Mussolinis, space-Stalins or whatever. Even those willing to join up have grown used to their local power and demand considerable autonomy, much more federal than the Old Republic.

So the New Republic has strong control over only a small core of worlds, with more loosely affiliated. They can maintain only one substantial fleet, which guards the capital. Some of the remnant Imperials form the First Order, which is the largest single threat, but one the Republic cannot fight head-on - if the Republic Fleet was tied down or weakened, one of the other powers or an ambitious federal subject would be able to seize control.

Some factions in the Republic set up the Resistance to fight as guerrillas in First Order territory. The Starkiller destroys the Republic capital and fleet, pretty much ending it administratively and militarily. Fragmentation prevails again. The Resistance is nearly destroyed. There's not nothing left - some of the federal subjects, maybe even some of the powers that never affiliated with the New Republic, are potential allies. But they didn't show up for this film.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:36 PM on December 20, 2017 [14 favorites]


I'm really surprised they didn't change this after Carrie died. They could've put together something with existing footage, stand-ins, and CGI to put her on that bridge during the light speed suicide mission. Leia has to have an on-screen death, and CGI'ing an entire death scene in the next movie will be . . . not good for a lot of people.

Thinking about this after, I think the simple reason they kept her character alive because they can just CGI her as much as they want in EP 9. Wouldn't surprise me if she got a ton of screen time.
posted by MillMan at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2017


If there's any goodness left in the galaxy then we won't see CGI Fisher at all--maybe just unused footage that finishes her arc. There's upending fanservice expectations and there's blasphemy!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


there had been a discussion on editing Last Jedi in light of Fisher's death. It was decided that it did not serve the film and it would have reduced her role. article here
posted by jadepearl at 10:35 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm more invested in their success than I ever was Luke, Leia, and Han, even when I was a kid. I think because this world is harder on them than it was their predecessors.

You remember that Luke came home to the charred corpses of the people who raised him, and a few hours later he watched his mentor die? And that Leia watched her whole planet die? (And that was just the first movie. Empire was quite a bit darker.) The original trilogy had a much more optimistic, adventurous tone than the sequels, but you can't say the characters didn't regularly get the crap kicked out of them.

I think I'll just have to regard these new Star Wars movies as very expensive fan films. They're like those high-end Star Trek fan things where they actually get George Takei or Tim Russ to play their original characters. It's not canon or anything, just an ambitious fanboy's lark. The real stuff is still on a shelf at home.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:15 PM on December 20, 2017


I loved it. Can’t wait to see it again.
posted by greermahoney at 12:02 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Vague spoilers for Avatar: Legend of Korra- I will judge Star Wars episode 9 by how closely it hews to Korra season 4.

In season 2 the Avatar (most magical monk of all) brought balance to the force, and in season 3 this meant that kung fu wizards from the almost totally dead faction started popping up randomly in other people's territories. Air benders in earth bender lands, mostly. The avatar, a spunky girl often accused of being a mary sue, spent season 3 on a mission to recruit as many of these now-magic people from random, no-destiny families as possible. For season 4 they introduced a multiple year time skip and had trained strike teams of warrior monks fly into battle against a fascistic upstart introduced as a weirdo sidekick in season 3. A major new character was played by the surviving daughter of a recently deceased famous actor.

I'll even allow the dumb superweapon from the end if they include the gay stuff.
posted by fomhar at 1:47 AM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


But what's the Star Wars equivalent to cabbages then? Death Star -type planet-killing superweapons?
posted by radwolf76 at 2:17 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Too much CGI. Abrams at least has a healthy respect for rubber monsters.

Again, please take a look at this article. Quite a bit of what you saw on screen wasn’t CGI. Even the crystal foxes. Even the porgs. Even the racing horse rabbit things. I’m sure CGI was used for running or action shots but there were plenty of practical effects used as well.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:50 AM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


Is there a uncanny valley-related phenomena where people think real/practical effects are computer-generated? Is it a hangover from the prequels which CGIed so much that people assume everything is still CGI, or have practical effects improved to the point that your brain can dismiss something as "this can't exist, it must be CG"?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:05 AM on December 21, 2017


Is there a uncanny valley-related phenomena where people think real/practical effects are computer-generated?

It's commonly referred to as "Mad Max: Fury Road". That movie turned the use of CGI for special effects on its head. At least half the stuff you'd think isn't CGI is, and most of the stuff you'd swear would have to be CGI isn't.

I'll even allow the dumb superweapon from the end if they include the gay stuff.

If it ends with SURPRISE LESBIANS I'm at peace with whatever other choices they make with the plot.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:32 AM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


Also, practical effects* or no, every frame for a movie of this stature will go thru a vfx cleanup anyway, so it all evens out.

*Not to mention resolution has pretty much come on par, and it's not like your eye can detect differences in film stock since they've not given the game away on that end for a while now.
posted by cendawanita at 5:37 AM on December 21, 2017


from that practical effects link Fleebnork posted I noticed both Paige and Rose, who are sisters, are played by Vietnamese actresses! woooo representation!
posted by numaner at 7:02 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


and neither of them are Nguyens! that's super rare! ok i'm done
posted by numaner at 7:05 AM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


On second viewing the main things that bugged me the first time, didn't. Maybe I was already predisposed to actually like Holdo this time though.

Captains going down with their ships is still dumb. The Holdo Manuever, and the guy left in the medical frigate after they evacuated it, could have been done by droids or autopilot or something.

Gravity bombs (or something very much like them) in space, rather than missiles/torpedoes, seems kind of dumb. My spouse says maybe they were in near orbit at that time though.

Not actively scanning for smaller craft, when they have the capability to track ships through hyperspace, seems like a dumb move too. You'd think they'd be watching for fighters or torpedoes as standard operating procedure, especially after they already lost one dreadnought.

Leia looking transparent due to the color and lighting and stuff floating around, as she Force-pulled herself into the ship, is what messed up that scene for me; I thought the first time that it was her ghost.

Porgs weren't mentioned by name. The cathorses and blingfoxes were, though I don't remember what those names were.

Did anyone catch what Phasma's last line of dialog is before Finn calls her "Chrome dome"?
"You're a bug in the system."
posted by Foosnark at 7:14 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, practical effects* or no, every frame for a movie of this stature will go thru a vfx cleanup anyway, so it all evens out.

It is interesting though how Abrams and now Johnson have backed away from the total digital green-screen studio and digital image capture that Lucas was pushing with the prequels. Not only did they do a lot more with practical effects, real sets and locations than Lucas did but they captured on good old 35mm Kodak film.
posted by octothorpe at 7:17 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


This interview with Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose, just made my day.
posted by holmesian at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2017 [13 favorites]


More from that practical effects article:

- where did that get all that red dust from? and what is it?
- they definitely made robot puppets of all those creatures
- Is there a Wookiee treat that’s the equivalent of S’mores that he can cook up? Haha oh if you only knew...
- aww Ackbar :'(
posted by numaner at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


But what's the Star Wars equivalent to cabbages then? Death Star -type planet-killing superweapons?

I believe with all my heart that the cart that Rey crushed on the island was filled with cabbages.
posted by Nekosoft at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2017 [17 favorites]


For a series full to the brim with strange and novel syllables, how hard would it have been to name the last redoubt of the Resistance something that didn't already have a relatively well-established in-universe homophone? Here I was thinking "Aha! Krayt! Cool call-back there." Nnnope. It's Crait.
posted by lumensimus at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Gravity bombs (or something very much like them) in space, rather than missiles/torpedoes, seems kind of dumb

The Death Star trench run made just as little sense, but - like the original Star Wars starfighter combat was based on WW2-era dogfights - it was based on the WW2 Dambusters. The bombing run in TLJ was in this vein - an anachronistic fleet of bombers (complete with turret gunners, bomb-bay doors, apparently free-fall bombs, etc) flying in formation, with no evasive manoeuvres, to "drop" their bombs on the target.
If you want, you can hand-wave it by saying missiles/torpedoes launched from a distance could be shot down by the Star Wars version of CIWS.

More on Kelly Marie Tran
. I always love how excited about Star Wars the new-to-the-franchise actors get.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


But what's the Star Wars equivalent to cabbages then? Death Star -type planet-killing superweapons?

I believe with all my heart that the cart that Rey crushed on the island was filled with cabbages.


I might have to yell out "MY CABBAGES" at this scene when I see it in theaters again
posted by numaner at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


ok, for the last time, those are not "free falling" bombs. the mechanism pushes them out the bay doors and then law of inertia does the rest. absalom already pointed this out. I thought it was obvious in my first watch.

this is like the satellite alignment control argument in Rogue One all over again.
posted by numaner at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I’d back you up on that if the argument about the bombers got physical! It’s as good an excuse for a nerd brawl as any.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


For a series full to the brim with strange and novel syllables, how hard would it have been to name the last redoubt of the Resistance something that didn't already have a relatively well-established in-universe homophone? Here I was thinking "Aha! Krayt! Cool call-back there." Nnnope. It's Crait.

If it helps (it won't), but Bail Organa oversaw the earlier rebel base on the planet, and Leia learned of his involvement in the rebellion in part by accidentally discovering him there (which, in part, is how Leia joined the rebellion). So while Leia is initially surveying the battlefield, she likely was thinking of her father.
posted by Atreides at 7:55 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Of course the memeing opportunity is too good to pass up.

And to me Crait/Krayt is simply a transcription error. There are dragons there, I'm sure of it.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 8:00 AM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


I still want a crystal fox
I called them jingle dogs.
posted by chococat at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2017 [16 favorites]


Jingle dogs
Jingle dogs
Crystal fox or nay
Oh what fun it is to ride
A Falcon getaway
posted by cendawanita at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2017 [16 favorites]


Dog jingle rock bell
jingle dog bell.....
posted by dnash at 8:06 AM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


how hard would it have been to name the last redoubt of the Resistance something that didn't already have a relatively well-established in-universe homophone? Here I was thinking "Aha! Krayt! Cool call-back there." Nnnope. It's Crait.

According to the Canon side, technically those dragons have only appeared in the movies as skeletons but not mentioned by name.

Also, we on this Earth have things from different cultures with the same sounding names and are spelled differently (like "bao" is Vietnamese for "bag", but it sounds "bow" of a boat in English), it's not too implausible that there are different places in that galaxy with similar sounding things, especially considering that different Earth writers come up with these names and certain phonemes just sound alien and cool enough.
posted by numaner at 8:16 AM on December 21, 2017


"ok, for the last time, those are not "free falling" bombs. the mechanism pushes them out the bay doors and then law of inertia does the rest. absalom already pointed this out. I thought it was obvious in my first watch."

I'll admit that while watching I was like, "What? There's no gravity. Th-" and then I thought about it.

So yeah, next time some nerd starts with that gravity stuff tell them, "You're smart enough to know why it wouldn't work because of [lack of] gravity, so tell me how it would work" and make them figure out the rest.
posted by komara at 8:21 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]




One of the biggest (and truest) complaints about The Prequels is that they overexplain. Who cares about how the force works beyond very vague mystical nonsense? Who cares about the details of senatorial space politics? And yet, one of the big topics of grousing around this movie is that people want explanation of minutiae that (if put into the movie) wouldn't really add anything and would slow down the pace. The bombs work because they do, the same reason The Force should work, and the same reason that a lightsaber can cut anything. If you want movies that spend time explaining dumb crap like that, watch The Prequels.
posted by codacorolla at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2017 [21 favorites]


It’s the burden of sitting in both the sci-fi and fantasy bar stools. ESB kind of got it perfect: a humming, industrious war mongering galaxy with the supernatural vying for control that didn’t require a lick of a paper trail to be believed. The second you get into administrative details the Force becomes reiki.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Poe, your longshot plots suck.

Matters if you have a good plot it does not. Matters only it does that with you The Plot is.
posted by straight at 8:54 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


And to me Crait/Krayt is simply a transcription error.

So, was the fact that the ground was salted on Crait a real big attempt at a metaphor that nothing new will grow by trying to go back to the old? I mean, I enjoyed the visual aspect of the white salt flat that turned red when disturbed...but the idea that the earth was salted really has stuck with me in terms of the other comments the movie was making about fandom and letting go.
posted by nubs at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


ok, for the last time...

Oh FFS. Replace "gravity" with "an electromagnetic launcher". They're still unguided munitions and have all the disadvantages.

I'm not convinced a defense system that can shoot down missiles wouldn't have an even easier time taking out either those bombs or the bombers themselves.

The non-movie canon, as well as several non-Star Wars space combat games, has various examples of "bombers" and none are like this. More Apache or A-10, and less B-52.

Anyway. It's a movie about space wizards. I still enjoyed it.
posted by Foosnark at 9:15 AM on December 21, 2017


I'm not convinced a defense system that can shoot down missiles wouldn't have an even easier time taking out either those bombs

"This 'Smart Turrets' upgrade is a disaster. Sure, they can track anything with an engine or a guidance system--and not very well, mind you--but any threat moving on sheer inertia--even a space rock--you've gotta have a stormtrooper sitting there aiming the thing like it was a turret in the goddamn Millennium Falcon."
posted by straight at 9:31 AM on December 21, 2017


Maybe the next film is the Rebels and the First Order joining together to take down the war merchants who keep selling them shit that doesn't quite work as advertised and realizing that their whole fight has been engineered to keep those sales going; they don't want either side to win, just to fight constantly.
posted by nubs at 9:35 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I caught this yesterday and have been ruminating on it. I liked it far, far, better than TFA. Reading reactions to Poe's arc though leaves me a bit puzzled. I rather liked it, contrary to some.

To wit: Poe gets all those bombers killed, then chewed out for needless sacrifice and demoted. He ignores this, gets more people killed and arguably most the resistance by his hair-brained scheme and refusal to trust those in charge, but—and this seems crucial—his leaders still see the potential in him to be a good leader, they've been dealing with hotheads like him for decades, and by this point know how to sift the wheat from the chaff.

Later, we see him call off the pointless speeder run when he realizes it'll do nothing, saving the remaining pilots from a needless death. Then he's the first to understand what Luke's doing, then realizes the only sane thing to do is ignore C3PO's advice (a sure sign of wisdom in the SW universe) and run. Leia's noticed both these things, sees he's absorbed the lesson both she and Holdo were trying to teach him, and dumps the responsibility on him—"I don't know, follow him"—something she's no doubt wanted to be relieved of all film long. Poe's now forgiven and ready to lead. OK. This is after all a universe where 25 years of murder and evil can be wholly redeemed by a single act of mercy towards your child (Your own mind you, not some filthy nerfherder's kid). Not my sense of ethics, but *shrug* dem's de rules in your galaxy, so I'll go with it.

It occurs to me writing this, that the Empire's always lead by men, and the Rebellion by women—not an original thought, I'm sure. I think you might make an argument that a large part of the SW story is a hero's journey of women struggling to find a man worth sharing power.

There's gotta be one somewhere, Leia mutters, rummaging around personnel files. We can't do all the work, all the time.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:55 AM on December 21, 2017 [31 favorites]


cendawanita, thanks for that article. One of my friends who hated the movie has been insisting that Mark Hamill hated the movie. I love that the article basically has him admitting he was wrong and holding onto the past.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:11 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


The bombers used classic imagery from every war movie* featuring bombers ever but were a load of crap. Why put a crewman and their unnecessary body mass in the moving ball turret gun? Who designs a combat vehicle with doors opening to the vacuum of space in the same compartment as crew? Why are the space bombs only going to work with a large source of gravity below? Why the fuck is the release mechanism a single wireless control? And why is your most lethal munition a gravity assisted device in a world where technology exists to overcome gravity on everything from single passenger vehicles to entire cities?

I'm counting the minutes until there's some non film product that offers an implausible retcon explanation that fanpeople latch onto as gospel.

*Part of me wishes they went all in and had Rose's sister do a Slim Pickens and ride a bomb in.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Darth Strangelove?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:23 AM on December 21, 2017


When did Star Wars nerds start worrying about the laws of physics? (I thought that was a Trekkie thang!) Do y'all sit up at nights worrying about the errors in genetics in the X-Men? I mean, I hate to be the guy saying "you're Doing It Wrong," but then again, maybe it's just that if you ENJOY nit-picking, every moment of every Star Wars film is FILLED with Crimes Against Physics, so that will keep you occupied...
posted by rikschell at 10:27 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


The long distance chat scenes in this are perhaps the horniest Star Wars has ever been.

I thought these scenes were terrific. They were a hard thing to pull off--Ridley’s & Driver’s acting sustained it, but there were a lot weird directing and editing choices that made it work. Example: On one of the calls he mentions that he can’t see her background, just her, and asks if she can see the room he’s in (she doesn’t answer, iirc). That’s telling, not showing, and I think it’s better that way! There’s obviously a visual and tactile connection between them but I’m glad Johnson didn’t show them floating in some gray void. We don’t see the connection from their point of view, we see them staring into the distance, distracted, like people on a call using an earbud or speakerphone.

Those sequences made me think of teenagers talking on the phone late at night, intensely discussing something, sometimes being horny and flirtatious & then kind of losing their place, like “wait did I call you or did you call me? omg did I tell you about the test I have to take tomorrow? and how unfair it is about my parents??” It’s the first time I’ve thought of Rey as young, instead of an old soul who’s somehow wired to some deep Force stuff. Even in her screwball scenes with Finn in TFA, she was capable and together and not so spaced-out.
posted by miles per flower at 10:27 AM on December 21, 2017 [21 favorites]


You can't fight in here....this is the Death Star!
posted by kokaku at 10:28 AM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


"Who designs a combat vehicle with doors opening to the vacuum of space in the same compartment as crew?"

I feel like this was not the only scene wherein we saw someone aboard a ship and who should have, according to everyone we could see, been exposed to the cruel vacuum of space. I just had to say "well it's a ... uh ... force field right there for air but not solid materials or something" and roll with it.
posted by komara at 10:30 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


oh yeah I think the other one was when Leia floated through space and into the empty (exploded and exposed to the elements) bridge and then opened a door and fell through and everyone grabbed her and I was like "I'm pretty sure there wasn't an airlock on the other side of that."
posted by komara at 10:31 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


[Poe] ignores this, gets more people killed and arguably most the resistance by his hair-brained scheme and refusal to trust those in charge

Everyone keeps calling the sneak-aboard-Snoak's-ship plan Poe's, but it was Rose and Finn's plan. When Poe takes over the bridge, he's partly trying to hold the door open for Rose and Finn to get back.
posted by straight at 10:36 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


If have droids on the level of C3PO and R2 then why not just make each ship into a droid hive mind? And cut out all organic faults? That's the level rationality could nitpick to, and that encompasses all the Canon.
posted by codacorolla at 10:38 AM on December 21, 2017


Spaceships come and go through some kind of force field separating the vacuum of space from the hangar all the time in Star Wars. The tech is as basic a part of the world as whatever keeps people from floating around in spaceships.
posted by straight at 10:39 AM on December 21, 2017 [9 favorites]


why not just make each ship into a droid hive mind?

Have we learned nothing from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
posted by cooker girl at 10:41 AM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Or the Borg?
posted by cooker girl at 10:41 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Or The Matrix?

What I'm saying is: hive minds = not good.

except this hive mind, of course
posted by cooker girl at 10:42 AM on December 21, 2017 [9 favorites]


"I'm pretty sure there wasn't an airlock on the other side of that."

Oddly enough, that's one of the only things right about how air and vacuum work in space. Contrary to Hollywood, a large opening into vacuum doesn't produce a howling gale that blows everyone violently out into vacuum via hurricane force winds. Normal air pressure isn't that high. On a ship with artificial gravity, you absolutely could have a door/airlock open briefly without being blown violently through it. The larger the opening, the more gently the breeze. Only small ones would whistle.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:43 AM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


Droids aren’t into self-sacrifice and are establishing control over the carbon based life forms right under their noses!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:45 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Have we learned nothing from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

and Battlestar Galactica
and Terminator
and The Matrix
and Dune

You know they probably already went through some robot revolt and that's why every bar in the galaxy is bigoted against droids.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:54 AM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


Droids are just next-gen Exocomps.
posted by hanov3r at 10:55 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Right, and that's my point, that there are any number of nitpicks and counter explanations to basically everything in the series, because it's based on pulp that had a low standard for realism and a high standard for visuals. The true Force is cinematography.
posted by codacorolla at 11:00 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, I'm almost positive that the police in the casino said parking the shuttle on the beach was a violation 27b-6.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:02 AM on December 21, 2017 [12 favorites]


The bombers used classic imagery from every war movie* featuring bombers ever but were a load of crap. Why put a crewman and their unnecessary body mass in the moving ball turret gun? Who designs a combat vehicle with doors opening to the vacuum of space in the same compartment as crew? Why are the space bombs only going to work with a large source of gravity below? Why the fuck is the release mechanism a single wireless control? And why is your most lethal munition a gravity assisted device in a world where technology exists to overcome gravity on everything from single passenger vehicles to entire cities?

There's an operational theory behind Star Wars tech and space fighters/ships. First, always remember that WW2 really informs the star fighter aspect of the franchise. We all know about Lucas' use of WW2 cinematic dogfights to illustrate how the X-wings would fight in A New Hope, for example. Second, technology in Star Wars, should generally never be more advanced than what existed or was imaginable in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s - an allusion to the inspiring source material of the original films.

Taking these into consideration, and that Rian Johnson loves 12 O'Clock High, a movie about WW2 bombers, the design and use of these bombers makes sense given the constraints mentioned above. In short, the logic is "this is how Star Wars does it. The more I read "making of" commentary, especially for the new sequels, there is definitely a consistent idea that a formula exists for Star Wars, that when examining the original trilogy (particularly) one can distill what George Lucas did in specific ways to the look and feel of the films and this is how one should be guided going forward. Both Abrams and Johnson have overseen productions that very strongly believed in this, and in their scripts, they also used expectations built on one's prior knowledge of themes and events, to surprise (to the anger or delight of many a fan).

Then there's always the fact that Lucas formula really also has a strong component: Whatever the hell Lucas felt like doing at any time or place. He was an active contributor to Star Wars material up through 2014 with The Clone Wars, so filmmakers have everything from A New Hope in '77 to the final unfinished episodes of the aforementioned tv show '14, to comb over and deduce their understanding of his formula. It all comes together to basically print in very loud letters, The answer is because Star Wars.
posted by Atreides at 11:04 AM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


Also, I'm almost positive that the police in the casino said parking the shuttle on the beach was a violation 27b-6.

That's awesome. John Williams includes a small riff on Brazil's theme in the opening of his music for Canto Bight.
posted by Atreides at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


Also, I'm almost positive that the police in the casino said parking the shuttle on the beach was a violation 27b-6.

They did! And the alien who ratted them out for the parking violation was voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

“Slowen-Lo, who shows up in the casino city of Canto Bight (pictured above), is a tall alien with a Texan accent. He's responsible for telling the Canto Bight police that Finn and Rose's Resistance shuttle is illegally parked.

You can hear Gordon-Levitt in character saying: "I told those two, I said, 'This is a public beach. You can't park that shuttle here!' They just ran off towards the casino."

Later, as the police capture Finn and Rose, Slowen-Lo – who gets his name from the Beastie Boys' 1986 song 'Slow and Low' – says: "Ayup, those are the shuttle parkers."
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:06 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


"I'm pretty sure there wasn't an airlock on the other side of that."

Check out this clip. It looks like there is a door at the other end of a short hallway. I don't know if they bothered to close it or not.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:12 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


The class discussion on Canto Bight reminds me that the prequels, for all the politics in them, totally dropped the ball on discussing maybe the most interesting political aspect they introduced: all those Trade Federation jerks were private industry, capitalists building their own military to depose the government. That's pretty heavy and interesting for Star Wars and it should have been a more important (and real world relevant!) aspect of the whole rise to fascism story and it was kinda glossed over. I'm glad TLJ picked up that thread again.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:19 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


The non-movie canon, as well as several non-Star Wars space combat games, has various examples of "bombers" and none are like this. More Apache or A-10, and less B-52.

Remember when the Falcon is hiding on the asteroid? I believe unguided bombs were in the TIE Fighter games too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:04 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Have we learned nothing from 2001: A Space Odyssey?

and Battlestar Galactica
and Terminator
and The Matrix
and Dune


And the Katana Fleet? (Legends Era EU, but the point still stands.)
posted by radwolf76 at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I believe unguided bombs were in the TIE Fighter games too.
I'm too young for the original movies and too old for the prequels, so Tie Fighter is my Star Wars. Space bombs in Tie Fighter had some limited guidance and were launched forwards from the missile tubes. However, I found out pretty recently that the game was based on the expanded universe novels, so is no longer canonical, as I reminded myself while watching the TLJ B-Wings dropping their bombs vertically downwards.

Enough of this charade! Gamma One is the Emperor's stool pigeon!
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:31 PM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


If we are going to be talking about the look and feel of the Star Wars formula then we must examine Ring Theory
posted by jadepearl at 1:29 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't have a problem with Poe's arc as an arc of hothead transitioning to more thoughtful leader-type. But the battles and the loss of so many people and also a freaking mutiny are such a huge part of the movie and by the end I had to pee and the visuals were great but I know I didn't catch all the details about Finn's last stand and if it even would have worked (because his ship was mostly disintegrated by then?) And was that Poe making some good decisions (about time!) in there?

So although I'm full on board the rehabilitation train (Anakin, Poe, Kylo, everybody gets a ticket if they want one!) my first reaction out of the movie was "Poe needed to rein it in because there are like all of five pilots left in the Resistance at this point." And that's probably the point and why if there's no time jump between now and the third movie I'll be really confused. So it's part of the movie's unbalanced sprawl - for most of it we're seeing Resistance folks dying like flies and a lot of it is Poe's doing, and the end of the movie is so overshadowed by Luke that Poe's growth as a leader doesn't get as much heft, even with Leia delivering a significant line about it.
posted by PussKillian at 2:12 PM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


I’m sure CGI was used for running or action shots but there were plenty of practical effects used as well.

I didn't say there were no practical effects. I said there was too much CGI. (Or perhaps there wasn't that much CGI, but the CGI that was used stood out too much.) Even if there were some shots where they used a puppet for the crystal fox things, for example, I'm pretty sure they mostly used CGI because those creatures were usually full-body shots and they looked kind of weightless and the lighting was weird. The Yoda looked like a CG version of the puppet from the original movies, but maybe it was just a puppet and something looked a bit off. Even if the whole movie was filled with practical effects, it's remarkable how much they succeeded in making it look like a lot of mediocre CGI. There were some things about this movie I liked more than TFA, but the effects were definitely better in TFA.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:00 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Yoda was a puppet, Frank Oz and all. But maybe the blue force ghost stuff threw it off for you.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:11 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I really think people are going into this movie with the internet-born attitude that they need to flash-mine the "content". When we first saw it, my wife, who is not a big Star Wars fan, thought it was highly enjoyable and had great pace. I must admit now that I had probably been waiting for this or that moment and felt a bit out of sorts. I went and saw the film again today, by myself, in a quiet theater. Everything fits together quite nicely.

A few more thoughts from viewing number two:

Once I knew what was coming, the throne room scene is actually very clever. It feels like this is the one moment that Kylo uses his conflicted nature as an asset: he creates two parallel ideas in his head simultaneously, which is the only way to fool Snoke. It's one of the only times Kylo does something impressive.

I think Snoke not having a detailed character moment may be deliberate. Snoke represents the same old Sith bullshit and Kylo's character growth in this film is that the past needs to die; new things, new ideas need to break the cycle of Force-Balancing that has been going on for millennia. Whether or not this is the case, I found that I no longer cared about Snoke's background.

Also, it's weirdly hard to have a character that powerful have "character". Ultimately, their character, especially if evil, becomes about the power they wield more than anything.

I still don't really get the force cave scene. But there's something in the fact that the Rey duplicates aren't really mirrors; they move with a delay, as if there's a progression happening. I wonder if this is another finger pointing to the endless cycle of Force Balancing, ala "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again."

I love that Yoda is still laughing at Luke being a doofus after all these years. I kinda love that Luke is still that doofus... people don't really change, not totally.

I really like DJ and I'm really wondering if he was waiting for the protagonists in that prison.

I think my favorite character in all of Star Wars is the Millennium Falcon.
posted by selfnoise at 3:56 PM on December 21, 2017 [15 favorites]


Yeah, Yoda was a puppet, Frank Oz and all. But maybe the blue force ghost stuff threw it off for you.

That scene was weird, because I was like, "Oh, 1980s Yoda! Except, he seems kind of... off? Almost like a CGI version of the old puppet. Why wouldn't they just use a puppet for this?" I was expecting a puppet, but he looked strange in a way that made me wonder if he was CGI.

Here's Mark Hamill talking about his misgivings about Luke's portrayal in the film. I think he makes good points, although I did not like the article's framing that if you had problems with the movie you're just a big whiner. Reasonable minds can disagree, pal!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:23 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


He talks about it, but he also got over it? It's not like the article was reaching. I was half-hoping he'd repeat his anecdote abt Schwarzenegger though.

Re: Yoda, I think I was reading one production-related article that what threw people off is the current way they lit the force ghost lighting effect.
posted by cendawanita at 5:22 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Throwing my question out to the universe, I hope someone can ask MH what's the difference shooting with puppet!Yoda this time. Did he still need to wear an in-ear mic? Did he still pick up radio reception playing Rolling Stones?
posted by cendawanita at 5:25 PM on December 21, 2017


Everyone knows Snoke was Vader’s butler from Rogue One!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:23 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


He talks about it, but he also got over it?

I think he's still pretty clearly ambivalent. He even says that this was almost another character to him. And I think that's fair. I think you can make an argument that the Luke in this movie isn't consistent with who he was in the old movies, but he's a compelling character within this movie and his actions suit the plans of the franchise going forward. I may not like it, but I can see how Hamill got there and I think he did a terrific job playing it.

It's not like the article was reaching.

OK, the people who are starting petitions and stuff, that's nuts. But people can disagree about movies, without the name-calling. If you're accusing people of being big babies just because they don't like a movie as much as you do, it makes you sound like... well, a big baby.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:26 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Seneca weighs in on the latest Jedi controversy:
“This is what Zeno said.” But what have you yourself said? “This is the opinion of Cleanthes.”

But what is your own opinion? How long shall you march under another man’s orders? Take command, and utter some word which posterity will remember. Put forth something from your own stock. For this reason I hold that there is nothing of eminence in all such men as these, who never create anything themselves, but always lurk in the shadow of others, playing the rôle of interpreters, never daring to put once into practice what they have been so long in learning. They have exercised their memories on other men’s material.

But it is one thing to remember, another to know. Remembering is merely safeguarding something entrusted to the memory; knowing, however, means making everything your own; it means not depending upon the copy and not all the time glancing back at the master. “Thus said Zeno, thus said Cleanthes, indeed!”

Let there be a difference between yourself and your book! How long shall you be a learner? From now on be a teacher as well! “But why,” one asks, “should I have to continue hearing lectures on what I can read?” “The living voice,” one replies, “is a great help.” Perhaps, but not the voice which merely makes itself the mouthpiece of another’s words, and only performs the duty of a reporter.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:28 PM on December 21, 2017 [14 favorites]


dude is yoda, is what I’m saying
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:00 PM on December 21, 2017


He even says that this was almost another character to him. And I think that's fair. I think you can make an argument that the Luke in this movie isn't consistent with who he was in the old movies

I can agree there, and I have two ways, personally, of looking at it. The Doylesian pov, which is that this pretty much the only earned story path TFA left Johnson with, so I had two years of bracing myself that not only is Luke's an asshole, but now I wanted to see what kind of asshole. The other kinds of resolutions like he was kidnapped or trapped can't even be used with that final literal cliffhanger in TFA. The Watsonian view is, please, this is the man who almost killed his dad even AFTER he knew Vader was Dad Vader, and he's always been a salty guy. And Jedis not giving up? What on earth were Obi-Wan and Yoda doing in the OT then, lying low? Fandom's idea of Jedis versus actual Jedis on (movie) screen is a whole gulf apart.

Credit to RJ though, he built his narrative on materials that existed.
posted by cendawanita at 7:19 PM on December 21, 2017 [17 favorites]


I think my favorite character in all of Star Wars is the Millennium Falcon.

I don't think it's a coincidence in the script that the Falcon's guns break off just like Finn's gun melts, and that the Falcon moves from a shooty save-the-day role to a diversion to a rescue role.
posted by xiw at 8:12 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think my favorite character in all of Star Wars is the Millennium Falcon.

They yanked a laugh out of me when the tie fighters all break off to follow the Falcon and Finn (I think it was?) said something to the effect of "They hate that ship."
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:30 PM on December 21, 2017 [21 favorites]


And Jedis not giving up? What on earth were Obi-Wan and Yoda doing in the OT then, lying low?

Not to mention Yoda fleeing from the Emperor before that fight was really decided.

At any rate, I really loved the symbolic resonance of the fact that the last time we saw Luke with a lightsaber in ROTJ, he throws it away, just like he does at the beginning of TLJ. Different reasons but the same action.
posted by nubs at 9:59 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


But what is your own opinion? How long shall you march under another man’s orders? Take command, and utter some word which posterity will remember.

You do realize you're making your point with a lengthy quotation of someone else, right?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:27 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


pretty much the only earned story path TFA left Johnson with

Exactly. It would have been massively cheap if Luke was all, "I'm so excited to mentor a new Jedi!! I have no lingering guilt over what happened during my nephew's training, which, let me say, was not my fault. Kylo just went aggro one day, idk. I've only been camping out on this planet because I looove green milk. That's my chief dramatic struggle for the next two hours, getting over my addiction to that sweet full-fat green, I'm going to guzzle some now if you don't mind."
posted by Iridic at 1:09 AM on December 22, 2017 [11 favorites]


You do realize you're making your point with a lengthy quotation of someone else, right?

It’s like rain on your wedding day, baby.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:35 AM on December 22, 2017 [10 favorites]


They yanked a laugh out of me when the tie fighters all break off to follow the Falcon and Finn (I think it was?) said something to the effect of "They hate that ship."

The part I loved about that scene was how badly Finn (and everyone else) misread the situation. *They* didn't hate the ship! On his own, Hux would have destroyed the Falcon and the rest of the Resistance. But he was hindered by Kylo Ren, who has no idea about tactics whatsoever.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 2:16 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]




Hahaha, I wonder what prompted that? Are people yelling HEY THE SOUND'S BROKEN a few seconds in?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:34 AM on December 22, 2017


One of the comments in the thread says that it's actually quoted verbatim from the projectionist instructions that Disney issued to theater operators along with the film, but this theater decided to share that statement with the audience instead of just the projection booth staff.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:37 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also from the thread: "My brother said about five seconds into the silence an older man near the front exclaimed, "where'd the sound go?!" which caused the remaining silence to be overtaken with laughter."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:49 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


It would have been massively cheap if Luke was all, "I'm so excited to mentor a new Jedi!! I have no lingering guilt over what happened during my nephew's training, which, let me say, was not my fault. Kylo just went aggro one day, idk.

A simple "I've stayed away to try to end this back and forth between the dark and light side, which has cost so many lives. But nothing has changed, the dark side is still preying on the galaxy. I will return with you, to finish this, but I will be the Last Jedi, going forward we must wield the Force differently"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


I mean a simple "Oh god, he killed Han?! I never thought he would go that far, we have to stop him.

Oh by the way, I've learned in solitude that the light and dark side are gross simplifications, there's much more gray there. It all comes down to making continued choices and commitments to doing what's right, blah blah"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 AM on December 22, 2017


Seeing Yoda again was great, but Luke should have called him on the carpet about the shitty leadership and training Yoda gave him.
"Oh NOW you say just burn it up now, I'm sure the Younglings in the temple are very appreciative of this lesson your 800 hundred year self has suddenly learned"

Which yeah, anytime you start thinking too much SW, it falls apart.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 AM on December 22, 2017


True, but Yoda was never a by-the-book instructor, if you watch his teaching style in eps II and V. And I think in some ways Luke's failure as a teacher was because he thought he needed to be more authentic to Jedi orthodoxy (hence his quest for the original Jedi temple + texts), whereas Yoda always realized (at least as of Ep III) that the orthodoxy was self-important bunk.

In any case, I think he knew that the original texts -- which would have at least historical value for the New New Jedi Order that Rey will potentially found -- were safe and sound on the Falcon. Without those, the temple is just a tree, and no different or more sacred than any other place in the universe.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:51 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've spent far too long reading all these comments here. And I'm so glad so many people loved it so much. Unfortunately I didn't, and I can't quite put my finger on why.

As it opened I love the fact that the rebellion seemed to have become a much more diverse place.
I loved Luke & Rey's storyline.
I loved the Rey's parentage storyline. And thought her and Kylo had some great scenes.

I appreciated so many of the decisions about where the story went, and yet... I dunno. It just didn't grab me, I wasn't as invested as I have been in so many other SW films.

And, for me, the humour worked against the emotion instead of with it.
posted by Fence at 6:03 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


I liked this movie very much. It was good. It was surprising which is something a star wars movie hasn't been in 30+ years.

5/5 crystal fox puppets
posted by French Fry at 7:04 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Regarding Luke's change in character, one thing I considered yesterday was the difference between Luke Skywalker farmboy in A New Hope and Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight, in Return of the Jedi. That's a measly four years. Here, we've had the passage of 30 years. Life does change people, for good and for bad.

That said, probably my favorite moment in the movie was when R2 rolled up to Luke and Luke's voice suddenly pitches to a younger, happier self when he shouts, "Artoo!" In that moment, I knew the old Luke from the OT was still with us - just a bit beat up by life.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on December 22, 2017 [31 favorites]


I love when he tells Rey "Han was... Han about it". I felt a bit of younger Luke coming through there, too.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:12 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed it, but don't love it. I enjoyed TFA more.

I appreciate all the things that are repeatedly being praised in this thread, but on its own as a film I think it was uneven.

It seems to me that the larger portion of the strong opinions, pro and con alike, arise within the context of having strong feelings about the series as a whole. And although I was 11 when Star Wars opened, and loved it then, the movies never were important to me the way they have been for so many. I do have those strong feelings and affiliation to Star Trek, but I've never felt that way about SW.

I hated the prequels because they were just bad and that was disappointing. But I enjoyed TFA despite JJ's tendency towards the facile because being expertly, deftly entertained in the moment is more than I expected. This film wasn't as polished -- I appreciate its ambition, and I'm happy that it achieved it for so many, but I was underwhelmed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:16 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


The first thing that Lucas is going to do in the Special Edition of The Last Jedi is add in an explosion sound during those 10 seconds of silence.
posted by komara at 8:30 AM on December 22, 2017 [11 favorites]


I've spent far too long reading all these comments here. And I'm so glad so many people loved it so much. Unfortunately I didn't, and I can't quite put my finger on why.

Honestly, if I were Rian Johnson I'd take what you wrote there as a compliment.

This is a divisive SW movie. Leaving out the MRA/Nazi/Comic Book Guy criticisms, there are still plenty of good arguments I've encountered for not liking TLJ, or at least not loving it. But those arguments are tacitly admitting that the movie is worth this level of reflection.

You know the worst thing about "The Phantom Menace"? It ain't Jar-Jar. Jar-Jar doesn't even come close to ranking on that. The worst thing about "The Phantom Menace" is who gives a shit. That movie had an excellent lightsaber battle, but everything else about it was boring and didn't matter. It didn't matter so much that you can skip that movie and still follow the other two prequels just fine. Watching it was a waste of my time and attention.

Now, I think Johnson made a hell of a movie with TLJ, but I TOTALLY get why some people disagree. But, from what I've seen, those people have spent a lot of time thinking about why they don't like it. They are reflecting on its structure, its message, its pacing, and its place in the larger series. Merely doing that is a hell of an endorsement in its own way. It is at best a success and at worst an interesting failure, so it is worth serious criticism.

Most of the first six Star Wars movies aren't. I'd argue that only IV and V are. And frankly, I'd give a hell of a lot to have failed that interestingly on a project that big.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [27 favorites]


The first thing that Lucas is going to do in the Special Edition of The Last Jedi is add in an explosion sound during those 10 seconds of silence.

Right after he digitally replaces Laura Dern with Jar Jar. (I'm just saying, they're both tall and slender!)
posted by selfnoise at 9:09 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


looking forward to the scene were force ghost luke finds out that yoda didn't actually burn the books and turns to the dark side, because he's had it up to HERE with yoda and obi-wan's "certain point of view" schtick
posted by entropicamericana at 9:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [9 favorites]


Yoda didn't burn the books; Rey had them on the Falcon.
posted by cooker girl at 10:04 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


The first thing that Lucas is going to do in the Special Edition of The Last Jedi is add in an explosion sound during those 10 seconds of silence.


Fortunately, the ONLY thing Lucas can do now to Star Wars is sit on his hands.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on December 22, 2017


re: Luke, I really like this post as a response:

The entire point of TLJ!Luke is that “Luke Skywalker would never”

Like

That is why he is so deeply ashamed of what happened, because the Luke Skywalker, Legendary Jedi Master, hero of the rebellion, would never hurt his nephew—but Luke nearly did, because Luke isn’t like a bigger than life persona, he’s just a person, who has momentary lapses in judgment due to deeply shocking force visions, who tried to take that back as soon as he realized that no, he would never, but it was too late! That’s. That’s the entire point.

That’s why he exiled himself! Not because his academy burned, but because Luke Skywalker would never. So maybe it’s time to stop being Luke Skywalker, maybe it’s time to stop being a legend instead of a man.

posted by cendawanita at 10:18 AM on December 22, 2017 [40 favorites]


Just catching up... yes, there are cabbages in Star Wars.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:26 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


That’s why he exiled himself! Not because his academy burned, but because Luke Skywalker would never. So maybe it’s time to stop being Luke Skywalker, maybe it’s time to stop being a legend instead of a man.

Yes! This is exactly his point when he bitterly refers to himself as a "legend".
posted by selfnoise at 10:42 AM on December 22, 2017 [12 favorites]


That’s why he exiled himself! Not because his academy burned, but because Luke Skywalker would never. So maybe it’s time to stop being Luke Skywalker, maybe it’s time to stop being a legend instead of a man.

I think there were two major reasons he exiled himself. The one mentioned and also that he came to believe the Jedi and Sith and their back and forth wars were harmful to the galaxy. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

As to the first reason, there's probably regret there, as if he had killed Ben, a lot of lives might have been saved. So he was caught in a mental/emotional loop for decades, and none of his damn teachers bothered to show up and, well, teach.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


Man I gotsa lotsa thoughtsas.

First of all, fuck that was good.

Secondly, it seemed like so obviously the right choice to make Rey come from nowhere. That this is frustrating people is beyond me. Like, being pissed at that probably speaks bad things about one's inner character, honestly. (Maybe not that far, but for real?) What I especially like about this is that Anakin also came from nowhere! But since he's 1.) Darth Vader and 2.) Luke's Dad before we wondered about him being anything else, we don't care that the Skywalkers weren't shit before he came around. He's allowed to be badass just because he's Vader. Before we get to the climax of Empire, Luke's allowed to be badass just because he's Luke. It doesn't require any more than that.

So people looking at Rey and thinking, "We need an explanation for why she's badass"? Fuck right off until you understand how wrong you are.


Lots more thoughts, but I need to compose them first.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:54 AM on December 22, 2017 [13 favorites]


I've been wanting to talk about why I can't stop thinking about this movie, but it's hard because it has to do with very personal things, some of which blew up just a few days after seeing it. It doesn't feel safe talking about it in most places, but metafilter is a fairly safe space, and more, I feel like you guys would understand.

I left The Last Jedi thinking about its primary themes--the question of how to bridge the gap between an older generation of adults and the young adults just coming into their adult selves now. It felt like the film was suggesting one of two things: either that we kill our parents (either literally, or the idea of our parents), who have hurt us, or that we hold out eternal hope for their redemption, even when that hope could be manipulated as a fatal flaw. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. How do we navigate our rising strength, this new adulthood, when the grown-ups in our lives have failed us? What was the film trying to say when Yoda burns the sacred tree, when Luke saves Rey and then refuses to be killed by Kylo?

And then a few days later, my parent and I had an enormous blow-up. Only it was one in a series of blow-ups, which included verbal or emotional abuse over the last decade, and one incident in a lifetime of broader abuse. Abuse punctuated by loving behavior, of course, and my infinite hope that if I were just good enough, she would see, and stop. Anyway, this incident exploded in physical violence (her, toward me, while I was holding my own child) for the first time since I went away for college. And I left, for the first time, ever, and have been left scrambling to make sense of it, and pick up the pieces.

The funny thing about this movie--this damned movie--is that I don't think it places the onus of bridging the gap between the generations on young people at all, in the end. Yoda says to believe in Rey; she has everything that Luke needs, now. Literally, of course, but figuratively, too. In the end, it's not Rey's flaws that are fatal, or even Kylo's (and Kylo has been brainwashed, groomed, and gaslight by abuse, hasn't he?). It's Luke's earlier fear of the dark inside all of us, his attempts to compartmentalize, to build a Skywalker legacy, all of that, which have led him to this place. For the movie to end, and end happily, Luke--our aging parents--are the ones who need to reach outside of themselves, to risk things, to believe in us. They need to extend lovingkindness. We can be good people--we should--we can be heroic and self-protective toward those we love, we can hold space for them and their redemption, but ultimately, it's up to them.

They're the ones who need to save what they love. It's not up to us.

It's not up to me.

I have a feeling, between this, and Looper, that Rian Johnson was a child like me. Someone who had been hurt. I don't know how I know, but I think you can't fake that kind of narrative, that kind of raw, messy emotion. But even if not, even if he just . . . stumbled across these themes, they mean the fucking world to me. This is a silly space movie, but the first one since I saw A New Hope as a damaged, lonely, hurt 13 year old yearning for something more, which really spoke to me. Which gave me substance to chew over. Which taught me something about our world and the way forward through it.

I'm incredibly grateful for this movie.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:04 PM on December 22, 2017 [61 favorites]


More thoughts! I understand the knock on the Canto Bight sequence but don't at all share it. Like Film Crit Hulk (I think) points out, it's the only place in the movie where we see people not directly involved in the struggle, and I love that those folks are either 1.) profiteering, or 2.) effective slaves. Rose and Finn (good god I love Rose and Finn. They were the real heart of this movie for me. Well, them and the Porgs. And the Crystal Foxes.) tearing it down by running the Preakness through it was so satisfying, in part because from the instant they're there it is clear that they are not at all James Bondian enough to fulfill a mission of "walk into a casino and meet a guy" but are absolutely capable of turning the MGM Grand into an impromptu hippodrome.

More on Rose, I love how giddily excited she would get when cool dangerous things ere happening. Like, she joined this for the cause and has never been near the actual action before and now that she is she's going to experience it, dammit! Also graceful: when Rey sees Rose and Finn together at the end and she gets a slight wistful bummed look on her face but that's it. Not the end of the world or anything.

And my lord the opening space battle with Rose's sister getting the payload to drop. For me, Oscar Isaacs managed to make Poe charming and likable and empathetic throughout, which is good, because otherwise cutting from her desperate and heroic sacrifice to his shit-eating grin while he's enjoying the whole sport of it would make me need to kick an ass.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:46 PM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


I read somewhere that to get in character Hamill thought about all the unfulfilled promise of the Baby Boomers, all that peace and love stuff that faded away. And I think maybe he was tapping into the hostility implicit in the script, that it's kind of using Star Wars as a stand-in to say "f you" to the Olds in general. It's a very post-Trump movie. Literally all of the heroism of the original trilogy has come to naught, the romance is gone, everybody is depressed and broken and it's up to the kids to save the day. If you're trying to reboot an old franchise and sell it to a new generation of kids who are looking at underwhelming futures, this is canny marketing. The filmmakers are no youngsters themselves, but maybe they hope these movies can inspire a new generation to fix this mess we're in.

But Star Wars didn't break your heart. Sure, the Phantom Menace sucked, but it isn't America or your daddy, or Trump. And I don't feel like these movies are attacking the prequels so much as they have a weird mad-on for the original trilogy. While these new movies are watchable space operas in their own right, the original Star Wars trilogy deserves better than to be burned as fuel for this stuff. People are calling these movies "subversive," and I guess they are in the sense that nobody was expecting a blockbuster franchise reboot to spend so much time kicking its source material's ass. The filmmakers have some geeky affection for the old sets and props, but the actual characters are being actively fucked over, losing everything they cared about and becoming (with the notable exception of Leia) their worst selves. Their only real role in the narrative is to show how badly the old ways failed. The very best they can hope for is a noble death. Even the original droids, who should be virtually immortal and are as capable of narrative action as ever, are now relegated to cameos. Because they're kind of the heart of the original films, so yuck.

When Abrams was ruining Star Trek, he said more than once that he actively disliked Trek and was much more into Star Wars. I am surprised to see that once he got his mitts on Star Wars, he treated it just as roughly as Trek. I sure wish he'd spend his time making more of his own stuff, instead of taking these once-great sci-fi franchises and doing what he does all over them. Johnson has said these sorts of changes were necessary for the franchise to remain "vital". I don't think they were, and if this is what it takes to move forward, this is where I get off.

Everything in art is subjective, and if you love these new movies, hooray for you. There will be many, many more of them for you to enjoy.

It’s like rain on your wedding day, baby.

So, it's an unfortunate occurrence that's not actually ironic?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


So sorry that happened to you, PhoBWanKenobi. Good for you for leaving, no one should have to endure that shit.
Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday.
posted by chococat at 2:20 PM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


I have so many thoughts and I really love that the movie didn't get bogged down with Exposition, for the most part, so that I keep coming back to thoughts that are left for us to connect.

It seems the biggest complaint I've heard is that Luke would never abandon the Jedi cause like that, but I keep thinking about Luke's flashback to where he actively considers killing Ben, his student, his nephew, in his sleep. I mean... shit. It's not "expositioned" fully through, but yeah, how could he have faith after that, that he alone is the savior and keeper of 'lightness', after even he came that close? How could he live up to being the one last Master when even he came that close? And most importantly, to me.... how does he live with knowing that he fervently believed to the end that his father was redeemable, but didn't have the same faith in his nephew?

I know the easy answer is "well he thought about it but he didn't do it", but I can completely see where Luke fully believes his almost-action directly causes Ben to never trust the only person who can teach him the Jedi path again.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think the issue isn't Luke doubting himself or having his faith in the Jedi shaken, but that he'd hide himself away from decades, because he had a bad thought. What is this, Catholicism?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


What is this, Catholicism?

May the Force be with you.

And also with you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:17 PM on December 22, 2017 [34 favorites]


But it's not just a bad thought... he turned on his weapon right there. I'd be uncomfortable with being that close to doing it. And Ben saw him, and that had consequences. How does Luke cope with knowing he had a heavy hand in turning the kid everyone believed was the next great hope? How does he have faith that he will be a net good teaching his other students to resist the dark side?

I know our audience answer is "because he's Luke and he's a hero", but.... I find it much more human and fallible to consider that he does have a real crisis and really believes he might do more harm than good, in the overall balance of the universe.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:24 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


To me the bigger question Luke is probably asking himself and feeling hella guiltly about is "Why didn't I kill him, considering all the shit he's done since then."

Luke didn't fail him, Ren, at some point, made a choice and ultimately that really is on him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


I’m going to try and see it again tonight.

I do get a bit of what you’re saying, Ursula Hitler, in that it does seem like the original trilogy and it’s characters are getting short shrift. Even Leia, who seems to be the most beloved, has apparently spent her entire life chained to a lost cause and forced to watch her people reduced and killed off in increasingly large numbers while she has to keep her chin up.

I guess at this point I feel like it may not be a pointed allegory about Boomers vs Millenials but rather a flaw in the whole concept: in order to make the story dramatic things need to be bad but we have to have our old heroes present or fans won’t come and see the movie. So things must all have ended in disaster at some point after RotJ and we have to start the whole thing up again. It bugs me in kind of the same way that comic books can bug me - there is never a end that is not upended, a relationship that is not eventually broken, because Story demands it.

On another tangent, I didn’t see Luke’s bitterness and exile as against his essential character, but maybe that’s because I was raised Catholic? And it has to be hard to be the Saving Hope of the Galaxy as a half-trained Jedi trying to go it alone. That’s the kind of pressure people crack under.
posted by PussKillian at 4:01 PM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


I love that Kylo's whole fake-out turn is predicated on the idea that he wants to burn everything down, just like Luke tells Rey she needs to do. And then it turns out that what you want to do after the old system gets burnt down is every bit as important as whether you want to maintain the old system or destroy it.

What Kylo wants to do is rule over the ashes. More or less literally, because that's all that's left of Snoke's throne room at that point.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:15 PM on December 22, 2017 [6 favorites]


I love the Mark Hamill interview because (beyond being stuff to talk about) it shows he actually cares and is invested in Luke, while being totally professional and ego-less about the character not being just his to own, as if it was an RPG.

That being said, Luke making a rash and bad decision or three is totally in character for the guy from the original, and him rushing away from a situation where he believes he'd cause(d) harm is not that different from rushing into one where he thinks he'd save it all.

And I kind of chuckled at the "Jedi don't give up" line, because Luke was never really a Jedi in the sense of being fully trained. Some tutoring from Obi-Wan and Yoda, but he left Dagoba early and only got back to see Yoda moving on. A lot of him being a Jedi was him making it up as he went along, with no one left in the universe who could tell him he was doing it wrong.
posted by mark k at 5:58 PM on December 22, 2017 [15 favorites]


A few years ago, somebody who was way more into Star Wars than I am (they do lightsaber fight meet-ups and stuff) offered a take on Luke that seems sort of obvious, but I'd never heard it articulated quite this way before. They said that the old, prequel-era Jedi actually weren't supposed to be so great after all, that their emotional remove, adherence to dogma, etc., were too extreme. The Sith leaned way too hard one way, and the Jedi leaned way too hard the other. Remember how baby Darth's mama was left to rot away as a slave on Tatooine? That was the Jedi, convincing Anakin to "let go" of emotional attachments. And how'd that work out?

By this interpretation, what Luke represents at the end of ROTJ is a new way. He finally brings balance to the force. Just having emotions wasn't bad, caring about people wasn't wrong. It was Luke's love that redeemed his father, after all. Being human and caring didn't inevitably have to lead to the Dark Side. The Empire was finally destroyed, and now Luke could teach a new kind of Jedi. For all that to work I suppose you have to accept the prequels as a thing, which I do only reluctantly, but it does give the end of ROTJ some extra punch.

Having all that in my head, I was surprised to read today that Lucas' suggestions for the sequels apparently did involve Luke living in exile, and some of it was surprisingly close to what we got in TFA. But I note that the article says that in Lucas' treatment Luke went into exile "decades after the fall of the Galactic Empire," suggesting that there wasn't this big cataclysmic fight he turned his back on, and that he would "slowly regain his spirit" and begin training a new Jedi. It sounds much more low-conflict than what we got, with Luke just being retired or something but getting his groove back. Lucas really lost his mojo by the time he made the prequels, and I'm not suggesting he would have made better sequels than what we're getting now. Hell, it's not unlikely his 2017 version of Luke would have felt even more off than what we got. But it's interesting to find out that even in Lucas' mind Luke would be an isolated old duffer now.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:06 PM on December 22, 2017 [12 favorites]


Finally was able to see this today. I really liked it, and I am making plans to escape the house sometime over the winter break and see it in IMAX just for funsies. I don't understand the hate at all. (Just for my bona fides: I was born in '74 and grew up eating, sleeping and breathing Star Wars. I was in the fan club. I was a girl who absolutely fucking adored Star Wars in 1980 and for that reason alone I am in absolute raptures over the gender diversity in the new trilogy. I didn't realize how important this would be to me until it happened. New life goal: action figures of Leia and Holdo and Rose and Rey in a diorama on my work desk telling everyone else what to do, and being right 100% of the time.)

Both TLJ and TFA have been kind of slow burns for me. Like, the first time I saw both in the theater, immediately after I was like, "That was fun! Good times! It didn't suck! I have gotten my $7 worth!" But then hours later I can't get certain scenes out of my head and I start making plans to see it again. I actually just read this entire thread start to finish.

For me the MVP is Adam Driver. I can't take my eyes off that dude every time he's on screen (same in TFA). I love every single thing about Kylo Ren as a character and I am, regrettably, here for Reylo. God have mercy on my soul. But sweet jesus, Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley, if you will be so smoldering together I'm going to be forced to ship it.

Mark Hamill was amazing. I was a Luke Girl back in the 80s and when I grew older I surmised that I was supposed to have been a Han Girl and that Han Girls are cooler and I probably shouldn't admit my childhood Luke fandom, but dammit, Luke 4ever and I feel very much vindicated on this point. He is a nuanced, interesting character! He is, he is! Reach out with your feelings, you know it to be true. I didn't even cry when he Forced Out because it just seemed like a great death. I can't be mad about a death that good.

I loved that it was different. The tone of the humor was different, and I dug it. We can't keep on telling the same "I have a bad feeling about this" style joke forever, guys. I'm so down with "Can you put a cowl on?" and dark humor involving Porgs. Humor changes, what's funny and what's just tired changes, what seems like a true conversational tone changes. It's all good.

So basically the moral of the story seemed to be: Don't Fucking Mansplain, You Sound Like A Wanker and also I'm Going to Lightspeed My Ship Right Through Your Patriarchy.

Speaking of ships. Leia/Holdo? I am positive I caught a... look. Were they a thing in the expanded universe? If not, don't tell me, because that's my new canon.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:48 PM on December 22, 2017 [34 favorites]


Leia and Holdo definitely have had A Thing and I am here for it. Also if she had stuck around, Holdo and Poe would also have had A Thing. That may just be because Oscar Issac has the mojo with pretty much everything and everyone he interacts with.
posted by PussKillian at 9:16 PM on December 22, 2017 [6 favorites]


Ursula Hitler: I really like that reading of Luke and the Jedi Council. Almost like they were The Watchers Council and Obi-Wan was a sort of Giles, I dunno. I'm viewing all of this through lenses of similar pop-culture because part of what I loved so much about The Last Jedi was that for the first time since I was a kid, I was watching a Star Wars movie where I generally didn't have a clue what was going to happen. It was like Game of Thrones after Ned's execution. Everything was possible and on the table (narrative-logic-wise. I believe they played incredibly fair with the in-universe-logic, in ways that became moments of fridge brilliance looking back at them.)

For instance, the Kamikaze move Holdo pulls (which was beautifully executed on-screen and immediately one of the greatest moments of the series IMO) is something that people are arguing must not work or else it would have been done before (which is crazy to me for several reasons, not the least of which is "how hard do we need to look the gift horse of genuinely new things in this series right in the mouth?") But it's set up. Completely set up.

First of all, doing this move at all would be very resource-intensive. Just doing this with an X-Wing on autopilot is still destroying an X-wing and a hyperdrive for one shot at poking a hole in something. They don't have much, and need those X-wings because they can drop payloads with them. Using their own flagship for the purpose, as Holdo does, can actually do the type of damage they require to bring down Snoke's ship, but is insane in anything other than the situation we're presented with there (essentially, ships holding still at close range, target ship distracted by a bunch of other targets, kamikaze flagship suddenly disposable as it's about to be destroyed anyway.) It's an absolute desperation move and not something one would expect anyone to be trained in executing. (For instance, the real-world usage of this tactic was so reviled and seen as unnatural and unusual that I worry that my use of the term "kamikaze" here at all is racially insensitive, and I apologize if it is.)

But more than that, it ties into a moment in The Force Awakens that I'd forgotten about before rewatching it tonight: it's established that current First Order shield technology allows through anything flying at FTL speeds. This is how Han and Finn infiltrated Starkiller Base. So it's actually the perfect decision in that moment, just a very unpredictable one coming from a resistance without (seemingly) the resources to spare doing something like that.

Mostly, Ursula, I disagree very much with your view of how the Old Guard is treated in these films. I respect your reaction to it, but to me this is playing on the themes of parents and children that have always been a part of the series, but in this case the Original Trilogy characters are kind of like the Marauders to Rey, Finn and Poe's Harry, Hermione and Ron. They had their own important youthful adventures, they have their own strengths and flaws, and they're passing things along as best they can to the kids fighting this new thing, and it's hard on them. Kylo, as a character, is something that has deeply messed them all up, in large part because they all want to believe he's salvageable still. That matters deeply to me, that they found themselves in parent/mentor roles and were shattered b how badly this child/student turned out and then spiraled from their own reactions to it.

So when Yoda shows up to burn down the temple, really, he's freeing Luke from the prison he crafted for himself, getting his priorities back in check. Han had gone back to his old ways but meeting Rey and Finn got him to where he was willing to risk his life to save his son's soul. Luke took his damn time but used his training in exile to pull a move worthy of The Doctor to not just create a distraction, but gain a captive audience with Kylo so as to impart final lessons to him and hopefully, maybe, turn him. And Leia never left, always resisting, setting the model for what a resistance leader is, even if fighting her own child. I do not at all feel like these characters are given short shrift here.

And especially I love all of this because, while we're supposed to view Yoda as perfectly wise in the past, when he disses the Jedi texts and burns it all down here because Rey supposedly already has all she needs to find her way (which, no, she doesn't. She's confused and screaming out for guidance that nobody's giving her) Yoda is well-meaning but wrong. The new guard will chart their own path, but the old still has value and is needed. Which is why in the end we see that she stole away the texts. They might not be page-turners but if she's going to reignite the order she needs to have something to start with.

Metatextually, this one was all about subverting expectations. Textually, it was about respecting the old and finding the value in the new, and all the baggage and tough choices involved in doing that. And I found that absolutely brilliant.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:45 PM on December 22, 2017 [21 favorites]


There's an operational theory behind Star Wars tech and space fighters/ships. First, always remember that WW2 really informs the star fighter aspect of the franchise ...

... In short, the logic is "this is how Star Wars does it. The more I read "making of" commentary, especially for the new sequels, there is definitely a consistent idea that a formula exists for Star Wars, that when examining the original trilogy (particularly) one can distill what George Lucas did in specific ways to the look and feel of the films and this is how one should be guided going forward.
I was engaged in a social media conversation with a friend who was objecting to the idea that Astral Yoda could cast Call Lightning when that clearly wasn't on the Light Jedi spell list, and someone else was all, "LOL look at you guys debating the metaphysics of space wizards. It's just a movie."

and, one hand, yes, they're right it is a little silly, but on the other hand, one thing I have appreciated about Star Wars is that because it has also always been about the merchandising, it has always been about creating a universe that is open to play. All of the Visual Encyclopedias and Companion Sourcebooks and little stories and character bios that come with the toys feed into this mythos that's specifically geared at encouraging children to create their own stories and adventures with these characters.

One aspect of that collaborative storytelling improv is that there always has to be some kind of framework. Sometimes it's about one person dominating the play and telling others what to do. Sometimes it's just about you and your siblings going along with "yes, and ..." style turntaking. Sometimes it's about close readings of what goes in the films. It still puts in me mind to also think of roleplaying games and how different RPG systems are just rulesets for this kind of imaginative play, and those rulesets can help focus and inspire other forms of creativity.

So, then of course Star Wars fans are going to get super worked up about how bombers or vacuum works in space, but kind of accept that sound in vacuum is a thing. The sound part has been in the ruleset since Original Edition Star Wars, but the impact bombs are new, and everyone's trying to figure out if it's legit or if it's another storyteller coming in and cheating.

And in thinking that, it also helped me consider fan reactions to TLJ vs TFA and other films. I think we've been used to each of the trilogies being their own edition of the ruleset. The original trilogy had its goofiness and weird plot holes, but the holes were in consistent places and enough to let us improvise with it. The prequel trilogy added new goofiness like midichlorians and Hayden Christiensen but it was all George Lucas goofiness. TFA got us into believing that 3rd edition would introduce faster levelling Jedi, rules for spacecraft in terrestrial flight, and people of color; but then TLJ said, "oh, that stuff is just fluff. Here's the actual rule changes. Oh, and one part of the rule change is that we're removing Scoundrel as a playable class. Here's rules to either convert your Scoundrel into a Leader or let them run as an NPC. We've also included a sample adventure that involves this really weird and contrived space chase."

Which, you know, I'm pretty onboard with that change, but I can also understand and sympathize with friends who've spent a lot of time with the old rulesets and want to keep playing with them. But, play evolves, and the rules should change for the children that we want to raise today.

and, fwiw, I was pretty ok with the space bombs, but weirdly peeved with how the turbolasers/autocannons fired shots with an arcing trajectory and only started shooting in arcs in this movie
posted by bl1nk at 10:46 PM on December 22, 2017 [17 favorites]


Oh, and when I saw Luke's passing scene, it looked to me like one setting sun and one rising sun, which makes zero sense from an astronomical perspective as far as I know, but made a lot of sense metaphorically, as Luke was letting himself go (ascend?) knowing that Rey was on the rise and could take up his mantle.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


also the "Chewie is Rey's father figure" meme makes me pine for a deleted scene where Chewie and Rey are lightspeeding to Ahch-To, and Chewie kills time by getting himself and Rey to finish sweeping up the Falcon and he starts dancing to a forgotten holotape of Mos Eisley tunes, then he tries to lecture Rey about how the Jedi are actually kind of psychotic and he's worried that a Hermit Luke may have gone Dark Side after decades in isolation. And Rey's all "YOU LIE", gets upset with him, and force slams a door in his face. Then Chewie gains her forgiveness by surprising her with a batch of space muffins like she used to make on Jakku.
posted by bl1nk at 10:53 PM on December 22, 2017 [25 favorites]


TFA got us into believing that 3rd edition would introduce faster levelling Jedi, rules for spacecraft in terrestrial flight, and people of color; but then TLJ said, "oh, that stuff is just fluff. Here's the actual rule changes. Oh, and one part of the rule change is that we're removing Scoundrel as a playable class. Here's rules to either convert your Scoundrel into a Leader or let them run as an NPC. We've also included a sample adventure that involves this really weird and contrived space chase."

I for one thought Del Toro's character was a genius move, not just because "looks shifty, IS shifty!" was a new place for one of these stories to go, but also because I'm almost certain we'll see him again in IX, and having a "Lando meeting" type of thing where we already have our own audience reasons to not trust the "Lando" there sounds delicious to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 PM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think if TLJ wanted to be harsh about the original trilogy, it wouldn’t have had Luke and Leia turn out to be right about so much. It was merely pointing out that they aren’t perfect and never have been, but all the same they have given so much and have many things to teach the younger kids. Kylo Ren is the one who wants to burn their world down, and he’s obviously wrong. Rey wants to learn from them, to build on what they began. She just also trusts her own ideas as well. That’s not anything like a repudiation of the originals, it’s an acknowledgement of the spirit of 1977 with the details of 2017.
posted by harriet vane at 11:01 PM on December 22, 2017 [17 favorites]


"Oh, and when I saw Luke's passing scene, it looked to me like one setting sun and one rising sun, which makes zero sense from an astronomical perspective as far as I know"

To be sure, the probability of a habitable planet existing in a binary star system is approximately zero. If the two starts are of similar mass (permitting each other) smaller planets are just going to fry or fly off into the night. And if one is far more massive than the other, the planet has to effectively be a moon of the smaller sun, so probably too close to be habitable... Or just completely burnt...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:50 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


and, fwiw, I was pretty ok with the space bombs, but weirdly peeved with how the turbolasers/autocannons fired shots with an arcing trajectory and only started shooting in arcs in this movie

They had to use ballistic trajectories with the laser blasts because the powerful shields on Holdo’s ship cast out posiflux gravitons that densify photons.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 AM on December 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


The Starkiller Base hyperspace lasers arced, it could just be new-to-us First Order tech. Probably useful when you need to shoot around your own big flat wedge shaped ship that limits how far you can point your cannons (relative) up or down without hitting your own ship! Also, with the bombers, maybe they're intended primarily for use in planets' gravity wells, but the bombs do get some momentum applied to them (more shoved out than dropped) and that carries them towards targets in zero g.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:32 AM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


"They hate that ship."

The part I loved about that scene was how badly Finn (and everyone else) misread the situation. *They* didn't hate the ship! On his own, Hux would have destroyed the Falcon and the rest of the Resistance.


I got the impression that Finn was not reading the situation so much as talking as a former member of the First Order who has probably been in conversations where they've daydreamed about being the one to blow up the Millennium Falcon. Nevertheless, I expect that most members of the First Order who aren't Kylo Ren have the discipline to not be so obviously distracted by it.
posted by ckape at 9:51 AM on December 23, 2017 [14 favorites]


@kaibutsu: it depends a lot on the configuration of the system. If the two stars are a relatively close binary pair, orbits a much larger distance from both of them are stable (much like orbiting a single star). Similarly, for very wide binary systems, orbits that are much closer to one star than the other are stable (the 'moon' scenario you talked about). The mass ratio doesn't matter so much. There should be plenty of binary star systems that could have habitable planets.
posted by janewman at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I was a Luke Girl back in the 80s and when I grew older I surmised that I was supposed to have been a Han Girl and that Han Girls are cooler and I probably shouldn't admit my childhood Luke fandom, but dammit, Luke 4ever and I feel very much vindicated on this point. . . I didn't even cry when he Forced Out because it just seemed like a great death. I can't be mad about a death that good.

I am you, except for the crying. I was so gutted by Luke's death that I cried at work during a post-movie run-down with another big Star Wars fan. (We've been friends for years, so we both just laughed at me while I was doing it.) I'm not mad about it though. His whole arc and death were beautifully done.
posted by Mavri at 12:20 PM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


After writing that, I had a moment of doubt whether anyone in the First Order other than Kylo Ren recognized the Falcon since Finn hadn't recognized it when he first saw it, but I suppose a YT-1300 coming out of nowhere to blow up TIE fighters would definitely be assumed to be the famous Millennium Falcon whereas a derelict sitting on a nowhere world wouldn't.
posted by ckape at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2017


I can definitely envision a scenario where some TIE pilots are gossiping after the chase on Jakku about how this junker YT-1300 managed to take out a squadron somehow and then the grizzled veteran at the end of the bar who never talks suddenly turns to them and says, "Wait. A YT-1300? Customised to hell and back? Looks like a piece of junk but flies rings around our best fighters? I know that ship..."
posted by tobascodagama at 2:22 PM on December 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


Just wanted to say: if you left your first viewing feeling like your brain had been scrambled, like you liked what you'd seen but weren't sure what it was or what it meant, go see it again. It really helps.
posted by potrzebie at 2:56 PM on December 23, 2017 [11 favorites]


Agreed. We just saw it the second time and it was awesome. The lingering questions I may have had are answered.
posted by teleri025 at 4:45 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


ctrl-f "gary fisher cameo"

guyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyys
posted by ominous_paws at 4:00 AM on December 24, 2017 [15 favorites]


I think my main disappointment is that Snoke didn't turn out to be actually tiny like I had originally predicted.

Also, I'm assuming they found the right hacker after all, he just lost everything gambling with that other guy who had the pin, and then put up so much of a stink they threw him in jail.
posted by ckape at 9:08 AM on December 24, 2017 [15 favorites]


Smaller Snoke is a pretty obvious counterpart to Bigger Luke.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:04 AM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


Wait. A YT-1300? Customised to hell and back? Looks like a piece of junk but flies rings around our best fighters? I know that ship..."

His cyborg leg makes a clinking sound as he steps forward, and there's a mad glint in his eyes.
"The white YT-1300? Aye, I know they ship.
"It's more of a dingy gray-"
"The white YT-1300! It's no light freighter, but evil incarnate! A beast out of hell!
posted by happyroach at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


Also, I'm assuming they found the right hacker after all, he just lost everything gambling with that other guy who had the pin, and then put up so much of a stink they threw him in jail.

I felt like this was the reveal, and that it may have been cut for time. Although it's thematically consistent if BDT's character is just some scum who's so low he's willing to help the no-hope cause of the rebellion, and there is no great hand of fate guiding plucky heroes to victory.
posted by codacorolla at 11:18 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I was engaged in a social media conversation with a friend who was objecting to the idea that Astral Yoda could cast Call Lightning when that clearly wasn't on the Light Jedi spell list...

This is, IMO, a side effect of the fact that a lot of the ancillary Star Wars lore was built out in games. Having certain powers belong to skill trees by class makes sense in that context, but not for story and character purposes.

The Emperor and Snoke aren't on the Dark Side because they're using the force to create lightning. They're Dark because they use the force to hurl lightning at people to cause pain out of anger.

The difference between Light and Dark isn't what you do, it's why.
posted by Uncle Ira at 12:35 PM on December 24, 2017 [16 favorites]


I mean, right in the first movie Obi Wan uses magic powers to bend the mind of another person.
posted by codacorolla at 1:13 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


It should also be noted that Yoda does not shoot lightning from his incorporeal hands. He summons a lightning bolt from the sky, like Thor. I tend to think of the lightning that the emperor uses as being more like the Cruciatus curse in Harry Potter. It looks like lightning, but the main object is to inflict pain. Its appearance is a visual shorthand for "this will kill you and it will hurt the entire time you're dying."
posted by wabbittwax at 2:57 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is, IMO, a side effect of the fact that a lot of the ancillary Star Wars lore was built out in games.

Yeah, blame Way End Games for making a lot of source material that later was integrated into the EU and accepted uncritically as Canon by fans. Hence the "Force Lighting and Force Choke are darkside powers" and a lot of confusion and hasty explanations when Luke used a force choke.

WEG also were responsible for the "all members of an alien species are defined by the first example we see" cliché, that the EU ran with, up until Rebels said "No, just because Greedo was one, doesn't mean all Rhodians are bounty hunters"
posted by happyroach at 3:11 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Thanks, happyroach. While I played the WEG Star Wars RPG, I never held up its “canon” as gospel. Maybe why I liked TLJ just fine.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:51 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just saw this, and I thought was good. In my circles the opinion has been mixed, but I didn't know specifically why since I hadn't seen it yet and didn't want it to be spoiled.

I do like the way it subverts some of it's own mythos and tropes. Killing off Snoke and in such an anticlimactic way surprised me and made me actually believe Rey and Kylo were going to work together. And I agree subverting the mythos/tropes in this film does opens up the universe and storytelling a bit more. Instead of always talking about the Solos and Skywalkers there are other characters that can have an impact. And instead of always having a third act where the rebellion goes into the enemy base to do something risky and succeed, it can end in failure OR it doesn't even have to stick that kind of arc.

At least once it does feel like it tries to do both and overreaches a little. The whole movie kind of sets up Luke as Obi-Wan or Yoda from the OT, so we expect Luke to die sometime in this film. But then the big reveal is when Luke is on Crait it's actually a projection and he's quite safe. But then he just dies/disappears back on the island. So, it feels kind of intentionally trying to jerk the audience a bit more and trying to play off of all the previous subversions that happened.

I do also kind of see how using a hyperdrive spaceship as a kamikaze weapon does lead to the question: why is this not done in SW more often? My own thoughts were either:
(1) The people in Star Wars are extemely naive about warfare and just never really thought of it, or
(2) This tactic is heavily frowned upon in the SW universe and shows that the rebels use dirty and underhanded tactics.

Thinking about it a bit more now, a combination of 1 and 2 might make the most sense. It's possible that being a post-Imperial organization the First Order is still stuck using old strategy from 20-30 years ago and considers the use of combat suicide as "dishonorable" since Imperials are rarely outnumbered or outgunned.

One other thing that I will definitely get piled on for: I understand that war profiteers are bad in real life, but I'm kind of trying to find a reason why the war profiteers are especially bad in Star Wars in comparison to everyone else. Because, we know that the ranks of the Rebellion were made up of a lot of morally dubious people like smugglers, assassins, mercenaries, and Imperial deserters, some that do make a good living in times of war. But yet these people still worked for and possibly eventually considered themselves part of the Rebellion. So why war profiteers? Yes, I know on Canto Bight there's animal abuse and slavery, but its not like we haven't seen slavery in Star Wars either.

Flux capacitor from Back to the Future.

Yes! Also, for some reason, Finn rising up from the shaft and smacking Phasma reminded me of when Marty rose up on the Delorean and the door smacking Biff.
posted by FJT at 7:30 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


When Yoda casually blew up the Jedi Tree (Yggdrasil?), i immediately thought of the phrase, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”

I was thinking not of nihilism, but of notions that dogma should never displace true knowledge/charity/belief/action/whatever...and even though Luke never got fully trained in the Jedi Schtick, maybe he is the perfect person to reinvent it for a new age.

Or, more likely, he will midwife the transition and Rey will really produce Jedi 2.0.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:44 PM on December 24, 2017 [13 favorites]


my default handwave for the rarity of hyperspeed kamikaze is:

1. as shown in the film, a hyperspace kamikaze doesn't just destroy its target but a number of other targets behind it, though likely the number of ships that would be affected are limited to the mass of the kamikaze and its lightspeed envelope. This limits its effectiveness when capital ships are in close combat with each other as the likelihood of friendly fire is much higher, and you're going to need a pretty big ship like a Mon Calamari Cruiser to do substantial damage. It was also likely more effective during TLJ because the hours long sublight chase had strung out the New Order fleet into a more linear pattern, but that's not the sort of tactic that you could pull off all the time.

2. it would be difficult to lightspeed into a fleet from another system since it's probably hard to make fine course corrections while in hyperspace, and ships can detect inbound hyperspace objects, and probably get out of the way with enough notice.

3. when a ship goes through lightspeed, its hyperspace engines run hot and need to cool down before they can warm up again. So even once you engage with a fleet, as you come out of hyperspace, you're going to need to deal with that fleet in close combat before you can engage hyperspace again. By that time, between close combat maneuvers mixing up the fleet, and the fact that the Empire/New Order make heavy use of Interdictor Cruisers to limit hyperspace mobility, it's difficult to expect that you can use hyperspace in a tactical capacity. Certainly not in a way where you can start building dummy cruisers with droid pilots to run as lightspeed battering rams.

4. let's recall Leia's principle around dressing down Poe for wasting fighters and bombers that they can't replace. The Rebellion will always be outmatched in ship count against the Empire. Maneuvers that guarantee the loss of a capital ship are likely too much of a sacrifice. Whereas the Empire doesn't make use of droids in a command capacity, nor is it in the practice of forcing its Navy into sacrificing themselves as a matter of routine. TIE fighters are deathtraps by design, but they're not intended to be one way coffins.
posted by bl1nk at 10:56 PM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


While I played the WEG Star Wars RPG, I never held up its “canon” as gospel. Maybe why I liked TLJ just fine.

On the other hand, the WEG rules solve this problem easily...

my default handwave for the rarity of hyperspeed kamikaze is:

Obviously the hyperspace ramming procedure requires two sequential Piloting rolls at difficulty 30. And only Holdo (and Leia of course) had two spare Force Points to even attempt that kind of maneuver. You'll note that Holdo, with a base 5D6 in Pilot (Capital Ship) barely made the rolls.

See? Obscure rpg rules CAN solve knotty technical questions!
posted by happyroach at 2:48 AM on December 25, 2017 [10 favorites]


What I want to know is how come Rey can swim?
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:12 AM on December 25, 2017 [23 favorites]


I'm kind of trying to find a reason why the war profiteers are especially bad in Star Wars in comparison to everyone else.

Well, Star Wars has never championed moral ambiguity, so stylistically I could see that opportunistic amoralism would be more repugnant than just doing bad things, but I think the point with this particular political angle is more aimed at us, the contemporary viewers.

In terms of the film, I read the Cando Bight sequence as a nifty inversion of the Mos Eisley scene from the first movie: Obi-Wan calls Mos Eisley a 'wretched hive of scum and villany' (IIRC), and Rose calls Cando Bight 'a terrible place full of the worst, most horrible people' (or something like that), and in both ANH and TLJ, that line is followed by an immediate cut to the cantina/casino--and the casino music for Cando Bight is clearly a riff on the original cantina band music, it's the same weirdo, steel-drum-&-woodwind-driven sounds, etc.

The political point within the film--and the larger one for us--is that the obvious-looking bad guys (thugs, bounty hunters, various other scum and villany) are harmful, but only on a very limited scale. The really harmful folks are very rich and look very swanky and elegant and dashing but are utterly amoral and motivated only by personal profit, and thus some of the most dangerous people in the galaxy.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:24 AM on December 25, 2017 [13 favorites]


Here's How Fans Reacted to The Empire Strikes Back in 1980

i actually made a list last week before this article was posted
posted by cendawanita at 6:58 AM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure that I had those issues of Starlog.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on December 25, 2017


the casino music for Cando Bight is clearly a riff on the original cantina band music

Yeah, it was nice to hear that jizz music is still popular three decades after the original trilogy. It even followed the same trajectory as jazz in our world, where it starts out as the music of seedy dives but gradually becomes accepted -- after having the rough edges filed off -- as a marker of class and sophistication.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:27 AM on December 25, 2017 [15 favorites]


So, in all SW history prior to this film, they couldn’t track you through a light speed jump. They could track you later, and come after you later in the film, but they weren’t coming right after you.

So light speed was a Get Out of Jail Free card. If you were losing, and your hyperspace drive still worked, you could always just escape. Why would you kill off your whole crew, and destroy a presumably-expensive giant spaceship, when you could live to fight another day?

Related to this, we see the big ships targeting strategic locations on the other ships: they go after shields, bridge, hyperspace drive. So a kamikaze attack is typically going to be foiled by normal tactics.

The chase in TLJ is unique because for the first time the good guys won’t either escape or die immediately, so they are forced to actually do something else.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:58 AM on December 25, 2017 [10 favorites]


I'm trying to be understanding because there are genuine criticisms and comments you can make abt this movie, yet I feel most of what I'm encountering is just unbelievable amounts of miscomprehension.

I just had an exchange with a friend who wanted to thematically analyse poe dameron's arc... as a white man*, because he's chosen not to pay attention to anything actually related to how oscar isaac is playing poe dameron and him representing latinxs just because isaac chose a wasp-y name for his stage name and his breakout role is as llewellyn davies, and somehow because star wars is an IP controlled by a committee that means at some point poe *could* be played by a white guy which means, yes we can totally analyse his arc as a white guy.

the irony being right now both of us are not just POC, but also the majoritarian community of our country, and as i said, you don't need to be white to be a man.

*in part because he's mad poe is being romantically linked to rey (??) while the black guy gets the asian girl. GEE TENKS. you know what my girlfriends and I were thinking? Finn gets the wholesome object-of-affection triangle ala Leia!
posted by cendawanita at 8:03 AM on December 25, 2017 [4 favorites]


Okay, here's a crazy fan theory (sorry if this was already mentioned, I tried to check the comments, but haven't seen it yet):

So, what powerful mostly unseen force would own BOTH the military equipment of The Rebellion and The Empire and would have a motivation to keep conflict alive and keep selling this stuff forever?

It is the war profiteers, but on the level of TLJ as social commentary about Star Wars, the war profiteers are Disney and Star Wars merchandising. Disney has said they plan to release a Star Wars movie every year for as long as they can, which sets up the never-ending war. And with every film's release, there will be new games and toys sold. And on every toy shelf there will be Rebel toy sets right next to Empire toy sets. Which brings up the second part. Disney, toy manufacturers, and video game makers don't care about the Rebellion/Republic/Resistance or the Imperial Order/Confederacy/1st Order. They just want to make money selling you stuff. Just like how the war profiteers sell stuff to both The First Order and the Resistance.

And maybe I'm really reaching at this point, but is Canto Bight then sort of like Disney Theme Parks, just with gambling?
posted by FJT at 8:09 AM on December 25, 2017 [23 favorites]


I just had an exchange with a friend who wanted to thematically analyse poe dameron's arc... as a white man*, because he's chosen not to pay attention to anything actually related to how oscar isaac is playing poe dameron and him representing latinxs just because isaac chose a wasp-y name for his stage name
Not to justify your friend's response, and this is probably a derail from the larger discussion of Star Wars, but I suspect that this is going to be a more common parsing as mestizo demographics become more normalized in North American culture. Basically it's possible for us to have a future where intermarriage is more common but racism is still persistent. Then you have the sort of prejudices that exist in places like Argentina or the Philippines, where the definition of the default national identity has expanded to include more brown and olive faces, and "white" is really about being an elite minority that has an extremely fluid definition based on what the perceiver wants it to be.
posted by bl1nk at 9:05 AM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


It is the war profiteers, but on the level of TLJ as social commentary about Star Wars, the war profiteers are Disney and Star Wars merchandising. Disney has said they plan to release a Star Wars movie every year for as long as they can, which sets up the never-ending war. And with every film's release, there will be new games and toys sold. And on every toy shelf there will be Rebel toy sets right next to Empire toy sets.
sure, but keep in mind that World War II only running from 1937 -1945 hasn't stopped Hollywood from cranking out at least one new WWII film every year for the last 60+ years. I think fans would get pretty jaded with the idea of a StarHammer40K: (in the grim vastness of a galaxy a long time ago, and far, far away there is only The Force), but they would happily digest infinite deep dives and reboots into the stories of Boba Fett, Obi-wan, Phasma, Chewbacca, or Wedge Antilles, and that's before you'd have to start re-adapting Expanded Universe content like Thrawn or Mara Jade, or spinning up new characters in other corner battles like Rogue One did.
posted by bl1nk at 9:16 AM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


Basically it's possible for us to have a future where intermarriage is more common but racism is still persistent.

Absolutely. I'm just surprised at my friend, who assiduously reblogs SJ stuff, can fall into such a trap (in his ensuing explanation) just because he won't admit he made a mistake in seeing Poe/Isaac as nothing more but a white man. And I foresee more of this tortured application of sociological arguments (tortured because it intents to derive a conclusion as to the moral rightness of a thing/character/plot) as finally mainstream pop culture becomes more diverse and representational at strictly 'idpol' lines, and pop culture analysis would do well to actually be intersectional without just a simple conclusion tht white people ruin everything (i mean, they do, speaking as a thirdworlder, but i'm also a thirdworlder who's enjoying the privileges that comes from being a majoritarian while very much still impacted by white supremacy). As it is, TFA and TLJ and R1 can generate any number of analysis, most of them pertinent.
posted by cendawanita at 9:23 AM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


speaking of pop culture analysis, The Intercept:
“STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI” TAKES A SIDE IN THE CLASS WAR

In 2002, conservative writer Jonathan V. Last wrote in The Weekly Standard that, “The deep lesson of Star Wars is that the Empire is good,” calling Emperor Palpatine — the main villain and ouright authoritarian of the original trilogy and prequels — an “esoteric Straussian.”

“Make no mistake,” he writes, “as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator — but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet. It’s a dictatorship people can do business with. … The Empire has virtually no effect on the daily life of the average, law-abiding citizen.” Bill Kristol defended the position at the time and again more recently, tweeting that there remains “no objective evidence Empire was ‘evil.’” Conservative blog The Federalist used its review of “The Last Jedi” to mount a quasi-defense of eugenics and Confederate monuments.

Unsurprisingly, The Federalist was not a fan of the most recent film — and for good reason. “The Last Jedi” is a “Star Wars” for populist times and a kind of remake of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary that sides firmly with the left.

Luke Skywalker spends most of the film disparaging the importance of “that mighty Skywalker blood,” all while his nephew and apprentice, Sith, far-right failson (Kylo Ren) tries to live out the birthright-to-evil supposedly gifted from his grandfather, Darth Vader. Rey, grasping for her own prestigious lineage, wants him to teach her the ways of the Jedi, only to be told forcefully that the Jedi themselves — a centuries-old religious order that once functioned as a kind of unaccountable, elite, interplanetary police force — should fade into memory. “To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity,” Luke says.


at this rate i'll need to lie in wait of my fb timeline and see if jacobin posts anything.
posted by cendawanita at 9:49 AM on December 25, 2017 [4 favorites]


Since this thread is still active...

Yeah, I think I'm going to need some fic. Specifically Reylo fic that is angsty, angry, USTy, and not smutty because for me this is one of those ships where I will cease to ship it the minute it becomes sexual or romantic in any way. But I really really want to roll around in the angst of it all and explore the implications, both interpersonal and galactic. Anyone got something for me?
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:40 AM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


Speaking of this thread being active, I want to thank all of you beautiful nerds. This is the first Star Wars movie since, oh, 1983, that has made me truly feel like a fan, delighted and interested and full of theories. I have a personal history with Star Wars that is a little pockmarked by bad and unrelated events, leading me to look at this movie and hope with warmth and girlish delight that every time Luke tosses the lightsaber or Holdo saves the day, there's a fanboy out there who fucking chokes on it. More than that, though, it's just a ton of fun, even -- especially -- where it raises big issues that Star Wars never raised before.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:06 AM on December 25, 2017 [13 favorites]


After a second viewing with my daughter I am more convinced that ever that Kylo was lying to Rey about her parents. The dialog is something like:
Kylo: I know who your parents are. I bet you do too. Say it.
Rey: They were nobody.
Kylo: That’s right, they were junk traders that sold you for drinking money. Now they are buried in a paupers grave somewhere in the desert. You are nobody from nowhere and you are not important to anyone... but me.

I think all of that was complete mind games and emotional manipulation, and I don’t think he knows who her parents were at all.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:44 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


I would be really disappointed if Rey turns out to have parents whom we know. My sense of her basic character arc through 8 & 9 is that she's been learning to manifest her own place in the universe by knowing what she's about, deciding that she has something to offer, and acting on that--like, she's synecdoche for us all, more significant as a hero in that way than Luke, because she's nobody. It's a very Socratic (or indeed, Buddhist, 'a lotus flower for you, a Buddha-to-be') way of looking at people, and deeply empowering. It's not who you are that matters; it's only what you do, day-to-day, person-to-person.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:42 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]


I think all of that was complete mind games and emotional manipulation, and I don’t think he knows who her parents were at all.

That's fine with me, as long as we don't discover that Rey is a secret Skywalker/Kenobi/Palpatine. For me, one of the overwhelming messages of TLJ is that the Force belongs to everyone, not a chosen bloodline - to have it collapse back on one would be really frustrating.
posted by nubs at 12:46 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]


For me, one of the overwhelming messages of TLJ is that the Force belongs to everyone, not a chosen bloodline - to have it collapse back on one would be really frustrating.

So much so that it's literally bookended by scenes where "nobody" characters (Rose's sister and the stable boy, respectively) are shown using the Force.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:52 PM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


In fact, you could make a pretty strong case that the reason the Empire and First Order always comes off as inept bumblers is that their ideological rejection of the Force prevents them from tapping into it in the countless small ways that the Rebels do. Small ways that manifest in plausibly deniable ways as sheer, dumb luck -- because they're not flashy like mind control or lightning or telepathy -- but nonetheless require just as strong a connection to the Force to use.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:57 PM on December 25, 2017 [10 favorites]


Yep, and the more I unpack this film, the more I realize that it matches my own, childhood understanding of the Force, and I expect I’m far from alone (Johnson is one year younger than I am). This movie is a reset, not a deviation or exception.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:11 PM on December 25, 2017 [10 favorites]


So much so that it's literally bookended by scenes where "nobody" characters (Rose's sister and the stable boy, respectively) are shown using the Force.

When did Rose's sister use the force? She had to kick the pole and then made a last-second catch, but I don't remember her do anything physically impossible or force-like.
posted by Mchelly at 3:41 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


I enjoy this thread because I like seeing all the different interpretations, even if I don't agree.

I don't necessarily think Kylo saw Rey's parents, but I think that scene is set more as Rey facing the truth she's always known, via him. I just re-watched TFA and Rey has some internal struggle over leaving Jakku because what if her parents finally come back? But really she knows they never are. And this is why she's chosen to seek out Luke instead of trying to get back to Jakku again. She's giving up her past, the way Kylo is trying to kill his.
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:15 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


I also came around to Rey's parents being "nobody" after re-watching TFA, especially the scene on Takodana when Maz tells Rey that she knows the truth--whoever she's been waiting for on Jakku is never coming back for her.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 4:26 PM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


Regarding Rose's sister, there was a touch of the necklace and a focusing before she kicked the ladder for the final time that suggested if not full fluency, at least a force-adjacent ability similar to Rouge One's blind monk. Or it may have been unintentional, or a fake out.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:41 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]


When did Rose's sister use the force?

Like I said, it happens in a plausibly-deniable way. But that scene was shot to echo Luke's scene in the wampa cave, just upside down, and it happens around the same point in the movie.

Paige pulls the bomb release trigger down to her (according to the ship's local gravity) rather than up from the snow bank, but the same shots are used for both scenes. Paige pauses for a moment to focus herself before the trigger falls, grabbing at the necklace Rose wears the other half of, just like Luke pauses to focus before redoubling his effort and finally freeing his lightsaber. The trigger also hops around a bit before it finally falls free, just like Luke's lightsaber in the wampa scene.

It's a very close homage, and I'm convinced it was deliberate. It was also deliberately subtle, like the broom in the final scene with the stable boy. Easy to mistake for pure luck or happenstance.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:44 PM on December 25, 2017 [26 favorites]


God, I hadn't even considered the parallels to the wampa cave.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:47 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]


Lol yeah, and also the kind of in-text evidence for Han having some Force talent too (iirc fan theories).

I rewatched over the weekend and Paige's moment got me crying from that first climb up the ladder.

Also I rewatched the OT and a bit of ROTS and sincerely the original cast (esp Hamill) really does not get enough credit. In any case I still feel vindicated for all the post-prequel years when I had to stand up for my boy Luke.
posted by cendawanita at 4:51 PM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


But--in addition to its being not exactly an unheard-of thing for even Earth humans to do--we also saw non-Force-user Jyn Erso touching her own necklace for inspiration, and that sequence was easily the most Rogue One-like of the whole movie.

I don't believe that Rey's parents were "nobodies," simply because then it doesn't make sense that the lightsaber on Lupita Nyong'o's planet was left, and left with a memory-trigger for her. Perhaps not deliberately fashioned to set off a memory, but there has to be some reason that touching Someone Else's lightsaber triggered her recollection of abandonment. Admittedly, it's not such a weighty plot-point that it would be unforgivable if they chose to neglect it, but it's enough that I remain very skeptical of Kylo Ren's story even with the ESB parentage-reveal parallel.

he'll get the Sad Whiteboy Redemption Arc.

I really don't think we're out of the woods on this one.

Rey taking responsibility for keeping him in check while they both train a new kind of Force user beyond Jedi and Sith.

As if Rey didn't have 3,820,188 better things to do than babysit a petulant genocidal manchild so that he doesn't petulantly genocidal manchild all over the galaxy again. People are super-invested in this mostly-fanon version of Kylo Ren as "nonstop tortured, groomed, abused"--whatever. He was tempted, like, oh, every other major character in the SW universe, and like pretty much every human being who has ever lived. He fell, and he kept choosing to fall, over and over and over again. (*) He can splatter where he lands.

* Even in his most sympathetic evil action--had he merely knocked Luke down and run off to Snoke, it would've been semi-understandable. But, though we are not asked to think about it much, he slaughtered several of his fellow-students on the way out the door. He also appears to have been recruiting several of Luke's other students for evil in advance, or they wouldn't have just run off with him on the spot.
posted by praemunire at 5:42 PM on December 25, 2017 [12 favorites]


P.S. I enjoyed the movie, though I suspect my liking may not be quite proportional to its actual goodness.
posted by praemunire at 5:43 PM on December 25, 2017


Oh, I did have something I was hoping somebody could explain to me: why wouldn't Admiral Holdo have let Finn and Rose try the tracker mission, if she had been consulted? Not necessarily as the exclusive or first-string plan, but as a gamble that might pay off and that would not, if it lost, cripple the Resistance.
posted by praemunire at 5:48 PM on December 25, 2017


we also saw non-Force-user Jyn Erso touching her own necklace for inspiration, and that sequence was easily the most Rogue One-like of the whole movie.

Sure, but also going by the plausible deniability fan theorising, she's also just as likely a non-aware user. I mean, how she met up with Chirrut is both hilariously staged like a cut scene in an RPG, but also quite quite coincidental in a not-very coincidental way. It's fun to think abt. And Paige's scene can still be a callback without it having to do with the Force, just a remix of how it plays for a plebe.

Now, with Rey's parentage, I'm very much with the take (supported by directorial intent) that she is definitely a nobody, and that's really more than fine for me but I'm also the person who rolled my eyes at the woo-woo mystery of Luke's 'saber at Max's, but even if I want to treat that seriously, TLJ posits an active balance in the Force. So it's just as likely as Kylo became stronger, so did she (for reasons beyond 'the Force' or 'Abrams cannot be trusted to character build heroes, see also nu!Kirk').

Re: Holdo - she could very likely, it's just Poe decided she can't be trusted and that's still at the part of the movie where the audience is still meant to agree with that take.

I really don't think we're out of the woods on this one.

Ain't that the truth.
posted by cendawanita at 6:10 PM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm curious, though, what else would be acceptable for Kylo's character besides Sad Whiteboy arc? It doesn't make sense story-wise to me for anyone to just kill him. Rey and Kylo have both had several occasions to kill each other by now and they haven't done it. And the whole story, to me, is leaning towards saying that just killing the bad guy doesn't work. The endless light-dark battle doesn't work. I will be disappointed if Kylo dies (or martyrs) just because of that. Is there any ending between Bad Guy Dies and Whiteboy Redemption that would actually be satisfying?
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:20 PM on December 25, 2017


One can conceive of any number of Force Macguffins that explain the lightsaber calling out to Rey without involving lineage.

I'm also trying to think of an end to the Kylo arc that would satisfy me. Maybe stripped of his connection to the Force and eternally on the run, unable to find safe harbor anywhere. Or trapped for a couple hundred years in that mirror thing, down in the Dark Side anus on Luke's island. And if there is redemption after that (next trilogy?) then at least it will come after a long period of misery and self-reflection instead of some bullshit single act of self-sacrifice like Vader.

Who are we kidding, it's going to be exactly the Vader thing.
posted by Behemoth at 6:26 PM on December 25, 2017 [7 favorites]


One can conceive of any number of Force Macguffins that explain the lightsaber calling out to Rey without involving lineage.

This is certainly true, but I prefer Occam's Razor for Macguffins until forced to concede otherwise.

I'm OK with the single act of self-sacrifice if it kills him.

The endless light-dark battle doesn't work.

This is where that Nussbaum review seems very relevant. Light and dark isn't like sides in a color war at summer camp, essentially arbitrary. Maybe light can't truly be characterized as pure good, but it's still infinitely better than the alternative. People tend to lose track of this, I think largely because we so rarely see the repercussions of Imperial/First Order rule on ordinary people. Kylo Ren wants to be supreme dictator of the galaxy, he's got a powerful fleet, and he's more than happy to murder every single person who gets in his way. How many deaths are already on his hands, and I mean merely from the point of his killing Snoke? "Just killing" dudes like that? That's what does work. I'm not totally opposed to other methods of neutralizing him, which obviously have a certain history in-universe, but there is no compromising or balancing between genocidal and non-genocidal forces.
posted by praemunire at 8:06 PM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


why wouldn't Admiral Holdo have let Finn and Rose try the tracker mission, if she had been consulted?

Because then they might have worked together and Poe wouldn’t have been taught a lesson e.g. plot reasons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 PM on December 25, 2017


As I wrote earlier, I felt a bit out-of-step with MeFi because I thought that TLJ was fairly good, but not great. Uneven and overlong.

But after I read some articles about how badly attendance has fallen off this week (this weekend has been extraordinarily bad ... something like a 64% reduction from last weekend), I spent some time reading fan reviews on MetaCritic and, well, I don't get it. People really dislike this movie, but I don't understand why. Many people care claiming it is worse than the prequel movies, which is just nuts.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:59 PM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


why wouldn't Admiral Holdo have let Finn and Rose try the tracker mission, if she had been consulted?

She may have been willing to try it, but that's beside the point. Poe didn't give her the option, because he didn't trust her, for reasons that are essential parts of that character's developmental arc.

Is there any ending between Bad Guy Dies and Whiteboy Redemption that would actually be satisfying?

Many of them, and one of the main reasons I'm really excited for Episode 9 is that it could go in almost any direction.* Whether or not the writers can capitalize on this opportunity remains to be seen.


*--I think two things would be great ideas for Ep 9, no matter what direction(s) it goes: starting with a time jump to a few years after TLJ, and with Leia already dead (either recently or some time before we rejoin the story).
posted by LooseFilter at 9:02 PM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


People really dislike this movie, but I don't understand why.

I'm not sure that the evidence supports this:

Audience ratings have been corrupted: An angry fanboy told HuffPost he used bots to flood Rotten Tomatoes with negative reviews of the new “Star Wars” movie.

It's already passing $400 million in ticket sales (forecast to reach at least $600 million).

The large drop in attendance isn't good, but mirrors the last time that Christmas was on Monday:
2006 was the last time that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday and Christmas Day fell on a Monday, which is absolutely skewing the holds and overall numbers heading into the heart of the holiday season.
The industry headlines seem to know this, and are blandly announcing TLJ's continuing box office lead: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Dominates Christmas Box Office, Nears $400 Million in US; 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' repeats at No. 1 with $69M at the box office; Box Office: 'Last Jedi,' 'Jumanji' And 'Pitch Perfect 3' Rule Christmas Weekend; etc.

The only articles really trying to spin this as catastrophic (that I find on quick search) are super butt-hurt, alt-right-dude-bro faux-taunts like this one.

Aaaand, TLJ plus the top two new releases this weekend all together failed to earn as much as just TLJ did last week. So overall receipts way down, likely because of the peculiar timing of Christmas Eve & Day this year. Still no evidence of large numbers of actual people in my real life hating this movie.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:32 PM on December 25, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think the main sticking point with Holdo on the Rose/Finn mission is that Poe does not trust Holdo and Holdo does not trues Poe. It is a plot that is unlikely to succeed, but it is also only risking two people and a shuttle who would've also been risked on the flight to Crait. There could be sticking points on the personnel, since Rose is inexperienced and Finn is valuable as propaganda, but they also both bring necessary expertise to the mission. Other than that it might also just look like a cover for fleeing the doomed convoy. Maybe if it had been an official mission they would've practiced decent operational security and not blabbed sensitive information, or found an alternate, less amoral hacker.
posted by ckape at 9:56 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


That Forbes article that Loosefilter linked is extremely weird, I almost brought it here myself to see if people thought it was accurate. Having dug a bit more it seems not - a day later the 64% drop smoothed out to a 57% drop which is apparently way more in line with expectations - the Forbes article seems more of a gimmicky grab for views, all the other analyses I could find seemed positive.

The audience reviews seem to have been brigaded from the chans and elsewhere a la ghostbusters. I've been mildly annoyed by the amount of both-sidesy articles in, for ex., the BBC, which talk about the audience rating on RT being low but then barely mention this.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:53 PM on December 25, 2017


Just hold on until that Solo movie comes, then they'll be soothed by expertly made pap.
posted by cendawanita at 12:18 AM on December 26, 2017 [7 favorites]


You'd hope so, but all it's going to take is a woman in that film so much as opening a door herself and they'll be out raging over pandering to diversity and how sjws ruined their childhood memories and blah blah blah
posted by ominous_paws at 12:23 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Natch. And don't forget Lando's there as well, so it'll just be fun fun fun. That said, I suspect knives are out, due to the production drama.

in any case I've completely fallen into Disney's trap... it's not like they're hurting for money, but here I am planning another rewatch.
posted by cendawanita at 12:28 AM on December 26, 2017


yeah, the box office decline is being used as evidence in Reddit forums of TLJ being crappy. And yes, that Forbes article is a bit weird but still being used in other fora as evidence for the ax grind. Well, I plan to see it again as a form of spite viewing against Forbes. Poor Disney needs my cash.
posted by jadepearl at 4:12 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Fuck spite, I'm seeing it again this week because it was awesome.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:33 AM on December 26, 2017 [10 favorites]


Saw it a second time yesterday and concur with others who said it's well worth seeing again. I liked it the first time, but thought it was mostly brilliant the second time. The first time was all bound up in expectations and feelings about Luke and Rey. The second time I was just able to watch it and be in the moment onscreen.
posted by Mavri at 5:48 AM on December 26, 2017 [8 favorites]


I went on YouTube over the weekend and there are so. many. butthurt fanboy videos. One way to guarantee that I'll be happy with a franchise reboot is if the fanboys hate it (Doctor Who, holla!). It's that extra frisson of fuck those people that just adds to my enjoyment.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:03 AM on December 26, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm seeing it again this week because it was awesome.

I took my niece and nephew to see it last Friday (14-year-old nephew: maybe best movie he’s ever seen; niece, 18: amazing, but SW will never displace the Potter-verse for her). But their sister (also 14) couldn’t make it, so of course we all had to go again on Sunday afternoon so she could see it, too, which was the third viewing for my wife and me.

IT WAS GREAT THE THIRD TIME THROUGH, TOO.

It's that extra frisson of fuck those people that just adds to my enjoyment.

The schadenfreude is so delicious (and I say that as a white dude!), but I just hate that the creative works brave enough to actually be the kinds of change we want and need to see, are pilloried so baselessly for it. But that’s how it is toward people, too, so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected any different (and this movie has some real truth, so how does that go? First, dismissed as crazy; second, angrily resisted; third, accepted as self-evident. TLJ is clearly a great SW movie—for me, better than ESB—and that truth will out. That’s the biggest advantage of what’s true: it will persist.)
posted by LooseFilter at 6:42 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Watched it again on Christmas Eve and picked out two moments I haven't seen mentioned. There were two scenes where Rey teared up... The first time a single tear rolled down her right cheek, reminiscent of Kylo's scar. The second time, a tear went down her right cheek; then, after a few moments, another down her left. (Balance?)
posted by entropicamericana at 6:43 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


People really dislike this movie, but I don't understand why.

Would you really want a better understanding than "They are pissy little whiteboy gamergoobers" living inside your head?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:38 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


I tend to hang out on YT a lot, and yeah reaction vids and reviews of this movie is such hit-and-miss. I'm just glad the guy who is the Folding Ideas channel and Moviebob liked it. Not that YT understands... the moment I start watching one video, just because it's TLJ-related video, I'm getting all these other nerdrage videos. It did expose me to the amusing fact of follow-up videos from people who had a more balanced view or dislike who had to address THAT nerdrage, and then reading the betrayed comments.

Jenny Nicholson is hilarious as always.
posted by cendawanita at 7:43 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think this is the first Jenny Nicholson video I've ever seen. Not sure I'm gonna subscribe to her channel, but I enjoyed her genuine amazement at the alien horse race scene. And also her giant porg.

"Go to Hell, Timothy Zahn!"
posted by tobascodagama at 8:24 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


People really dislike this movie, but I don't understand why.

In addition to the usual butthurt, TLJ constantly sets up, and then thwarts, the idea that reckless derring-do will save the day. I can see why a certain kind of SW fan would find this frustrating.
posted by praemunire at 8:35 AM on December 26, 2017 [14 favorites]


speaking as an aging gen-xer, i can relate a lot more to a luke skywalker broken down by life, weighted down with regrets, haunted by mistakes, and hiding from the world than i could to an infallible wise warrior monk or whatever these petulant fanboys wanted to see
posted by entropicamericana at 8:35 AM on December 26, 2017 [37 favorites]


TLJ constantly sets up, and then thwarts, the idea that reckless derring-do will save the day. I can see why a certain kind of SW fan would find this frustrating.

Yeah, I expect that accounts for a lot of the non-Goobergrape folks who disliked the movie.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:38 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I woke up today, inexplicably, SURE that we're gonna get a leak that Hayden Christensen appears in IX so that Anakin can ghost-smack Kylo a little. I'm not sure if that could be done well or is too on the nose.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:45 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


TLJ constantly sets up, and then thwarts, the idea that reckless derring-do will save the day.

i'm not saying this apes ESB, but Tru Fanz have really forgotten ESB haven't they. (I wanted to mention AOTC, but I really have forgotten it except for the part about sand.)

re: Jenny Nicholson, I'm pretty sure I saw her first from Mefi with her Suicide Squad script pitch
posted by cendawanita at 8:45 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I’ll have to see it again to confirm (oh, drat) but it occurs to me that there is not a single lightsaber clash in the entire movie. There’s lightsaber action obviously, but Kylo and Rey use their sabers against the red guards, not each other, and Luke doesn’t let Kylo touch him at all. The only moment I can think of where two blades may have come in contact is in the flashback of Luke and Ben and my recollection of that is that Ben disintegrates the hut around them and the blades never meet. Though if that’s the only moment lightsabers clash in the movie, it’s still a strong statement. I’m not sure what it’s stating, exactly. Maybe it’s that the clash of light and dark is not the point anymore.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:35 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


^^ Yes. I definitely think this too. A good-bad lightsaber fight is SO emblematic in the films and I think it has to Mean Something that it's not there.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:39 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Finally saw this and loved it, and am very grateful for the excellent commentary here (I can't believe I read the whole thread!). The good stuff has been covered by many people, so I'll just urge everyone to read Abigail Nussbaum's review, linked by Sokka shot first above. I think the bit that hit me most forcefully was this: "The Last Jedi isn't an art film, but it's the closest the Star Wars universe is probably going to get to one." I hadn't thought about it that way, but I'm sure that's one reason I liked it as much as I did. While I still remember the visceral thrill of seeing the first Star Wars movie when it came out (back when Star Wars meant only that movie, and it was still called Star Wars), I also remember my growing feeling of despair as I realized what the massive success of the franchise (as it became a franchise and not just a kickass sf movie) meant for the American film industry. The '70s had been so great for movies (by which I mean art films because that's the way I roll), and now I realized the future was going to be a comic-book/superhero/space opera juggernaut stamping on a human face — forever. It's not that I can't enjoy such movies, but they have to be good as movies. I don't give a damn about all the fanservice stuff, and I don't care about cool cameos or why the projectiles followed a curved arc (though I'm not dissing those who do care); I want characters I can care about played by good actors with good cinematography and clever dialogue, and this movie managed to clear that bar with ease and grace. (I mean, it was a little long, and I could have done with shorter fight/battle scenes, but as Songdog said when I voiced that minor kvetch, "It's Star Wars, that's part of the deal.") And yeah, it's probably the farthest the franchise is going to go in that direction. So thanks, everyone involved in making it!

Also: no redemption arc for mass murderers, please.
posted by languagehat at 9:44 AM on December 26, 2017 [11 favorites]


Interesting, my recollection was that Luke and Ben did have a lightsaber clash in the hut -- green on blue -- before Ben broke the stalemate by pulling the structure down. I'll have to pay closer attention next time.

Also: no redemption arc for mass murderers, please.

And I think this movie planted a seed for a third way out: Luke literally haunts Kylo for the entirety of the third movie until Kylo does something stupid that results in his own death or else Hux finally pulls a Wormtongue and stabs him in the back for real.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:02 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


I just want to represent those who are becoming Cranky Old People and thought the movie was stupid because it was hokey and cutesy and not well written. I say this because I experienced existential dread over the fact that I was the only one at the Christmas gathering who wasn't impressed by the movie and well at least we weren't arguing about Trump.
posted by angrycat at 10:37 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


But yeah no way was it worse than the prequels. Whoever is saying that is wacky.
posted by angrycat at 10:40 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


admittedly i haven't read everything written about tlj, but i was rewatching tfa the other night and i realized Finn's origin is the same as every Jedi padawan's during the age of the Republic:

"Like all of them, I was taken from a family I'll never know. And raised to do one thing..."

The prequels really fucked up Anakin's arc for me in that (a) he was fundamentally unlikable, (b) he was unrelatable (chosen one), (c) the Jedi Order and nearly all the individual Jedi were unlikable, and (d) there is no possible redemption for someone who kills children.

In ANH, Kenobi said " A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father." To me, it would have been enough for Anakin to have betrayed the Jedi, to have *helped* the Empire by leading them to Jedi in hiding or given them access codes or frequencies. Maybe even killed a mature rival or two. But personally slaughtering children? Nope, sorry.

Who do we see Vader personally kill in the OT? One rebel captain, two Rebel pilots, two Imperial officers, and the Emperor. Hell, Leia probably racked up a higher kill count in the escape from Cloud City.

And yes, there was the Death Star, but Tarkin was the one who gave the order to destroy Alderaan. So yeah, Vader not a mass-murdering psychopath in the text of the OT, though he did work for a couple.

I liked the metatextual commentary in TLJ and the idea that Rey is "nobody" because it helps address some of the big problems created by the prequels for me, but I wonder if J.J. has the stones and the ability to really bring it for Episode IX. He's good at the sizzle, but he's never brought much steak with it. I guess we'll see.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:42 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


i'm not saying this apes ESB, but Tru Fanz have really forgotten ESB haven't they.

I recently, no lie, had to explain to some people that, actually, Luke running off to Dagobah after Yoda's warning did not help his friends and very nearly sank the Rebellion entirely.

But, let's face it, the heroic gesture in the face of desperate odds that succeeds despite everything is a staple of the action genre, and does have solid precedent in SW itself. Even in Rogue One, though everyone dies, the plan succeeds. I can understand why a person who enjoys that might find TLJ frustrating. It's not realistic, but I can't quite beat up on someone for wanting something unrealistic in a space fantasy.
posted by praemunire at 11:24 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


Watching the denouement of this movie really made clear the point that a Snoke-less First Order needs Hux and Phasma a lot more than they need Kylo Ren. The First Order is almost as crippled as the Resistance at this point, and unless they can quickly and mercilessly exploit the resources of several star systems, the Canto Bright arms dealers and moneymen will be calling their shots... and of course, the more the First Order tightens its grip, the more star systems will slip through its fingers.

Really, the only people who need Kylo Ren at this point are triangulating Disney merchmakers.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Who they really need is the captain who died on the dreadnaught. He seemed to be the only one who understood the tactics involved.
posted by praemunire at 11:47 AM on December 26, 2017 [18 favorites]


That guy knew they were fucked from the start.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on December 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


I just saw it last night, at 10 pm on Christmas, and I was completely fine with how the movie treated Kylo Ren and his arc

Then I go on Tumblr and I am 1200% not okay with how the fandom is treating him

It's a part of the Star Wars philosophy that redemption is always possible - our villains always have the chance to take a different path, and that door is never closed to them. (It's actually one of the things the prequels muffed up, I think.) They are villains because they continually make the choice to be so. And I love the way Kylo is written, as very human, and always on the verge of taking that better path.

But I firmly believe that Kylo's character is one that will not ever make that choice. For narrative reasons, the way he mirrors Finn, the role he plays - but also because Star Wars is utterly unprepared to answer the question, what if he does? How do you accept a villain back into polite society? I firmly believe that Star Wars just ... isn't deep enough to do that.

But more importantly, Finn is playing Kylo's redemption arc. They are playing two sides of the same arc, of finding the human inside the machine - and losing the human to the machine. Like Vader's arc and Anakin's arc. You can see it in their names. And in how they run away from and to the First Order, respectively.

Fandom likes to make much of how Kylo was groomed, abused, brainwashed, or whatever, by Snoke. Granting all of that as true - Finn was abused and brainwashed too. He was a child soldier. With a number instead of a name, to represent how he was part of a machine. I've read my fair share of fanfiction summaries that go "Kylo leaves the First Order because of Rey and he makes sad doe eyes and helps the rebellion even though they don't like him." Which is almost precisely what Finn did, from a place of much less power, much less agency, with no one in the galaxy who was waiting for him outside the FO. Finn's story is more liberation than redemption, that's true. But aside from that, they're the same shape, except one arc has a sadwhiteboy attached to it and the other doesn't.

Except Kylo Ren is supposedly 30 fucking years old.

The whole point of this particular movie is that we see the human, Ben Solo, who is making the choice to be Kylo Ren, against many other paths he could take. And we see Rey see that. And the last shot where she sees him, I feel like she's thinking, you had your chance. I will mourn Ben Solo. But I will kill Kylo Ren.

That's what I got from the movie. So to see cute fanart of Kylo and Rey in the snow with mistletoe just makes my fucking blood boil. And that's what I think.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:28 PM on December 26, 2017 [31 favorites]


Now Finn makes a moral choice about what path he's on too, and it has to do with what the codebreaker says to him, which is part of why the Mon'Tecarlo side quest was important, I think. And very interesting to me. The key thing is when the codebreaker says - it doesn't matter what side you're on. The good guys buy weapons same as the bad guys, they're all making profit for these fuckers, and picking one side or another is a foolish thing to do.

And then he demonstrates that, when his lack of loyalty wins him freedom and riches from the FO. And for real narrative symmetry, Finn should have had the choice to sell out too, although I guess that wouldn't have been realistic. Anyway, it's a message that appeals to Finn, because he really hadn't chosen the rebellion yet. In TFA he wanted to just ship out with someone random and leave the story entirely. And then he chose to save Rey instead. But he hadn't yet chosen a side.

In this movie, going to Vegas with Rose gave him the perspective he needed to know what side he belonged on. And when he confronted Phasma again, she made him affirmatively choose that side. And he finally identifies himself as rebel scum. So that's what I got out of that sidequest. I was very surprised to see how it wove in.

It made me really happy to see Finn kick the crap put of Phasma. Because she's presumably responsible for the abuse done to Finn, just like Snoke is the cause of the abuse done to Kylo. It felt like Finn's reaction to her was bound up in their history together, and it made me happy to see him furious for his own sake, for the things that were done to him. Even though Rose told him that wasn't the right way - and thank God it was Rose who had that role, imagine if that role had gone to a skinny white chick - he got to express that righteous fury.

And contrast it again against Kylo Ren - who also kills his abuser. But then takes his place. They both choose what side they're on, and those choices matter. It's not as simple as black and white, Jedi or Sith. But it does matter what side you're on.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:54 PM on December 26, 2017 [25 favorites]


the movie was stupid because it was hokey and cutesy and not well written

It's a Star Wars movie, of course it's going to be hokey and cutesy and not terribly well written. That's sort of like going to a hard-R monster movie and saying that there was too much gore and some of that nudity was gratuitous and the character did dumb things.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:01 PM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


I know that the problem is me.
posted by angrycat at 1:06 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kylo Ren being woobified is basically just Tumblr being Tumblr. It was inevitable from the moment he took his helmet off in TFA.

Despite my above fic ask I 100% desire no woobification, doe eyes, or even redemption whatsoever (I suspect that, like his grandfather before him, whatever redemption he gets will be at the moment of his death). But that's the reason I can't do Tumblr Fandom for basically anything with a villain.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:41 PM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


And he finally identifies himself as rebel scum.

Speaking of, in a movie full of great moments, that one coasted easily into the top five.

This deep dive into Finn's narrative arc makes me appreciate all the more than, in a world of plot-driven blockbusters, TLJ dared to be a character-driven blockbuster. Not a whole lot happens in the movie, if you do a bullet-point synopsis, but nearly every named character has a pretty significant arc and a decent amount of screen time.

I think the only exceptions are DJ the hacker guy and Vice Admiral Holdo, and in both cases it's mostly because the viewers aren't supposed to fully trust them. Although, come on, you expect me to not to be on Laura Dern's side? Oh, and also Maz, who I suspect mostly just appeared because she's also in the next one and the writers wanted to make sure we didn't forget about her.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:25 PM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


And the last shot where she sees him, I feel like she's thinking, you had your chance. I will mourn Ben Solo. But I will kill Kylo Ren.

Yes, definitely. I said it upthread, but there will be no redemption arc for Kylo Ren unless JJ Abrams completely misses (or chooses to disregard) this essential aspect of TLJ.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:28 PM on December 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


TLJ dared to be a character-driven blockbuster.

(On non-preview) That’s it in a nutshell. And because the principals have such satisfying arcs, Ep 9 is wide open.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:30 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


And yet somehow, even more than Luke declaring the Jedi should end, I am more upset at the thought that the outcome for Han and Leia's kid is that he's just irredeemably bad. :(
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:34 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I was bothered by the part where Leia slapped Poe, and I expected there to be some follow up to that moment. Physical attacks on underlings are a hallmark of the evil characters in this series, and I didn't like seeing that from one of the good guys. (Though I don't have the Star Wars chops to know whether this is the first time that has happened.)
posted by yarrow at 2:58 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have the same worry about my brother, sometimes. He's the right demographic to be radicalized on the internet. He plays a lot of video games. You never know for certain what's inside someone ... Even a fictional character with the Force guiding them doesn't truly know what path someone will take.

I don't know. It's a sad thing for Leia, certainly.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:00 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Although, come on, you expect me to not to be on Laura Dern's side?

I spent the whole thing like “Oscar why are you not listening DO YOU SEE HER SHE IS RIGHT THERE AND PURPLE LET HER COMMAND YOU”
posted by middleclasstool at 3:08 PM on December 26, 2017 [8 favorites]


Like we tell our son: they're not a bad person, but they're making bad choices right now.

(Also, didn't Leia slap Han once or twice?)
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:09 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


If I'm reading the room with my usual level of skill, I think it's clear that we all agree on one thing: JJ Abrams can do whatever he wants with IX as long as he caps it off with a rousing rendition of Yub Nub.
posted by duffell at 3:14 PM on December 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


Is there any ending between Bad Guy Dies and Whiteboy Redemption that would actually be satisfying?

Episode 9 opens with the crawl saying that the First Order is already defeated. We then have a nearly three hour film about a war crimes trial of the leaders of the First Order. The testimony of key characters are seen as flashbacks. We learn that there is no epic final stand, no glorious lightsaber fight, and no gigantic explosion the instantly ends the First Order. Instead, it's a grind of multiple small skirmishes, and eventually most of the First Order leadership is either found at border checkpoints attempting to flee, or hiding in some faraway planet subsisting on imperial rations and powdered blue milk.

The ending is entirely text on black background. We learn that Kylo, Hux, and handful of First Order senior command are all found guilty of multiple war crimes and are executed. In Kylo's case, the Republic executes him without much announcement. His remains are burned and the ashes are disposed of in multiple unknown locations across the Outer Rim, to prevent Imperial/First Order sympathizers from using it as a memorial site. Kylo's belongings are also destroyed, to prevent them from being sought after as Sith artifacts.

(Iris Wipe)
(John Williams Star Wars Ending theme plays)

posted by FJT at 3:16 PM on December 26, 2017 [11 favorites]


I think it's clear that we all agree on one thing: JJ Abrams can do whatever he wants with IX as long as he caps it off with a rousing rendition of Yub Nub an elderly Jar Jar waking up to tell his wife, Suzanne Pleshette, about this crazy dream meesa had.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:20 PM on December 26, 2017 [23 favorites]


Fandom likes to make much of how Kylo was groomed, abused, brainwashed, or whatever, by Snoke. Granting all of that as true

...all of which seems to be based on about three not-terribly-specific lines in the movies. And now people are identifying with him as a "bad survivor."

Tumblr, I love ya, but sometimes your discourse around abuse gets a little hinky. Like the other day I saw people complaining about how Megatron was Starscream's abuser. GUYS THEY ARE BOTH MILLENNIA-OLD BAD GUYS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO BE BAD GUYS BAD GUYS DON'T ENGAGE IN CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND EMPOWERING LEADERSHIP TACTICS TOWARDS THEIR MINIONS.
posted by praemunire at 3:46 PM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


This being Star Wars, I'm sure any redemption for Ben Solo will be one final dramatic action that kills him while saving Rey. I don't think the type of justice we'd want to see is within the scope of this story because the amount of atonement necessary is narratively difficult to portray.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:48 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how the guy who killed Han Solo, who was his father, will ever get redemption.

The idea that he should, while continuing to do bad shit, is extremely odd.

"He can be turned" says Rey. I'm like "turned into a pile of ash, yeah"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 PM on December 26, 2017 [10 favorites]




I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if sw is going to grow, move forward and stay vital.

Johnson is completely 100% right about this. I wish I could learn more about these behind the scenes tidbits without having to wade through 80 billion YouTube suggestions that I watch a bunch of nerd rage since I have expressed interest in Star Wars meta.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:59 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Although, come on, you expect me to not to be on Laura Dern's side?

Tulpa me once, shame on you...
posted by mubba at 6:02 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yet another thing I haven't fully thought through is that it's clear Kylo and Hux hate each other, which makes me wonder if there will be some sort of schism or mutiny in IX. Regardless of whether this is part of any redemptive arc.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:31 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


ETA: I see other people have touched on this upthread.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:33 PM on December 26, 2017


Yes, Hux is the wild card. Recall that he was about to pull out his blaster on an unconscious, possibly dead Kylo Ren and only stopped when Ren awoke. Hux, is in charge of the damaged military, but has acknowledged publicly in the field of battle that Kylo Ren is the supreme leader. Can Kylo Ren consolidate his control of the First Order? We are not even sure how the leadership is determined since it is Supreme Leader and not emperor. Can he isolate the commander, who Snoke called a "rabid cur", to his side? The long glance that Hux gave Ren in the final scenes at rebel base spoke of a man who is planning a coup requiring an assassination or two. Three points of weakness for any target: they need to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. Lack of any of the three leads to death.
posted by jadepearl at 6:48 PM on December 26, 2017 [8 favorites]


Having seen the movie twice now, I think it's my favorite Star Wars movie since Empire. Holdo may be my favorite Star Wars character from any movie. Her scene with Leia had me all verklempt. Women leaders supporting each other!

Am I the only one that half expected Luke to appear to the Force-sensitive kid at the end? Using his death to open up a Force Ghost Jedi correspondence school?
posted by zenzicube at 6:53 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one that half expected Luke to appear to the Force-sensitive kid at the end? Using his death to open up a Force Ghost Jedi correspondence school?

There is the question of how those kids found out the details about that battle they were acting out in the improvised-toy story hour they were having before the reality of their situation rudely interrupted and got them back to work. Some have said rumors started by First Order soldiers who were on the scene, but I'm liking your theory here instead. It'd be a hard 180 from views Luke verbalized earlier in the film, but his actions while astrally projecting show he's already made that turn.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:38 AM on December 27, 2017


I don't know if anyone has posted this above (I searched on everything I could think of, but the link could have been hidden behind "great review" or whatever), but if so, it's so good it deserves being reposted: Aaron Diaz, Rey, Rose, and Revolution: The Last Jedi Review. It's one of the best things I've read on TLJ in particular and the series in general; a brief sample:
During her confrontation with Kylo Ren, Rey is not devastated by being a “nobody” because she’s not obsessed with being important like Kylo Ren is. Like any abuser, he tries to break her down by saying she’s a “nobody,” because for him that would be crushing. It obviously hurts Rey at first, as she’s still searching for significance, but as she’s coming to it with a much more balanced worldview, Rey finds self-worth through her contribution to the collective, through helping others. Rey is stronger with the Force than Kylo Ren because she sees the whole, and even more importantly she sees beyond herself. Rey has witnessed the folly of chauvinism, and as such, she’s not tempted by Kylo Ren’s fascist offer: changing who’s at the top doesn’t fix anything, one has to change the system.
It's clarified my thinking about a lot of things.
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on December 27, 2017 [28 favorites]


I just saw it last night, at 10 pm on Christmas, and I was completely fine with how the movie treated Kylo Ren and his arc

Then I go on Tumblr and I am 1200% not okay with how the fandom is treating him


Tumblr is better than Reddit in a number of aspects, and its most awful corners are nowhere near as bad as Reddit's, but it can be a little jarring to go from your average social justice post to one that's "here's pop culture's most popular mass murderer getting cozy with the woman that he tortured." Tumblr Savior is a good way to blacklist certain tags; you could make #reylo one of them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:06 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I just saw this last night (because hotddamn is it hard to schedule babysitting over the holidays) and I kinda loved it.

Specifically, I love it because it is still possible that Rey will stab Kylo Ren in the face with a light saber in the end.

He is a murdering shit, has killed billions of people to soothe his own insecurities. I don't give a flying fuck if Han was too hard on him, Luke failed him, Snoke groomed him and abused him. He is a festering pit of toxic masculinity and he does not get to be redeemed. Kylo Ren consistently chooses violence over non-violence, consistently chooses the pursuit of personal power over the collective good, consistently chooses to feed the beast of his own lack of self worth rather than attempting to heal himself and the world he created.

Fuck him. He is in charge of his own destiny. He leads the First Order. His interior struggles are pathetic in the face of his actions: genocide, murder, destruction, tyranny.

What I want from IX is for Rey to accept, as Luke did, that the choices people make have catastrophic consequences, regardless of why those choices were made. Kylo Ren chooses to be who he is. Some people do not get to be redeemed, in real life or in fiction. I sure hope JJ Abrams can see that too.

I'm sorry, maybe it's post-2016 speaking, but I'm done giving the black-holes of toxic masculinity trying to burn the world down any goddamn leeway.
posted by lydhre at 7:08 AM on December 27, 2017 [23 favorites]


Impressive. This Rian, son of John has generated so much fan hate on all sides. The mark of a true Sith Lord!
posted by FJT at 8:32 AM on December 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


My feelings about Kylo are definitely all tangled up in politics and I don't like it.

Usually I do tumblr on mobile, so no blacklist for me. Really I just shouldn't have gone into the "the last jedi" tag, I should have known better.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:43 AM on December 27, 2017


Fuck him. He is in charge of his own destiny. He leads the First Order. His interior struggles are pathetic in the face of his actions: genocide, murder, destruction, tyranny.

Pretty much. Having Rey trying to turn him after watching the little shit murder his own dad is a fucked up narrative choice that would be laughed/scorned in pretty much any other fictional world.

Kylo as a character is fine, and I generally like his portrayal, but Rey/Kylo thing is just so incredibly fucked up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


If it makes you feel any better, a lot of that shipping isn't based on the premise that they would have a good or healthy relationship. Just interesting and/or hot. Certainly doesn't have to be your cup of tea, but it's not necessarily as valorizing as you might think. I find the meta--where Snoke "seducing" Kylo Ren gets turned into "OMG he was GROOMED by Snoke from childhood, he really had no choice, and Snoke has been ABUSING this grown-ass man, how can you judge him for not being a RESPECTABLE SURVIVOR"--rather more exhausting, because it's making much more explicit and unambiguous moral and ethical claims. Watching a lot of women dutifully obeying their cultural lessons about the necessity of making excuses for horrible men is...tiring. But also an eternal fandom phenomenon.
posted by praemunire at 9:14 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, I bring you good tidings, native Tumblr tag filtering is here, and it works in mobile.

It is subject to your dash is filled with ppl who tag but it does work.
posted by cendawanita at 9:44 AM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


i genuinely don't mind Reylo if it's situated in the fullness of how inappropriate and one-sided it is, but at the same time, I'm also extremely wary of how it'll be resolved, because of who are involved in the development of Ep 9 and the toxic soup of American pop culture masculinity that they have shown themselves to be able reproducers of, as well as the seductive power of 'calling back' on Vader's redemption without even working out if it's earned this time, because if there's anything I can trust from the guys who brought me white!Khan and Batman beefing with Superman for no apparent real reason*, it's that.

(*also the guy who wrote Argo, yes that's right.)
posted by cendawanita at 9:51 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I am fascinated by how times/politics might have changed since '83 and so I sincerely want to know, from the most fuck-Kylo folks, how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?" Did you always feel that way? Are you more...pre-mad at Kylo because you feel like the franchise is headed towards Sadboy redemption for him, too?

I'm especially curious because we see young Anakin do as bad if not worse in the prequels, but I don't remember (??) nearly as much anger that we might have been 'fooled' into feeling sorry or redemptive towards him. Is it because the prequels were so bad no one really gave them narrative weight?
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:58 AM on December 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


because if there's anything I can trust from the guys who brought me white!Khan and Batman beefing with Superman for no apparent real reason*, it's that.

maybe they will pull a revenge of the sith by introducing a one-note villain and killing him in the same film, then spending twenty minutes on a tedious duel with no emotional weight, then spend the last five minutes frantically wrapping up loose ends (aka the stuff that the prequels was actually supposed to be about)

I'm especially curious because we see young Anakin do as bad if not worse in the prequels, but I don't remember (??) nearly as much anger that we might have been 'fooled' into feeling sorry or redemptive towards him. Is it because the prequels were so bad no one really gave them narrative weight?

i suspect a lot of old farts like myself don't see the prequels as canon regardless of what pablo hidalgo and his merry band of nerds at LFL story group say

the prequels are so fundamentally screwed up that they are probably beyond salvation, although there have been hints that the sequel trilogy is trying to address these (as i've discussed upthread), and jj has been quoted as saying IX will unite all three trilogies.

like you, i don't have much faith in their ability to stick the landing. (if you look up "unearned" in the dictionary, it says "see star trek: in darkness")
posted by entropicamericana at 10:08 AM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think it really depends on your social circle and age group, because I've got those that went y i k e s. But the pop cultural weight of the supposed coolness of Vader is too strong, hence me spending those post-prequel years ready to fight anyone who said Luke was not as interesting or cool as Anakin. We've really progressed in social norms tho. I mean Han's schtick with Leia in ESB would've been called out today, no question, and with enough public agreement, not a total pushback.

That is the context where Kylo is created in. Just like everyone agrees not to say anything in-text about the massive amounts of ppl who are not just white men with speaking lines, but it's understood that's how things are now.
posted by cendawanita at 10:11 AM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I loathed Vader's redemption. He was a murderer, full stop, and he chose his path. Also, I grew up with an asshole for a father, so my view might be slightly skewed because of that.

I also loathed Anakin in the prequels. I hated the prequels themselves, but especially Anakin. Whiny little shit.
posted by cooker girl at 10:13 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I’ve been team Fuck Anakin from the beginning. The Jedi order is partly to blame because of how dysfunctional its rejection of human feelings and emotion is and I had empathy for some of Anakin’s actions. But. Once you choose to become a mass murderer it’s all on you buddy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by lydhre at 10:21 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Some of how I explain the in-universe morality of "Force redemption" is that... whether or not this is right, I think "the Force" is presented in universe as such a huge, mystical thing and Force-sensitive people is they have great power but also much more susceptibility to being 'seduced' by the dark side, as they say, because they're plugged into this thing that is so much stronger than any human powers we know. In our universe, we want to believe that people are fully responsible for their choices and act with free will. But there are some in-universe cues that 'the force' makes things happen beyond our control. I don't think the SW universe 'means' that it's okay for bad people to be bad because the force made them bad, but... I think there is/was definitely some grey area (ie Anakin's 'redemption') where it's treated in-universe as a victory for 'the universal Force" because he managed to 'overcome' this huge, powerful dark side that really, most only-human people would be unable to resist. And that helps me make more sense of Luke's hermit-dom, too, if he thinks that it's impossible for the Jedi to continue because the conduit is too flawed for the power, such that the best we can HOPE for in bad guys is that they do one tiny thing right.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:23 AM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


i believe that vader would have worked much better as a theoden type figure, ensnared by the dark side... i read an article that talked about the ensourceled father figure and campbellian myth in regards to star wars but i can't seem to find it right now.

but yeah, lucas sure blew that
posted by entropicamericana at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2017


how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?"

In the context of the OT, it worked for me at the time (I was 12). But the OT was Luke's story and journey; having him be right at the end of ROTJ about his father was part of that - Luke completes his journey, becomes a Jedi, and in so doing inspires his father to make one final right decision. Anakin is redeemed, but it always felt like a very personal thing to Luke - he's the one who burns the body, and can see the Force ghost. For the rest of the galaxy, Vader remains part of the evil Empire that was defeated.

The prequels change the entire arc to be about Anakin's fall and "redemption" and it doesn't work. And I think that's part of the argument TLJ is advancing - this struggle is bigger than the individual, it's about more than the personal connections. This is the living Force seeking balance and it will use whatever & whoever to achieve that; if the Dark side rises, the Light will to meet it (and vice versa, potentially explaining what happened to the Republic and why one Sith Lord could fool the entire Jedi at their height). But it's about more than the Jedi/Sith division, it is also about everyone in the galaxy.

With Kylo at the height of the Dark Side, Rey would appear to be the force rising to meet him...but, just like how ROTJ wasn't the end of things and there were still problems (perhaps because the Rebellion was about restoring the Republic, another time when people like Rose & the broom kid weren't really represented) the choices about how Ren is overthrown/held in check and the decisions made about what the galaxy looks like going forward will matter. Balance - not just in the Force, but in how everything is governed - is what the galaxy should be aiming for. The First Order is all about control and autocracy, and the republican style of governance seems unable to manage against it. Perhaps some form of federalism or fully automated gay space communism is the end game.
posted by nubs at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure I saw Return of the Jedi but

Kylo Ren has had his chance to do the Vader redemption thing. When he killed Snoke. That was the equivalent of Vader killing Palpatine. But he went a different way.

I wouldn't mind him trying to do something good again - like I said, that door is never closed to him. Still! But I think he's shown he's not the person who will take that door. I don't think it would make sense thematically or for his character.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:56 AM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am fascinated by how times/politics might have changed since '83 and so I sincerely want to know, from the most fuck-Kylo folks, how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?" Did you always feel that way? Are you more...pre-mad at Kylo because you feel like the franchise is headed towards Sadboy redemption for him, too

I remember watching it in '83 when I was 19 and thinking that the quick redemption was pretty lame and unearned dramatically.
posted by octothorpe at 11:09 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Twitter thread by Shivam Bhatt: "And that, my friends, is how Star Wars taught me what it meant to be a Hindu. May the force be with you, always."
posted by larrybob at 11:11 AM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


I think Anakin's "redemption" is a cop-out, given that he immediately dies afterward. It's a lot easier to play out the "redeemed in death" trope than it would be to imagine Darth Fucking Vader reintegrating as a functional member of post-Empire society.

If somebody wants to do a spin-off about the New Republic's Operation Paperclip analogue, though, I'd definitely watch it.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:13 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am fascinated by how times/politics might have changed since '83 and so I sincerely want to know, from the most fuck-Kylo folks, how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?" Did you always feel that way? Are you more...pre-mad at Kylo because you feel like the franchise is headed towards Sadboy redemption for him, too?

I always thought RotJ was a major letdown from Empire and full of all sorts of bullshit, with Vader's redemption being a major steaming pile. Dude gets to hang with Ben and Yoda after finally doing what's right? Fuck no.

Luke willing to sacrifice himself to avoid killing Vader? That was just all sorts of awkward-fucked up-no stop it-bullshit too. The prequels just cleaned out the bowl for that horrific flushing.

Of course I'm pre-mad at Kylo, because Abrahams seems exactly like the sort who'd pick up the Sadbly redemption ball and foul the hell out of that shit and Rian Johnson won't be around to catch it and make it better.

I get the shipping up Kylo and Rey, their portrayals are very, very good and the actors have great chemistry. I just doubt that many writers can do such twisted attraction any decent justice, so I'd rather they not.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:16 AM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


quick redemption was pretty lame and unearned dramatically

It's been a long time, but I think this is how I played the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. I was dark side all the way up the last story choice where decided to save the whatever, and I got the light side closing cinematic.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:16 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Or, rather, the movie I'd want to see is about the Star Wars universe's Simon Wisenthal equivalent.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:19 AM on December 27, 2017


This hit my sweet spot: General Holdo and Our Expectations for Female Military Power
posted by Mchelly at 11:19 AM on December 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


Kylo Ren has had his chance to do the Vader redemption thing. When he killed Snoke. That was the equivalent of Vader killing Palpatine. But he went a different way.

He did, and that's interesting to me. If the narrative decides itself (as opposed to us as the viewers making up our minds one way or another, which is totally our right) that a character is 100% irredeemably evil, that's no longer interesting for me to watch. The OT would have been less interesting if Luke had just been like, "Oh, that Vader guy, even though he's my dad? Yeah, fuck that guy forever." Part of Luke's characterization is so wrapped up in his unshakeable belief that there is still good in Anakin--losing that would be rendering not just Vader less interesting (and tbh he's pretty uninteresting just to begin with), but Luke too.

I may not want Kylo Ren to be "redeemed" as far as the narrative itself passing a final judgement, but I like the idea of the possibility always kind of hanging in the air. And it also gives Rey a Luke-like target for her feels on good/evil light/dark side.

When I was a kid, Anakin's redemption played out for me as through the eyes of Luke. Anakin is redeemed in Luke's eyes, or at least Luke's feelings about his father (and terror that he himself could go down that path and never be able to return--Anakin's redemption is reassurance to Luke) get a satisfying resolution, but was I as a viewer feeling like all was forgiven? Yeah, no, of course not. Dude murdered millions in cold blood. But a character's feelings and the narrative's feelings and the viewer's feelings can all be different. That's the sign of a good movie.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:39 AM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Finally saw it last night ! Thanks to my mother in law for babysitting.

I'm a Luke fan girl, so I spent the entire movie trying to understand why he would turn his back on the universe. Not the movie answer (guilty master of failed student!) but personality / values. Here is what I came to: Luke is an idealist. And as failed idealist do, he turned cynic. He always saw the world as black and white, had the purity of heart to launch himself headlong into the empire to try to turn back Vader because it was the right thing to do. So when he fails in his Jedi temple (EU shoutout!), he reacts by running away, shutting down. I can either be perfect light of the universe or a failure. That sort of dualistic thinking. That's what he needed to work out and solve inside himself. So at the end of TLJ when he realizes balance, in his heart made peace with balance, he had finished his life's journey as a Jedi and could dissolve into enlightenment, just like how Ben Kenobi finished his life's work and chose to disappear, as did Yoda.

Oh and yoda was inspired! He showed himself to be the impish "if you meet a Buddha on the path to enlightenment, kill him" sage we know him to be. I half expected him to be warming is tiny feet by the tree fire. It also showed that he was far more of a master than Luke was, Luke who still got caught up in his ideals instead of reality. The whole bit about a masters burden is to be bettered by his or her top student was neat touch.

So once I could grok Luke's arc in depth I could kind of enjoy the movie. I agree it was packed with too much, too many characters that just appeared and didn't feel developed, and I just couldn't wrap my head around how all the traditional arcs were getting flipped around, and ugh del Toro you scene stealer, and Laura Dern whyyyyy, she had no hustle and what awful costuming I couldn't even, I wanted nose woman to take over cuz she had presence. And the rebels just kept getting beat back and back with no respite I honestly felt they were doomed. Or as others have said it really felt like a duology instead of a trilogy.

Noice that apparition Luke projected himself with a tidy hair cut? Guess that's how he looks to himself in his head?

Luke's "we'll study at dawn" and she wakes up and it's totally NOT dawn pissed me off way more than it should have.

I agree that island was inspired. It was the one place that actually seemed pre-existing, like how the OT felt.

Ren/Rey - after the sith guards were killed I was like now what? Skip off into the sunset? Make out? Or... like how about a peace treaty? Turn to the dark side? Really?? Have you learned nothing, there's got to be a middle way...

So maybe if the OT was Joseph Campbell heros journey this series can be Carl Jung embrace your inner shadow self to become a wholly self actualised person? That's the read I'm going with, too bad it wasn't better developed....
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:10 PM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


I am fascinated by how times/politics might have changed since '83 and so I sincerely want to know, from the most fuck-Kylo folks, how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?" Did you always feel that way? Are you more...pre-mad at Kylo because you feel like the franchise is headed towards Sadboy redemption for him, too?

Darth Vader was always kind of a standard issue, mustache twirling villain to me. He was a jerk in the OT, but to me, because like a lot of fans I filter this stuff through my own experiences, there wasn't the same menace to Vader as there is to Kylo Ren.

In TFA Kylo Ren kidnaps Rey, restrains her and among other things says, "...and you know I can take anything I want."

At that point, I wanted him dead.

If they go with sadboy redemption for him I will be incandescent with rage. Forever.
posted by dorkydancer at 12:41 PM on December 27, 2017 [12 favorites]


Well, Vader had Leia as a prisoner and her questioning was off screen with a robot holding hypodermics. Vader marches in and the door closes. I agree that Kylo Ren's potrayal has been more personal. I put this down to the mask removal during TFA during Rey's questioning as opposed to Poe's questioning and of course, the full facial reveal where it all driven by the actor's ability in Last Jedi. The scripts force a way more intimate knowledge of the villain. Vader was dangerous but a cipher in many ways. The next script is going to be very interesting.
posted by jadepearl at 1:37 PM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm late to this party as per usual and have nothing original or constructive to add, but I'm hoping someone recalls reading or seeing something, anything, about hygiene/grooming/spa (?!) facilities on Empire or First Order ginormous ships. For example, would chest waxing be done by droids or people? Asking for a fic...I mean, friend.
posted by esoterrica at 1:47 PM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


That raises some interesting questions about Finn, actually. You'd assume that droids would do all the unpleasant grunt work, but Finn is quite explicit about being a janitor. We also see medical droids working on Kylo's facial scar, which is highly technical work that requires fine attention to detail and extreme precision.

So my conclusion is that droids do the waxing but humans clean up the chamber after.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:18 PM on December 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Like, a master is always supposed to unconditionally love his student and work through all setbacks and so on, and when it came down to it, for a moment Luke thought he was unteachable and worthless. Luke failed his own ideals and it stung deep.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Finally got around to seeing this. And reading all the comments. I was pretty meh on the film. The bad parts stood out glaringly bad. Space Monte Carlo was just terrible. Lando del Toro was also terrible and wasted. And Force Angel Leia was just awful and sappy and bad. The other thing that didn't work for me was the humor, it felt awkward and out place the same way much of the humor falls flat on The Orville.

But what I loved was Rey and Kylo. I mean Kylo's problematic as a romantic lead, what with all the murdering, but the two of them together are so delicious. I've always loved the hokey Manichean stuff in Star Wars lore, the balance of the dark and light. For a brief moment I hoped Rey was going to take Kylo up on his offer, to join him after he assassinates Snoke, to kill all of the past and rebuild a glorious New Order with fabulous costumes and force supremacy everywhere. That'd be something to watch. But no, of course not.

Rose was terrific and a fresh surprise in the show. I loved having a fangirl represented in the show, one who proves her self smart and heroic. More like that please.
posted by Nelson at 5:09 PM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


Noice that apparition Luke projected himself with a tidy hair cut? Guess that's how he looks to himself in his head?

I also thought he looked noticeably younger (less grey in his hair). My other theory is that he wanted to look more like he did the night of the attempted murder, in order to maximize Kylo's rage and short-circuit his critical thinking abilities.

I'm especially curious because we see young Anakin do as bad if not worse in the prequels, but I don't remember (??) nearly as much anger that we might have been 'fooled' into feeling sorry or redemptive towards him. Is it because the prequels were so bad no one really gave them narrative weight?

I loathed prequel Anakin, did not find him the slightest bit sympathetic (except in the first movie, before his atrocities started). I think his redemption arc was always problematic, but even more so in light of his behavior in the prequels. In my particular corner of fandom, "Fuck Anakin, why are they trying to make us feel sorry for a mass murderer of children?" was the prevailing sentiment at the time. Maybe if I'd dug a little deeper back then, I would have found some Anakin apologists that would have annoyed me as much as the Kylo apologists do now.

General thoughts about the movie: I see some of the flaws other people have pointed out, but I still love it. I am a huge fan of subversion of expectations/tropes, so of course this movie was like crack to me, and it's surely the prettiest/most expensive movie that will ever do that for me. It felt like there were a zillion ways for this movie to screw up from my POV, and it avoided all of those traps. But even on a second watch, where I didn't have the tension of "OMG are they seriously going to do a retread of Vader's redemption arc in ROTJ", it was still an absorbing, interesting story for me. Like cendawanita, I suspect this is a one-time-only phenomenon, and we'll be back to more traditional SW movies in the future.

I'm in the minority in liking the casino storyline. Running away on the goat-horse thingies was fun in a way that the other two storylines were not.

I was puzzling over how Luke handed Leia the dice, then on my second watch, I noticed that some rain appeared to transfer from Rey to Kylo in one of their ForceTiming sessions.
posted by creepygirl at 6:36 PM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


I sincerely want to know, from the most fuck-Kylo folks, how do or did you feel about Anakin's 'redemption'? Did you feel good about it on first viewing and have since said "actually, Anakin doesn't deserve shit?"

Well, he basically killed himself taking the Emperor, the most evil and terrible figure in the galaxy, out. If he had lived, does that mean he shouldn't have spent the rest of his miserable life in space-prison somewhere? No. Since he didn't survive, do I begrudge him a moment of reconnection with the kid he was in the process of giving his life saving, in the midst of his recognition that the cause and the master he had devoted his entire life for decades to was wrong? No. Is that "redemption?" Only in the very loosest sense of the word. There was some good left in him. Luke found it. It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

And, sucky as the prequels were--and, oh, were they--if you just look at the events, squinting past the gloss, you have to recognize that Anakin went through an unbelievable series of traumas, partially connived at or acquiesced in by the people we are (and he was) asked to regard as the good guys. Comparing slave-born Anakin, taken away by people who abandoned his mother to slavery and death, to Kylo Ren, child of loving parents brought up in freedom, really only makes clearer Kylo Ren's garbage nature.
posted by praemunire at 8:16 PM on December 27, 2017 [20 favorites]


Finally got a chance to do a second viewing today, and I emphatically agree that the issues from the first viewing didn't bother me as much, even the Canto Bright storyline. Foreknowledge of the plot took care of any pacing weirdness, and I imagine that reading this entire thread helped me appreciate a lot of the details much better. Would now solidly place this in the #2 spot behind ESB... and that's not an entirely fair comparison, because ESB worked with a much less defined universe and therefore didn't have to carry so much legacy plot burden. And I would further consider one or two moments (thinking here of the beginning of the red guard fight and the lightspeed suicide attack) unmatched visually, stylistically, and uh... Star-Warsically by anything in prior films.
posted by Behemoth at 8:26 PM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


One of the discussion points is the relationship between Kylo Ren/Ben Solo with Rey. As mentioned by others, the acting of both Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley was very, very good and made the tension between them believable. Making their issues way more believable and tragic. Just finished rewatching Episode 2, Attack of the Clones, and man, there is no chemistry or depth between Amidala and Anakin. Part of the polarizing feelings about Kylo is how believable the performance and attendant emotions shown by both characters. I believe Kylo's whining way more than young Anakin's. I had a very hard time watching the prequals and believing this was the source material for Darth Vader. The relationship between Rey and Kylo is way more tragic and believable than Anakin and Amidala. After watching Episode 2, it is way creepy to me Anakin's pursuit of Amidala and if you watch it in context of the Cat Owner story in the New Yorker then just wow. What I am saying is that if Kylo Ren negging Rey freaked you out then Anakin's stalking and mansplaining of Amidala is super creepy. I just told the daughter to avoid Anakin light in her real life.
posted by jadepearl at 9:12 PM on December 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


That reminds me of a youtuber who's by now pretty happy that (for the moment) his personal theory that Rey/Ben is Padme/Anakin reborn can still be in play. I'm not a Reylo fan, but his video essays are interesting to listen to, and probably revisit once the last one comes out. Yeah, the lengths I go to just to find even marginally positive fan content on this movie.

The “backlash” against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained - I like this one, I feel it's pretty balanced.
posted by cendawanita at 9:27 PM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


“This is Not Going to Go the Way You Think”: The Last Jedi Is Subversive AF, and I Am Here for It

Star Wars has always had its finger on the pulse of the cultural fear of the moment. In the original trilogy in the 1970s and early 80s, it was The Man– an evil establishment that needed to be purified by a younger generation. In the prequels of the 90s, it was evil corporations secretly colluding with a corrupt government to create endless war.

Now, in early 21st century America, the villain is an unstable young white man who had every privilege in life, yet feels like the world has wronged him. Unbeknownst to his family, he finds and communicates with a faraway mentor who radicalizes him with a horrific, authoritarian ideology. By the time his family finds out, it’s too late, and now this unstable young white man has this horrific ideology, access to far too many weapons, and the desperate desire to demolish anything that he perceives as a threat– or is told to perceive as a threat.

posted by cendawanita at 10:43 PM on December 27, 2017 [17 favorites]


I was 13 when I saw Star Wars 10+ times when it first came out. I loved Empire Strikes Back. I liked parts of Return of the Jedi but hated Han Solo's lazy performance and the cuteness of the Ewoks.

I hated the sequels, primarily because they're bad movies, and bad Star Wars movies. Anakin Skywalker is a whiny brat throughout, so who cares if he goes to the Dark Side? Go, go to the Dark Side. I also hate them, I guess, because they "ruined my childhood," but por que no los dos?

I dispute the notion that any of the Star Wars movies, especially the prequels, are kids movies. Mass murder, slaughtering a temple full of children, and trade disputes aren't kid stuff.
Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.

While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict....
Taxation? Blockades? Congressional debates? Yep, kids love that stuff.

I liked The Force Awakens a lot (saw it in the theater twice), liked Rogue One even more, and really liked The Last Jedi.

I didn't feel at all like The Last Jedi was a repudiation of the movies that came before. I would've been fine if The Force Awakens had none of the characters from the original movies, and the sooner we get away from the Solos and Skywalkers the better. (If I remember correctly, back in the day Lucas said that C3PO and R2-D2 would be the only characters that would appear in each of the then-planned nine movies.)

I hope that Rey's not related to anyone, and I hope we never hear about the broom kid again.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:52 PM on December 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


December 2016: The Current, Canonical Star Wars Timeline
After Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, the official Star Wars canon was reset; all the books, games, and comics that had taken place in the Star Wars Universe were re-labeled as “Legends.” Only the six existing saga films and the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (including the theatrically released feature length pilot) were left as official Star Wars. In the four years since, new Star Wars stories have been added to the new timeline, from novels and comics to a new animated series – Star Wars: Rebels. Unlike in the previous decade, all of the canonical Star Wars content can be placed on a single timeline with little to no conflicts of plot or character.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:54 PM on December 27, 2017


I did crack up when everyone made the transition to calling it the 'Rebellion' though. Like, I could just picture Rian Johnson watching TFA thinking 'fuck this "Resistance" shit' and throwing it out at the first possible opportunity.

What are they rebelling against, though?
Whadda you got?

Isn't the First Order more of a rival claimant for power than the established government?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:58 PM on December 27, 2017


Great to see Disney/Lucasfilm already fucking up the new chronology by having "a now-defunct mobile game" contain canon story elements.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:00 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Praemunire, we are are talking about the same Anakin who ignored Amidala turning down the relationship more than once and stated the conversation made her uncomfortable? Same Anakin who tried to kill pregnant Amidala? Neither Anakin or Ren are charmers to the objects of their affection.

Also,
by modelling how much more acceptable you find shitty behavior from a hot dude, you'll be setting her up nicely for him.
In pointing out Anakin's behaviour, you assume that I support Ren's behaviour and am preparing my daughter for acceptance of that kind of abusive behaviour....I could use a Skywalker quote about how every word you just said is wrong but that seems a bit much. In any case, I vehemently disagree with your assumption of my approving Ren's behavior
posted by jadepearl at 1:10 AM on December 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah regarding Anakin vs Kylo, I'd say in the scene where he proposes to Rey, and the camera cuts to Rey's face with a blank expression, I was totally thinking that what was going through her mind was, "WTF is he actually this mad?", stunned disbelief, etc., which was then confirmed by her rejection of his offer. But that's the difference, because with Anakin, Ani was totally a sweetie and naive but also creepy in how he started to treat Amidala. So Anakin's danger was more internalized and covert, and mixed with sweetness, was gradually developed, etc., which is what makes it more dangerous because it was less identifiable. And I think that was depicted in Episodes II/III; it didn't dawn on Amidala immediately whereas with Kylo's explicit ruthlessness and authoritarianism, the line is much clearer for Rey. If that makes any sense.
posted by polymodus at 4:59 AM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Isn't the First Order more of a rival claimant for power than the established government?

That was the situation at the beginning of TFA. Accordingly, Leia's Resistance was unsanctioned, to avoid provoking the renewal of open war between them. Then, of course, the First Order unveiled Starkiller Base by annihilating the five most important planets in the New Republic. Even though Starkiller Base was later destroyed, the damage was done, and the First Order is basically the lone superpower in the galaxy as of TLJ. That seems to be the movie's demarcation between "Resistance" (underground fighters trying to prevent one of the two reigning superpowers from steamrolling the other) and "Rebellion" (underground fighters trying to overthrow the lone, unchallenged superpower in the galaxy).
posted by tobascodagama at 5:12 AM on December 28, 2017


> The “backlash” against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained - I like this one, I feel it's pretty balanced.

Yeah, that's a nice piece (although it went into too much detail about the various backlash elements for me, since they pretty much all make me roll my eyes); here's an extract:
An idea I’ve seen bandied about a lot online in the wake of the backlash is that Star Wars is for everyone, not just a certain subset of fans who feel a certain way about the projects. Whether you love Rey or Luke best, whether you think Jar Jar Binks is hilarious or not, whether you think Han shot first or not — Star Wars is for you, and for everybody who disagrees with you too.

But having that big of a tent (and Star Wars just might be our last big-tent American pop culture thing) means you inevitably have to rub elbows with people who’ve entered the tent thinking something very different from what you think. If Star Wars is going to continue being a major force in pop culture, then it needs to keep adapting.
> by modelling how much more acceptable you find shitty behavior from a hot dude, you'll be setting her up nicely for him.

Dude, that was a really shitty thing to say.
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on December 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


The first time I saw it I was blown away by the spectacle. The second time I actually felt the loss of Luke. The third time is coming up this week, this is when I really pay attention.
posted by h00py at 5:54 AM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Instead of arguing about whether Anakin or Kylo was worse of an abusive shit, let's try this on for size and move on: They're both worse.
posted by duffell at 6:43 AM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think Luke's sacrifice was an attempt not only to help the Resistance escape but to bring some closure to his nephew. He felt guilt and shame and removed himself from the goals Kylo had. He appeared as he was when he tried to murder him in his sleep and now he will be with him forever, like his father.

I know some people seem to think Kylo will go unredeemed and deserves to die but I've been following this on Tumblr for the last 2 years and the Kylo/Adam Driver hate is ridiculous and unconstructive so all I have to say is, Han Solo died trying to bring his son back. Snoke reprimands Kylo in the beginning by saying he has too much of his father's heart and the murder of his father split his spirit to the bone. I refuse to believe that the son of Han and Leia, my original OTP is not going to come back from the darkness. But as the movie implicitly imagines, he has to do it himself. Han tried, Rey tried but it is up to him to save himself. And he'll probably come to a reckoning in IX because Hux has it in for him. Why would they reference Ben Solo over and over if not to imply that he's still in there, under the mask and black garb?
posted by nikitabot at 6:53 AM on December 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Why would they reference Ben Solo over and over if not to imply that he's still in there, under the mask and black garb?

"This is not going to go the way you think"

J.J. Abrams is back co-writing and directing the finale, so all bets are off, IMO. Rian Johnson might have done something really interesting with finale, but the switch back to Abrams probably means whatever interesting seeds planted by Johnson won't be brought to bloom.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:01 AM on December 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


J.J. Abrams also laid the seeds for his internal conflict and the mirroring he has with the Rey, and stated that he wished he'd written the RJ's screenplay, he thought it was so good. So call me optimistic. After all, the overarching theme of Star Wars has always been about hope.
posted by nikitabot at 7:24 AM on December 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


a reckoning in IX because Hux has it in for him.

they definitely played up a sort of sibling rivalry between hux and kylo in tfa and tlj, hankering for dear papa snoke's approval, and there was hux about to shoot kylo while he was unconscious, but they also played hux a little too much for comic relief in tlj for him to seem like a credible villain. still, it would be better than introducing some new antagonist.

Why would they reference Ben Solo over and over if not to imply that he's still in there

also: "no one is ever really gone"
posted by entropicamericana at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


I dispute the notion that any of the Star Wars movies, especially the prequels, are kids movies. Mass murder, slaughtering a temple full of children, and trade disputes aren't kid stuff.

Just because the prequels were really shitty at being for kids doesn't mean they weren't for kids, in the same way that just because socks are (usually) a shitty present for a kid doesn't prevent them from being, in fact, a present for a kid.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


My trash theory as of today is that Hux will mutiny and take over the First Order, Kylo will be pissed and offer some manner of intel or aid to the resisistance, and Rey's dilemma will be that she wants to take the offer and work with him to some capacity, and may end up making some enemies and/or temporarily leaving the resistance in that process.

It makes sense to me because we still haven't seen Rey have a real struggle with a dark side. There was no "Luke putting on the glove and music swells" moment in the throne room. I think that needs to happen.

They also really played up the "no, I saw a vision and you turned sides" between Rey and Kylo, and then nothing really happened with it? So this could be a way that they both sort of switch. Still no idea how it'd end though.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:01 AM on December 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


*ETA Luke doesn't put on the glove, in ROTJ, he just stares at it, but I always read that scene as a deep moment of conflict as he ponders how powerful his anger just made him.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


They also really played up the "no, I saw a vision and you turned sides" between Rey and Kylo, and then nothing really happened with it? So this could be a way that they both sort of switch. Still no idea how it'd end though.

Yeah, and the mosaic that was in the shallow pool on Ahch To is a yin yang symbol of a dark and light Force user.

Thematically, Anakin's saber also plays into the contest between their respective paths. In TFA, the saber chose Rey but at the end of the Throne Room battle scene, the light saber breaks apart. The Force's will is that neither one of them gets it. Interestingly enough, in the battle, they both used each other's sabers and only at the end, were either of them possessive about Anakin's saber.
posted by nikitabot at 9:31 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Only saw this yesterday so my thoughts are a little unformed. However:
- The tracking through hyperspace put me in mind of of '33' from Battlestar Galactica, which made me think:
- Huh, Mary McDonnell should be in this somehow. She'd be fantastic. Which then in turn led to:
- Someone's going to have to pretend to be Carrie Fisher in the next movie. MM could pull it off!
posted by orrnyereg at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


God I loved this dumb movie, and I think the throne room battle just sent me off into space, it was such a wonderful climax of character and action. I like the movie s deepening of the concept of rebellion, although this concept was always part of star wars, and expanded in the prequels, that the struggle is against an imperial war machine, and the conditions that foster war, not just against fascists who run the best-dressed war machine. although given the vapidity of rogue one, I m sure the next movie will bury that idea to sell more battle scene set piece toys
posted by eustatic at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just about to go in for my second viewing with the kids. Not sure what the concern is about the box office is; we barely got 3 seats together.
posted by nubs at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Something to note is that the light saber that Rey and Kylo were fighting over is a saber that has both a good and bad history. Someone else more of a Star Wars fan can confirm that this is the same light saber that has been used by both a Sith and Jedi; killed two emperors; the tool used in Anakin's temple murder spree... Man, I would totally get a Fred Saberhagen-esque treatment of that light saber being a wee bit sentient. Also, in Rogue One, is the destruction of that Jedi temple mean no more light saber construction?
posted by jadepearl at 10:29 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I was also wondering that: can those old-ass books teach Rey how to build a lightsaber? Or can she go back to Luke's planet and get his? Do we even know if Luke kept it? Oh man, the feels.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:37 AM on December 28, 2017


That scene with Rey and Leia definitely implied that Rey would build a new lightsaber from the remains of that one. Rey is a skilled scavenger of technology as it is, I'm sure she'll be able to figure it out between the Ancient Jedi Texts, her technical knowledge, and her and Leia's perception of the Force. (I bet Maz is gonna figure into it somehow, as well, since she was the keeper of the saber at the start of the new trilogy.)
posted by tobascodagama at 10:56 AM on December 28, 2017


Also, in Rogue One, is the destruction of that Jedi temple mean no more light saber construction?

No, Luke built his second one himself. Vader comments on it.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2017


Also, in Rogue One, is the destruction of that Jedi temple mean no more light saber construction?

Given that Luke constructs a lightsaber between Empire and Return (or at the very beginning of RotJ if you go by the radio drama) and those events happen after Rogue One, the answer to this question is a pretty solid no, lightsaber construction is totally still a thing after the destruction of the temple.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


The next movie up is apparently the Han Solo prequel, which, uh, I don't have high hopes for. Who knows, but. There's an inherent challenge in writing an arc for Han that a) has enough growth to hang a movie on and b) ends with him being the smuggler scoundrel we see at the beginning of the series. It's not impossible but what I'm expecting to get is "Han Solo does cool things in space."
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 11:26 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, the debris fields of green khybur crystals around Yavin 4 and Endor's forest moon are probably pretty picked over by now.
posted by ckape at 11:29 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the Last Jedi, was that a light saber crystal that Luke is wearing and in his personal items on Ach-to? Anyone with a better visual memory of the beginning Luke scenes including the one where he puts away his Jedi robes can propbably confirm. Rey, potentially has access to more than one crystal, if so.
posted by jadepearl at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2017


The Force alchemists on the Ghar-dhal system transmuted more than enough kyber crystals from bantha dung to keep the next trilogy flush with new laser swords.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


- Someone's going to have to pretend to be Carrie Fisher in the next movie. MM could pull it off!

MM is a fantastic actress, but I really hope that the movie deals with Leia/Carrie's passing with as little CGI/stand-ins as possible. Preferably none. Yeah, I'm being emotional about it, actors replace other actors all the time. But damnit, this is Leia and nobody but Carrie should be in that role.

They really should have swapped Holdo and Leia for the lightspeed ram. It would have been a fitting end for Leia and given Holdo an expanded role in the next film.

That the creators didn't do that, while implying that Leia was to have a larger role in the final film is troubling as hell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:00 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think most of the powers that be have made clear that they won't recast or CGI Leia into Ep IX. And that they do indeed have to rewrite major portions since she was supposed to have a big role.

My best guess or hope, as others have mentioned, is that they'll fast-forward a few years and explain her offscreen death. Maybe she got assassinated by a double agent inside the resistance. I know lots of people are demanding a glorious exit for her, but I think, given Carrie's death, it's okay for even a space opera to say "sometimes even heroic people die randomly and without much glory."
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


I would love a scene in the next movie of Rey visiting the ruins of Jedha to find a kyber crystal and more old Jedi lore. Maybe some writings left behind by Chirrut Imwe that survived or something... I really want to see them return to the ruins left after a previous movie ever since I read about the scrapped idea from TFA where there would be some underwater exploration of Death Star II ruins that fell into an ocean on Endor. One of the few things I liked about Jurassic World was when they stumbled on the old visitor's center, I know it was criticized for pandering to nostalgia but there's just something I love about it, it's like that feeling of visiting where you grew up to find things are changed and you can never go back. Plus, a cracked and ruined planet would be a cool setpiece, and some acknowledgement of Rogue One and the Rebels era of the series would be nice to see in a main series movie.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


> It's not impossible but what I'm expecting to get is "Han Solo does cool things in space."

That... would be OK with me. (Actually, I'd like to see a spinoff series with people leading their lives inside the SW universe with little or no connection to the Force and interstellar politics. What do the bar employees do when they're off work?)

> But damnit, this is Leia and nobody but Carrie should be in that role.

Agreed.
posted by languagehat at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


In the Last Jedi, was that a light saber crystal that Luke is wearing and in his personal items on Ach-to?

It was, or at least a fragment of one. Sith-flavored though. Some of the more die-hard fans of the pre-Disney "Legends" continuity are trying to use that necklace to claim that Darth Revan, a key figure of the Old Republic era, is still canon under the Mouse.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:42 PM on December 28, 2017


I refuse to believe that the son of Han and Leia, my original OTP is not going to come back from the darkness. But as the movie implicitly imagines, he has to do it himself. Han tried, Rey tried but it is up to him to save himself. And he'll probably come to a reckoning in IX because Hux has it in for him.

I think this is a basic difference in perspective that underpins conflicting opinions about Kylo Ren's possible redemption. I don't think there is any person named 'Ben Solo' separate from the actions of the body that person inhabits. Ben Solo is already dead. Kylo Ren killed the (presumably) good and decent young Ben Solo when he started ruthlessly murdering, and kept on ruthlessly murdering, and continues to ruthlessly murder.

I am sad, so sad, that Han and Leia made a beautiful boy who turned himself into a monster, but that is literally the stuff that makes it bona fide tragedy. Han Solo died because he believed that there remained a person inside of Kylo Ren, who is kind of the same but essentially different, who was his beloved son. That speaks hugely well of the human being that Han learned to become, and his deep love as a father, but that his hope cost him his life is the confirmation that there is no Ben Solo to save. In this sense, Kylo Ren "sav[ing] himself" cannot happen; all that can happen is that Kylo Ren may remember whom he used to be, might feel what it used to be like to be framed by love and compassion, and decide to stop doing horrible things and maybe do a couple of good things.

But Kylo Ren has committed sins and crimes for which there is no atonement. None of the hundreds (thousands?) of lives he has snuffed out will ever re-ignite--Han Solo can't be "saved," nor can any of the poor villagers from the opening of TFA, or etc. Their lives were ended forever, just like Kylo Ren ended Ben Solo's life forever when he chose to become--and to continue to be--a murdering, evil bad person. (Imagine what it would have been like, to have Vader survive the end of ROTJ and just become jovial dad Anakin--would you really accept that character at all? Hanging around, making jokes, playing with his grandson? Every time I would see or think of Anakin loving and playing with his grandson Ben, I would think 'yeah, but what about all the children you murdered?' I care much less about what kind of personal revelations Anakin or Ben did/may attain, or how they may grow as a person, than I do about seeing them held accountable for their choices and actions. ROTJ kinda gave us both, allowing Anakin to remember who he was before Darth Vader for just a moment, and allowed Luke to know his former self ever so briefly, to see his dad for just a moment there at the end. But Darth Vader had to actually die, he was evil and deserved it.)

I absolutely understand--and share!--the emotional desire and need to see Ben Solo come back to the light or whatever, to stop being a mass-murdering villain, to be Leia & Han's amazing boy again, but for me that simply cannot ever happen in a credible way. Some actions you can't take back or move past, some sins cannot be atoned for, and while my emotional desire is for those things not to have happened, and to try to take them back in some way by "redeeming" the person who did those horrible things, that's just not possible (who will restore the lives of those whose were stolen?). While we may get some noble act of self-sacrifice that mitigates our memory of Ben/Kylo, like with Anakin in ROTJ, he still is mostly the monster he chose to become and should rightly be remembered that way, and held fully accountable for it.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:51 PM on December 28, 2017 [16 favorites]


They really should have swapped Holdo and Leia for the lightspeed ram. It would have been a fitting end for Leia and given Holdo an expanded role in the next film.

That the creators didn't do that, while implying that Leia was to have a larger role in the final film is troubling as hell.


That's a cool idea, and would have a been an epic end to Leia's life, but would have robbed us of her final scene with Luke, which is one of the best things ever filmed in a Star Wars show of any kind. I don't find the choice to have released the film as planned to be troubling, I think it's a choice that honors Carrie Fisher as an artist, and us, the audience, as deeply invested in that. It also gives us a couple of the best Leia scenes (and lines) ever.

Rian Johnson was very open that their decision was rooted in honoring both the work and the audience:
I felt really strongly that what we have here is so beautiful and the way that the character develops, the way it's paid off, and not only that, the horror of trying to manufacture something that — I don’t even know what it would have been, but something for the end of this movie that leaves it in a place where the transition is easier, the idea of, "Oh God, how would you fake something like that, and how would it not be terrible?" Given that we have a beautiful, complete performance from her that I think audiences deserve to see, and I think it will mean a lot for them, that ray of hope from Leia. For all of those reasons I felt really strongly that we had to let this fly.
What's frustratingly difficult about having to make that decision, deciding how to move forward, is that real life happened and was not a choice and cannot be changed or rewritten. What those of us living in real life need and want doesn't always align with what may be dramatically best for the story, but so it goes. Sometimes fiction takes a backseat to our real selves.

I really, really respect Johnson's perspective and decision on this. It honors Carrie Fisher as a person and creative artist, it honors the movie itself by respecting its integrity, and honors the audience by knowing that this is not just mere story or make-believe, and that our feelings are real and complicated. There was/is no right decision here, but I am grateful that Johnson is the person he is, and that Kennedy and Disney agreed with his perspective on this.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2017 [23 favorites]


Yeah, I think that any rewrite that killed off Leia in this movie would have been a massive detriment. And it would have diluted the end of Luke's arc as well. Why kneecap a good movie to make things easier for an unwritten sequel of as-yet unknown quality?
posted by Behemoth at 1:28 PM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


They really should have swapped Holdo and Leia for the lightspeed ram.

That’s more ham-handed than a high five from Jek Porkins.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


THAT'S "HERO OF THE REBELLION" JEK PORKINS TO YOU, YOU BIG MOOF-MILKER
posted by entropicamericana at 1:36 PM on December 28, 2017 [18 favorites]


Also, the interview I quoted above also has this great bit from Johnson, on his differences with Mark Hamill about Luke (emphasis added):
Mark's had nearly 30 years now to think in his head what the return of Luke Skywalker would be. First of all, there's no way what I came up with was going to exactly line up with what you expected, but I think what I came up with is one of the things he least expected, which is kind of this Fisher King-type character, someone who had taken himself out of the fight and genuinely believed that the world was better off without what he has to offer.

For me, it was the process of talking to Mark about why the character was the way he was, the process of talking him through it and arguing about it and butting heads and then coming together about it. It was a really good process. It was something that a) made me dig into it more myself through having to justify to Mark, to really understand it on a deeper level myself of why it was going to be that way; and b) it just brought us closer.

I think especially because I grew up with Luke as my hero, and he meant so much to me, I was a little bit intimidated by Mark. Being thrown into the deep end of the pool in terms of a working relationship with him was great, because when we got on set, we had a shorthand, we had an intimacy. We felt very comfortable together in a way that only going through something like that can buy you. I think he gives a beautiful performance. I'm really excited for folks to see it. He's so good in the movie.
What they earned together is trust, and it's foundational to any great creative working relationship. I always understood Hamill's criticisms of Luke's character direction as Johnson describes, because I know how essential trust-building among creative collaborators is, but I also understand how those comments have been misunderstood publicly, e.g., "'NOT MY LUKE' Says Hamill". (I've also learned that WOW Mark Hamill is not especially well-spoken off-the-cuff, though he is earnestly and enthusiastically sincere about just everything. I love that about him so much.)

Johnson's description here of productive creative conflict is, in my experience, spot-on and not euphemistic or diplomatic at all. He's describing what two people do when they're working together to create something that they both deeply believe in. He's also telling us why actors love him and working with him so much: he GETS IT and is a sincerely collaborative artist. That's pretty rare anywhere, but I expect it's especially so in movie-making.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:08 PM on December 28, 2017 [15 favorites]


That's a cool idea, and would have a been an epic end to Leia's life, but would have robbed us of her final scene with Luke, which is one of the best things ever filmed in a Star Wars show of any kind.

That end scene could still be included, just have Luke appear on the cruiser before she pilots it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2017


I absolutely understand--and share!--the emotional desire and need to see Ben Solo come back to the light or whatever, to stop being a mass-murdering villain, to be Leia & Han's amazing boy again, but for me that simply cannot ever happen in a credible way.

While I understand your sentiment and rationale, I cannot agree. We never get to see Ben Solo besides the brief appearances in his exchanges with Rey. In supplemental materials, we hear about a rambunctious young boy or an infant with the dark hovering over him, but all we know about Padawan Ben is that he likes calligraphy. I'd like to see more of him before we potentially lose him forever.

I've read and participated in tons of good meta over the last couple of years, from people who were proven right in a lot of respects regarding TLJ, unlike all the fanboy theorists who didn't get much correct. The symbolism in TFA and TLJ points to Rey and Ben/Kylo coming together for me and changing and evolving how the Jedi order operates in the ST. That fight scene was enough to prove that together they are an unstoppable force of nature and will fulfill their destinies.

I have high hopes that no one is ever really gone. I leave to J.J. Abrams to find a way for the Skywalker story to end on a note of hope not existential despair and darkness.
posted by nikitabot at 2:42 PM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


I don't think this has been posted; Kelly Marie Tran's reaction to a Rose Tico cosplayer at the LA premiere was pretty great.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2017 [20 favorites]


YOU BIG MOOF-MILKER

....is....is that what you call those weird manatee things Luke was milking? "Moofs"?

...Saw this again over Christmas with my folks. My father and I both wanted to see it, and had to talk Mom into it. Her review - which is a ringing endorsement, all things considered - was "Well, I liked that more than I thought I would!"

She really thought the porgs were cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:52 PM on December 28, 2017


find a way for the Skywalker story to end on a note of hope not existential despair and darkness.

I thought that's what happened in this movie, pretty definitively. Both Luke and Leia end as deliberately, overtly hopeful people. While I appreciate and savor substantial critical readings a great deal, I also think it's possible to weight abstract or conceptual coherence too much. While the larger themes in Star Wars are always significant, and present by authorial intent, to me both TFA and TLJ offer a clear re-centering on character, on the people these characters are--internally and in the audience's imaginations--their journeys, and how those may be a sort of synecdoche for the rest of us.

My sense is that this was intentional, both in reaction to the shortcomings of Lucas' focus on larger themes and ideas over character in the prequel trilogy, as well as to reinforce the primary themes of the new story itself (one Randian überbro can't save us, we are better and greater collectively, save what you love instead of destroying what you hate). This places the third trilogy, in my mind, back in the realm of parable, which is where it so inspirationally began.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:01 PM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


It also occurs to me that an important difference in perspective on Kylo Ren's character arc is that sincere hope for Ben Solo's redemption is a much more compassionate perspective on the character than mine is. I'm surprised at myself about that, because we don't know the details of "turned by Snoke," it could involve some truly horrifying stuff, but I think that in the Age of Trump I have no patience or sympathy for people who are selfish, destructive assholes volitionally.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Redemption is a foundational pillar of the Star Wars universe, so I would be surprised and probably even a little disappointed if we didn't see some form of it with Ben Solo. I just hope that it takes an appropriately slow, painful, and difficult form vs. the one-time heroics we're used to seeing.
posted by Behemoth at 6:14 PM on December 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Well, they've got about 2 and 1/2 hours to sell it, so...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:07 PM on December 28, 2017


The thinkpieces keep on coming: THE LAST JEDI: Unlearning What We Have Learned

But The Last Jedi is less a refutation of The Force Awakens’ specific mystery-boxes than it is a necessary adjustment in how we watch Star Wars movies. Two years ago, I wrote that Darth Vader's parental revelation and the Darth Sidious "mystery" had turned fans into backstory sleuths incapable of watching a story play out on its own terms. Predictably, that attitude ended up colouring or completely subsuming fan anticipation for The Last Jedi. Many were less interested in what would happen next than in what happened before - especially where it came to Rey's parentage and Snoke's backstory. Snoke’s “true identity” drove fans positively mad with speculation, despite it never having been presented as a mystery to begin with. The Last Jedi did not reveal any secret identity, for there was none to reveal, and went as far as killing Snoke off for good measure (which also handily robs Kylo Ren of an easy redemption). Turns out, Snoke’s only “true” identity was as yet another pointless link to the past - just like the wannabe-Vader mask he thought was so ridiculous.

More fundamentally, The Last Jedi is a rebuke to the Hero's Journey-centric storytelling that Star Wars helped to popularise and perpetuate back in the ‘70s.


now brb imma gonna scroll down to the comments.
posted by cendawanita at 7:24 PM on December 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


one more quote from that article:
In shrugging off the portent and prophecy of the past, The Last Jedi has done something else: created its own iconography. Star Wars Kid reference or not, the decision to close The Last Jedi not on a tableau of existing characters, but on a child looking up to the stars, is significant on multiple levels. It’s a simple, powerful distillation of one of the movie’s themes - that rebellion comes from the common folk, not just chosen heroes - as the child metaphorically beats his ploughshare into a sword, the moon's glint turning his broom into a lightsabre. Fan theories have already emerged as to the identity and plot significance of this kid, but such theories miss the entire point: that he’s a nobody, just another of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. (And no, he's not coming back.)

iirc Johnson definitely has confirmed that kid's role was only for symbolism, as far as he's concerned.
posted by cendawanita at 7:32 PM on December 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


well, that and the inevitable poorly written eu novel
posted by entropicamericana at 8:07 PM on December 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


If anyone is interested in box office performances, which i, for the record, don't usually, but if you do:

Well, that was close. After a few days where The Last Jedi was trailing the day-to-day cumes of The Force Awakens (duh), Jurassic World (from day eight to day 12) and even The Avengers (on day ten), Star Wars: The Last Jedi is back in second place among the fastest-grossing movies of all time. The Walt Disney sci-fi actioner earned $21.5 million on Wednesday, a drop of 21% from Tuesday, which brought its 13-day domestic total to $444.9m. Not only is that the fifth-biggest non-opening Wednesday of all time and the second-biggest "day 13" Wednesday behind The Force Awakens ($28m), but its $444.9m 13-day total is the second-best such cume behind only The Force Awakens ($629m). Say it with me now, #YesThisFranchiseIsSaved.

[...] Now, for the record, I don't think that this means that The Last Jedi got any kind of second wind, but rather that it (as I said several times) got kneecapped by the odd holiday scheduling and then got back into the game for the second lap.

posted by cendawanita at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's been a few days and I'm still laughing at jingle dogs. That might be the funniest thing I've read all year.
posted by weed donkey at 10:35 PM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


If anyone is interested in box office performances

Only if they're adjusted for inflation.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:38 PM on December 28, 2017


The author of the piece just linked by CendaWanita is the same Forbes Jerk who wrote the incredibly harsh piece on the numbers up thread, so it seems maybe he's just prone to writing clicky, trolly takes in whichever direction he feels the wind is blowing?

("amazing. And what do you call your act?"

"2017!")
posted by ominous_paws at 12:07 AM on December 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


iirc Johnson definitely has confirmed that kid's role was only for symbolism, as far as he's concerned.

This is another fan reaction that surprised me. That couldn't have been clearer from its presentation, I thought. But I think it's emblematic of how the previous movies have trained viewers to watch them, as discussed in that article: everyone has to have a significant backstory, and everyone has to be a future key player in the drama. So when Johnson presents a counterexample (a bad guy whose backstory doesn't matter, a hero who wasn't CHOSEN but just did the right thing, a kid who is obviously just a symbol to tie a bow on the movie's theme), people get confused, but they also get angry. A significant chunk of the backlash stems from this, it seems to me.

The only other franchise I can think of that is as obsessed as Star Wars is with suffusing all of its key moments with conspiracies and portents and meeeeeeeeeeeaniiiiiiiiiiiiiing is Batman. It can't ever be that his parents got killed by a random mugger, IT WAS REALLY THE JOKER or there was some conspiracy or wait! His dad was actually gonna be Batman but then he died! And leaving aside the troubling implications of the Chosen Hero that Is Foretold narrative, it just force-chokes stories to death when it happens to every major character.

I remember that in Grant Morrison's epic run on Batman, he tried to inject a moment when Batman lets his origin story go. He's at his parents' graves and says something along the lines of "They're dead, and it hurts, but what I'm doing has moved well beyond that now. I buried them a long time ago." The filmmakers haven't read that issue.

Rian Johnson liberated Star Wars with this movie, as far as I'm concerned. Subsequent filmmakers are probably going to pretend that didn't happen, and it's unsurprising that some of the fans hate him for it, but man, I wish they could see it for what it is.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:42 AM on December 29, 2017 [17 favorites]


What's really interesting to me is that Disney doesn't have an overall plan for the franchise. If they did, the switch between directors for TFA and TLJ wouldn't have been so jarring for so many. They really are just winging this shit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 AM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


That could be, but I don't know that it's a given. TFA had to be a return to form for the series to get people comfortable again. A very clear message to the fans that yes, the prequels happened, but here is more of what you loved about the series to reestablish trust. TFA is at least partly a movie about fandom, which makes sense in the context in which it came to life. They really had no choice but to do that.

With TLJ, the message is okay, now that we've done that, let's see how this is going to evolve into something new that remains true to the spirit of what came before. It could be that they had no plan or didn't really understand what Johnson was going to do with the film, but I think it's at least equally likely that they don't want this investment to be about milking nostalgia until people get bored and my generation dies off, so they're going the Archie comics road of letting creators use the universe as a toybox to drive things forward.

Letting Johnson make a borderline art film in the SW universe could mean they're winging it, but it could also be a deliberate decision to jar the fans out of their expectations for the future and to send a clear message that some of what the old films ran on won't work when we're all but literally living in the failure of the New Republic right now.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:34 AM on December 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


What's really interesting to me is that Disney doesn't have an overall plan for the franchise... They really are just winging this shit.

despite all of george's attempts at historical revisionism, it's pretty clear that's the way the OT and PT were made, too.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:45 AM on December 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


The only other franchise I can think of that is as obsessed as Star Wars is with suffusing all of its key moments with conspiracies and portents and meeeeeeeeeeeaniiiiiiiiiiiiiing is

...Doctor Who. That new character is secretly River Song! No, it's Romana! No, it's the Rani (for some bloody reason)! The color of the companion's shoes means that this episode is actually a closed time loop and isn't really happening! That extra from three episodes ago looks similar to this extra in this episode, what does it meeeaaaannnn??? And in the current era it's 100% due to Steven Moffat loving nothing more than winding fans up in precisely this way (see also Sherlock spawning an actualfax cult). I have not much hope for the next showrunner being clever and observant enough to do what Rian Johnson did here, but I wish he would.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:45 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


As someone mentioned upthread, probably the closest current movie villain to Kylo/Ben is Loki from Marvel. And while I would cheerfully set Loki on fire (sorry, Tom H!), for some reason I'm pulling for Kylo to straighten up and fly right. He would certainly benefit from therapy and possibly Wellbutrin. Still parsing my feelings on this.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


As to the first reason, there's probably regret there, as if he had killed Ben, a lot of lives might have been saved. So he was caught in a mental/emotional loop for decades, and none of his damn teachers bothered to show up and, well, teach.

He had closed himself off to the Force. They literally couldn't show up to him.
posted by solotoro at 7:22 AM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


or some reason I'm pulling for Kylo to straighten up and fly right.

There are all sorts of challenging and interesting ways this could go, but I doubt the audience would appreciate the question or answers.

Kylo killed his dad, who happens to be a known and beloved character, so getting him redeemed is a tricky task for the film. Not impossible, but damn tricky and usually not the sort of nuance that Star Wars films strive for.

I do like the idea mentioned above, that Kylo winds up saving himself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Whatever happens in the next movie, I would be very surprised if Kylo Ren is sitting on a throne and sneering like the last two top darksiders. A First Order schism seems likely if only because Kylo's first act as supreme leader was to lose a fight to a hologram in front of a few hundred of his surviving soldiers.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


I think that, provided Kylo shows an aptitude for force strangling people over long distances (like Vader and Snoke,) he should have no problem keeping First Order officers obedient ("Fear will keep the local systems in line.")

I don't doubt he'll need to work on his mind reading skills and take a more hands off roll - will he let the past die or take on his own dark side apprentice?
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


The symbolism in TFA and TLJ points to Rey and Ben/Kylo coming together for me and changing and evolving how the Jedi order operates in the ST.

During my second viewing yesterday, I was really noticing how much the film had the two parallel each other during their Forcetime scenes - Rey sits up, sun on the side of her face; Kylo, sitting in a med bay with a light on the side of his face; Rey watching the rain fall off the side of the Falcon; Kylo, watching sparks fall inside a hanger bay - and so on. They parallel each other when these moments start and to a large degree in physical movement during the connections (running into hallways/outside, etc).

Except for the very last one; Kylo, kneeling in the ruins of the base on Crait while Rey stands on the top of the ramp of the Falcon, looking down at him. There's a mirror in the sense that they are in opposition - Rey high, Kylo low - but they aren't in parallel with each other anymore. Neither says anything, but Rey closes the ramp (and apparently, the Forcetime call). That's how it ends - Kylo kneeling in a ruin, alone; Rey inside the Falcon with Leia and everyone left of the Rebellion, who are engaged in greeting each other (Poe and Rey meeting for the first time), hugging, reconnecting, bonding. There's important symbolism there too - about the two of them now on separate paths.

Also, there's an interesting parallel between Luke/Ben and Rey/Luke...in the flashbacks, we see Luke raise his lightsaber over the defenseless Ben before realizing his mistake and then facing the consequences; and Rey - moments later - holds a lightsaber over an (apparently) defenseless Luke.

On other thoughts, I was amused at Snoke and his assumptions in the movie. Not only was he overconfident in his belief in his control over Kylo, he was completely wrong in understanding how the Force was going to balance itself. He knew that as the Dark rose, the Light would come to meet it - assuming that Luke would come to meet Kylo. But that makes no sense - if Snoke is the Sith Lord and Kylo his apprentice, then Luke acts as balance to Snoke and someone else would rise in response to Kylo.
posted by nubs at 8:30 AM on December 29, 2017 [11 favorites]


It's not very clear in the films, but JJ himself stated that Snoke/Kylo are NOT Siths in the way we're used to seeing. Which I think is important towards explaining some of Kylo's emoness, because Snoke is sort of teaching him stuff but maybe not in a structured master/apprentice way, and Kylo's deference to Snoke is not necessarily to be read as an esteemed master but because he's still not as strong as him. Partly because he (Kylo) has not effectively disciplined his anger into controlled power the way Vader could.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:43 AM on December 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


see also Sherlock spawning an actualfax cult

Like, actual-actual or actual-metaphorical? If the former, citation please?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 11:47 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


All I know about the Sith is:
1) they serve the Dark Side of the Force
2) the rule of two
3) only they deal in absolutes

#1 still applies, and #2 and #3 I don't think really applied to the Sith in the first place.
posted by ckape at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


While i liked Holdo, it really is a shame that Ackbar didn't get a dignified death and one last chance to bellow something everyone already knows.like this:

Audience: holy crap he's going to ram them with the ship!

Ackbar: I AM GOING TO RAM THEM WITH THE SHIP

Audience: ***sniff*** that's our Ackbar
posted by mcmile at 12:39 PM on December 29, 2017 [10 favorites]


quick poll:

was "only the sith deal in absolutes"

a) obi-wan confessing to anakin that he, too, was a sith lord
b) obi-wan demonstrating a poor grasp of galactic basic / irony
c) yet more proof that george lucas is a putz
posted by entropicamericana at 12:43 PM on December 29, 2017 [10 favorites]


Audience: ***sniff*** that's our Ackbar

Solution: "That's So Ackbar", Tuesday nights at 7 pm on the CW
posted by middleclasstool at 12:55 PM on December 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


d) pretty much a direct refutation of 9/11-era "you're with us or you're against us" attitudes, and was read as such at the time
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2017 [11 favorites]


I prefer to think that Ackbar retired and opened a sandwich shop where he can be heard to bellow "That's a wrap" in response to certain orders.
posted by nubs at 1:39 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


The over-arching power dynamic in the universe has always been something Star Wars avoided engaging, and while it's the better for it, I'm starting to wonder.

Like I'm entertaining the idea that what we see in this movie is the entire First Order and Rebellion. A collection of like 8 ships orbiting an abandoned salt rock, running out of gas and pontificating about whose Space Magic is better while they whittle one another down to ever smaller numbers.

Maybe nobody responded to the distress call because the entire rest of the Galaxy is hoping these lunatics will finally just kill each other off and leave everybody to float around in Cloud Cities and tend moisture farms in peace for once.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 2:09 PM on December 29, 2017 [24 favorites]


Like, actual-actual or actual-metaphorical? If the former, citation please?

Well, not really really, but definitely the terminal state of "but what if literally everything in a tv show means something important about the real world???". There was some absolute bananas fan fever swamp surrounding the final episode of the show that for some folks really did seem to spiral into the realm of (real world) conspiracy theory and reality-denial. Tumblr doesn't help matters and turns this kind idle fan speculation into THIS IS LITERALLY THE MOST SECRET REAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO HUMANITY WAKE UP SHEEPLE

Anyway, I enjoy a good fanwank as much as the next person, but the franchises and shows I respect the most are the ones that explicitly reject the need for fanwankery rather than purposefully stoking and servicing it. I prefer a strong authorial voice and intent rather than a crowdsourced fulfillment of expectations.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:58 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


So as far as Emo Ken goes, I don't see any sort of redemption arc for him, even a "Redemption = Death" one. Nor do I see Rey defeating him in pitched battle. I see him as being captured, put on trial, and exiled to an island in the middle of nowhere.

20 years later:

"Rey! Rey! Hey Rey?"
"Kylo...it's the middle of the night. Call me in the morning."
"No! No! Rey, it's, I mean it's really important!"
*sigh* "OK, so what is it this time?"
"Rey, I wanted to let you know I've been working on myself, and I- I've been listening to this song and-"
"Kylo, no. Just, no."
"No really, you gotta listen: "Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough
Just a second we're not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again-
"
"I'm hanging up now, Kylo."
posted by happyroach at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


and exiled to an island in the middle of nowhere.

FLAGELLATED BY FISH NUNS
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:12 PM on December 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


That's awesome. John Williams includes a small riff on Brazil's theme in the opening of his music for Canto Bight.

I'm pretty sure he included a refrain from ET in the scene when the group of doghorse riders race across the beach in front of the moon.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:19 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


So as far as Emo Ken goes, I don't see any sort of redemption arc for him, even a "Redemption = Death" one.

Kylo will probably die preventing Hux from doing something completely and utterly horrible. Destroying 10 planets as opposed to 5? Killing off a quarter of the galaxy? Trying to destroy all the Porgs via grand feast?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on December 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've only read about 2/3 of this thread, but one issue I had that I haven't seen mentioned with TLJ (which I liked) was the constant stream of Resistance deaths. I guess that's related to the pacing issues others have mentioned.

I know that the movie is literally about a war and we've seen Rebels/Resistance take heavy losses on previous films, but in TLJ the dying just never stopped. It was stressful.
posted by mcmile at 7:15 PM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


"only the sith deal in absolutes"

I am pretty sure I just raised my hand and kept saying "but... but... but..." from that point on until the end of the movie. Georgie really wrote himself into a corner there.
posted by Behemoth at 7:17 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Georgie really wrote himself into a corner there.

Well, he certainly didn't have the high ground anymore.
posted by nubs at 8:23 PM on December 29, 2017 [12 favorites]


Christmas 1978: every gift for me under the tree was something from Star Wars. My family got together and got me all the action figures, ships, playsets, curtains, sheets, everything that was available at the time. And I sat in the middle of the living room floor, toys and wrapping paper encircling me and I sobbed because—for real—I didn’t understand how anyone could love me enough to do all this for me. I felt so worthless, so tainted by the abuse that a cousin inflicted on me years before, that I thought I didn’t deserve to exist, let alone get a Star Wars Christmas, to get all these toys from a movie that made me feel like I could matter. I didn’t understand — could not fucking fathom — that my family could love me enough to do this when all I ever felt like was an imposition and a burden and an inconvenience to them.

Post-Christmas 2017: We saw TLJ on Wednesday. I spent the entirety of the movie trying not to cry. I was transported. I wasn’t a kid again—that ship has sailed so far away — but I was back in a universe that I had cared deeply about for 30 years and it was exciting and unpredictable (no, I didn’t notice Luke didn’t leave footprints and I thought he’d just shaved a little and used some Just For Men on his beard). Everything I thought I knew would happen was wrong, and I was absolutely delighted by it all.

And the message I got from the movie—the unsubtle, smack-me-in-the-face-repeatedly message—was that it was time to let go of the past. Oh god it was hard to let go. Watching Leia broke my heart. And then…after Luke finally—finally!—does the Jedi shit I always wanted from him, he disappears in a flutter of robes. I gasped. It might have been the first time in my life that I actually involuntarily gasped aloud. And it still felt right and good.

My heroes who I wanted to have adventures with, not be, were dead, figuratively and, fuck me, literally, and it’s time to stop trying to relive the experience of being six and just get on with being 46. I held it together long enough to make it to the car. Then I pulled out my special crying handkerchief and ugly-cried until I was exhausted. Then I sobbed some more.

Yeah, Disney’s an empire sucking cash from the dreams of children; yes, everything is about merchandising and spin-offs; yes, it’s a blatant nostalgia-punch to mug a whole generation. In spite of all that, Rian Johnson made a movie that hit me in the same way the first one did, albeit for very different reasons, and I’m so excited for all the kids who get to see this movie and imagine themselves in that universe, transported, enraptured, empowered, represented. Every time I see a commercial where a girl swinging a lightsaber is the hero, every time I see Rey and Jynn and Leia and Rose action figures at Target, every time I see John Boyega or Marie Tran surprising fans at premieres and in pubs, I get all warm and fuzzy and a little weepy because, yeah, it’s just a movie, but *it was the best part of my whole goddamned childhood* and it made me feel important and full of potential and hope, and I want that for everyone who sees it.

We’re going to see it again next week, and I. cannot. wait.
posted by malthusan at 8:31 PM on December 29, 2017 [64 favorites]


Also, Poe Dameron better spend some time in the brig thinking about what he did.
posted by malthusan at 10:12 PM on December 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


malthusan, that is one of the most moving things I've ever heard about Star Wars. And I have heard a lot, in the last 40 years. Thank you for sharing that.
posted by happyroach at 1:21 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


I prefer to think that Ackbar retired and opened a sandwich shop

Surely a Snack Bar?
posted by radwolf76 at 9:40 AM on December 30, 2017 [15 favorites]


No, no. He became an snackbar mogul. The Clif Bars of that galaxy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


Ackbar's Sandwiches: It's a wrap!

Ackbar's Haberdashery: It's a cap!

Ackbar's Snackbar: It's a frappe!

Ackbar's Software Development: It's an app!

Ackbar's Recording Studio: It's a rap!

Ackbar's Cartography: It's a map!

Ackbar's Brothel: It's the clap!
posted by nubs at 11:54 AM on December 30, 2017 [14 favorites]


Just saw it a second time, this time in 3D IMAX at the science center. It was certainly large, but I do not understand the point of 3D.

Liked it even more the second time--the fractured plot and pacing issues are cleared up if you already know where it's all going.

Kylo's "please" when he asks Rey to join him, after the fight in the throne room killed me.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:27 PM on December 30, 2017 [9 favorites]


the fractured plot and pacing issues are cleared up if you already know where it's all going.

The Todd VanDerWerff essay on the backlash linked upthread put it well in that respect. He ties everything together, but only at the end, and that can make it harder to watch on a first viewing. Until you see it come together, it seems all over the place. I wonder if a different cut could have helped that some.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:16 PM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]



I think that Luke drinking the blue milk (beyond being obviously necessary to survive) and smiling at Rey was a nice callback to Luke being grossed out at Yoda's food in exile on Dagobah.


Those saying this scene could have been skipped are so, so wrong. The fucking beats in that scene had more comic gold than nearly every comedy that came out this year. It's the best scene in the whole movie, mostly due to the moment when the sea cow makes eye contact with Rey and that's the moment that pushes Rey over the edge and she looks away with a distinct "I'm out" look on her face.

This movie had more characters than Ben Hur and Sparticus combined which I suppose isn't an inherently bad thing, but it was a lot of movie.

And, per the well-worn R2 fan theories, the droids basically run the show.
posted by GuyZero at 10:08 PM on December 30, 2017 [10 favorites]


4th viewing today (it's working out to once a weekend after the release day), and the cinema is a smaller hall but packed. And the humour really does land differently with different crowds. The one today was really into it, but it still can't top the opening crowd for me.

This time around I caught the slight intake of breath Leia did before being blown up in space. It's my mother's first viewing but she could actually guess the Rey/Ben teamup. Otoh she didn't realize that Rose was a girl till after Canto Bight lolol.
posted by cendawanita at 2:05 AM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just saw it Friday, and didn't want to post until I read this whole thread. I loved it. malthusan, your post captured my feelings exactly. I kept crying in the movie, and at one point thought to myself, I'm so glad that I get to see another good Star Wars movie in my lifetime. It just worked for me.
posted by medusa at 10:02 AM on December 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


Also, I was just clicking through Wookieepedia, and those bombers were SF-17 StarFortresses, just in case things weren't obvious enough.
posted by ckape at 10:27 AM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


just in case things weren't obvious enough.

Last Jedi was without a doubt the best world war 2 film of 2017.
posted by GuyZero at 1:05 PM on December 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


I just looked at YouTube's "Recommended Videos" and there are like five "What went wrong with The Last Jedi" videos listed. Bashing this movie seems to have turned into a little industry of its own.
posted by octothorpe at 2:17 PM on December 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Dos anyone have a link to a summary of the mythology between Return of the Jedi and TFA?
posted by shothotbot at 2:32 PM on December 31, 2017


I thought this movie was an incoherent mess. I don't have much invested in the Star Wars universe... I loved the original trilogy as a kid, and still love reading the Han Solo trilogy by Brian Daley. It seems to me that the filmmakers were either lazy or incompetent, and they are relying on a fan base still traumatized by the prequels to do the heavy lifting to make sense of this shitshow of a movie, to make it something worthy of their devotion.

The original trilogy requires zero effort on my part to enjoy. I pop in the DVD, press play, and I'm transported. An epic tale beautifully told. The Last Jedi seemed to want me to do more work than the filmmakers did, and, well... I'm not going to. I paid for my ticket, watched it, and I doubt I'll watch it again. It killed any interest I have in seeing the next movie.

I respect the fans who are personally invested in the franchise being willing to do the work that the screenwriters, directors, and producers weren't willing to do (or were incapable of doing, or were too focused on merchandising to bother with?). But I'm not interested in sweating my way to making this movie make sense. It just didn't. The fan theories and defenses are interesting and compelling, but none of it was up on the screen where it belonged. I shouldn't need to scour the Internet to make sense of a space opera. It was disappointing, and it should have been better. And perhaps most unforgivable, it had a bizarre contempt for the characters and themes of the original trilogy, but offered nothing of any comparable value to replace what it destroyed.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 4:00 PM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I finally saw this the other day and enjoyed it. Such a shame to have lost Fisher when we did - I assume that part of the structure was in TFA we focus on and then lose Han, in TLJ we focus on and lose Luke, and then the next movie would be to focus on and then lose Leia.

The porgs were okay but once I found out that they created porgs to skin the puffins, they became kind of awesome in retrospect. The porg pressed up against the Falcon window was a porg too far but other than that they were okay.

The movie kept *not* doing things I was hoping they wouldn't as I watched, which was great. (Like, I was dreading them having Luke fly in on his conspicuously noticed X-Wing like the Falcon showing up at the Death Star, or having the throne room scene end with Kylo redeeming himself and turning to the light while Rey gets seduced by the dark)

And I am totally down with Rey being the abandoned child of random nobodies on a desert planet - it was good enough for Anakin. I expected a bit more from Holdo - perhaps that she was aware that Finn and Rose were off on their mission because of *course* she knows what's going on on her ship. But she died well and nobly.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:37 PM on December 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


The movie kept *not* doing things I was hoping they wouldn't as I watched, which was great. (Like, I was dreading them having Luke fly in on his conspicuously noticed X-Wing like the Falcon showing up at the Death Star, or having the throne room scene end with Kylo redeeming himself and turning to the light while Rey gets seduced by the dark)


It’s funny how there are fans who are ANGERY because they didn’t do the opposite of what you just wrote. I was fine with all of how it turned out, too, but yeah. Weird how polarizing it seems to be.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:50 PM on December 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


I just looked at YouTube's "Recommended Videos" and there are like five "What went wrong with The Last Jedi" videos listed. Bashing this movie seems to have turned into a little industry of its own.
posted by octothorpe at 2:17 PM on December 31 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Much of it is just pure self loathing, although someone linked to the jenny nicholson videos above. many of her videos manage to make the self-loathing very funny.
posted by eustatic at 5:53 PM on December 31, 2017


My Hero, Luke Skywalker

If you're in the middle of fighting for an equilibrium in the midst of a mental health situation, like the author, you might appreciate his post.
posted by cendawanita at 8:26 PM on December 31, 2017 [20 favorites]


I saw TLJ for the third time last night. The first time I was so caught up in what's happening that I missed a lot of details. The second time I looked for the details. The third time I concentrated on how everything fit together and played out over time.

This morning I'm thinking about writing "10 Signs of an Abusive Relationship Illustrated by Star Wars." It would only take a couple of hours if I had the time, but as soon as I was finished, I'd find that someone else had just done it, and better.
posted by Miss Cellania at 5:14 AM on January 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Some thoughts after a second, more analytical viewing, and apologies for any repetition:

This may be the only Star Wars movie so far that approaches a literary degree of depth.

Example: Only yesterday did it occur to me that Luke's Force-hologram thing is an exact embodiment of what Yoda tells him in his (excellent) scene here, namely that (1) Luke's enduring weakness is not being present and (2) "We are what we grow beyond; that is the true burden of all masters." That weakness of Luke's is what caused him to ignite his saber and trigger Ben's attack. To Rey, Luke refers to himself with sarcastic derision as a "Jedi Master," but in his final act, he HAS become a master, in the sense that he mastered that enduring weakness by USING it—by literally not being present. This all seems also to tie in somehow with Yoda's (true) assertion that "the best teacher, failure is."

Heady stuff, and it's impressive not only to see it here, but to see it integrated effectively with Old Luke Doing Badass Shit (chiefly, "surviving" the barrage), which the fans naturally expected to see.

And I concur with those of you who've observed that it all holds together a lot better on subsequent viewings. If I have a gripe, it's that this movie is kind of overwhelming on first viewing (moreso even than Force Awakens, which took its time in spots), but I feel like they MEANT for it to be, so I'm not sure I would even call it a gripe.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:13 AM on January 1, 2018 [14 favorites]


This may be the only Star Wars movie so far that approaches a literary degree of depth.

I watch the OT* fairly frequently (I have a young kid that I'm desperately trying to get hooked) and just watched ANH yesterday. It's not a deep movie and in spots it's not a particularly good movie. It was an audacious, visually-arresting, extremely innovative film that wound up being far greater than the sum of its parts, but the script is... Well we saw what happens when George Lucas gets too much control of a script. They are seminal childhood movies for a lot of us and it's hard to look at them objectively when you can recite them word-for-word.

*If you do not have them already, seek out and download the "despecialized" fan-edited versions. They're the closest you're going to get to the theatrical releases in HD. So well done.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:36 AM on January 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


It seems to me that the filmmakers were either lazy or incompetent

I mean ... I just ... that’s not even ...


*sigh*


happy new year.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:44 AM on January 1, 2018 [12 favorites]


Agreed, soren_lorensen. I watched the OT constantly as a kid and I'm rewatching the despecialized ANH now. And of course, it's still great fun and brings me back to my childhood, but... there are some glaring issues with this movie, both from a production perspective (pacing and awkward cuts) and with character development (Luke barely blinks when the people who raised him are murdered, but is awfully broken up about the death of Obi-wan, someone he's known for about 5 seconds). And of course the acting. I love me some Han Solo, but goddamn is he straight out of central casting, especially in ANH.

Enjoyable, delightful, fuck yes--the X-Wing trench scene still gives me chills! But... flawless filmmaking? Ahahahahaha. No. I'm making a flabbergasted face right now at the comment above calling Rian Johnson lazy/incompetent for Ep VIII, especially in comparison to some of the problems in the OT.
posted by duffell at 10:56 AM on January 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


I mean, I grant that there is substantially more here to unravel than in ANH, and probably ESB and ROTJ also. If someone doesn't want that, then obviously the impression will be negative. But for me, ANH is a childhood movie, and its simplicity/shallowness was appropriate for me at that age. The older me wants and expects the new material to go deeper, to have some layers to unravel. The prequels missed that opportunity, and I'm glad it exists now.
posted by Behemoth at 11:11 AM on January 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


We've moved on to ESB. The interactions between Han and Leia are so cringey, I want to crawl out of my skin. Also,

Luke: Strange place to find a Jedi master.
My husband: How the heck are you suddenly an expert? You found the last one on a desert planet.

For me as a kid, the best things were actually the stuff that isn't really on the screen, or are barely there and left unexplained. My husband just noted that he was so intrigued by the scene where you first see Vader getting his helmet put on, shot from from behind. Most of my Star Wars play was about creating new planets and creatures and cultures. I never had action figures or ships or anything (I did build a model AT-AT once, but it was delicate and not for playing with), but I endlessly piloted my closet around the galaxy. That was the real brilliance of the OT, not the subtle characterizations or surprising turn-on-a-dime plots.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:16 AM on January 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


My husband just noted that he was so intrigued by the scene where you first see Vader getting his helmet put on, shot from from behind

Hell yeah.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:30 AM on January 1, 2018


So I reread the Rogue One FanFare thread, and boy howdy were we wrong about the parts of Rogue One that were going to show up in The Last Jedi.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


So I reread the Rogue One FanFare thread, and boy howdy were we wrong about the parts of Rogue One that were going to show up in The Last Jedi.

Speak for yourself! Ever since Rogue One came out I've been saying they were going to name a ship after Admiral Raddus, and that a character played by Laura Dern would ram an imperial ship with it at light speed while all the sound went dead for 10 seconds, and that a lot of people would complain "Well why doesn't the Rebellion just do that all the time, then?"
posted by duffell at 2:39 PM on January 1, 2018 [14 favorites]


> Speak for yourself! Ever since Rogue One came out I've been saying they were going to name a ship after Admiral Raddus, and that a character played by Laura Dern would ram an imperial ship with it at light speed while all the sound went dead for 10 seconds, and that a lot of people would complain "Well why doesn't the Rebellion just do that all the time, then?"

Piker! I've been saying that ever since the first Star Wars movie!
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on January 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


Fight! Fight!
posted by orrnyereg at 5:05 PM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


And perhaps most unforgivable, it had a bizarre contempt for the characters and themes of the original trilogy, but offered nothing of any comparable value to replace what it destroyed.

Burn it all down. The temple. The books. The stupid fucking tree.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:17 PM on January 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


I’m super-baffled by the negative responses to this movie. I think the criticisms here are made in good faith, contrary to the internet shitstorm whirling around this movie, but I guess I still think they’re incoherent whether or not they’re being delivered under the assumption that the original trilogy represents some paragon of filmmaking. I’ve always found the OT fun and uniquely gripping in its wielding of pulp adventure tropes and legitimately novel imagery, but also pretty bad in terms of its willingness to go straight to archetype to expound on its themes instead of letting those themes arise organically out of details (see for example basically every dialog between Vader and the emperor). I can’t imagine any self-consistent critical calculus that holds that as a good thing, so maybe that makes me not a Star Wars Person, but this was the second movie in this universe after Rogue One that actually managed that sort of organic development in my estimation. It’s not the best endorsement considering that all of my favorite things tend to be widely regarded as (mentioned above) “interesting failures,” but I thought this was a really good movie both in spite of and because of its ungainliness. Yeah, I found the constant succession of new problems a little exhausting in the third act, but sometimes you can’t deliver the good shit without letting your stomach out a little bit. I loved the dynamics of the opening battle, I loved the philosophical contrast of Poe and Holdo and their synthesis in Leia, and maybe most of all I loved the character of Rose for drawing her power from resolve, pragmatism, and a strong moral compass. I wouldn’t cut anything; I loved that it was too much; and, contra complaints above that this movie disrespects the material, I think really loving something involves being willing to take it to task for its missteps. This is easily my favorite Star Wars movie ever.
posted by invitapriore at 8:57 PM on January 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


Just had my second viewing. Don’t get me wrong, I had a strong emotional response to the movie both times.

But there is a lot of Swiss cheese plot-holes. Something that bothered me was how on the mineral planet they take a long time to fly/ski out to the cannon, but after the crash, Finn is able to drag Rose all the way back in seemingly no time at all.

There’s also another discontinuity where Finn and Rose are about to be executed and after the hyperspace explosion, they are nowhere near Captain Phasma and her crew but then they re-encounter them.
posted by larrybob at 8:59 PM on January 1, 2018


I really need to see this again.

I’ve been reading through the old threads about the OT and PT, and one thing that jumped out at me is that Luke isn’t just heroic and audacious, he’s quasi-suicidal in the OT. In the Emperor’s room in ROTJ, he’s calm about what he thinks is his oncoming death. He wants it to happen. Arguably, he feels like he deserves it. It’s one of the few subtleties of ROTJ, and I’m interested if it’s more explicit in the script or if it emerged organically.

Luke didn’t just inherit his father’s strength with the Force—it seems like he got his PTSD and serotonin shortage as well. When Luke’s hero days are over, that major depressive disorder clearly remains, and the familial connection motivates it in a way that naysayers of the new film aren’t thinking about. I’d like to know what Hamill and Johnson think about Luke’s trauma and mental disease, both in the context of OT Luke and NT Luke (who Hamill, at least, treats as a different character).
posted by infinitewindow at 9:46 PM on January 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I think maybe personal affinity may explain my reaction, but I absolutely had no problem drawing the connection in my first viewing that Luke's moment of weakness was his fear that the Skywalker lineage really meant history repeating itself (a mirror of Ben's self-aggrandizement actually), and when it did fulfil itself due to his own (non-)action, he just flipped and peaced the fuck out
posted by cendawanita at 10:53 PM on January 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


I’ve always found the OT fun and uniquely gripping in its wielding of pulp adventure tropes and legitimately novel imagery, but also pretty bad in terms of its willingness to go straight to archetype to expound on its themes

That's an interesting point that I think can give another perspective on the fan wanking. We know that Lucas was influenced by the Hero With a Thousand Faces, and as you pointed out, he would go straight to archetype in scenes, at the expense of dialog or characterization.

Now I consider Joseph Campbell's racist BS to be a toxic poison for Hollywood writing, but there's a lot of fans out there who probably consider sketchy archetypes and the Hero's Journey™ to be vital, even necessary elements of writing for adventure in general, and Star Wars in particular.
posted by happyroach at 11:14 PM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Luke isn’t just heroic and audacious, he’s quasi-suicidal in the OT. In the Emperor’s room in ROTJ, he’s calm about what he thinks is his oncoming death.

Back in 1983 I wondered why Luke, when he finally Force-grabs his lightsaber and attacks the Emperor, didn't instead quickly turn around and cut a nice, big, unpatchable hole in the window behind him, sucking everybody out into space. So much so that I briefly wondered during TLJ if Rey was going to pull the same trick on Snoke and Kai Lauren.

(Of course we now know that the canonical reasons are (a) pressure-containtment force fields are everywhere in SW, and (b) Force-users can Force-pull themselves to the nearest airlock.)
posted by The Tensor at 12:26 AM on January 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


on Snoke and Kai Lauren

His line of designer cowls.
posted by phunniemee at 4:50 AM on January 2, 2018 [14 favorites]


Luke's moment of weakness was his fear that the Skywalker lineage really meant history repeating itself

This was my thought as well... from our perspective, the name "Skywalker" has connotations of a great powerful Jedi, but from Luke's perspective, it means "great powerful Jedi who fell from grace and became the biggest bad in the galaxy". Vader is the only reference point he has.
posted by destrius at 5:48 AM on January 2, 2018 [13 favorites]


I like this take: I’ve seen a lot of arguing over whether or not the direction they took old Luke in was right for the character, but I loved it so much I thought my heart would burst. I had a really intense personal reaction to Luke Skywalker, Depressed Asshole, and thought I should explain it.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:14 AM on January 2, 2018 [10 favorites]


I remain kind of perplexed at how many people had such a strong negative reaction to Old Luke and his struggles. I didn't find it surprising at all, and actually a little tropey in its own way. The burden of ~~~destiny can destroy a person. Rejecting the uncertainty, responsibility and inevitable pain and running away to become a hermit is definitely a thing that happens. Why should Luke Skywalker be somehow immune to that?

I actually didn't read him as an asshole anyway. He's got a legitimate gripe with how shit went down for him specifically, and the orthodoxy of the Jedi religion in general. In the end he comes to forge a new more Universalist understanding of the Force, and ultimately finds peace. That's a great story! That's a journey I want to watch someone go on!
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:31 AM on January 2, 2018 [19 favorites]


That's a great story! That's a journey I want to watch someone go on!

Completely agree, and of all the substantial criticisms I've read, the negative reactions Luke's character arc have surprised me the most (especially Hamill's). I think the disconnect is because lots of folks want fictional characters they love to be happy, as if they were real people and not made-up ideas.

Neither Luke nor Leia would have remained interesting to an audience if their lives following ROTJ had been any version of "happily ever after." They are interesting characters in the new trilogy because they are still deep in practical and existential struggles, and the resolutions to those struggles are still wrapped up in galactic conflict. As people, the end of TLJ leaves them maybe not in the happiest place w/r/t story events (Luke dead, Leia seeing all of her work reduced to a squad of people on a single broken-down ship), but as characters offers profound resolution to their journeys, and ends with them both as hopeful and committed to the struggle for good as ever, and passing that along to the next generation of rebels.

I understand the desire for fictional characters to get the kinds of narrative arcs, the great endings to their personal stories, that we almost never get in real life. In real life, Luke or Leia could slip and fall in the shower one Tuesday morning and die, leaving their "story" horribly incomplete. But if you take this tale seriously at all, they can't be treated solely as storybook characters either, with all the neat resolutions that the OT implied. In the new trilogy, we find Leia and Luke having lived unpredictable lives with the ups and downs that all of us encounter along the way (well, not specifically), struggling with the same kinds of deep, fundamental interpersonal and existential challenges that we all face as we age, which added unexpected depth and resonance for me.

But if you love them as people, and want to see them thrive and be happy, then I can see how TLJ is pretty upsetting. For me, that would treat the characters themselves disrespectfully, but more importantly would not be an interesting movie to watch at all. There is no conflict or pathos in 'happily ever after,' and while it's a great life goal, it's not a very interesting story-telling approach. In my view, the characters of Leia and Luke are treated with deep respect in this movie, to the point that Johnson had the courage to allow them to be imperfect, and to continue to struggle with some pretty significant stuff. That they have done so imperfectly endears them to me more, and provides an inspirational example in middle age that I really did not expect--Luke showed me how to be a hero when I was a little boy, and now he's helping me to learn how to be wise through middle age. That was a character evolution that I did not expect, and is a big part of how the SW movies continue to offer life lessons for those of us who have had them in our lives for almost all of our lives.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:24 AM on January 2, 2018 [17 favorites]


Reading through the link that rmd1023 shared, this is it:
It was the most heroic thing I think I’ve ever seen in a movie, especially a space wizard movie. To let go of your self-hatred and give yourself so completely to the people you love that you fade away in peace. It is a beautiful fantasy and, I thought, a particularly resonant message for the anxious and depressed about what you can be capable of, the kind of peace you may be able to find if you dig down deep enough and push yourself emotionally.

I may not be able to literally will myself into a life-saving solution for my loved ones, but I can try my hardest to get the fuck over myself long enough to truly dedicate myself to them and the things I really believe in. As a metaphor, it’s something to aspire to. I never thought I’d find myself saying “I want to be like Luke Skywalker when I grow up” in my 30s, but they somehow made a Star Wars movie that pulled those feelings out of me again.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:37 AM on January 2, 2018 [9 favorites]


Long, but with a lot of great information about the use of "Death and the Maiden" tropes in the Rey/Kylo relationship. Death and the Maiden: How Reylo Will Be Canon (But Not in the Way that You're Hoping). This was written before TLJ came out, and accurately predicts that TLJ will not show Rey & Kylo in a straightforward love/redemption relationship. Also contains very interesting discussion of why a love relationship between Kylo and Rey is problematic AF, though there are undeniable undercurrents of romance between them.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:40 AM on January 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


And another, by the same author, on the tropes of Usurper and Holy Mother in TLJ: Kill the King and Take the Crown.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:48 AM on January 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


Saw it again yesterday and I think I can definitively put an end to the Great Towel/Cowl Debate Of 2017:

She said cowl.

A group of us went for each of our second viewings. We all agree that a second watch makes all the difference. Those who were "meh" the first time came away really appreciating it the second time, while those of us who initially really liked it (me!) came away loving it. TLJ is high up on my list of favorite Star Wars movies at this point.
posted by cooker girl at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


But if you love them as people, and want to see them thrive and be happy, then I can see how TLJ is pretty upsetting.

It's along the same lines as the Watsonian vs. Doylist tension that I often experience in fandoms. I'm a died-in-the-wool Doylist and often get into fandom arguments with people of more Watsonian bents. I mainly approach texts as an outsider looking for entertainment, or interesting ideas, and I can't really think of the characters as if they were real people. I don't really care if Luke is happy because Luke is just an idea. What I want out of his story is something that stimulates my brainmeat, gets my emotions involved in the fictional world, and gives me some interesting ideas to chew on. (I will be the first to admit that this is partially a function of my privilege--I don't need to see happy-ever-after demonstrated in fiction because that's not really a lack I feel in my own life.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2018 [7 favorites]


I never thought I’d find myself saying “I want to be like Luke Skywalker when I grow up” in my 30s, but they somehow made a Star Wars movie that pulled those feelings out of me again.

I shared that article earlier actually (the one abt mental health), and yes, this line is among many that resonated. I've been going back to that post since for rereads.

It's not just Luke though. If people didn't misunderstand Luke, they misunderstood Finn's arc. or Poe's. Even Rey's. *jackiechan wtf.jpg*

this movie isn't precious about its characters, is the thing. But it's certainly isn't disrespectful.
posted by cendawanita at 8:57 AM on January 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


I guess its fine that Admirals get to shop at Eileen Fisher but they might want to think about getting some uniforms if they are having problems getting people to listen to the chain of command.
posted by shothotbot at 9:13 AM on January 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


I guess its fine that Admirals get to shop at Eileen Fisher but they might want to think about getting some uniforms if they are having problems getting people to listen to the chain of command.

On the one hand, yeah, but on the other hand, I really appreciated this take on it that I posted upthread. Maybe it's time that we stopped looking for masculine or homogeneous cues to accept power.
posted by Mchelly at 9:17 AM on January 2, 2018 [15 favorites]


The power aesthetic choice for Leia and Holdo in this movie reminds me very much of Chrisjen Avasarala in The Expanse, and utilised to similar effect. Of course, Chrisjen and Leia dresses up when they're in diplomatic mode, and usually Leia dresses in a more masculine manner in battle mode, so just using her as datapoint (and even Padme tbqh) this movie's choice regarding female cultural dressing is notable. This movie subverts expectations here too (though I reckon that's secondary to the immediate purpose of telegraphing Holdo's supposed untrustworthiness)
posted by cendawanita at 9:37 AM on January 2, 2018 [