Wow, I forgot about the My Thoughts series on this blog. I didn’t want to make this a Casabloga, because those are films I consider the greatest ever made. While I love Star Wars as a whole, I don’t think any individual film in the series will made it to that list.
Anyway, I’m going to do this review in two parts. Spoiler-free and spoiler. I’ll plainly mark when the spoiler section starts.
To begin, I went in with very high expectations, and it far exceeded all of them. Although, admittedly, the first hour or slow was a little slow. But after that, the rest of the film is nonstop action. We finally got a few answers, while getting new questions. One of mine, and most people’s, concern would be that it would be an exact copy of Empire Strikes Back. It starts out that way, but it detours greatly.
[not a spoiler because it’s the very beginning] In fact, during the opening crawl it mentioned that the Resistance had been found and when we find them now they’re trying to evacuate. Just like the beginning of Empire, when they have to flee from Hoth. But it goes totally different.
Instead, it rhymes.
There’s a scene that I’ve heard people complain about, but I actually liked it. It’s when Finn and newcomer Rose Tico are on a new planet and go to a casino/horse race. It does kind of feel out of place in the movie, and doesn’t really feel like Star Wars. But at the same time, I loved that it’s in there, because it’s something different. It’s not the same old locations or scenarios we’re used to in Star Wars. They were willing to try something completely different for a scene, and in my opinion it actually worked.
I’m finding this hard to talk about without spoiling, so I’m just going to go to the spoiler section. To watch two spoiler free reviews (that also have a spoiler section at the end), check out the reviews by Channel Awesome and Cinemassacre.
The first thing I want to talk about is something that I’m surprised I’m not seeing others surprised about. I figured Supreme Leader Snoke would be the “new Emperor”, and he’ll have a final showdown in the third film of the sequel trilogy. Instead he was killed by Kylo Ren in a very clever way.
I can understand why, though. As Doug Walker and James Rolfe said in the two videos I linked to above, it’s obvious that the filmmakers are “killing off” the past and focusing on the future. After killing Snoke, Kylo Ren even tells Rey [paraphrasing], “Let’s forget about the Sith, the Jedi, Luke, the Resistance, everything, and start over fresh”. This sounds bad at first, but I’m excited about this. Instead of just repeating the same old stories and recycling the same characters, Disney is prepared to give us something new. At least, they’re making it sound that way.
Something that wasn’t brought up in either of the two linked reviews is BB-8. He has major character development here, and he becomes a true hero here. Heck, he falls apart at one point, which shocked me because I thought he was dead. But then a few seconds later he casually puts himself back together and keeps going. R2 has died several times and always needs to be repaired by someone else.
Speaking of BB-8, I want to talk about the overhyped BB-9E. He is basically the “evil version” of BB-8. BB-9E is black and red with a squared head. He was featured on all of the adverts and made to be a major new characters. You only see him two or three times. It’s implied that he can sense BB-8, because BB-8 was hidden and BB-9E actually stopped, turned around, and looked right here he was hiding. But other than pointing out the good guys, he didn’t really have anything to offer the movie.
After watching Rogue One’s climactic space battle, I was wondering how they were going to top causing Star Destroyers to run into each other, but they somehow pulled it off. The Resistance, in escape pods, were slowly being picked off by the Supremacy, Snoke’s “mega Star Destroyer”. Admiral Holdo stayed on the Resistance’s ship alone, turned it around, then goes into lightspeed, splitting the Supremacy in half. It’s an awesome scene. When it happens, all sound stops for several seconds.
One of the big questions everyone had was “Will Luke die?”. He does, but it was a little confusing as to how. One of the new things about the Force in this film is astroprojection. You can appear somewhere you’re not. Like appears where the Resistance is at, has a final conversation with Leia, then faces Kylo Ren. As Doug Walker pointed out, it was like a scene from a Western. At the end, Kylo Ren seemingly cuts Luke in half, but Luke is still standing. That’s when Kylo realises that Luke wasn’t actually there and you see the real Luke on the island.
This honestly didn’t surprise me much. You’ve seen Luke in all of the trailers and posters having a grey beard. There are a few flashbacks to the night Luke’s Jedi temple was destroyed, and he had a brown beard. That’s how Kylo Ren and Leia would remember him, so that’s how he decided to present himself to them, with a brown beard. It’s a little detail, but if you pick up on it the scene won’t surprise you or come out of nowhere.
However, the astroprojection apparently uses a lot of energy, because afterwards, Luke just dies. At the time I thought he just willed himself to die, but watching the two reviews linked above, I realised that he probably died from exhaustion or something.
There is a surprise appearance from an old character. Luke goes to destroy the ancient books filled with the knowledge of the Jedi, then Yoda appears as a Force ghost. Luke tells him that he’s going to destroy it, and Yoda casually does it for him. The two have a conversation, and everything about it is amazing. If you’d have told me before that Yoda appears, I’d have likely assumed it was going to be stupid. But no, it actually fits in perfectly. It also lead to something funny I didn’t see either video mention. Luke has been presented as the new Ben Kenobi. Old, wise, even a legend. The old whiney kid has been left in the past. But when Yoda appears, the old whiney kid reappears. It’s actually a really funny moment seeing him revert back to that. Amazing acting on Mark Hamill’s part.
Great acting from everyone, to be honest.
Finally, I just want to point this other thing that neither video brought up. There was a moment where you though Finn was going to die. He was willingly sacrificing himself to save the Resistance. He even closed his eyes and the music welled up, and I was preparing to mourn this character. Then at the last second he is saved by Rose. It’s a brilliant moment that plays with your emotions.
After The Force Awakens, I thought I had a general idea of how this trilogy would go. Now that that’s been killed (literally and figuratively), I can honestly say that I have no idea what to expect in Episode IX. Which is exciting!