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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Thoughts

February 7, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rey

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #448: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Thoughts

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never once thought about travelling to a far off planet to gamble because it sounds like a giant pain in the ass, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and forty-eight, I offer up my thoughts on the latest Star Wars flick, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Once again, as I did with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I’m not going to do a “proper” review of the movie; I’m just going to say what I thought was good about the movie and what was bad about the movie.

Now, just in case you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, I just want you to know that in the course of my review there will be spoilers. So, you know, you’ve been warned.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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The Good

Princess Leia using the Force: We never got to see Leia using the Force in the original trilogy, mostly because we didn’t know she was a Skywalker until Return of the Jedi. And when it was announced that we were getting more Star Wars “saga” movies, I figured it was only a matter of time before the new movies dealt with the whole “Skywalkers are strong with the Force, so Leia is going to have to do something with it at some point” thing. The Last Jedi deals with it in a major way, with Leia using the Force to escape death after her ship is destroyed by The First Order. I’m shocked we didn’t see more of that kind of thing in the prequels, as I’m sure all top notch Jedi types could do that kind of thing.

The scene makes you wonder how often Leia used the Force between Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi and what she used it for. Did she only ever use it to escape death/save people, or did she use it for stupid bullshit like moving heavy boxes around? I have a feeling she did both.

And I’d imagine that, had Carrie Fisher not died at the end of 2016, that we’d see more of Leia using the Force in the eventual Episode IX. Maybe we’d see her taking on her son Kylo Ren. I bet that would have been cool to see.

PoeDameron

Poe Dameron is more interesting this time: I didn’t really care for Poe in The Force Awakens. I thought the character as a whole was boring and that Oscar Isaac gave a terrible performance. Isaac is much better in The Last Jedi, and Dameron has more to do this time out. He’s actually a badass hero this time out (he gets to wear a leather coat!). Sure, he’s a bit too brash and full of himself, has issues with authority and following orders and thinks he knows better than everyone else, but then we don’t have Han Solo around anymore and someone needs to pick up that slack. It will be interesting to see how Dameron fares in the next episode. Will he become more of a “team player” or will he still adhere to the idea that the galaxy needs a cocky badass in it? I’m hoping it’s more of the latter.

Am I the only one who thinks Dameron needs a better spaceship than the X-wing he seems to fly all of the time? Do you think he’ll end up with the Millennium Falcon at the end of Episode IX? I think that would rock. I also think it would be cool if Dameron got his own Falcon type ship so he can be “like” Han Solo.

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Rey turning into a full on badass: Daisy Ridley’s Rey was one of the few highlights of The Force Awakens. Rey was an interesting character and Ridley had a magnetic screen presence. She was just awesome. In The Last Jedi, we get to see her explore her Force abilities, learn from Luke Skywalker, and kill a bunch of bad guys with her lightsaber (Kylo Ren was there, too, for that sequence, but Ren is awful. I’ll talk more about that later). How can you hate that? I know I can’t.

Now, we’re still not sure who the hell Rey actually is. That scene where she finds out who her parents are seems to suggest that, while she’s incredibly Force sensitive, she isn’t “special” like Luke and Anakin and all that. Rey is just some random person who can use the Force. She isn’t the “chosen one.” However, is it possible that Rey really is “special” and that the Dark Side is somehow keeping it from her?

Hopefully Episode IX answers all of that stuff definitively. I’d imagine that it will.

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Rose Tico: As played by Kelly Marie Tran, Rose Tico is the maintenance worker who ends up teaming with Finn to prevent the First Order from destroying the remaining elements of the Resistance. When I first saw her I didn’t think she would end up being an important character. She seemed too “funny” and earnest to be a character that would end up lasting until the end. But then she hitches up with Finn and they end up going to casino to find a code breaker and whatnot. I ended up liking Tran more than I expected to. She’s funny, she’s charismatic, and she has good “buddy” chemistry with John Boyega. Will they have more of a romantic relationship in the next one? The ending of The Last Jedi suggests that’s likely to happen, but who knows?

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The Porgs: Oh my God, these things are adorable. I actually got a little upset when Chewbacca tried to eat one. I know, I know, Chewie is a meat eater and the porg he ate was meat and easy to get and all that, but come on, man. How the hell could you eat one of those little guys? And why the hell hasn’t Lucasfilm or Disney created a series of goofy internets animated shorts featuring the porgs doing funny stuff? The porgs were seemingly made for that kind of thing.

The Ahch-To inhabitants: These are the Caretakers, the weird beard alien nuns who live on Ahch-To and maintain the Jedi temple that’s there. I thought these creatures were hilarious. You can’t understand them, they’re weird looking, and despite having Luke Skywalker and Rey around, they seem to be living their own lives. It’s almost like they’re living a sort of sitcom life compared to Luke and Rey. I think I would watch that sitcom if it were real.

The action scenes were quite good: In general, the action scenes in The Last Jedi seemed less busy than in The Force Awakens (well, the destruction of the casino was a bit overdone, but that was the only sequence I didn’t care for. And I think I can defend that small scene where we see Maz Kanata running around and shooting at things. I’m not sure how I can defend it at the moment but I think I can). The spaceship scenes were well done, and most of the hand-to-hand scenes were good. The big “Rey and Kylo join forces” scene should have been faster and nastier, but it was okay for what it was. And the final sequence on Crait was awesome. The whole “red sand” thing was a nice visual touch.

Yoda lightning: Even as a Force ghost, Yoda can summon lightning from the sky and blow shit up. That’s fucking awesome. Yoda really is the ultimate Star Wars badass, isn’t he? The little alien dude can do goddamn anything! Anything!

Luke and Leia together again: Just like the big scene in The Force Awakens where Han and Leia are together again, seeing Luke and Leia together again was seriously emotional. This scene is shorter than the Han/Leia scene, but it still got to me. It’s Princess Leia and goddamn Luke Skywalker, man! Luke and Leia!

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That one scene where Luke Skywalker gets to be a badass again: This scene happens at the end of the movie and has Luke, in full on “cut hair” Jedi master mode, surviving a blaster barrage and then fighting Kylo Ren lightsaber to lightsaber. Well, that’s sort of what happens. That’s what we see happen, but then we find out that the whole thing is a Force ruse perpetrated by Luke so the Resistance can escape certain death. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see more of that kind of thing throughout the movie because I bet audiences would be talking about it forever. I mean, we’ve been waiting over thirty years to see Luke kick ass again. Let’s goddamn see it. We didn’t get to see enough of it, but at least we got see a little bit of it.

The Bad

Still no opening fanfare: I’ve said this twice now, and I have a feeling I’m going to end up saying it with every new Star Wars movie from here on out, but these new Star Wars movies should have some sort of opening fanfare like the movies released by Twentieth Century Fox. Why not have that “Wonderful World of Disney” theme that we see before most new Disney movies (the ones where the camera moves back to reveal the Disney castle)? Or why not have someone come up with a Lucasfilm theme? I’m sure John Williams could whip up something in like five minutes.

Am I the only one annoyed by this?

Luke2TheLastJedi

Luke Skywalker is a giant pussy for most of the movie: As I said above, we’ve been waiting over thirty years to see Luke Skywalker in action again. We didn’t get to see that in The Force Awakens, so we were going to have to see it in The Last Jedi. I mean, otherwise, the whole new Star Wars movie thing would be a big waste of time, right? And so The Last Jedi begins, we finally get to see Luke Skywalker in action again, and he’s a giant fucking pussy. He’s also a whiner, too. That’s incredibly disturbing.

Yes, I get why Rian Johnson had Luke devolve into a whimpering lameass. Luke was scared of Kylo Ren’s power and he failed to destroy him when he had the chance, ushering in the new darkness that is The First Order. The whole “Jedi” thing needed to go away because all it did was bring heartache to the galaxy. I get why Luke may want to be a recluse. But would he be a wimp while living as a recluse? I find that hard to believe.

Was Luke a whiny lameass at the end of Return of the Jedi? No. He was the last Jedi. He had to burn his dead father’s body and continue on with the whole Jedi thing. He grew up, essentially. So while I’d buy him being sad and angry about the way things worked out, I just don’t buy him as some whiny sad sack. It’s not cool at all.

I do think there is a way to rectify this. Disney should do a Luke Skywalker movie where we see him establishing his Jedi academy and taking on all sorts of bad guys who think they have what it takes to defeat him for some reason. Much like my lean and mean space kung fu movie featuring Darth Vader, this Luke Skywalker movie should be a straight on action flick. Mark Hamill would probably be down for doing it, and I bet Star Wars nerds would eat it up. I know I would.

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We still don’t know a goddamn thing about Snoke and now he’s dead: The death of Snoke by Kylo Ren was meant to be shocking, a major “WTF” moment, something the audience wouldn’t see coming. And it was. However, instead of being awed by Kylo Ren’s coup, I was confused by it. Because who the fuck is Snoke to begin with? Why does he have all of this Force power? Is he a Sith? How did he become such a big deal in the universe? Why should we care about him or be scared of him? We don’t know, and unless he somehow comes back in the next one, I guess we’ll never know who he was or what he was supposed to be. That’s fucking annoying,

GeneralHuxAwful

General Hux is even worse this time: I didn’t think General Hux could get any lamer than he was in The Force Awakens, and yet he manages to be even lamer in The Last Jedi. He’s unimpressive on every level. And who the fuck is he? How did this pipsqueak piece of shit get to be such a feared general? Is he a rich kid with a well-connected father? And why the hell does anyone put up with his bullshit? How has he not been shot in the face and thrown into one of those garbage masher things?

Goddamn it, what the fuck?

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Kylo Ren is still a terrible villain and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon: Much like Hux, Ren is still unimpressive on practically every level and I have no idea why I’m supposed to be scared of him. Yes, he has all of that Force power and whatnot, but so what? I can’t wait to see Rey kick his ass again.

I hope Rian Johnson comes up with better villains for his Star Wars trilogy. I don’t think I can deal with more Ren type villains. Or Hux type villains. Jesus Christ.

Admiral Ackbar went out like a punk: He’s a fan favorite character with a terrific catchphrase (“It’s a trap!”). We all wondered when we would get to see him again. And there he was in The Last Jedi, giving orders like a lobster alien admiral. And then he gets blown up, sort of off screen, and we find out he died in passing. What the fuck, man? Admiral Ackbar helped take down the second Death Star and end the Galactic Empire. If he had to die in The Last Jedi he deserved a much better death than the one he got. A much better death.

StarWarsTLJPhasmaFinn

Why is Captain Phasma even in this?: Captain Phasma looks cool, no question about it, but she was barely in The Force Awakens and, despite allegedly being a major new character in the new movies, is in The Last Jedi for like five seconds. Yes, she’s the first Star Wars character wearing armor that works, but big deal. She barely has a confrontation with Finn and then falls down into a pit of flames. So, again, why was she in the movie at all? Why not save her for the next one so she can have a bigger part. Fucking Snoke is dead and gone. Give Phasma his time.

StarWarsDJ

Benicio Del Toro was completely wasted: While it’s cool, in a way, to see Benicio “Arron Hallam” Del Toro in a Star Wars movie, his DJ character could have literally been played by anyone, and that seems like a big waste of time. Del Toro should have had a more substantial part, either as a good guy or a bad guy. He’s too good of an actor and too cool a screen presence to be just some guy who likes money and doesn’t want to get involved. That’s lame as fuck.

Why couldn’t Del Toro been a general or battle hardened captain like Laura Dern’s character? That would have worked.

Luke Skywalker dying: Luke Skywalker dying and becoming a Force ghost makes sense if, in the end, Princess Leia is meant to be the main “original” character in Episode IX. Now, unless Princess Leia is recast for Episode IX (what are the odds of that happening?), Leia obviously can no longer be the “original character” focus of the next one. So what do they do now? Han is dead. Luke is a fucking Force ghost. Who is left? Lando?

Do you think it’s possible that Luke can use the Force to make himself alive again so he can help Rey and the Resistance take down the First Order? If Yoda can blow shit up with lightning, why can’t Luke make himself alive again?

Johnson should have found a way to alter his ending so he could bring back Luke as a human being. He really should have.

The ending: The message of the ending is fine (the good guys will eventually prevail over the bad guys), but the “little boy pointing a broom stick into the sky” thing comes off as heavy handed and odd. It also seems rather detached from the main characters from the Resistance. Shouldn’t they be the focus of the ending?

I don’t like the ending at all. I just don’t.

Conclusion

The Last Jedi isn’t a great movie. It’s better than The Force Awakens but not by much. And Luke Skywalker didn’t get owned by Kylo Ren, which was my only requirement for The Last Jedi. If Luke Skywalker had been destroyed by the incredibly unimpressive Kylo Ren I was going to be done with the Star Wars saga. That didn’t happen, so I’m onboard for the next one. I’m not as excited as I should be about it, though. JJ Abrams is coming back to the director’s chair. That didn’t work out so well in The Force Awakens.

Oh, well, At least we still have the original trilogy and the prequels. And Rogue One. That one was pretty cool.

Rating: 7.5/10.0

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The Star Wars movie franchise ranked

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As of this past December, there are nine movies in the Star Wars movie franchise. I’m still not including the two Ewok TV movies or that Clone Wars cartoon movie here because I’m just not. This list will once again change when that Han Solo movie comes out this May (if it comes out this May). This is my personal ranking. Feel free to disagree with it. The list starts with my number one pick and then goes down in descending order.

The Empire Strikes Back
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
Return of the Jedi/Attack of the Clones
Rogue One
The Phantom Menace
The Last Jedi
The Force Awakens

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

AccidentMan

Accident Man: This is the first new Scott Adkins movie of 2018 and the early reviews have been amazing. Directed by Jesse V. Johnson and featuring Ray “The Punisher” Stevenson, Michael Jai White (Spawn! Or Black Dynamite! Or Falcon Rising!), Ray “Darth Maul” Park, Tim Man, and Amy Johnston, this is an adaptation of a British comic book from the 1990’s. Some people have described it as a kind of Deadpool, but I think it looks way better than that. Man, I can’t wait to see this. And if you’re a Scott Adkins nerd, be sure to go somewhere and buy a physical copy of it. That way we’ll get more movies like Accident Man, and I think we all want to see that, right? You fucking know it.

InoperablePoster

Inoperable: This is a pretty good low budget horror flick starring modern horror icon Danielle Harris (check out my review of the movie here). I’m not a fan of the ending, but the journey to that ending is pretty damn good, and it’s important for all of us to support low budget indie horror cinema like Inoperable. So when you pick up Accident Man, be sure to pick up Inoperable, too.

KillOrderCover

Kill Order: This is a badass low budget sci-fi action flick that absolutely needs to be seen to be believed (check out my review of the movie here). The story is confusing, but the action is top notch. I’m hoping that this is the first in a series of Kill Order movies. Pick this one up, too.

VictorCrowley

Victor Crowley: The last Hatchet movie, Hatchet III, sucked (check out my full review of the movie here). It was boring, mean-spirited, and just no fun at all. This new one, which franchise creator Adam Green apparently made in secret over several years, is supposed to be much better. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that. However, since there are so few real deal horror franchises nowadays, it would be a good idea for all of us to make an effort to check this out. Even if it isn’t any good, at least the movie making world will know that people want to see low budget horror franchises. That kind of thing is always important.

DayoftheDeadBloodline

Day of the Dead: Bloodline: This is the second remake of the George A. Romero zombie classic (third if you count that Contagium movie, but I think it’s best if we don’t do that). Some reviews I’ve read for it have been good, others have been pretty scathing, so who knows? I can’t say that I’m absolutely thrilled with the trailer, but I’m willing to give it a shot anyway, just to see if it’s any good. I mean, it could be good, right? Maybe? I know it will never replace the original. Anyone out there see this yet?

Stratton

Stratton: This British action flick stars Dominic Cooper and is directed by the great Simon West. It doesn’t look like anything particularly special, but at the same time it looks like a solid action yarn. West, when he’s on, can make a terrific action movie (The Expendables 2, Con Air), and hopefully this movie is West in the “on” position. Anyone out there see this? Anyone at all?

WelcometoWillits

Welcome to Willits: This movie had been scheduled to play during the Scareacon Film Festival this past October, but the movie was pulled at the last minute by the distributor (that’s what we were told, anyway). The reviews I’ve seen for it have been up and down, with some people enjoying it and other people despising it. I have no idea what to think of it. I do know that I’m curious about it. And, hey, Dolph Lundgren is in it in some capacity, so there’s a reason to see it right there.

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B-Movie News

TheFirstPurge

We have a teaser trailer for the next Purge movie!: We also have an official title for the new movie, which is set to hit cinema screens on July 4th (how appropriate). The new movie is set to be called The First Purge and is a prequel to the first three. It apparently takes place on Staten Island and will show us how the whole “purge” thing started. As a full on The Purge nerd, I can’t freaking wait for this movie. How the hell did it start? How the hell did people accept the idea of one night of crime? Again, I can’t wait to find out.

Anyone else out there excited for the next The Purge movie?

Oh, and is Marisa Tomei actually in this? IMDB claims she is. Is this real? Anyone out there know?

DeepBlueSea2

Deep Blue Sea 2 trailer revealed: Wow, who the hell thought we would get a direct-to-video sequel to the Renny Harlin directed “smart shark” horror flick eighteen years later? I know I didn’t. And Warner Bros is actually putting it out. How often does Warner Bros put anything direct-to-video out? I can’t remember the last one. Anyway, this looks both cool and kind of cheesy at the same time, which is what the original was. The sharks in that movie were vicious as fuck, yes (look at what they did to Samuel L. Jackson, man!), but they were also kind of ridiculous. Why do underwater killing machines need to be smarter than they already are? Damned if I know. I’m still very interested in checking this out.

According to this article, Deep Blue Sea 2 will hit home video in April (April 17th, to be exact). It will be interesting to see how the horror movie nerd world reacts to this sequel. Will fandom embrace it or will fandom ignore it? I’m hoping that the world embraces it because, heck, the world could always use a few more killer super shark movies.

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Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: The 1978 Dr. Strange!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

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