Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review with Spoilers

Be Warned, this is a Spoiler Filled review!

If you want the Non – Spoiler review, you can go to the link here.

Since I’ve already talked about the cast and crew in the non – spoiler version of the film, I will not be doing so for this version of the review. I have now seen this movie three  times. This review is done to talk about what happens in the movie, as well as what that means for Episode IX.

If you are still reading this and didn’t want to listen to the warnings above, Rey’s parents are no named junkers who abandoned her, Luke Skywalker dies, and Kylo Ren betrays Snoke and kills him using the Skywalker lightsaber. Too late. I warned you. Now, onto the review!


Spoiler Review

The movie opened up with the Resistance fleeing the base that they were on in The Force Awakens as the First Order managed to track them down near the end of that movie. Buying more time for the Resistance, Poe Dameron decides to play a little game with General Hux, and decides to ‘troll’ him along with calling out his mom.

While I thought that scene was funny, and reminds us of the first words with Kylo Ren in the Episode VII, I do think that using the terminology as “I’ll hold” “I’ve got something to say about his mother” were lines that I don’t think really fit in the Star Wars universe from what we’ve seen so far.

After messing with Hux and destroying all of the laser canons of the Dreadnought , Poe ignores orders and sacrifices more than half of the Resistance’s ships in order to destroy it. His character arc in this movie is learning to take orders, that shooting something or blowing it up can solve all of the problems that he faces. He learns the value of life in this movie and to respect authority.

SPOILER REVIEW

Rey being tortured for information after giving herself up to try and bring Kylo to the light – Source: Lucasfilm

The character of Finn in this movie does a big character arc, as he goes from someone who only cares about himself and his new friend Rey and her safety to someone who is willing to sacrifice himself for the idea of the Resistance and the ‘good of the galaxy’. While I didn’t enjoy the scenes where he grows the most as a character in Canto Bight, I did appreciate the new Finn that we saw at the end of the movie. I don’t know whether they will make the romance a thing with Rose Tico and his character, however I could see their reasoning as to why they would do so.

I don’t particularly care about them choosing to do the love interest, as it’s been done in Star Wars and it’s not something new for the universe. I just hope that if they decide to go that route with either Finn and Rose, Finn and Rey, Poe and Rey or Finn and Poe, that it be done properly. The characters should still remain their own characters and not be defined by the relationship if they go in that direction.

With the unfortunate and extremely sad passing of Carrie Fisher, it leaves the filmmakers in sort of a bind with the character of Leia. They already went on record saying that they didn’t change the story in this movie for her character, and that they wouldn’t go the CGI route of bringing her back for Episode IX. So it leave into questions as to what her role in the future film would have been, and what will they do to replace that now.

A lot of people are upset with the look and possibility of her using the Force pull power to pull herself back towards the ship after being blasted into space. There’s been a lot of people complaining about the possibility of someone ‘surviving’ in space and the overall look or the ‘Superman’ pose of her ‘flying’. First, I feel like people are underestimating the fact that people could survive in space for a short period of time, as well as the fact that people didn’t complain as much when Peter Quill was in space for a long period of time in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Superman pose did look stupid in my opinion, but I don’t see another way in which she saves herself to be shown with that they wanted to portray. I’m extremely glad that we finally see proof that she knows how to use the Force, even if it’s simple stuff, I also loved that we finally got a Skywalker moment from Leia.

SPOILER REVIEW

Poe Dameron facing off against the Dreadnought – Source: Lucasfilm

There were many scenes that showed the growth in Rey and her powers on Ahch-To. The lack of control and lust for knowledge that she was displaying was really showing that she had some “Dark Side” tendencies. I find that the fact that her powers growing were a direct result of the Force ‘balancing’ itself out was something that I could have done without, but I like the fact that ‘anyone’ could potentially have a connection to the Force that they were trying to show in this movie, and that there doesn’t need to be a particular lineage for the Force to manifests itself.

I feel like what they did with the Rey character in making her stupid in some scenes did not work, and were used for basic comic relief such as the reaching out scene. The character is a lot less of a ‘Mary Sue’ character which some people were complaining about after the first one.

The character of Luke Skywalker was wonderful in this movie. He saw himself and the Jedi in a way that a lot of people will be upset about because he sees everything from the stories that we know as Episode I through VII as the fault of the Jedi and or himself. He kept that sense of humour and personality that we saw hints at in the original trilogy while they also implemented a lot of Mark Hamill’s public personality into the character in making him more funny in a lot of scenes.

The fact that we never got to see Luke Skywalker really take on Kylo Ren or Supreme Leader Snoke or even any real fight with the First Order will always be the biggest disappointment for me with this film. The fact that he projected his old physical self across the galaxy to give his sister and the Resistance time as well as messing with his nephew was probably the biggest and most surprising and fucking awesome part of the movie.

SPOILER REVIEW

Vice Admiral Holdo talking to Leia one last time – Source: Lucasfilm

The fact that they brought back Captain Phasma gave me hope that we would get some more cool scenes of her and what she’s capable of doing. The fact that they also released a book all about her prior to the release of this movie made people even more excited to learn and see more of the chrome wearing Stormtrooper. However what we got was the death of Phasma 2.0. The character was so underutilised and point of the character so misguided that I felt cheated and my time wasted in learning about the character and hoping that we would get more.

The same can be said about the character of Supreme Leader Snoke. I, along with about every single other fan wanted to learn more about Snoke and where he came from, who he was, why he did the things he did, and the fact that they just killed him off was a big middle finger to the audience as they seemed that they didn’t know how to use the character without it being another Emperor 2.0 type of character. My score doesn’t change because as a whole the film was fun and I really enjoyed it, but there were flaws in this movie that really sucked.

They made General Hux an idiot at the beginning, a genius who somehow found a way to track spaceships through Hyperspace without really explaining how, and then they made the character Kylo Ren’s personal rag doll to throw around and humiliate in front of his army.

The connection between Ben Solo and Rey from pretty much nowhere was another thing that I really wish that they would have explored more in terms of how was it done. I know that Snoke had manipulated that connection, but it’s never explained how it started or how it keeps going after Snoke was killed. I really loved that they connected the characters though not by blood or similar lineage.

SPOILER REVIEW

Rey using Kylo Ren’s lightsaber – Source: Lucasfilm

Kylo Ren’s story arc had a couple of twists in this movie, especially the one where he is the one that kills Snoke, not because he is conflicted, but because he now knows that he wants to lead, and is tired of being talked to like a child, as Snoke did at the beginning of the film. I thought that it was a twist within a twist where he turns out to go deeper towards the Dark Side, but still believes that Rey can be corrupted.

The fact that his anger continues to grow as well as his powers is something that I found to be very fascinating. The scene where he unleashes the full power of the First Order on Crait against Luke Skywalker just shows that he truly has gone to, and there’s no hope for him. There was that glimmer of hope that was building through Rey, but that dissipated when she abandoned him on Snoke’s ship, and was truly gone after facing down his old master.

The lightsaber battle between Rey and Ben vs Praetorian Guard was truly beautiful to watch and was really well choreographed. I loved the scenes where they both used their creativity in defeating their enemies, as well as the trust that they had in each other during those few moments. The final throw of the Skywalker lightsaber from Rey to Ben, only for him to turn it on and off in the final guard’s eye was awesome, and I heard a lot of people saying ‘cool’ after that.

There were essentially four melee fight scenes, and I would say that all of them were well done. There was the little spat that Rey had with Luke in which Luke was just defending himself with ease with a pole that he grabbed against Rey and her staff until he disarmed her and she grabbed the lightsaber which terrified Luke for a moment. There was the fight scene between Phasma and Finn in which Phasma kicked Finn’s butt, but he got lucky and landed on an elevator pad that was going upward afterwhich he had the high ground to bash her face in.

SPOILER REVIEW

Supreme Leader Snoke about to drop General Hux like a ragdoll – Source: Lucasfilm

Then there’s the other two fight scenes where one of them immediately jump into the top 5 lightsaber battles in the Star Wars movies, and the other would rank just outside that as number 6 or 7. My top 5 list would include the following: Rey vs Kylo fight in Episode VII, Anakin vs Obi-Wan fight in Episode III, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs Darth Maul in Episode I, Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader in Episode VI and the new fight where Kylo and Rey team up against the Praetorian Guard, not in that order.

Master Yoda returns in this film as a Force Ghost who was done in the form of a Puppet, rather than the horrible CGI that was used in the prequels that looked more fake than the puppet from the original trilogy. I loved that we got to see him scold Luke in the way he was acting, and the fact that Force Ghost can now use the Force? On top of that Yoda called down lightning to burn down the tree, which has been usually seen as a ‘Dark Side’ power. I feel like he had the best line in the film when saying that one of the greatest burdens on a master is when the student grows past them, or something in that regard, I can’t remember the exact quote. I also really loved the fact that he points out that failure is the best and greatest teacher of all.

The tree on Ahch-to was beautiful and housed the ancient Jedi Texts that from what he can guess, Luke never really read them all, even in his exile. I loved when Yoda said that there’s nothing in that tree that the young Rey does not already possess, foreshadowing that she, as a scavenger would see their value, and take them before leaving, and Yoda burnt the tree in order to stop the audience and Luke from finding out too early.

The Canto Bight scenes is very much a political piece on war profiteering, and that there is no good or bad, but different shades of grey, and that it all depends on your point of view. While I truly understand the message of these scenes, and what they represent in this movie as well as a reflection to the real world, I did not enjoy those scenes, and I could have done without them completely in this film. They were not entertaining to me, and to me, was used as an excuse to give us a new and updated ‘cantina scene’.

SPOILER REVIEW

Not seen in the movie – Source: Lucasfilm

Vice Admiral Holdo as a character was interesting and an old friend of Leia’s, however the whole problem between her and Poe, and the fact that Finn and Rose went to Canto Bight could have all been avoided had the lady with the pink / purple hair would have told them the plan, or at best explain that they had a mole on board. Something that would have made things better than a lack of communication that caused a lot more problems that were necessary.

The best scene visually in the entire Star Wars saga to me, was the scene where Vice Admiral Holdo, as a last ditch effort to save what was left of the transport ships decided to go to Lightspeed through the First Order ships. That whole Anime type visual and the complete lack of sound in that sequence was absolutely stunning and amazing to watch. I was debating with friends after watching the movie on whether such a move killed Holdo or not, and I’m not really sure what the answer is.

I did not like the character of DJ, not did I enjoy any scene that the character was a part of. I did not see a point to this character, or the fact that there was so much time spent on him. I find that he was on par with Jar Jar Binks in terms of use to the overall story and unless they fix the character in Episode IX (if he comes back), then I will hate him just as much. There was nothing good or entertaining about that character whatsoever, and I can’t find anything good to say about the character overall.

Another waste of time for this movie, in my opinion was the inclusion of Maz Kanata in this movie as a small little cameo type scene where she’s fighting with union reps and has this strange sexually driven innuendo about a character that we might or might not have met in this movie. I’m still not sure if DJ was the hacker that they were supposed to go after, or if we’ll ever see that hacker with the red lapel in future films.

SPOILER REVIEW

DJ – Source: Lucasfilm

Probably the most badass scene that I have ever scene in the Star Wars franchise, and the scene that I had chills for the entire time, every time I saw this movie was when Luke Skywalker was walking out of the base on Crait, and towards the First Order, and standing there between the two sides, daring them to fire. The music, the visuals and the look on the other characters’ faces was one of absolute inspiration and hope. Luke Skywalker in that scene is the younger version that we see from the flashbacks, doesn’t leave any footprints in the salt, and is wielding his old lightsaber. He faces down the First Order and wipes off the dust after facing thousands of shots from the ships.

After egging on Kylo Ren enough, and after dome pretty incredible fighting without being touched, we find out that Luke is not truly there, but pulling off probably the greatest feat that we have scene with the Force. The entire scene, I was on the edge of my seat and glued to the screen. I loved that scene so much, while also hating it because we never got to see him actually face off against them, which would have been absolutely fantastic.

The death of my hero from my childhood, Luke Skywalker was something that I didn’t expect whatsoever. Sure, there were rumours that he would die in this movie, as there were about Han Solo in the previous film, however it’s not something that I actually thought they would do in this film. I did love the fact that the last thing that Skywalker saw before moving on into the Force was the double suns of his youth back on Tatooine. I thought that visual was beautiful and very peaceful way for the character to pass. I really really hope that we see a lot of his Force Ghost in Episode IX, especially now that we know they can actually interfere with things now thanks to Yoda.

The last meeting between important characters in the resistance, Poe Dameron and and Rey finally meet. This was a very anti-climactic meeting, but I feel like they will feature a lot together in future films, or that might just be what I want.

SPOILER REVIEW

Rose Tico about to stun Finn – Source: Lucasfilm

As you might know I rated this movie an 8.5/10 after seeing it a second time, where my original score was 8/10 after my first viewing. After having seen it three times, my score remains the same at 8.5/10.

What were your favourite parts of the movie? What were your least favourite parts? This review was my way of getting these spoilers and little nitpicks and some of my problems with other people’s reactions off my chest. This is the review where we can talk spoilers in the comments. Let me know what you think of the movie, or of my review in the comments! I would love to hear your opinion.

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

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