It’s worth noting that your words on TLJ are [opinion!] far too kind. @PeteMcc
Since TLJ released, I’ve been thoroughly checked out of Star Wars. Solo was the first film I’ve skipped in theaters. I didn’t watch the shows, play the games, anything. Jedi caught my attention only because it seemed to prove that it wasn’t more of the same, and even then, it was very late that I actually boarded the hype train beyond “meh, guess it might be good.”
So, here we go, the gigarant on a travesty of a film that I despise:
EPISODE VIII: DARTH RIAN RETURNS
This film is a soulless husk saved by the incredible VFX and casting. I’m going to break it all down below, but I’ll start with the less spoilery bits in case you feel like catching up on this trainwreck on your own for some reason:
Throwing the Plot Out
Everything about TLJ is designed as a cheap thrill. From the moment the film starts, it prides itself on contracdicting the series Episode VII built up by having Luke throw away his lightsaber and yell-- despite putting together a hidden map that is meant to lead the right person to his location-- that he never wanted to be found.
This only gets worse as the film goes on, but spoilers. The TLDR is that doing the opposite of what you expect gets old fast, and “subverting expectations” is done so poorly in this film that it’s become a meme.
Character lines, not arcs
Every new character is a missed opportunity and a canvas to project plot onto.
In my eyes, the worst offender is Rose Tico, a character that “exists” and has no actual plot. Yet, 50% of the film is focused on her. She has no actual personality-- she is first there to be sad about a character that shows up very briefly, then she wants to save the animals and hates rich casino-goers. She has no consistency, no morals, no actually tangible character traits or progression. She’s a sad face that chases the plot. Nothing against the actress of course-- she does a fine job portraying this blank slate, and gives it her best. There’s just nothing to work with.
This can be fixed by having an actual written character with a vested interest in the plot, some kind of convictions. Her sister died, how did that change her character? Oh, it didn’t? Cool. What about the pilot responsible? Any enmity there-- oh, no, you’re cool? M’kay.
The weakest character by far is Admiral Holdo; she doesn’t have one. She exists. That’s the most I can say about her.
All Hail Rey, the All-Powerful Perfect Being (Spoilers!)
Every character from the series still present is grossly mishandled.
This begins with Rey. I actually liked the character in VII as a successor to Luke-- she’s a wasteland scrapper of sorts, and has a fairly humble origin with a desire for adventure. She gets a chance to take to the stars, and she’s there the entire time in VII as a wide-eyed kid. She shows potential in the force, but like Luke, she has several stumbles on the way. She runs from her fate, she fears the First Order, and even when Kylo was wounded and exhausted, she still barely beat him.
She isn’t a perfect character, and as a complete rookie being thrown into the galaxy for the first time, nobody expects her to be. She has a lot to learn, like Finn, and there’s a lot hinging on their success, so they rise up to the task they previously weren’t sure they could handle. It’s an adventure, a real journey with real risks.
This goes out the window in VIII. Now, she’s all powerful, and training means nothing. She’s a limitless Jedi master that can defeat anyone and anything, and unlike The Force Awakens, there’s a clear rule in place that she can never be on the losing side of a fight.
Abuse the Force (Spoilers!)
Force Skype calls.
This movie is trash.
Death by Incompetence (Spoilers!)
Everyone in this film is a moron.
Snoak can predict anything, yet lets a lightsaber slip past him. Kay.
There’s a spy on the ship, and that’s how they’re tracking the ship! No wait, that’s just a massive plot hole, the admiral is just not doing her job and being needlessly cryptic, screwing up so badly that you assume she’s just a spy. I expect this crap in Town of Salem, not a film.
Rose dismantles Finn’s entire character arc with what is by far one of the least satisfying conclusions I’ve ever seen in a film.
She also lectures him on how they don’t win by destroying what they hate, but saving what they love… as the base is exploding, as a direct result of her ramming the hero out of his moment of honorable sacrifice because he hot tho.
Don't meet your heroes, we rewrote them (Spoilers!)
Luke’s arc is insulting.
The hopeful kid from IV-VI returns, but now he’s got a dark past. Something horrible happened, as hinted at in VII. Yet, what is this thing? Oh, it makes zero sense at all, okay.
Luke, the character that tried to see the light in Darth Vader, tried to kill youngling Kylo over shower thoughts. THIS IS STUPID AND MAKES NO SENSE.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for Luke to let Ben’s power and exploration of the dark side to go unchecked? Isn’t this something the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight arc already handled a thousand times better?
Anything would have been better than what they went with.
There’s my semi-comprehensive, all-disorganized stream-of-consciousness rant on the film that ruined a franchise for me. I’d try harder to organize my thoughts, but then I would have thought about this film more than Rian Johnson did.
It was a waste of my time. It was a waste of money. It was a waste of an IP I grew up with, and it deserves no defense for how it manages to fall on its face and be subpar in every way conceivable. I’m not seeing IX, there’s no point. Star Wars movies are dead to me, and that’s just kind of that.
The Last Jedi has all the pieces it needs to be a good film. The whole convoy-under-siege arc could work. Having a traitor on board would be interesting. The casino was a cool location. The casting is spot-on, and every one-dimensional character is played to their fullest by genuinely talented actors and actresses that unfortunately took the hit online for the terrible writing.
Thanks, Darth Rian. Ya dun goofed.