The 8th instalment into the Skywalker saga was one that left many fans divided, some think it is one of the worst entries into the series whilst others think it is an unsung masterpiece…
I will admit, I sit on the side of hating the film, but even I cannot deny that the film brought us some brilliant stuff. For me, it wasn’t completely crazy that Rian Johnson was writing and directing a Star Wars film. Having seen ‘Looper’, I’d say I thought there was real hope there. In ‘Looper’ he managed to establish a really awesome world, with some incredible lore and a group of fleshed out characters, but this didn’t feel the same. I think with ‘Looper’ he wan under less pressure. He created his own world, something that he had to make big, but going into Star Wars, this was something that people already knew and loved greatly, making his film all the more disappointing.
I cannot however, give Rian all the blame… not with Kathleen Kennedy having a lot of control as Lucasfilm president. I can guarantee that stuff was cut from the film, that potentially could have made it multitudes better.
Overall we saw some odd stuff in the film, notably the casino city of Canto Bight. Finn and Rose were set up to meet a ‘master code breaker’ and instead met criminal DJ, played by Benicio Del Toro. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of the planet. It’s a very cool concept but for me it serves no purpose. It sidetracks from the main story, a huge chunk of the film is focused on this boring arc with 2 (Finn and Rose) boring characters. I liked DJ, he was generic but somewhat interesting, maybe it was just Del Toro’s acting that I liked. They ended up being captured by the empire, setting up the final act, and it was inevitable, so why prolong it?
I also disliked the use of Luke’s character. I get that characters are meant to change and develop over time, but I feel that the changes made to Luke Skywalker contradict everything Star Wars stands for, and everything Luke stood for too. Throughout the whole of the original trilogy he was a plucky kid with buckets of hope and optimism, who wanted nothing more than balance and wanting to do the right thing. But here he’s a hermit… who doesn’t want to help… and has no interest of the galaxy’s struggles… it’s just not right. Then it takes a visit from Yoda and his death for him to do the right thing! He was killed off way too prematurely, I feel he could have been of help in the final movie.
As I said though, there are good aspects to this film. For example, the cinematography is brilliant. Here are some of the shots I really love.
I also loved the battle between Kylo and Rey and the guards, but I think some better decisions could have been made there. Why kill Snoke? He was built up as the big bad, but he was killed before he could fulfil his potential. Also, why not have Kylo join the resistance now? Instead we have to watch ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, only for him to kiss Rey and join the light side for what, 5 minutes? Again, the best character in the whole trilogy but still wasted.
The trilogy as a whole also ignores the entirety of the prequels, which contains some pretty solid lore. The prequels introduced the fact that Anakin was the chosen one and he would bring balance to the force. Yet after he dies in ‘Return of The Jedi’, and does so, the story line carries on and wipes all of this out of existence…
Story wise, I think this film was a terrible waste, not only did it do a horrible job as a sequel to a good film, but it is (along with The Rise Of Skywalker) a disgrace to the Skywalker saga and the story it told for 30 years. In aspects such as cinematography and direction, I think Rian Johnson and Steve Yedlin did a great job.
Words by Jack Horsley.