The Last Jedi is a solid, entertaining film. It is not the greatest Star Wars movie of all time. Nor is it the abomination some internet trolls claim. It falls in some places, soars in others, and takes some bold risks that pay off while avoiding some risks for all the wrong reasons.
The biggest problem with the film is the horrible, confusing pacing in the first half of the film. The first half of the film follows two story arcs. But one arc seems to take place over the course of days while the other takes place over the course of hours. Because these arcs are presented concurrently, however, it causes the storytelling of the first half to feel disjointed and rushed in some places. There is never a clear sense of urgency for the first story arc because the second story arc seems to be moving along at a leisurely pace.
Once the dueling story arcs are concluded, the film takes off. The film pulls the trigger in a big way that surprised without being gratuitous or feeling like it was merely done for shock value. In the moment, it actually was quite satisfying. It didn’t hurt that it was immediately followed by an amazing fight scene. Then followed by a last-stand pitched battle that ends with the film pulling the trigger again in a way that was unexpected, poignant, and fitting.
On the surface, there are a lot of needless scenes and plot holes that have many fans whining. But, in the context of the film’s greater theme…hubris…those scenes make sense. The movie elegantly weaves a tragedy about the hubris of heroes and villains who, so wrapped up in their own self-importance, lose sight of the larger narrative and lead themselves and others to ruin. Some people criticize the many needless deaths in the film. Yet those needless deaths were the point. Every one of them was the result of a character’s hubris. The belief that they alone knew what had to be done and only they could do it.
This doesn’t excuse some of the genuinely pointless scenes and plot holes that were more a result of poor pacing than poor plotting. But it provides some context through which to view the repercussions of character decisions throughout the movie.
Fun quotes out of context:
“Page turners they were not.”
“They really hate that ship!”
“It’s amazing. Everything you just said in that sentence is wrong.”