Another Rian Johnson reaction: Link
But seriously, Van, I'm curious. Did you read a lot of the extended universe? I'm curious if the people who spent a bunch of time with that stuff have had a more negative opinion of the film than others.
I'm definitely not a fan boy and haven't read any extended universe stuff since I was a kid (Tales from Jabba's Palace, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, Shadows of the Empire). I don't go on message boards and don't haven't read any fan theories related to Last Jedi. I'd say I fall in the 50th percentile of fans. I look forward to the movies - loved the originals; thought the prequels overall were trash.
Though derivative, I thought JJ really set the stage with Force Awakens to kickoff the new trilogy. He created a set of cool characters - both supporting and main including the Rebels and New Order all while bringing back old favorites for nostalgia/continuity sake. Then he wove in some really intriguing bits including Rey and Snoke's backstories that got me excited for the sequels. Even though RJ basically punted on those big questions, that's not really my issue with the movie. In general, I like the overall theme and thought it was a bold direction to go - 'the only way to move forward, is to let the past die.' And that ultimately the force isn't only the dominion of the Skywalkers, but lives in all of us.
Really, the problems is that Last Jedi is just a bad movie.
Bulleted list of hate:
- Hux - This guy is a bad Harry Potter villain.
- Phasma - Dumb.
- Poe - Felt like the only reason he existed in this movie is so Laura Dern could give Poe a big middle finger for trying to mansplain space tactics to her (see comment below). Poe is to Han Solo as a sharp stick to the nuts is to eating cheesecake (but I still love Oscar Isaac).
- Rose and Finn - Every scene they were in was terrible. Might be the worst sequence in any Star Wars film (save the Natalie Portman/Hayden Christensen love scenes in II). These two are the worst Star Wars characters. Couldn't tell if it was poor acting, bad chemistry. Didn't help that everything on the 'most terrible, evil weapon salesman planet' (jack-off motion) was so muddy and dark, you couldn't tell what was going on (and no, I didn't see it in 3D). These scenes ended up feeling pointless to the plot. And what the fuck Benicio Del Toro? Why did your character exist?
- Pacing/Length - Just felt like there was no flow and overall the movie was much longer than it needed to be.
- Leia/Mary Poppins
- Opening bad conference call scene - Christ. This scene felt like it was written by one of my clients who would have thought it was the funniest thing of all time (I work at an ad agency on a big telecom brand). This scene was so embarrassing I tried to burrow my head through the concrete floor of my local cinema until it ended. Agree with Tucker - leave the humor to the aliens/robots/porgs.
- Social/political commentary - Don't get me wrong, I'm as liberal as they come these days. Full SJW and Trump can eat all the dicks, but this movie was so ham-handed when it came to the political messaging. I love me some politics in movies (particularly when it aligns with my own), but not when every monologue sounds like a DM to @GOP. At some point it started distracting me from the movie.
- Kyle/Rey - Love these two. Genuine chemistry and great acting. I wanted them to force-fuck terribly. Still wondering if there would have been an interesting way to make them pair up - even for a short time on either the good or bad side. Maybe not.
- Luke - Overall didn't really mind how he was handled. Made sense to me and was great to see him on-screen again. Hope he gets an appearance as a force ghost in IX.
I'm just not sure where they go from here. Know RJ is handing the reigns back to JJ, but just wish JJ would have directed the whole trilogy. I still have hopes IX will be good, but even if it is, that won't stop LJ from being a big disappointment for me.