WARNING: HEAVILY OPINIONATED SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I'll be honest- I was excited for the newest episode of Star Wars. I intially liked where they took the franchise with Episode VII (even though I HATE super weapons- they are retarded in the classic sense of the word). The Fin/Rae relationship was well played. Poe was cool. I felt that some pieces, like Hans death, were well earned. And I was willing to forgive the swiftness of Rae's development with her use of the force. And when I saw the trailers for the next installment, I was excited. Then I started seeing reviews, and a piece by a YouTuber I follow detailing the silliness of the whole movie, and my once excited demeanor began to flounder. No matter- my son wanted to see it so my wife and I got tickets, and took him to it for his Christmas present. And then it happened- the movie, not a sudden case of the runs though it may have well as been. The movie was entertaining, I guess, but as an installment in a trilogy it was, well, badly executed. The timing was crap, the enemies were meh, and the good guys were "WTF?!" I left the theater with a sense that I had wasted money and time better spent eating Christmas treats with my kids watching "Leap" for the second time.
So, why did I feel like I didn't get what I paid for? Well, let's start with the Order's order of battle. They show up with BIG ships to take out the little Rebel fleet. They have superiority of numbers and firepower, yet they NEVER press it. EVER! They lose a Dreadnaught to a piddly flight of "Bombers" (WTF!?) and then fail at every turn to catch an enemy that has empty tanks and literally nowhere to go. I mean- the rebels can make one, count em ONE jump before running out of fuel. And so they start running in a straight line... In space... They're literally going nowhere and the Order doesn't think to just, you know, FTL in front of the rebels, box them in, close the noose, and CRUSH THEM!? I thought of this idea literally THREE seconds into the scenario developing, and I'm not a trained Order officer (then again, neither is Admiral Hugs). A slow speed chase in space going in one direction nowhere and the Order can't out maneuver a "fleet" incapable of FTL? Are they really THAT dumb? By making this retarded decision, the order loses all semblance of dangerous capacity and is reduced to the mere role of plot device. They are there to move the story along. They aren't capable of being anything other than a farce at this point no matter how big their toys are.
But the Rebel Alliance ain't much better. Poe to Admiral Gender Studies (Sargon's name for her- not mine): "What's the plan?" Admiral Gender Studies: "Go f*$&% yourself." I paraphrase here, but that is the sum of it. At no point does Madam Purple hair even consider letting Poe- a celebrated leader and recently demoted Commander with supreme loyalty and devotion to the Resistance- in on the plan. That one little thing would have simplified the situation for her and potentially allowed Poe to offer some ideas to execute HER PLAN! The Rebel alliance has always been the antithesis of the Empire and now the Order. It is supposed to operate in the exact opposite way. DO the opposite thing. Be better. Yet, while the Order is top down and retard- the Rebel leadership is top down... And retarded. I wasn't even rooting for the Resistance, I was hoping that Admiral Adama would appear with the Galactica and wreck both fleets simultaneously. The rebels have a plan of running in a straight line (in SPACE!!!) toward and unspecified destination for... Reasons. It's stupid. The script writers couldn't think of something better than a two hour car chase in space?
Characters were... Kinda dumb to be honest. I was beginning to like Fin in Episode VII. He needed fleshing out some, but the core of good character was there. His devotion to Rae early on created something that I really thought would develop into something unique. When he picked up that lightsaber to defend his friend from Kylo, he stepped into a realm he knew nothing about. In any shituation, that would take nuts- big brass nuts. But he did it. Yes, he was bested, but what do we expect? He's a former Stormtrooper with ZERO lightsaber or force training. Then this movie happened. When he's going to leave, we see why- he wants to protect Rae. That's totally within his characters motivations and to be honest, I was rooting for him. That could have been a compelling story arc.
Rose (what the hell kind of Star Wars name is that?!). I'm not sure what to classify Rose's character as. Bumbling idiot? Hopeless romantic? Order mole? Ideological implant for the sake of pushing a narrative? I'm not sure. At pretty much every turn she made me want to face palm as only Jean Luc Picard can face palm. I couldn't stand her. Her progressive high minded idealism and anti-anything stance was annoying. The only investment I had in Rose was that I wanted her to get sucked out an airlock. And her last action- dooming the Rebels for no damned reason- only reinforced her characters idiocy in my mind. Rose contributed nothing to the Rebel alliance or the film during the whole movie. Her character was flat, boring, and entirely forced. There was really nothing about her that I liked. Can we just cut her from the DVD release, and maybe just insert Jar Jar Binks? I think that would be a marked improvement...
Leia- I like Leia. Always have. I liked her before she was captured by Jabba the Hut. She was a strong character who oozed confidence and that aggressive quality that we always look for in a leader. Even watching the original movies in my thirties after eight years of experience in the Marines, she still had the qualities of a good leader. The character was well written and acted, and even Carry Fischer's lack of physical prowess in certain scenes didn't distract me from the role she filled and owned. But in this movie, that leadership is lost (mostly because she was unconscious after force flying through space) and what we have looks like a washed up tired old lady looking for a chance to bow out gracefully. She seems to have moved from powerful influence on the whole story line to plot device. Same with Luke- the ICON of the whole damned series. Luke was the REASON we all wanted to see this movie. We wanted to see him force choke some evil guy while throwing him into a pit (what's with all the pits in the Star Wars saga anyways?) or do some Yoda assed Kung Fu Jedi shenanigans while saving the day and TEACHING Rae (Rei, Rea, Ray?) how to be a Jedi. Not just monologue the whole damned time and teach Rae, what, how to close her damned eyes and breath? He never even taught her how to fight- or Jedi. And the coolest scene he was in he wasn't even in!It was depressing, and then to have him die off after doing nadda felt cheap.
Darth Smegal. When first Snoke was shown to us, we didn't know anything about him. I saw some interesting theories online that Snoke was really Windu, and his motivation could have been the desire to erase the Skywalker line from existence. It seemed legit- Mace Windu was force electrocuted out of a tall building. Even so, we know he could have survived if he channeled the force enough, and being turned on by Ani like that could have really soiled his diaper. That kind of betrayal could drive even such a good man to do some really nefarious stuff. It seemed poetic to have Mace Windu exact his revenge on the Skywalker line by having a Skywalker kill the Skywalkers only to be killed off by him. It was ruthless, and if executed could have made for a brilliant and harrowing tale wherein Kylo could become the GOOD GUY and come of age in manner that would have made Ani's return to the light seem paultry by comparison. Instead- we got jack and nadda before Snoke-stack was chopped in half with Luke Skywalker's light saber as it was force pulled by Kylo to Rae's hand. Seriously- who is this distorted half rotten sith lord anyway? Why do we even care? Plot twist- we don't.
Kylo and Rae have chemistry- or rather, they HAD chemistry. The connection they had via the force, they're conversations, they're eventual team up to battle Snoke-stack's body guard was well scripted and played out. I watched Ben Shaprio do a little review of the movie, and he is of the assumption that the fight wherein Rae and Ben team up is ground breaking within the saga. Never before have we seen dark and light work together to defeat evil and we were all sitting on the edge of our seats thinking that the movie was about to make up for itself. Then, it ended like a really bad divorce gone wrong. Kylo decides to destroy EVERYTHING and Rae just disappears. Literally. How did she get on the Falcon anyway? How does she feel about what happened? I don't know- it got left out. Like the relationship and the events that happened in Snoke-stack's throne room were meaningless. Which, they were. Utterly useless. Sure, Snoke-stack is dead, but now we have an unhinged lunatic giving orders at the behest of an emotional man-child. Or... We have a deranged man-child following the orders of an unhinged madman? Or is it an unhinged simpleton following the orders of an emotional fruitcake?
I think what the director and writers tried to do with the movie was use it to make a statement rather than entertain. Throughout the movie are progressive messages-- eating meat is bad, the rich are evil, girls are better than men- and very little substance. I felt like I was watching a poor slapstick comedian trying to convey "important" social issues rather than a compelling story about a desperate struggle to bring peace and order to the galaxy. We don't even know where the first order came from. Have no idea who Snoke was. We don't know WHY the Rebel Alliance is still a thing. There are tons of plot holes and questions regarding the series that need fleshed out. This movie didn't do anything to answer any of those questions. This movie literally brings nothing to the series. Notta damned thing.
In the end, the Rebellion is all but destroyed (again)- the "embers that will light the fire." The First Order is, well, headless? Wasn't it already? I mean slow speed ship race through space to NOWHERE!? Rose has snagged Fin's attentions undeservedly. Rae and Po seem to be a thing, or something. Luke is dead. Leia soon will be (they already did the change of command within the plot line, and Carrie Fisher is dead, so Leia is gone). All that remains is the Falcon, Chewy, R-2, and C-3PO. It's like "A New Hope," but with terrible characters, and an incompetent and un-scary super duper evil stupid power that will collapse under it's own weight, probably in less time if the Rebel Alliance just crashed into a sun and stopped propping it up via conflict. The whole ending is lunacy. Where are they going to take this knowing that they have ONE movie left? I can honestly say that I will wait until Episode IX comes out on DVD before I watch it for free from the Red Box. I'm no longer vested in the story. It's ruined for me. The reasons I watched in the first place have all but evaporated. Time to move on. I guess I'll wait for the next animated kids movie, and take my kids to see that- at least those are entertaining.