Why Fans Should Lighten Up About The Last Jedi

The Last JediHey Readers, I was going to take it easy and post just once this week because the week between Christmas and New Year is always very slow. However, I saw The Last Jedi (TLJ) with the family and I couldn’t understand why there is such a huge negative backlash from the viewers. For those of you who haven’t heard, the audience score for The Last Jedi at Rotten Tomatoes is just 51%. Wow, that’s almost like the presidential election. Half of the audience didn’t like the movie. That’s nuts! I enjoyed the movie thoroughly so that’s why I’m deviating from our regular personal finance topics and posting a film review today. We only saw one movie in the theater this year and TLJ was just right. Hey, that’s why it is good to have a blog. I can share my views and write about anything.

We’re Star Wars Fans

Yes, RB40Jr and I are Star Wars fans. We watched every episode of the films and the animated series. We have a bunch of Lego Star Wars, 2 light sabers, and a Star Wars trivia game. RB40Jr probably knows more about Star Wars than most casual viewers (like Mrs. RB40). He is six years old. I think we’re qualified to comment on the latest movie.

So what do I think of The Last Jedi? As I said above, I enjoyed it thoroughly. TLJ isn’t as straight forward as the other Star Wars movies, but I like the different feel. IMO, it’s one of the top 3 movies in the franchise. I liked it better than The Force Awakens (VII) because TFA is almost exactly like A New Hope (IV). RB40Jr agrees with me on this point. TLJ is also better than the all the prequels (I to III) and Rogue One. I didn’t like Rogue One that much because I never liked movies that end with everybody dead. So what’s TLJ about? I’ll give you a quick no spoiler summary.

No Spoiler Summary

At the end of TFA, Rey found Luke and TLJ picks up right after that. Rey tried to convince Luke to teach her the ways of the Force, but he was very reluctant to do so. Meanwhile, Poe, Finn, Leia, and the Resistance were in a running fight against the First Order. Fuel was low and the First Order would destroy them when they overtake them. Later on, Rey reunited with the Resistance and there were several confrontations with the bad guys. In the end, only a few of the good guys escaped to fight another day.

The movie was too a bit too long at 155 minutes. RB40Jr got tired out and he was ready to go after 2 hours. This movie would be more fun at home for us. One of his favorite characters also pulled a Boba Fett so that’s disappointing. Maybe they’ll bring that character back in the next episode. Who knows…

Why viewers didn’t like The Last Jedi

It seems a lot of people didn’t like TLJ for many reasons. Let’s go through a few of them.

  1. Bombs don’t fall in space

Jeez, Star Wars is pulp sci-fi. This isn’t a hardcore sci-fi series and it never really adheres to the law of physics. Remember when Han, Chewy, and Leia were walking around in the space worm’s stomach on an asteroid in The Empire Strikes Back? Who believes giant worms have gravity and atmosphere in their stomach? You have to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show.

Also, there is gravity in space. This is the main reason why I’m writing this review. If you’re going to get scientific, then get it right. The space battle took place next to D’Qar so the planet’s gravity is there.

Let’s take a pop quiz. Does gravity disappear if you go up 250 miles? That’s how far the International Space Station is from earth. Think about it for a second.

Everyone knows there is no gravity on the International Space Station because everyone has seen footage of stuff floating around. Well, I hope you’re not everyone because that’s wrong. At that altitude, the gravity is about 90% of what we feel on earth according to NASA. What the heck? Why are things floating around then?

I urge you to go to the page from NASA and read more, but I’ll give you the quick low down here. The ISS is in orbit around Earth and it is moving sideways at a very fast speed. The gravity is dragging the ISS down, but it is moving sideways fast enough to stay in orbit. The ISS and everything in it is in constant free fall. It’s like one of those tall freefall rides at the fair. If you let go of a ball during the ride, it will look like there is no gravity for a second. It doesn’t mean there is no gravity at the fair. In conclusion, there is noticeable gravity in space when you are near a planet.

ISS gravity

Anyway, the official explanation from Disney is that those bombs didn’t require gravity. They are accelerated out of the bomber with magnetic field. Fans need to lighten up and just enjoy the show.

  1. Luke turned into a curmudgeon

The next big gripe was character continuity. Luke turned into a curmudgeonly hermit. It doesn’t make sense for an optimistic farm boy to change that much. Well, I was an optimistic engineer who thought I was the smartest cookie in the jar when I started my first job. It only took me 16 years to curse engineering and quit to become a stay-at-home-dad/blogger. People change. That’s why you should save for retirement even if you really love your job. It probably won’t stay that way forever. BTW, I was way wrong about the cookie jar thing. There are a ton of people way smarter than me.

Anyway, it seems like the fans want a more straight forward story. They want the Jedi to be good and wise. They don’t want to see a Jedi brought down by the disappointments in life. I thought it was fine. Even good people do the wrong things sometime. Not a big deal to me. I didn’t put Luke on a pedestal.

  1. Too many jokes

Okay, there probably were too many jokes and cute aliens. Some jokes worked and some didn’t. I guess people think the jokes break up the mood too much. We enjoyed them, though. RB40Jr thought there were many funny moments. Star Wars movies are for kids too so the more jokes, the better. Audiences should put kid goggles on when they go see these movies. Don’t be so cynical.

  1. Political correctness

People complained that the bad guys were all Caucasian males and the good guys had diverse racial casting. The girls made all the right decisions and are smarter than guys in this movie.

I didn’t even notice this until I heard this criticism. I guess it’s true, but who cares? It’s way better than the original movies in that aspect. There was only one female in the original Star Wars movie. More diversity is better to me. It’s not 1977 anymore.

As for females making better decisions, I guess that’s too close to real life for the fan boys. Hahaha…

  1. No continuation from TFA

I guess the fan boys and girls spent the last two years debating the big questions from TFA. Who is Leader Snoke and where did he come from? Who are Rey’s parents? There are a ton of theories on the internet if you Google them.

Some people thought Snoke was seen in Rogue One. There were a bunch of theories about Rey’s parents and why she is so strong with the Force. Well, TLJ tears those down and gives unsatisfactory answers. Weirdly, I was fine with this. I don’t mind the twists and turns. That’s more interesting for me. Anyway, I don’t think we’ve heard the last word on Rey’s parentage yet.

  1. Too long

Yes, the movie was too long. There was a casino segment that dragged the middle of the movie down. I agree with this one.

  1. Yoda puppet

***Minor spoiler ahead

Yoda made an appearance in this movie and he is a puppet. I guess people liked the CGI better, but I didn’t even notice. Who cares if the Yoda force ghost is a puppet or CGI? Why is this a big deal to people?

  1. Too many new Force powers

***Minor spoiler here.

There are too many new Force powers in this movie. Not really. They are pretty similar to previous Force powers. Leia just did a Force pull. What Luke did at the end is something like a Force ghost. No big deal to me. More power is more fun.

You can buy The Last Jedi on Amazon now. Watch it again at home! 🙂

What do you think?

Alright, now it’s your turn. Feel free to mention anything in the comments. Spoilers are okay there. All in all, I enjoyed the movie and we are looking forward to the next Star Wars film. I liked it because Rian Johnson showed us new things we haven’t seen before in the Star Wars universe. The movie didn’t turn out as expected, but it was very enjoyable. Star Wars movies will be part of our Christmas tradition as long as they keep making new ones. These new movies are way better than the prequels so far and I’m very happy with them.

Did you see The Last Jedi? How did you like the film?

Happy New Year!

ISS image credit: NASA

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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46 thoughts on “Why Fans Should Lighten Up About The Last Jedi”

  1. I haven’t seen the movie yet Joe, but I agree that people need to lighten up. It’s not a documentary! A movie should still be able to be a fun entertaining experience!

    The original star wars was so great because it allowed us to dream of a different world, and it did so with incredible detail. I don’t think the latest film killed my dreams.

  2. Many hardcore fans are in the business of dissecting the film to such great extent that it makes it really difficult to any director to remain unscathed. And clearly this film has amazing visuals and a few wow scenes that are clearly successful. However, it is understandable that for some of the people who have seen and loved the previous 7 installments of the saga, the Last Jedi is blasphemous. Luke, one of the most loved characters in the history of cinema and the embodiment of optimism is portrayed as a murderous coward who’s life revolves around taking lonely walks in the myst (and is he going to eat all that fish???). I could go on forever but many of the plot lines make absolutely no sense if taken in the context of the saga. Not to even mention the lack of continuity with TFA.

    I finally came to the conclusion that hey this is a Disney’s movie, it’s for kids! The business is in selling the toys and action figures and getting a new generation of easily wowed 10years old at every film. Like Lucas did to me back in the 1980’s. Expect that as mentioned above the Joseph Campbell story line blended with Asian philosophy delivered by Lucas taught me (and many other kids back then) the value of training, dedication, self doubt, spirituality and optimism. With TLJ, Disney teaches what exactly? Rey’s powers are huge without training at all (no point in trying hard at practicing), everybody fails (okay great thanks), it’s not nice to eat grilled porgs (Kids, let’s all be vegans) and, worst part, it’s okay to humiliate the past and just make it up without any respect to what has come before us. It’s not a message I want my kids to take in. My parents let me watch SWs in loop precisely because they could see me learning something cool about how to become a better spirited young kid. I am worried now that my daughter wants to be like Rey, having immense power without any effort whatsoever.

  3. I hated it. I’m not a huge SW fan but as a Gen Xer that grew up on them I’ve have seen all the movies. My biggest criticism is that the acting was god awful. Carrie Fisher’s acting was that of someone in their first ever role. Sorry she passed soon after and maybe her health was a factor but boy was it bad. Mark Hamil wasn’t much better.
    I also thought both the dialogue and plot progression was soooo cliche. On top of that there was no reason to have an emotional investment in most of the characters yet the scenes played out time and again like I was supposed to be emotional moved. Not. They’re just pumping out these SW movies for money at this point. That’s the last one I’ll ever see I think. There’s just way too much great viewing content today to waste almost 3 hours on that garbage of a movie. I give it a 3 out of 10.

  4. I still remember going on Rotten Tomatoes the morning of the movie release and being completely shocked at the audience score. I still went to see (Not a crazy Star Wars fan) it on Xmas Eve, and I thought it was GREAT! My only complaint at the end was that it did seem to take a bit long to get through, but other than that I thought everything was fairly entertaining.

    I watched the original movies when I was younger, saw bits and pieces of the prequel movies, and have absolutely LOVED the The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and The Force Awakens. I’m not gonna lie though, Rogue One may have been my favorite…With The Force Awakens a close second!

  5. Liked it, saw it 2 times with family over break. Here is what I liked about it. Dashing hero has a daring plan, it is dangerous and has slim chance of success, but if they are brave enough and have just a little bit of luck on their side, they just might pull it off. Except it does not work and they get caught, and it turns out we did not need their plan to work anyway. That sequence is highly unusual for a movie like this, very interesting to see.

    • I like that too. Plans don’t always work out. A lot of viewers hated that they spent so much time on something that didn’t work out. The reaction is kind of funny. I guess that’s too close to real life. 🙂

  6. Well I’m going to go against the grain as usual. For me your reason number 4 alone makes this movie a flop.

    They did not create an adventure movie then cast characters for it. They made sure they force-made a list of diverse SJW characters, then they tried to make a movie around them while sending the world another useless SJW sermon. In fact 2 battles and almost two hours of preaching inbetween them.

    I’m surprised you did not mention the negative shot at capitalism in the movie? You would have nothing in the way of everything you write about every day without it. Without it you would have probably died at your desk at you hated job unhappy with little of the trappings you have around you and your family today.

    Star Wars TFJ just shaking my head.

    • “The negative shot at capitalism.” This was nonsense. Remember when Rose opened the gate to that one fathiers’ hut and the kid was waiting there to PRESS A BUTTON? Luke has a goddamn ROBOTIC HAND. They have the tech, obviously, yet they’re using KIDS? No one thought, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t use children — who, at best, are asleep 1/3 of the time — as our security system? Maybe we should, I don’t know, assign a droid to do it?”

      Just because the SUPER-RICH ARE EVIL? Sorry, that’s just dumb.

      More generally, this article’s #2 is my #1. Luke’s a pussy now, and not for a good reason. Where’s the coherence? What resonated about the original series? Groundbreaking cinematic techniques grounded in traditional mythological form (a la Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces). The heroic farmboy, Luke, is summoned by the wise old wizard, Ben Kenobi, to fight the dragon (the Death Star) and save the Princess. It had a clear moral. It resonated on a PRIMAL, ARCHETYPAL level.

      The Last Jedi? What is this, now? It’s a cash grab. What theme are you walking away with? “Good and evil eventually balance each other out — except they don’t, because every action has a necessary equal and opposite reaction, so the battle never truly ends because the universe tends toward entropy.”

      That’s fine and dandy if it weren’t reverse-engineered for Disney to make as much money as possible. Really it’s just some hot-shot exec telling Rian Johnson, “Hey, make a movie that will allow us to make infinite movies. Change the franchise entirely.”

      Because they’re going to keep beating this dead horse if it keeps spitting out money.

      • Aren’t you tired of the hero’s journey formula? I don’t want just another remake. I like The Force Awakens, but it’s adhere to the formula too much.
        You’re right about starting over, though. I don’t see how they can wrap everything up in the next movie. It’s always been about money. The first movie was a huge creative breakthrough, but money is always the underlying motive for all the sequels.

    • It’s not the old days anymore. Big blockbusters like this are a global product now. They need to add difference races to make everyone feel inclusive. We’ll see how this one does globally.
      What is SJW? I got tired and didn’t mention the weapon dealer angle. But weapon dealing isn’t the same as capitalism to me.

  7. Good recap, I had many of the same takeaways as you and was surprised at all the backlash the movie was receiving. I think people get too caught up in the nostalgia and don’t take each movie for what it is. Lighten up and enjoy it. I was very entertained.

    My two criticisms were it was a bit long and the Leia scene was weird. Seems like that would’ve been a good opportunity to kill her off, there was no need to keep her around for the next movie. The cute animals and jokes didn’t take away from the movie at all, it’s nice to have some light heartedness in the midst of the intense scenes. Many of the best parts of the original 3 movies were some of the banter between Luke/Han/Leia. All in all, great movie and people need to lighten up and stop expecting perfection.

  8. I thought it was very entertaining. Guess I don’t read too much into movies. I did think some of the jokes could have been cut out. Reminded me of Seth MacFarlane’s Orville but that is supposed to be funny where Star Wars isn’t supposed to be funny.

    My birthday is on 12/15 so when we saw Rogue One and heard that TLJ was coming out on my birthday, I told the kids “That’s what we are doing for my birthday!”.

  9. I agree with you that folks need to lighten up. My bride and I aren’t SW purist but have always enjoyed them from day one. Some far more than others but that’s how it goes with sequels. After talking with younger family members who didn’t care for this episode, I believe the following theory explains why some, especially younger viewers didn’t like it. There is an element of what might be an unwanted lessen. Being young, passionate, and ready to immediately jump feet first to take action for your cause may not turn out how you think it will for the desired end game results. That sometimes listening to advise and/or following older experienced folk’s recommendations on matters of extreme importance to you is the prudent path to take. Just a theory.

  10. I don’t know how to write this comment without spoilers, so here it goes. I”m a huge Star Wars fan and could not wait to watch this movie. And I left somewhat disappointed. Your points 2 and 5 were my top two gripes about the movie. I did not like Luke’s character in the movie, of course until the end. I thought the end was a great way to tie it in and was similar to something we would see in the Star Wars movies. But up until the end, it was difficult to watch.

    The fact that there was hardly a connection between TFA and TLJ was the worst crime. Unless they have some master plan in the final edition, the first two don’t really jive. There is only one story line that was tied together, and of course that involved Luke and Kylo. Snoke, Rey’s origins, and all the other story lines that were so well built in Episode 7 were left unaddressed in this one. Again, I’m talking general to avoid spoilers!

    I was a fan of the Yoda puppet actually, a nice tie in to the old movies. I’ll have to revisit this when we are past the spoiler season, because I have many, many more thoughts about this movie and how Disney is killing what made this franchise amazing.


    • Point 5 would be a tough one to swallow if you’re invested in TFA. I guess that’s what happens when you have two very different director. It probably would have been better with one vision for the 3 movies.
      Spoilers are okay in the comment section. I don’t think Rey’s parent really matter. Vader’s parents were just slaves. Well, the mom anyway. Vader’s dad is probably another slave too. That whole virgin birth thing was made up by Vader’s mom. 🙂
      I don’t think Disney could do any worse than episode I. Although, RB40Jr enjoyed the prequels too. Kids are easy to please.

  11. I haven’t seen it yet and probably won’t for a while, though I adore Star Wars, getting away to the movies is too hard for us these days. But I have heard lots of reviews and I think it’s pretty silly for people to doubt Leia’s ability to use the Force just because she hasn’t done so on screen before. She’s the most levelheaded, rational, strategic Skywalker who uses the tools at hand. She may not have ever needed the Force before in a dramatic on screen moment but that doesn’t mean necesssily mean she’d never done it before, ever. There’s lots that happens off screen that we can believe happened. Like Luke getting disappointed and bitter. Can you really not imagine feeling that way if your own blood relative that you mentored and nurtured went as bad as Kylo Ren did?? He may have looked at Kylo as nearly his own son and a disappointment that great, Kylo joining the Dark Side, and killing people would be a devastating blow!
    Anyway I’m prepared to enjoy it whenever the chance arises 😉

    And thanks for orbit and gravity bit. I’d honestly not that about it before but it’ll come in useful when I need to explain it to someone else!

    • Yes! Mission accomplished.
      I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think this movie will be a lot more fun at home. We whispered to each other and bother the other viewers too much at the theater. Sorry! 🙂
      I think you’ll enjoy it with your attitude.

    • We’re way past Leia just using the force. She freaking got blown out to space and flew back to the ship like Superman.

      There are so many aspects of TLJ that don’t feel like Star Wars it constantly distracts from the movie itself. One scene has Luke milking a 4-titted sea cow. WTF?!?!

  12. I’m an old school fan and loved it. Thought Rian Johnsons script and direction was suitably subversive and delightfully pulled the rug out from under all those who thought they knew what was going to happen.

    As Luke himself says early in the movie “this isn’t going to go the way you think”

  13. Love the deviation and totally agree. I don’t understand the uproar about TLJ at all.

    People have become a bit possessive of the Star Wars franchise and when it goes a direction they don’t like, it’s the end of the world.

    I thought the movie did a great job of clearing the table for future movies. They opened “the force” up to everyone and I’m really interested to see where it goes from here.

    Really looking forward to the third installment.

    P.S. Great mini-lecture on gravity 🙂

    P.P.S. Happy New Year!!

  14. I’m a Star Wars fan. I didn’t like the new series from George Lucas. I liked TFA and Rogue One. I HATED The Last Jedi. Too Disney-like, it’s really a kids movie. Greta visuals though.

    Talking of Sci-Fi, I loved Blade Runner 2049 and the new Netflix movie, Bright w Will Smith. Bright is a combo of Police/Sci Fi and Fantasy. Lots of violence and shooting (in case you mind that).

    • I liked TFA too, but I think TLJ is better. Rough One was good in parts. I didn’t like the ending, though. The Darth Vader scene at the end of RO was awesome.
      Blade runner 2049 is on my reserve list from the library. 🙂 I haven’t heard of Bright. I’ll check it out.
      Thanks & Happy New Year!

  15. Ah no, Jareds mom is a huge fan of Star Wars. She’s big on sci-fi and has caught on every movie ever released. It’s always a dinner topic and I get a grilling at Christmas about why I haven’t seen any. Is it really that good? Is it better than Harry Potter?! I’m not much for sci-fi but I love (Asian) horror movies…too bad no one in the family likes horror.

  16. Alright here’s my few things:

    1. Too…Disneyified. Those cute aliens, while cute, were too Disney for me. It’s not that they are inherently bad, but it felt less Star Wars and more Disney.
    2. Forced humor. I don’t mind jokes in the movies. The originals had some humor in them, but some of the jokes fell flat or felt forced. The banter with Poe in the beginning, for example.
    3. Lack of background on some characters. I’d have really enjoyed learning more about Snoke.
    4. Leia had never used The Force on screen and now suddenly she can pull herself out of the near-vacuum of space after her ship explodes???? Okay sure it’s a force pull, but after your ship blows up, you’re knocked unconscious, and you’re in outer space, it seems a bit far-fetched, PARTICULARLY because Leia had never used The Force previously, unless I’m mistaken. And nothing like that had been done before by others that we’d seen, again unless I’m mistaken. I get that she’s a Skywalker and The Force runs strong in the family, but to suddenly go from seemingly dead, in the vacuum of space, to an avid user of The Force, even in a ‘fight or flight’ type situation (haha, literally flight) just seemed misplaced. This wouldn’t have bugged me as much if it was any other Force user.

    Overall, while I enjoyed the movie, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with what Disney did…it doesn’t feel as authentic to the originals as I’d have liked.

    That being said I’ll watch the next one, but will have to remember that ultimately, I’m watching a Disney movie.

    • First of all. Thanks for engaging. 🙂
      1. You know what I’m going to say here. At least, there is no Jar Jar Bink. The cute aliens didn’t add anything to the movie.
      2. Some of the jokes didn’t work, but I chuckled at most of them. RB40Jr thought the Poe routine at the beginning is pretty funny. He’s six so everything was funny for him.
      3. Snoke was a second class Sith so no background needed. If he was more powerful, then the background would be interesting. I guess it’s a choice the director made. Maybe they’ll bring him back in an animated series.
      4. Okay, I’ll give you this one. The only logical explanation is that Luke taught her some moves during the intervening years.

      I don’t think it feels Disneyfied that much. The prequals were like toned down too and Lucas had 100% control. I guess the target age range went down a bit from the originals. It’s all about merchandising even back then, but not as blatant as now.
      Happy New Year!

  17. I also enjoyed the movie. I’m not a Star Wars elitist, I watch those movies for the fun of it, it’s a sort of escapism. I’m also a sucker for anything SciFi. My only complaint was the silly animal routine which was annoying, I also think it was a bit too long. It will be really interesting to see where the series goes once they start from a blank slate after the last one in this arc.

    • Right. Pretty much all movies are escapism. The animals were a bit annoying, but RB40Jr liked them. I want to see how they recover from this one. There were only a dozen of rebels left. How can they destroy the First Order in the next movie? Maybe it will stretch out into 2 or 3 more movies. 🙂

  18. Hi Joe,

    I agree that the movie is good and rank similar to you. Some fans are being way too critical.
    One interesting observation is there is not a lightsaber against lightsaber battle. Not obvious as lightsabers join battles, but not against other lightsabers. Overall, great movie.

  19. Thanks for explaining how orbits work to folks Joe. I teach this stuff for a living as a side job and schools never teach the basics to kids. Yes, an object in orbit around Earth is constantly falling to Earth, but it’s lateral speed matches the rate of fall so it never hits Earth.

    Nice review, thanks!

  20. Hi Joe, Thanks for the bonus post. I finally found something we differ on. I’m not much of a Star Wars fan. I do like SciFi, however. Planet of the Apes is probably my favorite. Glad you enjoyed it and had a good time. Happy New Year. Tom


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