Why “The Last Jedi” is Excellent Storytelling

Posted February 4, 2018 by Amber in Reading, Real World, Thoughts, Writing / 5 Comments

Mes chers, I saw The Last Jedi about a month ago now, and honestly… I don’t understand why everyone has been hating on it.

I waited several weeks to see it even though I LOVE Star Wars based on so many *meh* reviews from people I respected.  REGRET.

It was really fantastic and I walked out of the theatre baffled as to why so many people found it disappointing.

I’m trying to think of it from the point-of-view of a typical Star Wars fan, and the closest I can come up with is the fact there were so many grey areas.  Star Wars traditionally has been about black-and-white, good-versus-evil… and the lines got a little blurred in this one.

It’s the only reason I can think of that could have disappointed fans.  But I’m a reader and storyteller before I am a Star Wars fan, and to me?  That grey area made this one of the best Star Wars films to date.

So lets talk.

Be honest.  It’s okay if you hated it.  We’re all people and we are entitled to our opinions!

Here’s why I thought it was fabulous:

The Last Jedi made us doubt our characters.

I spent half of this film trying to decide what choices the characters were going to make next.  Who would pay for their antics?  Are they being brave, or just stupid?  In a book, this is the type of behavior that makes me frantically turn pages.  I like doubting the heroes.  Heroes shouldn’t be perfect.  Their flawed natures make them relatable.  And human.

The Last Jedi pushed us out of our comfort zone.

As readers and film fanatics, we get too accustomed to the things that we find comfortable.  Good always triumphs.  The teacher has all the answers.  The scoundrel will have a change of heart.  Brooding Hero will always do the right thing, while still brooding (I hate Kylo Ren, guys.  I know I’m the minority.). If you were trying to predict this film, I bet you were wrong.  A lot.

The Last Jedi left room for more.

The best kind of story gives you an ending that you can be happy with, but leaves you wanting more anyway.  I felt strongly like there is a future for the films (obviously, there are more scheduled), but also that if for some reason it ended, it would be okay.  There is room for the imagination to wander.  There is still hope.

The Last Jedi stayed focused.

It’s really easy for a storyteller to get off track by a nifty and yet completely irrelevant side story opportunity.  Rey’s time on the island and the possibility of her training to be the Greatest Jedi Ever would have been a fun story, but it wasn’t the story this series started out to tell.  If you want to see the training or corruption of a Jedi, go back the prequels (sorry, but true).  Since A New Hope, the story has been about the Rebellion.

The Last Jedi had an excellent setting and cast.

In Star Wars tradition, we were treated to new worlds and new characters.  These were all vivid and interesting, but not so much so that they took away from the story.  The setting set the mood and the characters drove the story along.  That is the way a good story works.


Have you seen The Last Jedi?

What do you think of the story?

Which Star Wars movie is your favorite?

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5 responses to “Why “The Last Jedi” is Excellent Storytelling

  1. I love this movie! It’s my favorite Star Wars too 😄 There are several I haven’t watched yet, though, I have some catching up to do… Kylo Ren sort of reminds me of Maven?? I don’t quite like him, but I think he’s such a great character 😝

    • Amber

      Most people loooooove Kylo Ren! I don’t get it! But he’s definitely a Brooding Hero type, which has never been my cop of tea. 🙂

      I definitely recommend watching all the films – even the prequels! I’m quite fond of Attack of the Clones, Return of the Jedi, and Rogue One.

  2. I am one of the people who hated it, but I appreciate your perspective. I didn’t dislike it from a Star Wars fan perspective, though–it was from a storyteller’s perspective (or at least I think so). I hear that it’s a movie that gets better when you watch it again, and now that it’s been a few months, I think I need to see it with fresh eyes. (I’m also a person who loves the prequels so what do I know?)

    • Amber

      I don’t mind the prequels (save Jar-Jar), but I would be really interested in hearing what went wrong for you at the storytelling level. Most of what I’ve gotten from people has been mostly blatant prejudice about how it didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie, and I’d LOVE to hear your perspective!

      • I’m trying to remember all my complaints. I saw it opening weekend and haven’t touched it since, so I’ve forgotten a lot of the details. But I remember thinking that it didn’t have a strong plot. It had some strong scenes, but it didn’t feel like there was a strong plot tying everything together. It also had some weak scenes, like the whole casino part. It was a long movie, and I think it easily could have been trimmed down by 20 minutes. It tried to be funny, but a lot of the humor fell flat or went one joke too far, like with Chewie and the porgs, which was funny at first but then they just kept hitting the same note to get laughs. I also didn’t like the way the action scenes were cut together (according to my Twitter rant, though admittedly I don’t remember specifically what I was talking about). It all felt very sloppy to me.
        I thought the actors did a great job, though, and I do like the deeper meaning of the story (questioning the Jedi Order, the Force doesn’t belong to the Jedi, blurring the lines between light and dark, etc.), though I felt like it was kind of a repeat of what they did during the Clone Wars animated series.