One Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Biggest Problems Comes Straight From Video Games

As of writing this there's currently an almost 40 per cent disparity between the critics and audience's response to the latest Star Wars on Rotten Tomatoes. For all of the high moments, satisfying pay-offs, and generally cool Star Wars stuff, a movie that runs two hours and 33 minutes is bound to fall flat in some areas. With The Last Jedi, these areas happen to have a lot in common with some of the worst aspects of video games. Spoiler warning!

If you haven't seen Star Wars VIII yet turn back now. There are spoilers ahead because honestly it's almost impossible to talk about this movie without getting into specifics and Star Wars fandom being what it is, just about every specific thing in the new movie could be considered a SPOILER. Anyway, you've been warned and all that.

This is a post about the middle act of the new movie. The one where Rey and Kylo confront one another through a Force connection despite being light years apart in some of the best dialogue The Last Jedi has to offer. And the one where Finn and Rose go off on a wild goose chase because the movie needed something for them to do.

It's something I've done plenty of times in video games. If I tried to compile a list of all the mundane, nonsensical, or ultimately unimportant missions I've completed in them we'd be here well into the new year. Increasingly this type of stuff is finding its way into bloated blockbuster movies like Star Wars.

It turns out that the New Order can track ships through hyperspace because of a breaking edge technology that fundamentally upends the logic of the entire series. In a sprawling galaxy where an entire rebellion has existed for generations simply because ships can pop from one place to the next in the blink of an eye, The Last Jedi introduces magical GPS tracking that essentially makes guerrilla-style warfare impossible.

More importantly, it's the rational behind why Finn and Rose fly off to a random planet modelled off of Monaco so they can disable the technology. This is something the movie does repeatedly, creating problems that didn't exist before just so its characters can pull off blockbuster high jinks in pursuit of their solutions.

In effect, a large chunk of The Last Jedi sees Leia put out of commission so that the other principal characters are kept in the dark about what her trump card is thus leading them to cook up their own half-arsed plan to jump into hyperspace but without the enemy fleet following them which requires rewiring the space GPS on the big boss's ship which in turn means they have to find a "code breaker" who can get them on board without being noticed which in turns means going to a casino where Rose can recount her backstory, motivation and maybe use both of them to get Finn woke.

All this and I haven't even explained the parenthetical subplots that take place on this casino world because that would take too much time to describe such short parts of the movie that aren't very memorable anyway. (We'll also bracket the fact that The Last Jedi managed to make space casinos boring and soulless. What could have been the new trilogy's Mos Eisley Cantina was instead set dressing for some extremely brief Marx Brothers-style gags).

Had Leia not been forced into a coma by the writers, or had her second-in-command, Vice Admiral Holdo (because Admiral Ackbar is dead, in case you somehow missed that split second, off-screen send-off, RIP) deigned to share them with the rest of the crew, Finn and Rose would have known all of this was completely unnecessary.

In fact, it would have potentially saved hundreds (thousands?) of lives as Benicio Del Toro, the reward for their sidequest, wouldn't have been in a position to tell the New Order about the escaping transport vessels Leia had bet the house on all along.

And yet despite all of this, the good people still end up on the red salt mine planet and the bad people still chase them there resulting in a final showdown that could have happened half way through the movie since all the stuff that happened in-between turned out to be completely beside the point.

It's almost as if the movie could have spent that hour and a half letting Finn and Rose clean the lower decks of the Rebel Alliance cruiser together and contemplate life, politics, and what kind of world they want to build after the war in scenes that lasted more than a few minutes and didn't involve the camera cutting every three seconds.

Some of the best parts of The Last Jedi are character-based. Whether its seeing Luke Skywalker grudgingly try to teach Rey about the force or Kylo Ren steal the show in just about any scene he's in, almost every moment where the movie's cast gets a chance to interact and play-off or against audience expectations works.(Luke curmudgeoningly guzzling milk from whatever-you-call-it on his island of exile marks a high point).

Star Wars in general is also pretty good at creating beautiful, fantastical places where space battles, lightsaber fights, or other sweet scifi stuff can happen. When it comes to cooking up rationales for why the characters need to get from one dramatic set piece to the next it usually takes a straightforward approach -- find the person, get the thing, go to the place, destroy the thing with the other thing.

The Last Jedi, on the other hand, tries to take that pattern and fold in three or four other branching plot lines but knowing all along it can't actually pursue them naturally or let them have actual consequences because it's only one movie god dammit and sooner or later every important person needs to show up unscathed to the final dramatic climax.

Video game stories tend to do poorly in this area as well. They have cool (B.J. Blazkowicz), interesting (Ellie), or charmingly iconic characters (Mario) and game rules that keep the player busy solving interesting problems and experimenting in new ways. When it comes to the "why" behind this stuff though, video games almost always fall flat on their faces.

Even games that take place within interesting worlds over all, like Gears of War or Horizon Zero Dawn, often struggle with when it comes to the reasons why you do the stuff the game wants you to do. This is why so many missions in games revolve around going to a place and killing/destroying/disabling the super special thing that's there. On its own this can be satisfactory enough.

These are video games after all, even the thinnest of plots can help paper over that little voice in the back of our heads screaming "Why does any of this matter???" I, like a lot of people, have sunk hundreds of hours into Destiny after all.

Gears of War: Judgement is full of objectives, the completion of which never amounts to much.

Where this kind of slipshod plotting becomes especially mind-numbing, however, is when a game gets lazy and tries to extend things even longer by pulling the rug out from whatever objective was just completed. You finally got to the power plant to recharge that battery to power your ship so you can get back to the base to warn your friends about the enemy plans? Awesome! But FYI the bad dudes just blew up your ship so now you have go travel somewhere completely different and shoot a whole bunch of other things.

It's not just bad storytelling, it completely kills the vibe. Being reminded that all the made-up stuff you do in video games doesn't matter is one thing, but having to do a bunch of that made-up stuff all over again, just in a slightly different sequence with a few palette swaps and slightly tougher enemies.

Let me tell you a quick story about Gears of War: Judgment. Like a lot of games, when you actually try to breakdown what the story is and explain to another human being all the things you're running around to do, it can get overwhelming, despite being, for all intents and purpose, an elaborate splatter gallery for this really cool gun that has a chainsaw connected to it. In Judgement the heavy is the Locust (read: bug people) General Karn.

You spend the game trying to kill him, despite orders from your superiors to the contrary (sound familiar?) but in order to do that you need to get your hands on a missile, and in order to do that you need to get the codes to it and also this robot that helps target it and then actually get to the launch pad and all the while there are hordes of these bug people attacking you.

It's a mess but it's a fun mess because shooting and/or chainsawing bug people and all of the manoeuvring and problem solving that goes into that has a surprising number of interesting and thrilling layers to it.

Finally, hours of slaughter later, you get all the stuff for the missile and fire it off at Karn making him go boom. It feels good. All of that chainsawing and perfectly-timed reloading paid off. At least until later when you find out he survived, because it classic video game fashion there needs to be a final boss, even if that means resurrecting the one you already had the player off at the end of the second act.

Moments like these are deflating because they expose the artifice of the world you've tried to immerse yourself in, like being woken from a particularly enjoyable dream in the morning by a car alarm outside and being unable to fall back asleep and find it again.

Video games have an excuse though. At the end of the day we play them because they're fun, have interesting systems to mess around with, or we just enjoy existing, however breifly, in whatever weird world they have got locked inside. It's harder to be that kind of willing accomplice as passive viewer though. The Last Jedi's casino world is fun to look at for a bit and watching Finn and Captain Phasma try to bash each other into the ground with faux-lightsabers is cool when it finally happens even if it's just there to help sell more action figures.

But like whatever snack you were popping into your mouth while watching these parts, the satisfaction they grant doesn't last beyond their time on screen. They don't have anything to do with the larger story and in the end don't result in any meaningful epiphany for the characters involved in them (for all of Rose's talk about slaves and the revelation that the Alliance buys armaments from corrupt oligarchs, I don't think either will be agitating for a workers' revolution any time soon).


Comments

    You missed the whole point of the Canto Bight mission. It’s another one of those expectation plays that the movie makes. A. It’s a chance for Finn and Rose to fail (every character fails in the movie) and B it’s far more important not in what they did to help the fleet, but what they helped inspire Inn canto Bight. There’s a reason Rian ends the movie with the kids from that planet.

    Perhaps from a pure plot perspective, you could compare some of TLJ to videogame stories, but when you look at themes and character arcs / stories, the movie is exceptionally tight

      A film can stick to its theme (in this case the consequences of hubris and the recovery of failure) and still avoid the crap that this film employs to drive the plot. I love Star Wars, but this was lazy screenwriting.

    I read something like this and it saddens me.That this is the future of entertainment, people looking way too hard into art instead of letting it wash over you. There is a certain point when you are trying to admire a painting when you are standing too close. It reduces even the best works of art to brush strokes. And if all you are looking at are brush strokes, you are no longer looking at something as entertainment but reducing it to a study of craft. Things like Star Wars will NEVER survive that.

    It isnt even Star Wars itself, its every episode of every tv show that is on now (just look feedback of each new episode of Doctor Who or GoT etc etc), its every computer game, its every movie... for me it seems like almost everyone is fundamentally incapable of consuming any culture now days and, how shall I say this, and actually enjoy it. when was the last time you can truly say to yourself "i enjoyed that" with no clarifiers. (ie i enjoyed that BUT)

    If Star Wars originals were released now, they would have copped that same level of over criticism as everything gets these days... there werent especially well directed, there was some shoddy acting, terrible writing and logic jumps BUT in spite of that, those films became the future of cinema. They transcends their flaws and attached themselves in the mindset of our culture itself.They have inspired a new generation/s of writers, directors, and actors and artist.

    I may not agree with all its decisions but it took risks and with that comes the chance of failure, given peoples main beef with TFA was that it took no risks, its rubbish this film gets panned for them. Maybe the problem isnt the film (any film, or any game or tv show) or maybe its the fact everyone now believes they are an arm chair experts in all works art... maybe the problem is with peoples inability to have fun and engage their suspension of disbelief, I am just glad at the age of 45, growing up with the originals I am still capable of letting go of the cynical adult in me.

    The perfect works of art some people seek do exist. You just have to be willing accept something's flaws dont diminish the good.

      It's got nothing to do with being cynical. It's lazy storytelling not prevalent in the original trilogy. Even shoehorning Han in Return of the Jedi was smoother than this.

        Lazy storytelling? ah that old chestnut seemingly I have read that over the last week so many time (to say nothing of all the other movies this years, and games) It has become this catch all phrase to describe aspect of the story you dont like. It like peoples favourite these days... plot holes, which now translates to: anything they didnt like, or didnt get explained or they didnt pay attention and missed the explanation. For as much as modern audiences try and sound smart they can be really thick and have no idea of subtext.

        While this articles contains so many falsehoods its impossible to get them all, one that sticks out is he completely misses the point about the whole casino, which ties into the Luke's point about the Jedi, ties into the whole plot between Rey and Kylo... there is no good guys or bad, there are choices, that 70's idealism of good verses evil doesnt work on modern audiences. So that unimportant casino scene and its ultimate point about profiteering is hardly lazy storytelling.

        the fact that the whole middle part of the film is beside the point shows exactly what makes this film great, it tries to play on Hollywood explanations, than throws them in our face. it throws the idea of Checkov's Gun right out the window. As a theatre person it is about time. the reason why some people have problems with a lot of the film is because it refuses to use the 'blockbuster' rules. Things after decades of bland hollywood our brains have come to think that is the only normally. Sometimes he misses the mark but thats what happens when you take risks.

          Im sorry but this movie did play by blockbuster rules, it was done for an adhd level attention span, where’s the long panning shots, the long scenes of one on one characters. The build up of movies of old. This movie was cut cut cut cut jump scenes cut s few more times and jump back. It through in a million gags because today you have to have a laugh every few minutes.
          The whole Kylo and Rey connection was amazing, and fitted in well with the style of the old. But so much of the movie is just modern block buster, Star Wars is and was always a Space Opera, this wasn’t a Space Opera it was generic Science Fantasy.

            You used word "science" in your comments. Sadly, there is no respect for even the most basic science in Star Wars: The Last Jedi... so let's just call it for what it is, High Fantasy that takes place in that black area with white dots in it...

            ... And before I start an argument. TLJ not only throws out basic science (which never hurt Star Wars) out of the window but also contradicts previous Star Wars movies (Rogue One being a most recent example). The entire battle of Scarif was pointless, since according to The Last Jedi, the ships can now fly through shields anyway.

            I found The Last Jedi entertaining as a show but offensive where common sense was concerned and the sad part is that common sense and Star Wars were never in conflict. Lazy story telling, lazy design... because apparently for majority of movie goers those things no longer matter.

            Aside from the above, the article itself offers an interesting point of view.

              Um, A New Hope had fighters go through the shields of the Death Star. Anything bigger wouldn't work according the the mission briefing scene. I guess shield strength varies according to object but it's hardly something new.

                And in the Return of the Jedi it was the other way around :)
                Consistency... right?

                Can't let this one slide--the first Death Star in A New Hope was unshielded--it was not protected within a large shield, though several very tiny places of apparent vulnerability were ray-shielded such as the exhaust port the fighters were targeting.

                You may be confusing the line "We're bouncing through their magnetic field," as indicating the presence of a shield, but it does not.

            "the long scenes of one on one characters." you missed the parts between Rey and Luke. Rey and Kylo. Luke and (spoiler). Rose and Finn. And so on.

            There were also a lot of slow pans and lingering shots. It had some of the most gorgeous cinematography in Star Wars yet.

            Not sure how this was generic Science Fantasy? Given Star Wars was never truly hard Science Fiction, if you wanted that you had to go to Star Trek. The whole film was about the force, in various ways, all the ships, planets, wild life, all looked like they could have existed in the Star Wars world. The music was Star Wars. The characters and story were.

              In previous Star Wars films, those long scenes were location specific, you’d of had the island Rey and Luke are on in one continuous scene with maybe one or two cut aways not the cutting room of story boards we’ve received.

              And I’m not after science fiction which is what Star Trek is, Star Wars was a Space Opera, a sub genre of science fantasy which is a parallel Genre of Science fiction, science fiction being setting and explaining with plausible solutions, and science fantasy is look st all this stuff where we’ll describe it as an natural order but without any grounding of reality, TLJ was generic scify without dwelving into the Opera side of Star Wars.

              I actually quite liked the movie and have now seen it three times, but these criticisms still hold true.
              It’s very much like when the force awakens came out, everyone was talking about what they didn’t like in it, while across the board most people loved it.

          Blakeavon, I just want to express how grateful I am to you for making these comments and wording them so wonderfully. You've perfectly encapsulated the feelings I've felt so strongly ever since I hopped on my computer after coming home from the premiere. The juxtaposition between the elation in my local theater and the cynicism of the online realm just floored me and disappointed me. It was almost enough to sap away the hope and energy that the film actually filled me with – so much so that I've been unable to bring myself to respond to any of it.

          I knew there were flaws in the movie, as with all the others, but I indeed managed to look past them. In addition, I went into the film without having watched the trailer or having read a single thing about the plot. I was ready to simply experience someone else's vision, and I was just so awestruck by the epic, climactic, fresh journey that I was treated to. It was an emotional, fun, and truly human venture, and I'm puzzled at how it could have prompted such dark reactions.

          But it's not even necessarily the expression of disapproval that bothers me (opinions, etc. – what can you do?). It's the anger that stuns me. Like Mark Hamill himself said of the prequels, the reactions went far beyond "I didn't like it", to things such as "You ruined my childhood". And now we're in an age where outright abuse and threats are hurled at those involved in creative projects. After the movie was over, and I had a moment to break my immersion and think of the people behind it who actually MADE IT, I was just thankful. I personally wanted to hug Johnson! To think, conversely, that there are those who feel so justified in making personal attacks against him... Like you suggest, it just doesn't bode well for the future of cinema, art, and expression.

          I just hope that positivity, hopefulness, and kindness – the very things that constitute Star Wars's DNA – can win out in the end somehow.

          Last edited 18/12/17 5:16 pm

            Thanks. Exactly. Its nice to be reminded there are still people out there like us.

            I think you can like a movie and still excoriate it. I enjoyed watching it, but afterwards found many things to criticise. I'll still watch it again though :-)

              Great comment, Zambayoshi! I agree, one certainly can, and I think it's healthy to :). And the flip side to that is being able to dislike something and still appreciate it. It's these extreme reactions that don't help anyone.

              I like that you mentioned that your critical analysis kicked in 'afterwards', which shows that you gave the film a chance to affect you. If someone goes into a film with a mind to dissect it from the very beginning, then I believe they've already taken the wrong approach, and done themselves and the filmmakers a disservice by spurning an essential part of the experience: immersion.

                On the further flipside, what if I happened to hate the movie because that's my opinion? What if I thought some part of the film broke my immersion because of it's idiocy which forces me to then nitpick on the rest of the film? Am I wrong? I gave the movie a chance, I walked in cold with no opinions (didnt watch any trailers and basically ignored everything prior to watching). I watched the entire film, even though 20 minutes in I wanted to walk out. I gave it a chance to turn around and it didnt. So why should I appreciate anything about it? All it did was waste my time and money...

                Just because YOU were able to ignore the film's ridiculously huge flaws, doesn't mean we're all obligated to praise the directors/writers...It's fantastic that you enjoyed it, but dont criticise people for not agreeing with you.

          Well said. I honestly thought the film was fantastic.

          Dude your attack on 'lazy storytelling' as a crux is no different to Trump's 'fake news'. Nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade.
          I get that the choices do not have to fall into good and bad, but if you want things on screen to have any meaning, you don't have your characters spend an hour doing shit that doesn't matter. There is also nothing wrong with subverting expectations, but why bother with the DJ character if he is literally nothing more than a convenience? He's just hanging around in prison waiting for them? Dumb dumb dumb

            Huh? people using 'lazy storytelling' are the 'fake news' people. Single minded. Using a term that inherently has no meaning to make themselves feel more right about themselves.

            what is 'lazy storytelling'? these days it basically just means ANY a person doesnt like. Is 2001: Space Odyssey well written or the worse thing ever? Likewise Blade Runner. Virtually everything can be called lazy storytelling but everyone because beside turn of phrase and grammar and the like, 'good storytelling' is almost completely subjective. I am reading Dickens at the moment in one of the introductions they had a thing from the newspaper of time ripping into the book for being terribly written and lazy. Its Great Expectations. One of the great books of the English language. So forgive me if all this 'lazy storytelling' annoys me because people have been armchair critics for decades upon decades.

            PS that whole section of the film wasnt wasted. Beside the obvious thematic connections to the rest of the story, the over arching theme of the movie and why there is a resistance at all... one small minor detail... that kid with force powers, now has the ring and has joined the resistance. So even though their plan was for nothing, they might have just inspired the new Luke or Rey. Serendipity plays its hand again. Just like it did with Luke, just like it did with Rey.

      For the record. I saw it on Saturday and totally enjoyed it! It was bold and surprising and yeah it was messy and crazy in parts but it was memorable amd rewatchable in a way the the overly safe TFA wasn't

      Totally agree. TLJ is criticised for bombs in zero G when Empire Strikes Back used exactly the same thing in the asteroid field. TLJ is criticised for Rae's parent being revealed as nobodies when the expectation was for some significant Jedi bloodline yet Anakin (AKA Darth Vader) came from a similar background. TLJ criticised for killing Snoke in his second movie with no backstory and so simply when the Emperor was killed in Return of the Jedi in his second movie with no backstory just by picking him up and throwing him down a shaft. Virtually everything regarded as a "sin" in TLJ has been done in a similar way in previous Star Wars movie yet they all get a "pass".

      TLJ shows the characters as being flawed and making some terrible choices with disastrous outcomes. The rebellion is on life support and has never been more desperate. This really opens up some exciting possibilities.

      The internet has taken the enjoyment out of movies/TV with all of the teardowns and discussions and analysis of trailers, movies and series. We now have shows dedicated to group analysis of the latest episode of Doctor Who and Start Trek Discovery among others. If you are not the writer or Director then basically you don't get a say (OK, there are a few exceptions) and are just along for the ride. If you don't like the ride then get off. I have given up on a number of series and franchises as I didn't like where they were going. No need to throw an outraged tantrum and state that a movie "killed your childhood". It's just a movie!

      I will throw in 1 final comment: I think Canto Bight was the ideal place to have Lando back for some minor contribution. Oh well, I'll still be back for more.

    I kind of agree regarding filler side quests like with Finn and Rose. I also felt the Leia in space thing was a bit rieiculous personally.

    On the other hand i really enjoyed this a lot more than TFA. I enjoyed a lot of the risks it took compared with its predecessor. I heard this movie got a lot of negative reactions, but I felt the good outweighed the bad. Its not like Star Wars films are perfect in the first place. I also read complaints that ‘too much was answered’, but frankly there were still things left unanswered or that can be revealed to be a swerve (e.g. your parents were trashy and didnt care for you, for example).

      Leia in space was the most ridiculous thing in the film for me, apart from force Luke or Finn's suicide run in the skimmer or Snoke's failure to sense Kylo Ren's manipulation of Rey's lightsaber (if this wasn't deliberate, as some are saying) or the whole 'tracking through hyper space' thing or Holdo's inexplicable decision to not tell anyone about her escape plan...

        Tracking through Hyperspace was set up in Rogue One taking place 30 plus years before. It's therefore not ridiculous, just a tidy retcon.

        Why was the Leia in space any more ridiculous than Luke's use of the force on Hoth when hanging upside down where he takes several attempts to get his lightsaber. His life is at stake and he concentrates and succeeds. Leia does the same. It clearly shows her coming off second best for the experience and only just surviving.

        As for Snoke, he was preoccupied with Rae and Kylo was using the tiniest nudging of the force to remain undetected. It was risky but he pulled it off (because the script said so). How is someone able to sneak up on you when you are concentrating on a task?

    And then you realize that Finn is a double agent and the movie starts making sense.

      Hm. Laura Dern's character acts like there's a mole on the ship even though one is never revealed, making her weird behaviour feel like poor writing. I don't think a scenario where she knows Finn is a spy quite holds together, And if she knew there was a mole and didn't know who it was, it seems like something they could have worked into the story to make it feel less messy.

      I think his attempted suicide attack on the mini Deathstar cannon probably discounts this anyway, doesn't it?

        It goes deeper than just Last Jedi. In the pre-release Force Awakens book that introduces us to the characters, Finn is literally the BEST rookie stormtrooper they have. And...they make him a janitor? Notice that no Imperial ever calls him a janitor.

        The only hiccup to the theory is yes, the suicide attack. The only counter to it is that he is subconsciously being a mole, and like, emits a signal to the First Order. Hence how they can track the ships, not the mumbo-jumbo magic sensor whatever that made no sense.

      I actually assumed when I was watching the movie that when Hux was talking about the tracking they were referring to their ability to track Finn** - as in, even if hes not a double agent, he was able to be tracked somehow (tracking beacons have been a thing in SW since TESB right?)

        Yep. I mean, he may not be a double agent, but they could still be tracking him via an implant. But with the way the First Order flips out any time he's in the combat area, it's just way too strange of a reaction of a lowly janitor.

    I watched the movie after a few beers and enjoyed it.

    I'll watch it once more when it comes out on home thing (whats the term for that these days?), and then start waiting to enjoy the next one.

    You can rip strips off any movie if you look hard enough. Particularly with a beloved franchise.

    Seen the phrase "lazy storytelling" being thrown around a lot. Now, everyone's entitled to their opinion but if you're not going to pony up anything beyond that you cannot hope that you'll be treated with anything better than mild derision

    Here's my view, the Casino arc gives Poe and Finn some good development. For Poe it's continuing his arc of being humbled, here's this high risk high reward plan a la Han Solo that'll save everyone but he executes it at the cost of Leia's plan of safely hiding away because he can't see the bigger picture and has to be the hero, it's the final part to make him realise that he can't keep using gambits because, just like Han you'll run out of luck one day and the costa are often massive

    For Finn it's broadening his horizons and learning that there's more worth fighting for in the Galaxy then just himself and Rey, and the knowledge that good and evil are relative,

    The best part is that fails because of the flaws in the characters, the plan is doomed from the start by Poe because it'sthe flashiest one and he refuses to consider other, safer options or to trust a hardened commander. On Finn's side it's that Good/evil concept again as he trusts DJ too quickly and pays for it

    Could it be done better? Of course, the casino itself could've really done with some puppets and wardrobe from the most technical point of view, it also didn't need to be so on the nose but it subverts old tropes nicely and importantly, aolidly develops our characters so there's a pay off, Poe finally starts to act as a true leader, Finn confirms his loyalty to the resistance and drops his "soldier of fortune" Attitude

      Your points are valid based solely on how ep9 builds on them. As a singular film, nothing has been obviously learned at the end. Thematically, the characters all experience failure which is consistent but at the cost of good storytelling and logical decision making. Holdo stays mum on the escape plan even during mutiny, which is absolutely ridiculous and costs everyone the battle. Great leaders are collaborative and earn respect. Why not have ackbar in her stead? Oh that's right, he kicked the bucket off screen.

        You don't know much about leadership, it seems. When you don't know how your fleet is being tracked, with an enemy agent being a very likely possibility, announcing your plans just to make the janitor feel better isn't exactly good leadership. Neither is sparking a panic or a drop in morale when you still have hours of stressful pursuit to weather.

        I think you fell for the 'LOOK AT THE MEAN LADY' setup the film used in the first part of Holdo's relationship with Poe without realising why it was done that way. Hint - it's done to trick the audience into thinking we had returned to the good old days of white men knowing best, and then upending that by showing Poe's idea was flawed and that Holdo is the true hero here.

          Holdo was an idiot. She knew Poe and knew what he was capable of (particularly that he was seen as a hero by the whole Resistance). She could not have any questions about his loyalty, given that he had already blown up the Starkiller Base . All it would have taken is for her to share her plan with him for the whole Crait debacle to have potentially been avoided. I'm just glad she went down with her ship, so to speak. She showed an appalling lack of insight. In terms of leadership, you don't keep your lieutenants in the dark if you expect everyone to stick to the plan, especially when you have a loose cannon like Poe running around and you've just belittled him in front of everyone.

            Looks like you don't understand how leadership and the chain of command works. Have you ever had a position of authority? Poe was a Captain, not a 'lieutenant' of an Admiral, but about as far down the chain as you go. If someone that low ranking gets up in your face in front of everyone, you slap them down HARD. And you sure as hell don't pander to them and say 'SURE SORRY DUDE LET ME SHARE THE SECRET PLANS WITH YOU'.

            Allow me to let you in on a secret. There's a reason this dynamic was set up. It starts off by pushing the 'WHITE MEN KNOW BEST ESPECIALLY ARROGANT COCKY ONES AND WOMEN WHO THINK THEY KNOW BETTER NEED TO SHUT UP AND DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD' trope that has been the mainstay of movies since their creation.

            It purposefully makes Holdo look cold by positioning her against someone we have an existing attachment to.

            And then it turns around and sets fire to that bullshit by showing us that Holdo is the actual hero here. She's the one who has to keep it secret BECAUSE THERE COULD BE AN AGENT ON BOARD, she's the one who has to manage a ship full of panicking, upset people without upsetting them further OH YEAH IN A FEW HOURS YOU'RE GONNA ABANDON SHIP AND HOPE YOU DON'T GET PICKED OFF, TAKE IT EASY AND RELAX UNTIL THEN and she's the one who sacrifices herself to save everyone.

            Now if you have a problem with that, you either have an infantile understanding of how leadership works (hint, not pandering to the lower ranks just because feelings) or you're still caught up on the UPPITY WOMEN NEED TO BE PUT IN THEIR PLACE that the movie is playing with and hoping you'll work out.

            I'll let you work out which one you identify with best.

              LOL, yes I know Poe was not a lieutenant, I was talking generally. Yes, I've been in a position of authority. No, you don't slap a hero down hard, because that (as you saw in the film) is bad for morale and might influence others to join him in a mutiny. Yes, Holdo absolutely should have taken Poe aside and explained the facts of life to him instead of belittling him. The Resistance isn't an iron-disciplined military outfit like the First Order, and Holdo shouldn't have acted like it was. No, 'the white man knows best' meme was irrelevant because Poe could have been female and the scene would have played out the same way. I agree it made Holdo look cold, but this could have been achieved without making her look like a fool as well. She was not a hero. She was about as heroic as the Titanic's Captain Smith. Sure she went down with her ship and managed to take out Snoke's flagship, but by then the damage had been done.

              And, for the record, I like seeing female heroes in films (and video games) so your UPPITY WOMEN NEED TO BE PUT IN THEIR PLACE theory is misplaced.

              Infantile understanding indeed... ;-)

                So it is the poor understanding of leadership then? Good, that's better than the misogynist crap a lot of people suffer from.

                No dude, you do NOT let subordinates, heroes or no, bitch you out in front of everyone.

                No dude, you do NOT sit all the children down and tell them all your plans AND HEY YOU, THE FIRST ORDER AGENT AT THE BACK, CAN YOU HEAR ME ALRIGHT??

                No dude, Holdo didn't *make* Poe mutiny. He mutinied because he's an arrogant dude who thinks he knows best. And the fact he MUTINIED should tell you he's not someone who should be in positions of authority.

                Holdo didn't look like a fool, unless you don't grasp how leadership works. It very clearly was about advancing Poe's character as well - he is visibly humbled, with her sacrifice teaching him to be a better, less arrogant person in future.

                And have you actually THOUGHT about your argument? What do you think would have happened if she HAD told Poe? What difference would it have made?

                Absolutely none. Whether or not he had her blessing, his plan failed utterly.

                So I am struggling to see what 'damage had been done' that wouldn't have happened anyway?

                  Jesus, your liberal use of the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy is rampant here.
                  Just an FYI-
                  I was a ship captain for a term. I was elected by my crew and I had a 1st Mate who I trusted implicitly with the technical stuff while I managed the crew. Our month voyage was successful because everyone knew what was happening and the crew were respected. IF your crew mutinies, you've failed. It does not make you a good captain just because you asserted yourself Cartman style. I now write and direct media productions with crews of 20-50 people. Your take on leadership seems like it was borne from watching Americans shout at each other in Full Metal Jacket.

                  "And have you actually THOUGHT about your argument? What do you think would have happened if she HAD told Poe? What difference would it have made?"

                  Umm... DJ wouldn't have betrayed them leading to mass murder?

                  She takes Poe aside, tells him to shut his yap and explains to him what she's going to do and that she needs him to toe the line and keep morale up like the hero he is meant to be. He then doesn't assist Finn and Rose to go on their wild goose chase, which then means that Holdo's plan goes off without a hitch and the First Order are left sitting there, scratching their heads and wondering where the Resistance went, or even better, thinking that the Resistance was blown up with the cruiser.

                  And in terms of leadership, you don't need to act like an arsehole to get people to do things. It can have a tendency to backfire, as we saw. I agree that under fire you don't 'pander' to subordinates, as you said, but they weren't in a time-critical situation. Holdo had time to use her people-management skills a lot better than she did. What a difference it could have made if Poe had come out on Holdo's side and said something like "We need to all pull together and trust in Holdo. She will see us through this."

                  But then, it would have been a very different film. Finn and Rose would have needed some other Macguffin to develop their relationship prior to Crait. The kids of Canto Bight would have needed some other way of being introduced, or would have been replaced with the kids of [INSERT NAME OF PLANET HERE]. We wouldn't have had a reason to see Phasma again (for about 1 minute).

                  I can accept that the writers wrote Holdo like they did so as to allow the above to occur, but the fact remains that she made a mistake in not getting Poe onside.

                  ...and I've managed magazines, national communications programs and my own companies. What was that about 'No True Scotsman', champ?

                  Also that's not how that works, by the way. I wasn't making a universal generalisation but specific, directed action-based comments and I wasn't using it in refutation nor was I changing the defining boundaries in the process. Do some more research before throwing that one around next time, it's so regularly misunderstood. You need to 'move the goalposts' to make a No True Scotsman fallacy and that I most certainly did not do, as I have repeated myself pretty much verbatim.

                  So according to you leadership experts here, military leaders regularly sit down in the trenches with the troops and go through all the secret plans with them? Especially when there might be an enemy agent in the ranks?

                  I think you conflating your experience in office jobs with combat situations may be skewing your understanding here, not to mention you missing the whole DO NOT DISCUSS SECRET PLANS WHEN YOU MIGHT HAVE A TRAITOR FIVE FEET AWAY bit.

                  Again, what you both seem oblivious to is that HOLDO HAD NO OTHER CHOICE, other than surrender/death. She knew exactly how much fuel she had, and that Crait was the only possible destination. And that when the ship got there, she would need to use the cruiser to try and distract from the transports.

                  DJs 'betrayal' made no difference. You do know that First Order ships have scanners, right? The actual plot hole was them trying to make it sound like the *betrayal* actually meant something - when in reality they would have picked up the transports anyway. Hint - if they could shoot them, they could *see* them. Only the possible distraction by the cruiser would affect that.

                  Again, you're all making the assumption that magical white male *heroes* need to be pandered to, and missing the point of the film. That's the set-up - and then it's torn down in Act 3.

                  Don't worry, you're hardly alone in this.

              You really have a horrible way of engaging in dialogue with people. You should work on that.

    It was a mess. Totally agree. All action, dodgy story, woeful character development. Have to say I like where Kylo is going, that actor is a standout, but really could have done more with that. I will watch it again because I feel I must have missed something because it can't have possibly been that bad. Maybe I am just getting old.

      Interesting. See for me, Kylo is a key part of where the film falls over for me. He's almost a bit too vulnerable and lacked impact - not menacing in the slightest, although anything is better than Snoke.
      I feel like this will be turned in its head for me in the next film so we shall see. Seems like they're really setting him up now.
      Agree with your sentiments on the film overall and I plan to see it again for the same reasons. I need to validate or reconsider my opinion that it was not good. Honestly hoping my mind is changed.

    I thought it was an excellent movie and I understand that other people have different opinions and may not have liked it. But I find it absurd that people say it's the worst Star Wars movie, go back and watch Attack of the Clones and tell me this is worse.

    Maybe I'm not edgy enough to see this

    All comments on this thread defending the movie are wrong. And the statistics prove it. This is the worst star wars film ever made. Rotten tomato user reviews dropped 30% on day one, barely going over 60%. imdb is hammering it now, metacritic users give it 5/10. And yet, most critics are still holding steady at 90%+. Makes you wonder about Disney's influence, financial or psychological impact on the new entertainment industry monopoly.

      User reviews? those places arent full of real opinions, and/or sorry arent free of being compromised. You do know people actively go out of their way to troll and downvote and genuine being painful online in places like that not only for the lol's but on purpose.

      I am not sure who is worse people who do that sort of stuff or people who actually believe that sort of stuff. Both are a problem these days. "Oh look thousands of faceless and nameless people downvoted the latest big thing, oh it must be true, thats the only possible explanation"

      Worst Star Wars film ever made? Mate... Have you even SEEN Attack of the Clones? Get outta here with that shit.

      Last edited 18/12/17 7:59 am

      Most critics are SJWs though, while most user reviews are done by normal people.

    I get your point, all of the arguments are true but don't forget we are talking about a movie set in space where people with pony tails duel each other with 'laser' swords and and move things with their mind. You can't bring logic and reasoning into this movie, just your inner 10 year old that will love all the cool looking shit in it.

      When the writers had Luke say 'laser sword' I cringed pretty hard, to be fair.

        YES! That was afwul! I literally turned to my brother and we just shook our heads.

    Kinda stopped reading when you kept saying "New Order."

    If you are going to critique a movie, at least get the factions correct.

    Speaking of laziness, if you'd spent a few seconds on the Google machines you'd know that in Star Wars you certainly can track through hyperspace. You do so using exit vectors (which aren't much use when the end result is empty space) and/or tracking devices/agents on the ships being tracked. Which is also why Holdo didn't announce her plans in advance to comfort the janitorial staff - as anyone on the ship could be an agent of the First (not New - seriously dude, that's an 80s band) Order. In addition, while you may be in a workplace that is a delightful cuddle puddle, if you're captaining a ship that is being attacked by a much bigger force, you don't announce your plans to abandon ship hours ahead of time, causing massive morale and panic issues amongst the people you need to concentrate really hard on keeping your ship going for the next few hours. That's not how leadership works. It's about making hard decisions for the best results for everyone, not pandering to people's feelings while risking their lives in the process.

    While exercises in bias projection like this article are fun as long as you don't take them seriously, I get the feeling you are taking yourself seriously and that's a very bad trait in someone claiming to be a journalist. As someone who has worked as an editor and journalist for almost twenty years, I'd suggest when writing an opinion piece you either take a more flexible tone, or make sure you aren't so lazy with your facts and subjective shoehorning to make your points.

    Feel free to write an article making allegorical comparisons with video games, don't just try and ram your own subjective view through as if it's anything approaching an objective approach. If you want to be that subjective, you write your article accordingly.

      Holdo was a Captain of an elite team, not an Assistant Manager at McDonalds training apathetic 16 year olds.

        An elite team, ONE OF WHICH WAS POSSIBLY A FIRST ORDER AGENT.

        Did you miss all the camera shots to different people making them look shifty?

        OK EVERYONE GATHER AROUND HERE'S THE SECRET PLANS HEY STEVE WHY ARE YOU HOLDING UP A RECORDING DEVICE

          If there was a spy then the plan would fail anyway? Not hard to say "Oh yeah Hux, we've boarded escape pods now, just give us a few missiles. Cheers bud".
          You're grasping at straws. I've sat on this for a few days and it's legitimately the stupidest decision of an otherwise amazing film.

            I am trying to work out if you understand that First Order ships have scanners?

            In case you missed it in the film, this was Holdo's plan:

            1) Get as close to Crait as possible
            2) Launch transports at last minute
            3) Use cruiser in desperate attempt to distract from transports that will be on First Order scanners and being shot at

            The thing with a spy, is if there were a spy, First Order just hyperspaces a few ships right to Crait to WAIT for the cruiser and ensure destruction.

            By keeping it secret, she at least was trying to avoid that.

          "Again, you're all making the assumption that magical white male *heroes* need to be pandered to, and missing the point of the film. That's the set-up - and then it's torn down in Act 3."
          Nobody gives a fu** about gender when it comes to story logic. Swap Holdo and Poe around and I'd have the same argument. You sound like you'd be a pain in the a*** to work for.

            And you sound like you're a pain in the a***, full stop. I've gone through the 'story logic' ten times here and not one person has ACTUALLY explained their fumbling arguments.

            YOU HAVE A POSSIBLE SPY IN YOUR RANKS PREVENTING YOU FROM ESCAPING
            THE ENEMY HAS A FLEET OF SHIPS ARMED WITH GUNS AND LONG RANGE SCANNERS JUST WAITING FOR YOU TO RUN OUT OF FUEL

            DO YOU EITHER:

            a) Get as close to Crait as possible, launch transports at last minute, use cruiser in desperate attempt to distract from transports that will be on First Order scanners and being shot at

            or

            b) SOMETHING SOMETHING TELL POE SOMETHING SOMETHING DUNNO MAYYYYT

            What *is* your argument? Please show your working.

              That's what this whole article is about^

                No, an argument means you actually, you know, present an argument.

                The article's argument is 'HOLDO DID IT WRONG THEREFORE PLOT HOLE'

                I've rebutted this completely by repeatedly pointing out the simple logic that the author, and by extension you, seems not to grasp.

                This is the point where you come back and present an argument that actually has some substance to it, by refuting this logic with something other than JUST BECAUSE.

                Or you think about it and take a step back.

                  It's not a plot-hole. It's clumsy storytelling.

                  Look at Mad Max: Fury Road. The whole film is a chase scene that actually has gravitas and they still find room to show you what type of characters they are.

                  Poe gets demoted (fair enough - good call), but it's clear he is still highly respected across the Rebels.

                  Holdo takes charge and the mutiny starts.

                  Holdo does absolutely nothing to stand up to Poe. The whole fleet is at stake and she just lets him ride her. WHY? So a great leader just lets the cool guy take charge?

                  Finn ends up with Rose to the Casino and they find Codebreaker, but then end up in prison where they meet someone who does the exact same thing WHY? So he's just been hanging there for no reason??

                  Finn and Rose discuss their feelings on a balcony with zero urgency while their friends are being chased WHY?

                  They end up failing their mission which is cool, but almost every decision made by these characters has dug their hole deeper. That's all well and fine if you're going to give us some pay-off to their failings, but now we have almost zero reason to vouch for these people aside from "Well they're the good guys".

                  It's completely okay to subvert an audiences expectations on a film's lore, but you should at least replace it with something that's worth caring about. Right now, the only interesting characters left are Rey and Kylo. Even then, Kylo is too conflicted now to be a central antagonist. Poe is practically a traitor and Finn didn't really learn anything?

                  So your problem is that people in films act like people in real life? And that you find a criminal in a jail cell? Specifically a hacker in a location that, well, is kind of the #1 place you would find a criminal hacker?

    If the movie ended after Kylo killed Snoke the movie would have earned a 7/10 rating. However it suffered from the recurring issue in fictions where they add in too many plot arcs - in the end I give it a 4/10.

    Things that contributed to this ranking from me:
    - Leia 'force pulling' herself to safety from the vacuum of space. While unconscious.
    - Going too far with every joke. How many times did we need to cut between Chewbacca and the porgs around the fire?
    - So Yoda can invoke lightning from ghost form now? Any reason he can't just blow up Snoke or is his power limited to use on trees.
    - About the Finn 'execution' scene: One scene ended with Finn and a blade held to his neck, and the next he woke up (after explosion) alone with Rose with all the First Order storm troopers in the next room?
    - Would it have been too much to ask for having a better send off for Luke and Ackbar.
    - Why did we spend two movies building up the mystery surrounding Snoke just to end him. In hindsight he could have been replaced by the Vader helmet and a talking ghost for all the effect he had on the plotline.

    There were positive points in the movie, but overall the movie felt cheap and was forgettable. Surely someone would have raised a flag during editing about some of these points - some of them are fundamental story telling rules that were completely broken to no benefit to the viewer.

      It's good that you feel that the Force only has the limited applications you feel comfortable with.

        The use of the Force should be limited by logic and consistency. Just because this is a fantasy film it does not mean it cannot make sense and be logical, those two are not mutually exclusive, believing so is a poor excuse or disrespect to general story telling principles. Star Wars is not The Ring where a monster can come out of TV because the plot calls for it or the plot wants it... well, Star Wars is not The Ring for me, but after watching The Last Jedi and reading a lot of "glowing" reviews I realised that Star Wars maybe The Ring and many other things for many other people... Don't mind me though, I will just stick with Rogue One and consider the new trilogy as a high fantasy spin offs.

          I'm sorry, could you please explain the logic and consistency between telekinesis, telepathy, electrical projection and suggestion implanting, which are the primary force abilities established so far?

          Show your working, preferably with diagrams.

          Oh, and stop downvoting people simply because you disagree with them. Have the stones to actually present a point of view instead of trying to censor others.

          Last edited 18/12/17 5:33 pm

            I presented you with my opinion. I do not need to prove my opinion just as I did not ask you to prove yours. The way this works, at least during civilised times, is that if we disagree, then we agree to disagree and move one :)

            Also, have you perhaps considered the possibility that all the down-voting you are getting is because you are not actually participating in a conversation but rather having a forceful monologue?

            Look, I did not like The Last Jedi, there, I said it. But once again it is my opinion and your opinion of liking it is in no way any less valid because in the end, what matters the most is the thing you take away from the movie/book/game.

            Quantum’s Physics theoretically in some form parts of it, but being a Space Opera a subgenre of science fantasy and not just raw fantasy there’s meant to be semblance of logic behind it, the space scene took me out of the film, everything else was fine if not a little iffy force wise.

        It's not limited by what I feel comfortable with, its limited by what makes sense in the universe contained within the movies.

        Not one person has survived in space by themselves (force or not), especially not after being caught in an explosion. And yet someone who can sort of use the force is able to stay alive in space and pull herself, while unconscious, into a space ship. Give me a fucking break.

    I left the cinema wishing the Yuuzhan Vong would hurry up and invade to clean up this mess.

    Big problem. The movie doesn't follow its own rules. When you write a story you inevitably create rules for how that world works. A writer could simply say there are no rules, deal with it.
    But not in a series that has defined rules set already..its a deal breaker. How could a Star Wars movie not be about the skywalkers? Luke was the last Jedi. The SW rules states you have to be trained in the ways of the force. That was the first rule broken.

    Wow, this review... And from a gaming site, too...

    "Video game stories tend to do poorly in this area as well."... The assertion that video games poorly examine the deeper themes is directly contradicted by actual Star Wars games. KOTOR and KOTOR2 both delve deeply into the intrinsic issue with the Jedi, their ultimate flaw: that they set an unattainable, unrealistic and in-human set of constrictions on their members, that eventually one Jedi will fall, and they will then recruit other sensitives, encouraging their fall, causing the Sith to rise again. KOTOR2 directly demonstrates why the Jedi fall, and why a Jedi society at its peak inevitably causes the Sith to rise. It is the ultimate culmination of the misunderstanding of the prophecy about Anakin, that he would bring about balance in the force (the Jedi assumed that bringing balance to the force would be good for them). Anakin fulfilled the prophecy: he corrected the imbalance between the Jedi and Sith, Light and Dark. He and Sidious then went on to create an imbalance in favor of the Dark Side, an imbalance that lead to Luke find his way to Obi-Wan and Yoda, to learn "the ways the force" and overthrow the Sith, creating an imbalance that lead to Snoke and Kylo Ren, which created an imbalance that lead to Rey, and on and on and on.

    Those same games also examine in detail why Sith Empires fall and eventually give rise to new Jedi orders. KOTOR2 shows that the Jedi lead to the Sith and the Sith lead to the Jedi, in a cycle that can never end while people try and resurrect the Jedi in the same, flawed way they were in the past. It also shows how holocrons play a part in that cycle by allowing new generations to make all the old mistakes over again.

    These themes are the most interesting examination of any element in Star Wars history since George Lucas first conceived of the idea, and were woefully under-examined in every Star Wars movie, until the Last Jedi.

    While individual Jedi can do good, the truth is that all force sensitive individuals are a threat to everyone else. In the heart of every Jedi lurks a new Sith Lord ready to stride out among the stars to bring misery and pain. Any good the Jedi do will eventually be overshadowed by the horror and misery that inevitably comes from the Jedi's fall.

    The Last Jedi hinted at the truth: to be truly good, the Jedi must seek to preserve the balance. It suggests that the Force is too powerful, and the human heart too frail to wield it safely. Like KOTOR, episode eight shows that power corrupts, and the greater the power the greater the corruption. The only populace the Jedi should attempt to police is that of force sensitives, to make sure that those with power cannot harm those without. And it raises the possibility that in the next film we might see the examination of the other problem with the Jedi: while they are part of society they are too useful a tool, that their power is too tempting and someone will always be there demanding them to get involved in the day-to-day running of society, which will lead them to take part, form attachments and then fall because of those attachments.

    There are more Buddhist aspects to the Jedi than the clothes and use of swords. The consequences of ownership (the things you own wind up owning you) and attachment (attachment leads to passion, the enemy of reason and bringer of chaos) are key Buddhist themes. To be a successful Jedi one must renounce all attachments, and live a life of selfless service. Unfortunately, while a Buddhist failing in their faith only has mundane consequences, when a Jedi fails to uphold their impossible standard the whole Galaxy suffers as, once again, the Sith stride forth.

    Was episode eight perfect? No, that is silly, there is no such thing as a perfect movie. I had issues with the manufactured (and ultimately pointless) jeopardy. While I like red herrings as much as any other person, there were too many. After awhile I began to predict the reversals, simply because it was obvious there would be a flip because there could be a flip.

    I did love the huge middle finger to Dark Empire graphic novels: the final combat scene for Luke set people up to expect Luke to start crushing AT-ATs with the power of his mind, and it's all a ruse! And, even more beautifully, Luke's final act is to achieve balance by using a Dark Side power (force phantom) to bring about a peaceful end of the conflict, sacrificing his own life in the process.

    There is an interesting parallel between Trek and Wars: the Jedi and Federation are least interesting when they are winning. Their most interesting stories about about noble failure, when a character says "I would rather lose for the right reason than win for the wrong one"

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