Editor’s note: After a second viewing of this film, we have completely changed our view of the film. We will not be re-writing the review, but writing a feature on why the film is much better than we thought and counter many of the ideas expressed in this article. The score will be changed though accordingly.

-Morgan

If there is one thing I can say to sum up The Last Jedi is that it’s a tonal mess. The film doesn’t know what it is, and it is definitely not a Star Wars film. I understand Rian Johnson wanted to do his own thing and put his own mark on the series, but the film is so unbalanced. The humor is out of place. The pacing is atrocious. Star Wars typically has uneven pacing, but this takes it to a whole other level. Half the film is filler. The film has one of the greatest character arcs in the Star Wars Saga, but it’s ruined by its execution. The Last Jedi is a film I tried to like, especially given Mark Hamill’s masterful performance. Luke’s return was great. The film is a massive disappointment though.

Rian Johnson does not understand what Star Wars is. To put it simply, the film is an unmitigated disaster.

The Film Has No Identity and Horrible Pacing

The tone shifts back and forth so much, The Last Jedi doesn’t know what it is. It takes one of the most emotional scenes early in the film and then turns it into a cheap comedy gag for a laugh. The humor in the first half of the film is atrocious. It feels so forced and unnatural. A lot of people criticize the prequels for its humor, but these “jokes” were worse than most of the gags in The Phantom Menace. That really says something.

Speaking of The Phantom Menace, many criticize it because they believe its overly political. I don’t share this assessment, but, that’s okay. The Last Jedi goes into politics pretty heavily though and it’s being praised for it. Hypocrisy much?

the last jedi review

Half of the film is literally filler and adds nothing to the overall plot. To say the pacing is uneven is an understatement; it has no pacing. It just goes from scene to scene with very little transition. The majority of the characters are shallow and not given any depth. Some character growth from the first film is seemingly abandoned, which makes it even worse. There’s no reason to care for them. I even hoped that certain characters would be killed because they’re a waste. Even Leia isn’t written well, though the burden of leadership is apparent. Despite this fact, Carrie Fisher’s performance is masterful as always.

The Good: Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo, and Rey

Reason Why Luke Trains Rey Has Been Revealed

These are the only characters I actually cared for in the film. Mark Hamill deserves an Oscar for his incredible performance, it’s just unfortunate the film is so bad. Luke has the best character arc in The Last Jedi but the execution is atrocious. Luke’s reason for being the way he is makes a lot of sense, and his feelings about the Jedi takes into account everything that has transpired in the Saga. It’s literally perfect. That being said, because of the major pacing issues (or lack of any pacing at all), his story is hard to follow. It’s very choppy. He’s missing for 45 minutes in the film. This is horrible storytelling.

the last jedi review

Ben and Rey’s stories are great as well, and their characters grow quite a bit. It’s just unfortunate that we still don’t know Rey’s parentage (the answer came from an unreliable source, but her identity is alluded to by Snoke). It’s also an odd choice that we didn’t learn anything about Snoke’s background as promised, but it doesn’t take away from the film.

the last jedi review

The best parts of The Last Jedi are Ben Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Rey. There’s no reason to care about anything else, save one thing: the music.

John Williams is a Genius

the last jedi review

The score for The Last Jedi is incredible. Even at his age, John Williams has never been better. The music is filled with new and classic themes. He’s on top of his game and we even hear some old motifs I thought we’d never hear again. There’s only one disappointment, which isn’t John Williams’ fault: there’s no true musical montage at the end. There’s quite a bit of dialogue spoken, which again points to the fact that Rian Johnson doesn’t understand what Star Wars is.

At Williams’ age, hopefully he is able to score Episode IX because he is one of the best composers to ever live.

The Last Jedi is an Unmitigated Disaster

the last jedi review

The pacing is non-existent. The tone is uneven with humor that is incredibly forced and ruins serious, emotional scenes for the sake of a cheap laugh. Rian Johnson doesn’t understand Star Wars. Even the imagery is poor. Star Wars has always been like a silent film, told through visuals and music. It’s never about the dialogue. The films rhyme, like stanzas in a poem. There are also rules about the Force that seem to be re-written that go against what Lucas established, so much so that he cut one specific aspect out of the Original Trilogy.

Rian Johnson wanted to put his own stamp on Star Wars and failed miserably. I wanted to like this film. As a fan of the entire Saga, I truly did. It’s just not a good film, and more importantly, it’s a horrible Star Wars film. The worst Star Wars Film.

The music is top-notch and everything with Rey, Ben, and Luke was fantastic, but because of the film’s pacing issues, it took away from their stories. It actually makes me appreciate The Force Awakens, which has more depth to it than you would think. I never thought I would say this, but I’m glad J.J. Abrams is helming Episode IX. Hopefully, he can rectify this mess we call the Sequel Trilogy because The Last Jedi shattered it into pieces.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Spoiler-Free)
The Last Jedi is an unmitigated disaster and a tonal mess. It has no identity and the pacing is non-existant. Half the movie is filler. Luke, Ben, and Rey are the only characters who have decent character arcs but because the pacing is so choppy, the execution is severely lacking. The Last Jedi is the worst Star Wars film.
Pros
  • Luke Skywalker is back and Mark Hamill deserves an Oscar
  • Everything with Ben, Rey, and Luke
  • Luke Skywalker's character arc
Cons
  • The pacing is non-existant and emotional moments have cheap gags that take away from their impact.
  • Ben, Rey, and Luke are the only characters who you have a vested interest in. Everyone else is shallow, and there's no reason to care for them.
3.8Good
Reader Rating: (21 Votes)

About The Author

Founder/Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VG Culture HQ. He has been writing about games for over four years and has written over 1,500 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. Is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan (RIP pending Episode IX).

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  • Franchise Assassinated for me. I will forever consider TFA and TLJ to be non-canon, the Story ended with RotJ and I am traumatized truly from what I paid to see at the midnight opening.

    • Morgan

      I’m going to see it again but it is the worst SW film. I don’t even think TFA is that bad; it’s a solid entry in the series. There’s just no central plot to this film, which makes everything else, like Luke’s character arc, seem choppy.

      • T40Rs731N

        Stop crying, critic. Find something else to do with your life. Try to create something for once instead of trying to destroy what others do.

        You’re pathetic and when you sum up your life, you will realize you have contributed nothing… absolutely NOTHING to the human endeavor. Opinions and assholes and all that. See?

        “OOOh, I have an opinion and it is more important than anyone else’s because I simply can’t DO anything else other than criticize!”

        Those who can DO, those who can’t criticize.

        You’re not even dung. Lulz.

        • Morgan

          I’m not crying, trust me, disappointed but it’s life. Thanks for stopping by!!!

        • Ric Flair

          triggered

  • T40Rs731N

    Lol. Disney execs were so impressed that they gave the director the reigns to a new trilogy. The premier earned a standing ovation.

    But, you guys actually find it lacking.
    All you have done is proven that critics are nothing. You aren’t even dung since dung can serve a purpose.
    You’re not even a carrion eater, since at least we benefit from them when they eat dead carcasses.

    • Morgan

      You do know executives are also routinely responsible for butchering films and ruining directors. That’s why George Lucas went independent.

  • CinemaConFan

    So many ridiculous statements in this article. The Last Jedi lacks pacing? If that’s true, I’m afraid to think what other films you would consider to be under such a category. The movie is filled with enormous action sequences! Every moment of the movie is captivating to watch…partially because it is a Star Wars movie! You think Star Wars has never been about the dialogue? Then we wouldn’t have the iconic “I am your father” moment in Empire Strikes Back.

    I’m kinda with you though on the “emotional moment turned gag at the beginning of the film”. But even still, if you think about that scene, it does show you how much Luke has changed.

    That said, I do like The Force Awakens quite a bit more than The Last Jedi. I feel TFA is much more mythological and has much more emotional depth than TLJ.

    • Morgan

      the dialogue has never been the primary focus. like yeah it matters but even watching ROTJ last night and everything with the emperor. like I have another article about visual parallels in the saga, and there are even phrases etc that are echoed. it does show you how much Luke has changed, but it could have been done in a way that was a little more tactful…that didn’t just feel like a cheep gag. that was basically the first half hour of the film. cheap gags. “get your head out of your cockpit”, the whole scene with hux, it was stupid humor.

      • CinemaConFan

        I would have wanted the lightsaber grab moment to have been handled differently as well. But regarding the humor in the movie in general, I enjoyed it tremendously. I’m a guy that is entertained by Jar Jar Binks…and I think the prequels are tremendous entertainment!

  • Andrew

    Great review Morgan. Exactly how I felt seeing the movie. The movie was just one giant anticlimax punctuated with smaller anticlimaxes, goofy humour and blandwashing for international/child audiences (still trying to figure out why Hollywood thinks it needs to talk down to different cultures and age groups). I think the story/creative team was poorly chosen, and executive direction was lacking – I kind of feel like Jay Jay’s heart isn’t really in it. So many weird and pointless characters and story threads and some pretty odd decisions.

    Such a shame as it had much potential. Fisher and Hamill are such masters of their craft, they are always amazing to watch and their wonderful performances seem sadly wasted. It was great seeing Hamill as Luke and I agree he deserves an Oscar (especially so given the source material) but won’t get it as the movie isn’t an acceptable vehicle. I really hope he goes on to find other new outlets for his amazing talents. And speaking of masters, John William’s Music was just brilliant as always, a true living legend.

    Props to the artists and craftspeople for some nice visuals and sets. There were other good things about the movie and some nice performances from other cast members also.

    I liked Daisy Ridley’s performance a lot but as with the first entry of the new trilogy it’s difficult to get over the Ma-Rey Sue issue … it does seem like the story/creative team really doesn’t have much respect for the concepts of mastery, transformation or the monomyth (hero’s journey), which is pretty darn weird given this is now a Disney franchise. Maybe one day we will get some further insight into the creative process for this film to help us understand how it ended up as such a mess.

    • Morgan

      The only way Rey’s character works is if she’s literally a child of the force like Anakin. I feel like it’s alluded to too. Also, ben is lying about knowing about her parents. Remember in TFA we see them flying off to space. and we just hear rey’s mother. in the mirror scene she asks to see her parents and the sillhouette transforms merges into one person, then just a reflection. also Snoke says “darkness rises, and light to meet it”, and he assumed that this was Luke, but in fact it’s Rey. So Rey, being like 10 years younger than Kylo, it makes sense she was born of the force to battle the coming darkness. an instinct of the force to maintain balance.

      IF that’s not the case ST is not canon for me and I literally won’t accept any other answer except she’s leia and han’s secret daughter or that she’s luke’s secret daughter and he appears and apologizes to her. like anything else, I just think from a storytelling perspective doesn’t work. but these don’t really either. Having her simply be “no one” doesn’t work because there are too many things that need explanation. like really Yoda didn’t even have the sheer potential of a Skywalker. yet Rey is able to best one (Ben Solo) with ease? If Disney disregards how the force works just for some social commentary I will never see a disney film again, EVER.

  • Alex

    It was a disaster, the franchise is lost to me 🙁

    • Ric Flair

      SAME! after reading so many terrible reviews, I’m passing on this one any any other future ones made by Disney.
      I’ll keep the prequel, original trilogy and timothy zahns “thrawn” trilogy as canon in my mind and just pretend like Disney SW universe doesnt even exist as far as Im concerned. …such a shame to do this to such a franchise 🙁

  • Ric Flair

    thanks for the review. I appreciate a review that is not scared to go against the “popular’ opinion, and actually brings up the valid lackluster issues

    • Morgan

      Thank you! That’s actually what this outlet is all about: we are brutally honest.

  • The Truth

    The pacing was horrible and there were some moments that were “Noooooo” bad. But it’s still way better than the trash known as the prequel trilogy. At least we didn’t open up with trade negotiations and the acting was, overall, pretty good.

    • Morgan

      honestly, just IMO, just saying I do like the prequels though recognize their flaws (all these films are), and, it makes the prequels look a lot better.