(Disclaimer: this article is mostly opinion-based, and I am not claiming it to be factual. I am all for civil discussions with others who have different opinions than me, but please remain mature if I say something you disagree with. We're all touchy when it comes to our own opinions, but it is no reason to get hostile.
Also, I wanna give some credit to my sister—a much smarter Star Wars trash can than me—with helping me at a few points with writing this. OK now let's start)
Now, it is without a doubt Star Wars is one of the most—if not the most—influential franchises in the history of cinema, or anything. It has changed storytelling, special effects, merchandise and more, forever. However, even the best have their blunders. From the silly Ewoks cartoon, mediocre video games, and, well, the prequels, the series still has its slip ups. But with the recent premiere of Episode VIII and the backlash it's received from fans, the franchise may have reached its pinnacle mistake. Like, bigger than the Holiday Special...OK, maybe not bigger but it's still bad.
Fans and critics alike are pretty split when it comes to The Last Jedi, saying it's either one of the best Star Wars films or the worst. Personally, I do lean more towards the negative spectrum of the scale. However, I am the type of person who is so passionate about my favorite things, I can still find a way to enjoy the bad aspects of them. I even shamelessly find enjoyment in the prequels.
Now, Episode VIII does have parts and elements I do enjoy, but the things that bothered me, really bothered me. And since people are up in arms about their opinions, I figured, why not compose a list that'll either make you say, "Yes, this!" or "Wrong, you dumb bitch." So let's just jump right in, with the worst of the worst parts of The Last Jedi.
And yes, there will be spoilers.
10) The "Low on Fuel" Nonsense
I'm not the biggest SW expert or anything, but when was it ever mentioned before the ships run on fuel? I mean, can you imagine Han saying to Chewie, "Hang on, the ship needs gas," and they pull the Millennium Falcon over to some Back to the Future II type gas station? I thought they were run on ion energy or something! Maybe I'm being nit picky, but this whole dilemma sounded very silly to me. Not to mention, it felt like they only brought it up so they would have a reason why the Resistance couldn't get away from the First Order. And hey, explaining lightsabers being powered by Kyber crystals is reasonable and fits into the SW universe, they could have come up with some sort of power that's a little more creative.
9) Leia Surviving Space
It's been established many times before Leia is force sensitive, so I have no problem with them having her use it. Unless of course it's to pull herself out of the vacuum of space back onto the ship! Just...what? I know it's a science fiction galaxy filled with aliens and all that but that, to me, seems a bit much. Not to mention it was just a bullshit reason to put her into a coma and add another problem for the Resistance. Again, try harder!
8) Anakin's Lightsaber Breaking
This, to me at least, felt like a big slap in the face. Anakin's lightsaber was an iconic symbol for the movies and represents the Skywalker legacy. And they just have it be broken by his grandson and someone who supposedly isn't a Skywalker (Wait for #5). Also, in Force Awakens, there's the iconic moment when it flies out of the snow past Kylo to Rey, confirming what Maz said about it calling to her. So, when they're force tug-o-warring over it in TLJ, shouldn't it go to her? And since when do lightsabers break like that?! Rian, what the hell?!
7) Rey's Sudden Change of Heart Towards Kylo Ren
Think about all the crap this fascist has put this poor girl through. Kidnapping her, probing her mind, killing her only father figure (& his own father) in front of her, and then nearly killing her and her friend. But then they talk through the force a few times and suddenly she believes there's still good in him? It feels too rushed and forced so they can have a parallel to Luke seeing the good in Darth Vader. But at least that made sense! Vader is Luke's father. And there's a whole year between Empire and Return of the Jedi, so he had time to come to this conclusion. If they want to go the route of the antagonist having inner conflict that someone helps them through, wouldn't it make more sense for it to be Leia? I mean they did have the moment where he takes his finger off his blaster choosing not to destroy the ship she's on. Just food for thought.
6) No Payoff With Snoke
We weren't given much background to Snoke in Force Awakens, so a lot of fans—myself included—were looking forward to learning more about him in Episode VIII. Who is he exactly? Where did he come from? Why is he deformed? Why does he want to make the dark side powerful again? None of that and more is explained! Want to know why? Rian Johnson said it's because he didn't know how to explain with stopping the rest of the storyline. Uhhhh how about Rey asking Luke about Snoke and he explains? It's not rocket science, Rian! And while I do like the parallel of the apprentice killing the master (And the ironic speech Snoke makes before Kylo does so) it felt too soon. Maybe in Episode IX it would have been more appropriate. Snoke had the potential to be another great Star Wars villain, but unfortunately Rian didn't use any of it.
5) Rey's Parents Reveal
This has been a topic of debate for a solid two years. Is she Luke's daughter? Han and Leia's? Why was she left on Jakku? Why is she so strong with the force even with little to no knowledge of it? Fans were promised a satisfying explanation to who Rey's parents are. The explanation given was anything but. A brief mention they're nameless junkers who sold her to Unkar Plutt? Yeah right. Call me stubborn, but I refuse to believe that. And Kylo forcing her to say it makes it feel all the more fake. Like it's another manipulation tactic of his to make her feel inferior. So until Episode IX comes out, I'm gonna pretend there's a better backstory than that.
4) Finn and Rose's Side Story
Really, you could take it off the film and there wouldn't be much missing. Finn was one of the most important characters in Force Awakens who drove the plot forward. Here, he is put on the back-burner. His only real time to shine is his fight with Captain Phasma, and that lasted all of two minutes. Rose, I can't help but like, but I would've liked to see more done with her character. As for DJ, I don't see the need to add his character. I loved Benicio del Toro's performance and would love to have him somewhere in the SW films, but just not here. I feel as though the codebreaker helping them could've been Maz, or even Lando! Or at least if you're gonna have DJ, establish his character more (Why does he stutter?). And that kiss between Rose and Finn at the end, so forced! There was no sign of them developing romantic feelings for another anywhere! Friendship, yes, romance, hell no. Get that out of here.
3) Going Backwards with the New Trio's Development and Character Arcs
One of the strong points in Episode VII was the great new characters. We've seen with Jar Jar Binks, there's no room or forgiveness for half-assed characters in the Star Wars franchise, and the new trio especially were anything but. They all had clear personality traits, motives, and development. In Last Jedi, Rey has little development, Finn has the same arc from the last film, and Poe goes completely backwards! It was never established in The Force Awakens or the Poe Dameron comic series that he's rebellious against authority, especially Leia, or had too big of an ego. And there was no reasoning as to why he was acting this way. Part of any great series is keeping the character arcs moving forward and growing. So why couldn't Rian Johnson do that here?
2) Rian Johnson's Clear Man Crush on Kylo Ren
I've been bashing Rian Johnson a lot in this article, and you know what? I'm not even sorry. You wanna make a darker and edger Star Wars film? Fine, Rogue One did it and it was amazing. But Rian Johnson is a man in his mid-40s, writing like a 12-year-old boy on fanfiction.net trying too hard to be dark and edgy. And nowhere is that clearer than with his boner for Kylo Ren. I'm all for complex antagonists with backstories that are relatable. Kylo Ren was established as ruthless and merciless in Force Awakens the way Vader is in A New Hope. In fact, we get to learn more about him than we did Vader. So, to look more into his history and maybe even understand his transformation to the dark side the way we do Anakin's would be amazing. Too bad Rian Johnson doesn't do that! Instead he turns him into a whiny, power-hungry, emo boy that Rian is clearly trying too hard to make us like. It's like with Rob Zombie's portrayal of Michael Myers; taking a dark antagonist and trying to humanize him, but doing it all wrong. Not only that, he changed his motive. In Episode VII, Kylo Ren wants to continue his grandfather's legacy and follow in his footsteps. Here, he wants to do it his way and even destroys his helmet when Snoke teases him about it. And I mean, that shirtless scene? Stop Rian, we get it, you love Kylo, but stop.
Adam Driver, I love you, but ew.
For two years, we've been waiting to see what happens after the end of Force Awakens. The beautiful ending with Luke finally being shown, Rey holding out his lightsaber, and all the emotion he expresses in his face in one minute, without any words. All to have that...lead up to him throwing the lightsaber over his shoulder. I can see him being hesitant, but that felt like such a slap in the face. From the beginning of Star Wars, Luke has been a symbol of hope. No matter what happened, all he wanted was to bring peace back to the galaxy, save his friends, and help others even when they seemed completely lost. I can get behind him being discouraged, blaming himself for what happened with Kylo, and even him secluding himself the way Yoda and Obi Wan did. But this, this wasn't Luke. If anything, he felt more like Han. With that being said, wouldn't hearing that Han—his best friend and sister's husband—being killed by Kylo be enough motivation for him to come back?! According to Rian Johnson it isn't. The only time Luke felt like the old Luke was at the very end of the film. The stepping out from the dust after being shot at a million times and calmly brushing it off his shoulder, is Luke! Where was that the rest of the film? If he was gonna hide away, wouldn't it be to make himself stronger, and fix the Jedi ways? He already knew the old Jedi ways weren't always right, and he was the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy who brought them back. Doesn't he have the right to change the rules? I can understand that people change over time, but you still have to retain the basic fundamental elements of his character. This whole pessimistic, sea creature titty-milking hermit did not feel like Luke whatsoever. And if you don't agree with me? Fine, but Mark Hamill himself approached Rian Johnson and said he fundamentally disagreed with everything about Luke! And next to George Lucas, no one is gonna know Luke better than the guy whose been him for 40 years, so I'd take his word.
Mark Himself on The Last Jedi
So there you go. You can say the fans hyped up the film so much they were setting themselves up to be disappointed. And I can see where you're coming from with that. But, this film needed a much better director and writer, who would've stayed faithful to the Star Wars franchise rather than try to push to envelope too much. You can make it dark, you can do things that may not please all the fans—I was a wreck when Han died, you wouldn't wanna see it—but you can't go against what was already established. When working with an already popular series, you have to keep the fans in mind, not just yourself. If George Lucas had a part of this, there would be a lot he would go back and change. So while some people are mad J.J. Abrams is back for Episode IX, I'm welcoming him back with open arms. He's proven he can create a whole new story while remain faithful to the previous content, so I have hope he can handle some damage control. Help us J.J. Abrams, you're are only hope.