This weekend I watched The Last Jedi for only the second time – and the first since I originally saw it opening weekend in theaters. I’d stayed away from it because, well let’s face it, Star Wars discourse has gotten heavy over the last two years. I’d enjoyed the movie and for a bit was a hell-or-high water defender against the trolls. But eventually it wears you down and my enthusiasm for everything Star Wars diminished. I wrote posts on my initial feelings on The Last Jedi and about some of the harassment that Kelly Marie Tran faced last year.
But between The Mandalorian and Jedi: Fallen Order this year I’ve gotten the Star Wars bug again. So going into episode 9 I thought I’d refresh myself and rewatch The Last Jedi to see how I felt about it two years later. And I’m pleased to report that it’s still a good movie. In fact, it’s a great movie.
Let’s dig in, shall we? (Spoilers for The Last Jedi, obviously.)
A few weeks after The Force Awakens released in 2015, I wrote a blog post summarizing my thoughts on it for a different blog. As The Rise of Skywalker is about to hit theaters on Friday, I thought it would be pertinent to look back at my feelings on it. I’m reposting it in its entirety, unedited, here to start what will hopefully be a week of Star Wars blogging leading up to the movie’s release on Friday.
So here’s a look back at what I wrote in January 2016. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my thoughts on The Last Jedi after I rewatched it this weekend, then on Wednesday and Thursday I will be talking about The Mandalorian and Jedi: Fallen Order. I’ll probably have thoughts on Episode 9 as well, but likely not until the new year as I’ve waited a bit after each movie before posting my thoughts. Anyway, enjoy this blast from my writing past:
It’s here! Episode 30 of Make Me A Gamer has arrived! TMan and HarveyZ start off the episode diving into a bit of HarveyZ’s music taste before answering from the question bucket for the very first time! Then they discuss the Playstation 5 specs that were released as well as the XBox One SAD Edition. They also discuss the newly announced Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game from EA and the game selection for the upcoming Genesis Mini. Enjoy! (This episode was recorded April 18, 2019.)
So if you hadn’t heard in the news today, Kelly Marie Tran deleted her Instagram account because of months of targeted harassment due to her playing Rose in The Last Jedi. The main rage impetus behind her harassment was the fact that Rose as a character was viewed as awful and in general many people didn’t like her plotline or her existence in the movie. Of course, rabid jerks continued the harassment well after all The Last Jedi hot takes were over for a multitude of reasons – she was Asian, she wasn’t the usual Hollywood conventionally attractive female, she was in a movie they disliked. You know, all very normal things to harass somebody for months on end about.
This isn’t the first time that Star Wars fans have made a person’s life miserable after the movie came out. Jake Lloyd was harassed after he played a ten-year old Anakin Skywalker and shattered high brow nerd’s views on Darth Vader. Hayden Christensen has been mocked eternally for his role as Anakin as well. The actor who played Jar Jar received a ton of backlash from fans despite the character intending to appeal to children. In 2016 Daisy Ridley also deleted her Instagram account – while this wasn’t specifically about Star Wars, but rather her anti-gun violence stance, she was still harassed online for it. Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has gotten tons of vitriol over Twitter. I’ve seen tweets of people threatening to kill Kathleen Kennedy – the current president of Lucasfilm. Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t even have a social media presence so we don’t really know how people would have directly treated him for being cast as Han Solo, but considering the lead-up to the release of the movie there’s a good chance he might have been targeted as well.
While a lot of people get very animated about things that they love, fans of Star Wars sometimes feel like they are on another level. The reactions to all of the recent Star Wars movies have been divisive at best and outright lunacy at worst. The Last Jedi, months after release, still gets people angry if it’s mentioned as a good movie. Discussion about Kelly Marie Tran’s harassment today was often prefaced by “Well, I hated her character, but-” as if disliking her character was an important point to add to the discussion of her targeted online abuse.
So what is it about Star Wars in particular that drives fans to total insanity when new stuff comes out for it? Why is it that nobody appreciates new Star Wars and the original trilogy has to be preserved as some holy relic of cinema?
I’ve been putting off putting my thoughts on The Last Jedi into words for a while. I was initially going to do a review of the movie soon after it was released, but the internet almost immediately filled up with “hot takes” where everyone was trying to shout out their opinion louder than anyone else’s. There was a lot of “Yes, The Last Jedi IS the best Star Wars movie ever” vs. “No, The Last Jedi IS the worst Star Was movie ever.” Everyone wanted to point out how Rian Johnson was either a genius or a hack. In the age of the internet and social media, speed is key you see. A nuanced, thought about opinion is not desired because what’s hot and relevant can change in the blink of an eye. So I decided to holster my opinion until after the madness of the initial release died down. And now with the trailer for the Solo movie being released along with the announcement that Disney is giving the Game of Thrones guys their own trilogy to write, I figure now is a good a time as any to go back and talk about Episode VIII.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of it, I will say that there will be open spoilers to the movie in the following review. I’m not going to police my words or jump around the big spoilers if I’m talking about them, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and that’s an issue to you I’d recommend bailing out now and coming back later when you’ve seen it. I’ll also be openly talking about stuff from other Star Wars movies too, obviously. But if you’ve already seen everything or just don’t care about spoilers then come on in, the water’s fine.