‘The Last Jedi’ Dissection Part 2: Attack of the Nerd

WIKICOMMONS | PHOTO COURTESY

After “The Last Jedi” hit theaters Dec. 14, 2017, opinions have been mixed with regard to Disney’s direction of Star Wars and how the new movies are being handled and cared for. I feel that the movies are being ruined by poorly written characters, scripts and plot. I now give you part two of my list of what went wrong a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away after watching TLJ twice.

First up on my list is Captain Phasma’s super short screen time. Captain Phasma is played by Gwendoline Christie who also plays Brienne of Tarth in “Game of Thrones.” Like many people after “The Force Awakens,” I wanted to see Captain Phasma be awesome in the next movie.

Instead, I was completely disappointed.

Using the mathematics skills and practices bestowed upon me by this university’s finest math classes, I have added up all the time that Captain Phasma spends on screen. It comes out to less than two minutes and forty seconds between both movies. This lack of screen time for a character who had a whole backstory seems completely wasted. Captain Phasma was meant to be in the new movies as a badass female character, but she ends up doing nothing to affect any of the main characters or the plot itself. Nothing stands out to me when I think about Captain Phasma. The only thing she has ever done in the movies that was important is lower the shields of Starkiller Base to let her opponents blow it up. What wasted potential.

Rey is a Mary Sue. There I said it, and it feels good. A “Mary Sue” is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character. Often, this character is recognized as an author insert or wish fulfillment. They can usually perform better at tasks than what should be possible given their amount of training or experience. (Thank you Google for that well-said definition.) Daisy Ridley is a good actress and seems like a good person, but Rey is too overpowered and good at everything to make her interesting to me. She doesn’t seem to have any flaws or things that stand in her way. She just walks around, and everything works out for her. You could say it is plot armor and something that many movies use, but there is no give and take in Rey’s situation. If you do not believe me or want to believe me, here is your proof.

Rey flies the Millennium Falcon without ever piloting a starship, and she shows the ability to have excellent combat skills and can do complex maneuvers while flying through a Star Destroyer. She’s able to fix the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon without ever having worked on a hyperdrive or ever having seen one before. Han Solo almost immediately wants her to be part of his smuggler crew because of her fighting skills. She beats Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel after he has been training for years. She goes to see Luke, but doesn’t learn anything apart from what the force is. I could go on, but I think I have made my point.

In the article before this one, I mentioned Poe Dameron and Vice Admiral Holdo’s tense relationship. I want to explore what Poe did and why it is understandable given the circumstances.

First things first, Vice Admiral Holdo did a terrible job informing anyone of what her plan to save the Resistance was. Poe asked her twice on separate occasions what the plan was and she told him off. After not getting any results, Poe had concluded that “Vice Admiral” Holdo was not fit for command and takes matters into his own hands. He recruits Rose and Finn to go find a hacker on the planet Canto Bight who can help stop the First Order from tracking the Resistance’s ships. They are, in the end, successful but are almost immediately betrayed by the discount hacker they found in the Canto Bight prison.

Most people blame Poe for getting most of the surviving Resistance members killed because of his plan. My argument against that is he acted with the information he had because Vice Admiral Holdo withheld “need to know information” from one of her higher ranking officers.

After TFA (“The Force Awakens”) everyone was stoked for Supreme Leader Snoke. He was dark, evil and powerful with the force. It was exciting to speculate about where Snoke came from and how he became so powerful with the force. However, Disney had other plans for Snoke. Disney, after nearly two years of covering up Snoke’s identity and being rather shifty about it, has Kylo Ren kill him rather easily in TLJ. Just like a lot of other things in this movie, it was quite disappointing, especially to see an all-powerful character like Snoke die so easily. Snoke’s death was good character development for Kylo Ren because Snoke was holding him back. However, it makes no sense why Disney would make Snoke up to be this all-powerful baddy and not do anything with him. I draw similarities from Captain Plasma’s screen time to Snoke’s. Not enough time was spent with either of them to make me care about them or for their deaths to seem fitting.

If you have read the part one article about TLJ and have now gotten to this point, you may have noticed that most of my problems with the movie are with the characters. You may also have noticed that most of the characters I am disappointed with are of the female variety. There are some that argue that, “There are not enough powerful prominent women in Star Wars.” To that, I call BS. If anyone would take the time to consider the lore of each movie, TV show and maybe a book or two in the Star Wars universe, you would understand why I call BS.

Here are my examples: Mon Mothma (leader of the Rebel Alliance and eventual founder of the New Republic) Asajj Ventress (assassin for Count Dooku) Ahsoka Tano (Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice) Shaak Ti (Jedi Master) Padme Amidala (former queen of Naboo, senator and mother of both Luke and Leia) Leia Organa (one of the youngest senators ever and eventually becomes a general of the Rebel Alliance). Those are just for starters.

Powerful women have always been in Star Wars and it may seem like I do not like that. False, I am cool with powerful women. The only problem is if you are going to write a backstory and script for a character, make it good. Most of the female characters of TLJ are written in a way that makes them as powerful and badass as they possibly can be. It doesn’t work. Like I said for Rey, you must give a character flaws and obstacles that prevent them from progressing. You cannot give a character complete perfection and expect them to be interesting unless you are doing it in a comical fashion. That is what this movie is to me — one big comic strip. The General Leia/Mary Poppins scene sums up the entire movie — a joke.

The last thing I would like to attack the movie for is a small one, but angered me all the same. The humor is forced (no pun intended). Almost every tense scene that was really getting me into the moment was utterly ruined by some joke that someone says. This disregards the whole atmosphere of what is going on around them. The only case where I think this worked, is the very beginning of the movie when the First Order is attacking the Resistance base. Poe stalls General Hux by pretending he cannot hear him. After that, the movie goes to bantha poodoo. What I enjoy about the original trilogy, and even some parts of the prequels (not Jar Jar), is that the humor is subtle and organic. The situations cause the humor, not the characters themselves. In TLJ, many of the main characters make wisecracks and jokes while their friends are dying around them. Not okay. The humor deescalates nearly every situation because it does not fit.

This concludes my problems with ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

To everyone who got this far and read both articles, I appreciate that you read them and possibly considered my points. It feels good to have gotten all of this off my chest. I will now return to doing video game articles like I was meant to.

May the force be with you. Have a good day.

Related posts

Leave a comment

Comment