—oy gevalt. It’s a mess. I’m reluctant to say that it is, but it is what it is. I’m really disappointed, too, and I’m disappointed that I’m disappointed. You know the kind I’m talking about, the kind you get from someone, something, somehow, you love, and that’s a cross between shame and l’espirit de l’escalier. Just. Wow. I-probably-could’ve-gone-about-that-better-disappointment.
This is the first time I’ve felt a script should never have been greenlit. The dialogue is sloppy, cringe-worthy in places, needlessly expository in others. The story is senseless, in a pointless, rather than a puzzling, sort of way. It’s got more sub-plots than it does plot-holes you can poke a stick at, and it’s like somebody trawled a bunch of sub-reddits, and twitter-feeds, and fan-theories, and trolled them all into one spectacular punk’d—and not just the theories, but their potential, and their spirit.
There is an overall cheapness to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), that misappreciates its own story for the sake of its own storytelling. It is a very selfish film, and that is always showing off, but without thinking things through, without telling us how or why, and yet, simultaneously, without leaving much to the imagination, either. It doesn’t go there, it goes where it wants to, and that’s the hallmark of a script written by a director, always telling, telling.
What I want to see is slow. Majesty. Grace. A humble, if not elegiac, origami of resolutions and regrets un/folding in amongst an opus, an opera, a swansong that is nearing its end. Bring me to the peak of tragic perfection, and let me think it’s all going to fall apart. That’s real hope.
At times I think J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), despite its many, many flaws, had these moments where it just—knew—itself. It just knew—you—were there. You could just—feel—the force, around you, through that character, watching over them, in a sense that was sacred, that was magical, that was infinite without being infinite.
The power that is magic is the infinite. It is that which corrupts absolutely, every film, and not just Star Wars. The infinite is the story, the power of storytelling, to tell anything. There is a certain responsibility, in some respects, to restrain oneself, from learning this power, to get too involved, to get too carried away. It must be considered, tempered. What this film lacks is the delicacy, the tenderness, the nuance, that space opera is.
This film is a missed opportunity, that’s it. It’s not a cash grab. It’s certainly nowhere near as good as Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) hoped it would be. It’s frustrating, because you can see it’s excited, it’s bursting at the seams, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. I still wonder about whether or not I should write this at all, but in all honesty, in all politeness, in every conceivably non-violent way, from the marrow of my bones, one creative to another:
Fuck. You. Rian Johnson. Fuck. You.