The Modern Men Review Star Wars The Last Jedi – SPOILERS!!!

Star Wars – The Last Jedi has been in theaters since before Christmas. So, I feel pretty good that any fans of the series will have seen it by now. We waited 3+ weeks to share our thoughts, but just in case you’re waiting to see it, still – SPOILER ALERT!! We’ll be talking some plot details. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, click here to check out our Podcast we did last year about introducing our kids to Star Wars.

For everyone else – let’s talk about The Last Jedi, shall we?

I bought my tickets the day they went on sale. Unlike Rogue One, I was excited for this. The “Skywalker Saga” is the Star Wars of my youth and the storylines I love. The Force Awakens was a glorious return to the movies for the franchise and I was really curious what Rian Johnson would do with his shot at the helm for this one.

Mat and Jon are huge Star Wars fans too and we put together our thoughts.

Our reactions run the whole spectrum. I left the theater needing to process the movie. I needed to think about it some more before I could even start to place it in my all-time Star Wars list. My initial texts from both Jon and Mat were that we loved it. But did time change how we felt?

Mat: “I loved it and I am a diehard Star Wars fan. I thought the movie was beautifully shot. Visually stunning and full of surprises.”

Jon: “I liked it. I was clapping and cheering in parts, loving a lot of the results and action sequences that bled Star Wars.”

Many fans are very critical of this movie. They believe that it strayed too much from the “feel” of the other movies. I remember when Force Awakens came out – those fans were saying it was TOO much like the other movies. Well – you can’t have it both ways.

Jon: “Over and over I read how this latest installment is meant to bring the franchise to a new generation of fans. Out with the old and in with the new, like Kylo Ren said.”

I had some issues with the “killing” of the old stories. I didn’t want to see anyone die, but I understood it was time. I did have issue with Luke being all angsty on his Irish island though.

Mat: “I loved grumpy Luke. He had exiled himself for choices he made and I thought Johnson did a real nice job of justifying why he left.”

Let’s look at the opening bombing scene. To me, I loved it. It was straight out of a WWII epic for me. The little guys taking on Goliath.

Mat: “I love the tension of the bombing run. It was a pretty surprising ending.”

Jon: “The extremely slow, thinly-shielded bombers attacking a dreadnought – okay, so how are they supposed to be effective? Are they only for bombing unarmed surfaces? I’ve never seen so many large ships picked off so easily, so it feels like a waste and a tactical mistake from headquarters, not Poe’s. Just a diversion to evacuate the Rebels. Loved the drama here, but a head scratcher.”

The humor, right before the attack had me giggling – mostly. I thought the whole “can you hear me now” joke with Poe and Hux was a bit overdone. I almost thought I’d be hearing a “wasssuuup” joke coming after that.

I was worried they would try too hard to be Empire Strikes Back. Putting too much heavy “the good guys lose this one” into this movie. But I didn’t feel that way.

Jon: “It’s a dangerous second act like The Empire Strikes Back, but the characters seemed dumber or unluckier (mainly the dudes) and it kills another one of the original cast members – and with Carrie Fisher’s death last year, we all know Leia sees her end in or before Ep IX. (Better watch your back, Chewbacca!)

Mat: “A middle saga is always hard to make and I loved this one. I loved the idea of the slow chase, the strategic chase. In storytelling, it is always darkest just before the dawn and the resistance is definitely in its darkest hour.”

I think Rey is really a hero for all of us these days. Watching her come to grips with everything in this movie was very satisfying. Was very interesting to see Kylo/Ben going through his own thing, too.

Mat: “I thought the connection between Ben and Rey was a really nice bit of storytelling. Drawing Rey into a desperate need to make things right by turning Ben, but also showing how naïve she is about the power of the Force. The battle in the throne room was awesome and unsettling. We always knew she could fight and that is what she did in the throne room. Her Jedi skills or the skills she showed are the mind trick and pulling a saber to her. Her skills are the same as they were in TFA. So the idea that she doesn’t need training because she’s a Jedi is not true. She will need training.”

Jon: “I thought Rey was great. I did myself relating to Kylo Ren more than I care to admit, though.”

The music was great – as always. John Williams is really the best in the business. From those opening notes that STILL give me goosebumps, to the other themes – awesome stuff.

Mat: “Williams hit it out of the park on this one. I thought he was spot on with mix old and new and finding strength and subtly throughout the whole movie.”

I was worried the Porgs would be too much – but they were used well. They were more, or less, scenery.

Mat: “The Porgs were adorable and funny, not at all Jar Jar Binks. Although who wouldn’t want Chewie roasting a Jar Jar over a fire for dinner?”

There were a lot of things I still question such as the Leia Poppins momen and the Luke Force projection looking like he stopped at SuperCuts on the way to the battle.

Then there is the sudden power and unusual tight lips of Holdo. I feel like there should have been more to that character coming to power.

Jon: “Why didn’t Holdo just freaking TELL Poe her plan to slip away in escape pods? Because he got demoted? He’s clearly an asset and can be trusted on secret missions (see TFA). And in the end, wasn’t Leia’s/Holdo’s plan flawed? Shouldn’t they have left in the pods sooner? All of a sudden gassing up ships is causing a lot of trouble for the Rebels. And those big all-hands, round table meetings they had in the first trilogy, where leaders brief the Rebels on their plans, are a thing of the past.”

Overall, I can’t wait to see it again. That R2 and Luke moment gave me all the feels. My favorite scene had to be the total surprise return of Yoda! I was so happy I wasn’t spoiled on that one.

It’s not my favorite Star Wars movie (I preliminarily ranked it 5th on my list) but I really enjoyed it and left feeling satisfied.

Mat: “Can’t wait for what is next.”

Jon: “Of course Disney is going to make a new movie for the current generation. I guess it’s just hard being a lifelong Star Wars fan and being unfulfilled by a new Star Wars movie. But wait, didn’t George Lucas already do that to us with the prequel trilogy?”

How about you? What had you cheering? What left you wondering – why, Rian, why? Share your thoughts in the comments and we’ll answer back!

-KP, Jon & Mat


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