Ok, there are 2 reasons I’m writing a second post. The first is the easy one: SPOILERS. The second is (perhaps) less obvious. I needed a few days to really process my thoughts on the movie.
Let me begin by saying: I enjoyed this film. In a lot of ways I think it’s among my favorite Star Wars films. The writers of this film took some fun deconstructions of expectations. (A read on someone else’s opinion I just read: here)
There is a lot I liked about this movie. I loved the Luke in this movie. Honestly, he might be my favorite iteration of Luke Skywalker – bitter and snarky and all. Apparently, I am the only one who thought he would/should throw the saber over his shoulder – OK, I admit I thought he was going to turn and chuck it as far as his force/mechanical-empowered-arm would send it into the depths of the ocean. I love that he was flawed and still struggling so much, his guilt and his learning – but he owes Rey another lesson.
I did not not not like Yoda. He felt like a muppet. I know they went back to the puppet (yay!) but…. that stupid little dance-thingy was…. ugh! ugh! On the other hand, I like that Yoda prevented Luke from seeing the books were missing…. did you catch that in the Falcon at the end? The books in the drawer that Finn pulled a blanket from? Luke wasn’t able to confirm the books burned. I think Yoda knew. I think he also knew that Luke needed to let go of that past. That past that Rey needs to still wrestle with – because our past does influence us. I am curious where they will be taking that thread honestly – does Rey need to wrestle or will she adapt to the Jedi code?
As I said in my non-spoilery review, I did not like the casino-bit. I liked that not-quite-callback to “hive of scum and villany” from Rose – because this isn’t “scum” – but they are pretty terrible people who live on the backs of the less fortunate…. as I also said, my biggest beef is that this really just felt like “get to know Rose” and a little bit of “get the psuedo-villain to the big ship.” Why couldn’t Maz call her buddy and help them out? Oh right, because they needed Finn and Rose to have an adventure and bond!
Why couldn’t it be “we need a way to help duder get here undetected, pick us up and get us over there” on the ship? Why the hell did Holdo then have to wait so damn long to enact her “cloaked transport” plan?!?! If they could have gotten away from the crusier before they were in sight of the planet that would have changed everything. It ended up making the entire “running away from the empire ships” feel VERY contrived.
And again – my husband pointed out that although the rebels were running out of fuel for jumps; why couldn’t the empire just hyper-space jump in front of the rebel ships and wait in ambush? Why did they have to pursue that way….? A comment of “we can’t go to hyperspace when we’re at full speed like this” is all I needed – it’s space fantasy, I don’t need much! Those two intertwined plots of ship-chasing and casino-planet… I honestly just wanted to get back to Rey + Luke + Kylo Ren stories during about 1/3 of the movie.
I like the Poe-plot better since I read a review (here!) about Poe’s arc – and part of his issue being his damn brashness. I think it would have helped the audience if someone (not Holdo but someone else) had made a snarky comment to him about “well if we had some bombers right now” – because he got them all blown up. (Another plot hole – imo – if you KNOW your bombers are threatened by exploding shrapnel why the HELL would you use a “tight formation” on a bombing run?!?! and why did the rebels have so many bombers and so few of anything else?) Or if Holdo had smacked him down more firmly than she did – I wouldn’t have objected if she had said, “No. I won’t tell you the plan. I can’t trust you with the plan because the last time you were trusted you destroyed all our bombers. Get to your post and follow the orders I DO trust you with. I’ll tell you more when I trust you with more.” I think this was the message they were trying to convey, but what they did ended up feeling…. passive-aggressive? I don’t blame her – God knows I might do something similar with a man in my face (defuse! defuse!) but…. BUT – I can still say “I would have liked…” (I also would have liked ice cream!)
The last thing I felt could have been better was Leia in space. When she was in space and like force-dragged herself… the ship is going full speed, right and how fast is she going then??? And this isn’t a Leia thing we’ve ever seen. She isn’t the Force user. I really wish instead it had been “random bridge dude #4” force-pushed her. Reinforcing this message of “the Force is in everyone” message and “Power can be in anyone” that threaded through the movie. I think this would have been super powerful. And driven the fans nuts in the best of ways. So much more intriguing than just another Skywalker being a damn hero….
Which leads to my hope going forward. I was a little devastated when Carrie Fisher died. She’s my princess. And if they kill her off screen…. I am going to be SOOOO disappointed. SOOOO. No one seems to think there’s much choice, most of my friends are saying “they can just jump forward 10 years.” MEH. and NO. I think they should have “Princess Leia” off politiking with powerful people gathering allies and begging for money, supplies, people…. she passed off “General” to Poe, but she’s just off in another part of the galaxy being useful.
I ended up really liking the dialog, I know some people think it’s too much like the Marvel/DC attempts at “humor” but I liked it. I enjoyed the aside comments like not quite calling the casino a “hive of scum and villainy.” It was a cute call-back. The salt-looks-like-hoth planet call-back was well done. Enough to be nostalgic but not “hit me over the head with it.”
And the use of the crystal-fox-things … man at first I just thought it was a fun gag and then – then they used them!?! I don’t get surprised often, and I liked it!