Updated: Nov 1, 2019
So a lot of you really liked it when I posted a 15,000 word article about how The Last Jedi was a steaming pile of shit (because it is a steaming pile of shit). So much that I've had a lot of fan feedback about it. Oddly, no one attempted to refute anything on the list, go figure.
Anyway a lot of people have asked for a separate post of just the list of flaws, for quick reference, which is what I'm posting now.
Also you guys have found things that I haven't, so I'll be including them in this new list and updating it as they come in, so if you're into this kind of thing then stay tuned. For the record I found 248 plot holes and such, you guys have really boosted that. Well done.
(Jesus. Double that now. This is not a good film. It's not even subjectively bad, it's an objective failure.)
“The FIRST ORDER reigns”. How does the First Order reign? They were shown to be just starting their offensive at the end of The Force Awakens and then suffered a massive hit with the destruction of Starkiller Base, this movie is directly afterwards. Did they conquer the whole galaxy in the last seven minutes? TFA showed that their first shot was the destruction of the Hosnian System, the Republic’s capital. Somehow that means that the shadowy force that Leia has spent years trying to convince people actually existed just magically took over the entire Republic in less than an afternoon.
“Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.” But you just said they already reign. As in one sentence ago. Do they control the galaxy or not? I feel like we’ve stumbled at the first hurdle here.
This Snoke guy gets mentioned a fair bit in the opening crawl, he must be an important character with an expansive back story discussing how he was able to build such a military force in private.
So we’ve established that the good guys are called the RESISTANCE, because that’s all in capitals. I’m glad that’s clear. That will save a lot of confusion later on.
Why does the Resistance need Luke to return to give them hope? They just blew up a fucking battleplanet without him. What’s he going to do that blowing up a planet didn’t? “Hey guys, you know how juiced we were after we blew up that planet that was also a system destroying superweapon? Yeah? Well it’s even better - Luke Fucking Skywalker is here!” “Cool! I mean I feel like we already did the heavy lifting, but is he going to kill unstoppable Dark Jedi douche who killed Han? “Kind of. He’s not going to kill him, but he will make him think he saw some dice that weren’t actually there and that will upset him a bit.”
“But the Resistance has been exposed.” This is the first and last time a plot point from the previous film will be used.
Now we’re calling them the rebels. But we just established they were the RESISTANCE. It was in capital letters and everything. Oh well, I’m sure it was just one time.
Our brave heroes are now running away. That's how brave they are. (This is a really minor point, of course it makes sense that they move before the First Order gets there, but it's an odd tone to call them brave in the same sentence as mentioning them running away)
At this point you should remember that this film takes place immediately after The Force Awakens. They can be considered the same film. With that in mind, that’s 8 plot holes or impending plot holes before the movie has even started. This is all before the first scene even happens. Eight. I said I’d forgive a couple, we’re nearly into double digits just from the opening crawl. THE MOVIE TECHNICALLY HAS NOT STARTED YET. I am genuinely convinced that this went into production and was sent out as a first draft. These are the kind of errors you pick up when you run your eyes over a draft for the first time, or have someone look at your script. I believe neither of these things ever happened and everyone read their lines off the back of a napkin for whatever restaurant Rian Johnson ate at the night before.
“On the planet's surface, LIEUTENANT KAYDEL KO CONNIX and her tall colleague JONES oversee the frantic evacuation of the rebel base.” One person with no physical description but a ridiculously convoluted name, another person with the blandest name ever but an oddly specific description. This script was written by a lunatic.
The movie opens with a conversation between two Resistance officers discussing what to leave behind, while there is action in the background. The Jones is talking normally, Connix is yelling. Either they both yell or they both talk, it makes no sense for this to be happening. It’s disconcerting to watch.
“There’s still 30 pallets of cannon shells in C Bunker”. Everything we’ve seen so far is an energy based weapon. Are we going to see some kind of space version of the Black Pearl run out the long nines?
They see Star Destroyers appear in the sky, in low orbit. Ooh dramatic. We then cut to the space version of the same shot, shot-reverse-shot, clearly indicating that said destroyers are in high orbit and would not be visible from that range.
"FIRST ORDER OFFICER: We’ve caught them in the middle of their evacuation”. We can see that. Hux, who is standing right next to you, who you’re talking to, who is looking out the same window as you, can see that. You’re telling AND showing.
This is, by the way, a joke from Galaxy Quest - the 1999 spoof of Star Trek. Ridiculous Johnson will include several shot-for-shot remakes of comedies in his 'darkest chapter' of Star Wars, so brace yourself.
There is ominous music playing and a frantic evacuation as a sinister military force, who have just wiped out billions of people, approach with malicious intent. Clearly this is going to be a dark, serious movie.
“HUX: I have my orders from Supreme Leader Snoke himself”. Telling, not showing. By the way Hux speaks and the reaction of the crew, clearly this Snoke guy must be important. I'm sure he gets some major exposition later on.
This is some weird dialogue. Why is Hux saying this? Everyone knows he's the military commander of the First Order and is a direct subordinate of Snoke. The previous film established him as being on equal level to Kylo Ren. Why would he feel the need to explain himself to everyone on the bridge? What would they think of his sanity?
“HUX: Tell Captain Canady to prime his dreadnought. Incinerate their base, destroy their transports and obliterate their fleet.” In that specific order, because otherwise the plot won’t work. Somebody who has risen to the rank of captain of a capital ship might target the fleeing ships first before the static ground base and this kind of competence would invalidate the rest of the film.
Why are the fighters not deployed? Every military engagement you’ve had, every spectacular defeat, has come from snubfighters. The Rebelistance is a predominantly snubfighter force. What possible reason could there be to not immediately deploy a fighter screen? It will become very apparent throughout this film just how much Rian Johnson goes out of his way to make the First Order incompetent so that his lackluster plot can work.
“In the destroyer's bridge pit, a beautiful yet stern monitor eyes a red X shape on her radar screen, her surroundings lit red for ideal visibility during battlefield conditions.” What the fuck are you talking about? That’s in the script - word for word. Every female character has some description of their beauty, it’s creepy. I guess the Force is Female and all that.
“Sir there’s a Resistance ship approaching, guns and shields in attack mode”. Then why aren’t you shooting it/deploying the fighters?
Poe introduces himself here. This is important because TFA establishes that the First Order knows Commander Dameron is the best pilot in the Resistance. So instead of assuming he's going to do some fighter ace shenanigans, they just sort of...wait?
This First Order officer just said Resistance. I guess that's what they're called unless Hux is about to directly contradict him. Oh.
Hux refers to the Resistance as the Rebels. This confusion will not let up for another two and a half hours. "Rebels" works coming from Hux because he might be using it as a pejorative, but then none of the rest of the script makes sense so maybe I’m giving too much credit here. Regardless, we’re establishing early on that nobody has a fucking clue what the Resistance are called.
There’s an Invader Zim sketch that has this exact problem and they end up calling themselves “The Resisty”, Johnson has accidentally made it into an entire Star Wars film.
“A single light fighter?” Ah yes, arrogant incredulity. You mean the exact type of single light fighter that blew up the Death Star? And took down the Executor? And 20 minutes ago destroyed Starkiller Base? That kind? You see it’s important that Hux is an idiot, because otherwise this whole movie won’t work.
So you supposedly got BB-8 to say "I have a bad feeling about this". The line that is in every film, that is the running joke in every film and you thought you'd get clever with it. This was one of the early signs that Johnson thought he was better than the franchise he was working for. (At least it wasn't as bad as the version in Solo)
It’s too bad that no one will figure out hyperspace ramming until after this battle, we could have ended the whole invasion right now.
"LEIA: Just for the record I'm with the droid on this one" this seemingly innocuous piece of dialogue will come back later. We're establishing that General Leia, the supreme commander of the Resistance, disagrees with a plan and endorsed it anyway. This implies a level of creative freedom within the Resistance, in which commanders can come up with their own ideas and act upon them without fear of reproach. It's not like we're going to violate that later by having a character insist on a tight hierarchical structure where everyone follows orders without question...
The prank call. Fuck me. Why? Why is the leader of the First Order military indulging this fucking stupidity? Just hang up. We’re going in hard on the “everyone is an idiot” angle. Or maybe I'm the idiot for thinking it was a serious movie, because of the serious music and the serious First Order and the frantic evacuation and everyone on the ground panicking. Silly me.
Even within this routine we vacillate several times between Hux being the "merciless legions" mentioned in the opening crawl and Poe doing his best impression of a Family Guy parody of Star Wars. Is this movie supposed to be the darkest chapter in the Skywalker saga or a goofy parody? As we see later, it never really figures it out itself. If there's a theme to this movie it's tonal inconsistency and an incompetent director.
Apparently Poe says "General Hugs", you know, wordplay. Except that the line is delivered quickly and with radio distortion. So it sounds like Hux anyway. I didn't pick this up on my first viewing or my second, I actually discovered in the script. I still can only spot it if I'm listening really hard for it. As a professional comedian if your joke is that tenuous, believe me, drop it.
“I believe he’s tooling with you sir” oh god. I should point out that no one in the cinema laughed here. Maybe because it wasn’t funny, probably because the tone of this movie so far has been that it’s a tense evacuation with a lot of lives at risk and comedy really isn’t appropriate right now.
And we have a “yo mama” joke. Apparently “a long time ago” means 1995.
This is a comedy then? I was wrong. I’ll re-adjust my headspace to take into account that this is a lighthearted romp and not the dark drama I was expecting.
The script at this point literally says “EXT Space Day”. As if there’s a day and night in space.
“He’s going for the dreadnought”, Hux:“He’s insane” - deploy the fucking fighters you idiots.
“Which we should have done 5 minutes ago” so you’re acknowledging that this stupidity is only to make the plot work?
The Force Awakens established, in the first 10 minutes, that Resurgent-class Star Destroyers have excellent point defence weapons systems that specialise in taking out starfighters, especially at close range. The Mandator-class apparently doesn't have any of these because reasons.
Presumably, the four Resurgents that are accompanying the dreadnought are there as an escort, yet all of them are deployed behind the high-value dreadnought they are ostensibly protecting. Where they cannot provide cover fire with the above point weapons systems and where they have all agreed to not deploy a fighter screen because there's no way fighters are going to play a part.
None of these capital ships are moving to engage a Rebelistance fleet that they both outnumber and outgun, which is the whole point of the operation. No, they risk the good guys escaping so that they can show off their shiny new space gun. And because the back of an envelope that Renal Johnson calls a script is fuelled by idiocy.
Tense battle scene. Frantic action, Poe Dameron has his serious face on. Lives are on the line, stakes are high. This is a serious movie, not a comedy. I'll adjust my emotions once again.
“Wipe that nervous expression off your face”. It’s funny because C3PO only has one expression. We’re back to comedy.
Apparently the weapons system of an X-Wing can be rebooted by a robot headbutting them. Like a space Fonz.
What is the reasoning behind Dameron’s s-foils opening and closing like Flappy Bird? It’s not like previous films have established that one should “lock s-foils in attack position”.
“We need to take out that last cannon or our bombers are toast” so one cannon can take out ALL of your bombers. They sound like shit bombers. Oh yeah, they are shit bombers. Maybe they could approach from a direction where there isn’t that particular cannon? This is space, it has all three dimensions available.
“BB-8 chirps as with inventiveness born of desperation, he has lowered the elevator he used to assume his station in the droid socket halfway, which requires that he erases three improper-operation alerts from the X-wing ship, and rolls into the cavity of the fuselage, as close to the short in the junction box as possible. His arm retracts into his body. Then, he uses the welding arm to swing the head out and down, like a man doffing his hat, shrieking. It smashes into the sparking junction box, primary photoreceptor swirling with electronic feedback.” This is honestly how Ronin Johnson wrote the script. He wants BB-8 to be a robot neckbeard.
The most advanced Star Destroyer/dreadnought in the First Order fleet and they don’t have a scanner screen or holographic display, they have a periscope that only one person can use at a time.
“Are the auto-cannons primed?” Exactly what about them is “auto”? They’re manually targeted and clearly not automatic in the constant fire sense of the term.
“TALLIE: Bombers keep that tight formation” why? They're all highly explosive and clustering would make them an easier target and expose them to potential blue-on-blue fratricide. That’s the formation that gets everyone killed. You offer no tactical reason for this stupidity.
“PILOT 6: (over intercom) Vector at attack speed.” unlike the aforementioned “lock s-foils in attack position”, something that makes sense because X-wings have s-foils and they’re going in to attack something, this is just throwing sciency/military sounding words around. Actually I think it's the "attack speed" part I don't like. Everywhere else in the film, from this point on, has everyone going at maximum speed and characters asking if that is, indeed, all of the speed they can manage. I think Ringworm Johnson just chucks that word in because of the visceral emotion it evokes.
The Resistance fighters wait until the enemy TIE’s are right on them until they open fire. They literally see them coming, remark on them coming, but wait to open fire. Why?
“CANADY: recharge the auto-cannons, target their cruiser” maybe should have targeted that one first huh champ? The one that can escape instead of being a building.
Why are you not using torpedoes? Why are there space bombs, which have no reason to work in zero gravity? Of course, magnets. Why are they round? Missile technology has been present in universe for some time and has proven to be very effective, especially at being able to shoot them from a distance. This raises so many questions and offers only one answer - Memphis Belle.
This is one of many examples of a yawing plot hole that is filled in by the fans. It's never explained in the films that the bombs are magnetic, it's up to the audience to fill that in themselves. Rian Johnson crowd sources half of his script. He does this a lot. I'll try that next time I do a comedy set, I'll write the setup and let the audience come up with the punchlines on their own. I'll let you know how that goes.
Bombs in The Phantom Menace: two take out a Federation starbase. Bombs in Attack of the Clones: one seismic charge blows up almost an entire asteroid field. Bombers in Rogue One: three take down a Star Destroyer with torpedoes and make it back out again. Bombs in AHN: two take out the Death Star. Bombs in ESB: one per asteroid. Bombs in ROTJ: two take out another Death Star. In the 30 years since it now takes a million bombs and a whole squadron of casualties to do the same job. Progress!
One of the bombs has “Han says hi” written on it in Aurebesh. It’s nice that in the 20 minutes since Han died, in the midst of a frantic evacuation, someone took the time to write on one of the hundreds of bombs so no one could see it.
Remember when everyone roasted George Lucas for putting his love of car racing in a Star Wars movie? You’re all giving a handjob to a remake of Memphis Belle.
In an advanced society where literally everything is a robot the best system they can think of to drop bombs is to have someone push a button on a remote control with no backup system.
Oh look the tight formation that they were told to fly ended up killing everyone because they were in so tight. Another order given just because the plot needs that level of stupidity to function.
Again, space drama, high technology but the turret guns have iron sights. Because Memphis Belle had iron sights. Something, something the Falcon didn't have wireless headsets.
If only those bombers had guns on the front, where the TIEs attacked from, instead of just facing behind, where any sensible TIE would stay away from. Who designed these things?
These “Starfortresses” have hyperdrives. Why not just spin one up to lightspeed and ram the dreadnought?
The bomber crews have oxygen masks for some reason, despite the life control present and the other types of ship not needing them. They look like the ones in Memphis Belle, that’s probably why.
It only takes one bomber to destroy a dreadnought, the most massive ship in the fleet outside of Snoke’s flag and something that is apparently, according to Dameron, a “fleet killer” and a target of considerable value. It seems like they should have spaced these bombers out one per Star Destroyer. Instead of clumping them all up so they all accidentally committed fratricide. Oops.
The fate of the entire Resistance rests on me dropping these bombs in the split second before the dreadnought fires. Better take a moment to clutch at Chekov’s medallion.
This whole sequence feels like it was edited in the wrong order. The pilot dies after the bombs were supposed to be dropped. The guy who was supposed to drop the bombs is mysteriously dead before the bomber is hit. Man, basic continuity is hard.
Apparently the bombers have an effective weapons range of roughly 3 meters. Short enough that they get caught in the blast of the weapons they dropped. Generally the way one designs a bomber is for that bomber to be away from the bombs it drops. That's a generally sound design principle. Even the Soviets, with their lack of concern for human life, made sure to keep the Tsar Bomba at a yield low enough to allow the bomber to get away. The bombs take so long to get to their target that the first bombs explode and cause a chain reaction up the line until they take out the bomber itself. This is such ludicrously stupid scriptwriting.
For the sake of the argument if a TIE was parked just below the bomber, it could shoot ONE of the bombs just as it was being dropped and defend the entire dreadnaught. Good writing here.
The nature of this "suicide mission" and whether it was worth the loss of the bombers will be debated for the rest of the film. Why then would you use bombers that evidently cannot survive the bombs they drop? Every mission is a suicide mission with these things.
If your Resistance/Rebellion/Resisty is so undermanned and short on troops then why do you have bombers that require the deaths of not only a single pilot but an entire crew of people? You're going to run out of volunteers pretty quickly. I mean some sort of drone situation or remote piloting or something would be a better idea wouldn't it? We show later on that the ironing is done by droids, but suicidal bombing runs can't be because of reasons. Oh yeah, the Memphis Belle couldn't be remote piloted.
Gosh wasn’t Memphis Belle a good film though? A solid 79% on Rotten Tomatoes audience score. 45% for this remake though.
The Resistance...Rebels...Resisty, clearly the supposed underdog in this story, has a holographic display in real time of the dreadnought being destroyed - showing that there is no need for a periscope. The good guys have bright and cheery displays, the bad guys have dark, red periscopes. Roid Johnson is subtle like that.
Also, although we’ve firmly established that everything happens because the plot needs it to, why are the Resisty the under-gunned, under-provisioned underdogs? Wouldn’t the rest of the galaxy feel threatened by the system destroying evil empire and jump in the fight, giving them the resources they need to fight the First Order? There’d be no shortage of volunteers. That’s what an actual new direction looks like Rianna.
Leia watches the deaths of the majority of her fighter force. This weighs heavily on her as she sighs in resignation. They’ve won, but at what cost? This is obviously a serious movie. Unless the next scene happens to have some over the top comedy.
Ah, there it is. 12mins38sec: Hux pratfall number 1. We’re not only establishing the military leader of the First Order as horribly incompetent, he’s also a slapstick buffoon. By the way, 73 points of absolute stupidity in less than 13 minutes. That is impressive.
By this point in ESB two high ranking Imperial officers were executed for doing much less than this. Ozzel for dropping out of lightspeed too early and making the inevitable victory slightly harder and Needa taking the fall for being fooled by one of the most cunning characters in the galaxy. But the Empire didn’t tolerate weakness. That’s because the film didn’t require the Empire to be bumbling morons for the plot to work. Snoke settles for using Hux like a fidget spinner and then it’s business as usual.
In TFA Hux was established as an actually interesting character. He was an equal to Ren - the military leader of equal weight to the representative of the mysterious magical Force. But for this film to work he needs to be an idiot so he's retconned into a slapstick moron who can't do anything right.
“HUX: we have them tied on the end of a string”. Does Snoke not know about the hyperspace tracking? The most advanced technology in the First Order and Snoke doesn’t know about it? Or are you just saying that because you need to tell, not show.
Ominous foreshadowing about how the Rebelistance’s costly victory might all be for nothing as they think they’re safe, but the First Order is about to ambush them. Dramatic. Dark. This is obviously a dark and serious movie.
"LEIA: Poe get your head out of your cockpit (haha word play is fun) there are things you cannot solve by jumping into an X-Wing and blowing something up!" The Force Awakens (roughly a day ago): "HAN: How do we blow it up? There's always a way to blow it up." "LEIA: Han's right"
Finn bangs his head while wearing a jacuzzi suit. Slapstick is funny. We’re back to comedy.
Finn falls down. Slapstick is funny. This is the "darkest and grittiest Star Wars film’s" third pratfall so far. So edge, much dark.
Finn got messed up pretty badly in TFA, which was moments ago. They got back a couple of hours ago and immediately rushed him into life support. He was placed into an emergency coma. Then instead of taking him to the dedicated medical ship that is specifically mentioned as being a dedicated medical ship, they put him on the Raddus because he needed to be there for plot reasons. Fuck logic.
On this, and this is mostly JJbrams fault, lightsabers are supposed to be dangerous. Too dangerous for non-Force wielders to use. They can cut through pretty much anything. But Finn nearly gets sliced in half and is walking around in about a day, Ren has his head ripped apart and has a little scratch. Obi-Wan sliced body parts off for days, but these guys just manage a tickle. Rey slices clean through a rock but later just grazes an actual person. There is no consistency. To paraphrase Leo Spaceman from 30 Rock "lightsabers are...whatever we want them to be".
Luke throws the lightsaber away. A moment fans have been waiting for for 2 years and he throws it away. Yay for comedy and subverting expectations. Heavy handed symbolism score: 1 Fuck you to fans score:1
"REY: I’m from the Resistance, your sister Leia sent me”. Does Luke not know Leia is his sister? He may be confused about the Resistance part though, because no one seems to know if they’re the Resistance or the Rebels.
Luke's first reaction upon seeing Chewie, one of his best friends who he hasn't seen in years, is to angrily yell at him.
“LUKE: How did you find me?” You left a fucking map. THE LAST MOVIE WAS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE MAP YOU LEFT!
Luke realises Han is dead. Shall we have a moment where he reflects on the death of his best friend ever, his brother-in-law, his padawan's father, the guy he went on countless adventures with, the guy who saved his life on Yavin and on Hoth, shall we have a moment where he mourns his death? No, smash cut to the bad guy. Fuck Han, some other guy whose name wasn't Rian Johnson came up with the character of Han, so we don't need to know about him.
Snoke’s last scene in TFA is saying he will complete Kylo Ren’s training. His first scene in this is expressing his disappointment in Ren for doing the thing he told him to do and wondering whether to continue his training.
“REY: there’s no light left within Kylo Ren, he’s only getting stronger”. You learnt about the Force twenty minutes ago from a guy who wasn’t a Jedi and used to think it was a "hokey religion", now you’re an expert on the Light and Dark sides and how strong Kylo Ren is and will be?
Note how adamant Rey is that Ren cannot be redeemed. She hates him, despises him, for being a cold-hearted monster. There's nothing that would convince her otherwise. Not even if she was really horny and got to see him do a Magic Mike routine, I bet even that wouldn't change her opinion of him.
“REY: the First Order will control all the major systems within weeks”. But the opening crawl said that the First Order already does? But then it also said that they didn’t. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
Luke actually uses the word "unfindable" here. Which my spellcheck is having a conniption about. This whole script feels like it was written by an 8 year old.
Luke betrays his entire character arc from the original trilogy and decides to let two impossibly powerful Dark Jedi run around because he’s a little bit sad. A guy who refused to give up on his father, a guy who had done some pretty heinous shit like murdering children and blowing up planets, Luke was ready to die instead of kill him because he believed in redemption. His current plan is “let the incredibly powerful Dark Jedi get even more powerful and take over the galaxy, even though I’m literally the only person capable of stopping them, I’ll just hang out here like an angry hobo. I’m sure everything will turn out fine”.
Luke seems really cut up about the death of his best friend at the hands of his nephew and former padawan. Oh wait, no he doesn’t. He makes a brief comment about it and goes off in search of unpasteurised space manatee milk.
At this point I’m reasonably convinced that Rian Johnson has never watched a Star Wars film before. The rumour is that he had written this before JJ had written TFA and Rian couldn't be arsed working in someone else's universe so all he did was change the names around. It shows.
It is really disturbing watching Luke milk a space manatee. Ruin Johnson then adds to it by having Luke give a hearty nod and a smile like he’d just shotgunned a Solo (the thirst quenching soft-drink, not his best friend whose murder he doesn’t care about). The worst is that the space manatee nods to the audience with a seedy look like it just got a wristy. Comedy comes in threes.
The original Jedi texts are leather bound books. Never mind we’ve established that laser swords and space travel have existed for at least three thousand years, and presumably the Star Wars equivalent of a Kindle has existed in this time, these are handwritten in a moleskin. I'm sure there's some beat poetry in there.
“LUKE: (regarding Rey being from Jakku) Alright that’s pretty much nowhere”. There’s nothing wrong with this line. It works quite well. It’s in context, in character and is a well placed moment of levity in an otherwise emotional and dark sequence. It’s a good execution of bathos. I mention this because it’s the ONLY time in the film, despite dozens of attempts, where this kind of thing actually works. Which makes it even worse. It shows that Rhino Johnson is capable of writing something decent, but chooses not to.
“LEIA: We need to find a new base.” “D’ARCY: One with enough power to send a signal to our allies”. So you jumped blindly and just happened to find such a base? Oh, you didn’t. Why not just say you were headed here to begin with? Oh yeah, because the whole plot hinges on Poe not knowing about this base.
About the power to send a signal thing. What the fuck are you talking about? Poe and Finn communicate through hyperspace on a commlink the size of a pen. Did anyone else read this script before you filmed it Riri?
Leia orders the ships to turn around and engage the entire fleet with their 4 much smaller ships. Then when they are predictably decimated by a much larger force she gives the opposite order, now with a lot less people. This is more establishing the actual theme of the movie: doing something really stupid for no reason.
The First Order has obviously learned from the last time when they didn’t deploy fighters, now they deploy Kylo Ren and 3 other TIEs for a total of 4 fighters, against what is potentially an entire Resistance fighter contingent. Full credit to the Resistance though, at least they scramble fighters. Or try to.
“LEIA: pull out of range of the destroyers and the fighters will pull back.” Why would they though? Your opening scene was all about how effective fighters are against capital ships without a fighter screen. The rest of the movies are quite pointed about how effective fighters are against capital ships without a fighter screen. The fighters actually have every reason to press the advantage, as was also previously demonstrated. What does the First Order care about casualties?
Here we establish that fighters have magical missiles that can pierce any shields or obstacles when they need to hit plot sensitive objectives. If you can take out the bridge and hangars that easily then why hasn't every space battle in the past done this and every one in the future will have this question asked of it. Let's put all our important people in a small room that can be destroyed with impunity. Yes this happened with the Executor, but the rebels had focused all their fire on it for a significant period and it still took an A-Wing being rammed into the bridge to make it work.
"HUX: We can’t cover you from this distance, return to the fleet”. But you weren’t providing any cover at all. The shots were clearly impacting the shields. Just because the plot needs it to, one of the capital ships suddenly becomes effective at shooting the fighters. And then Ren returns to the fleet, because the plot needs him to.
To be clear, we've seen the First Order being unable to shoot down a fighter with their guns, because the plot. We've now seen the Resistance able to use their guns to great effect against fighters because plot. Are they different guns, like was established in the Legends? Then say so instead of making arbitrary decisions about what works on a minute by minute basis.
Should we send one of our dozen Star Destroyers to hyperspace just a little bit in front of the Resistance fleet and cut them off? No, that would ruin the dramatic chase we're having, belay that order!
The Last Jedi is all about strong female protagonists. Kathleen Kennedy even had t-shirts printed up saying “The Force Is Female”. That’s why the fighter ace Tallie Lintra, Dameron’s second in command and heavily featured in the marketing, just got blown up after roughly 30 seconds of screen time.
Speaking of Poe: "Hey you remember Poe Dameron from The Force Awakens?" "Yeah, I love that guy. He’s all cocky and confident and a great pilot who does cool shit in an X-Wing. Does he have a big part in this film?" "Yes he does!" "That’s awesome. I can’t wait to see him do more cocky X-Wing pilot stuff." "Oh god no, he doesn’t do that. We take away his X-Wing and make him sulk for two hours. "
Competent General: Ok, where did we just chase the Rebels to? Are there any habitable systems nearby? Anything that could be used as a base or may have been a base in the past? Let’s look around and gather intelligence. Alright our records say we’re in the Crait system and there’s an old mining base there that the Resisty are heading towards, shall we send one of our dozens of ships ahead to scout it out during this long and tedious standoff? Of course not. The First Order has no such competent general. If the First Order are given any sense of competence or intelligence none of this story will work.
Seriously, nobody looks out the window at all - at any point? They’re in the Crait system. The Battle of Crait that happens later is in the day time. Day time means there is a sun. But there’s no sun during the chase because that doesn’t fit in with Roomba Johnson’s heavy-handed metaphors of darkness. Heavy Handed Metaphor Score - 2
Why do all of the ships move at the same speed? No reason given. Peavey acknowledges that the Resistance ships are faster and lighter yet he neglects to mention that by logical extension they presumably pull away from the First Order. It’s a good thing this discrepancy is never mentioned again and they never get further in front. This would interfere with the artificially created tension.
They make a point of burning fuel in space, as if Newton never existed in this universe. Look I know physics and Star Wars have never really been good bunk buddies but at least have a single line of dialogue about how they need fuel to keep the shields up or something. Make an effort. Also since Poe did his cool little u-turn trick at the start of the movie we’ve established that conservation of momentum is a thing that exists, they just turn it off when it doesn’t suit the plot.
"PEAVEY: They are faster and lighter but they can't lose us, they are at a range where our cannons are ineffective against their shields but they won't last long burning fuel like this". Remember show don't tell? He just told us the entire plot of the movie. In one line. With some dialogue that doesn't make a lick of sense.
Remember iconic character and beloved fan favourite Admiral Gial Akbar? Yeah he’s dead. I didn’t even notice it until it was pointed out later in the film. You’d think it would be a big deal, but it was more important to show Leia having Force-not-dying-in-vacuum-and-being-able-to-fly-like-Mary-Poppins powers even though she’s never been mentioned or seen having trained as a Jedi in any capacity.
But Leia trained under Luke in the last 30 years! Is that in the script? Does anyone mention this in any way? It's perfectly feasible, but stop writing Rian's script for him. His incompetence needs to stand on its own.
Leia is blown out of the Raddus and spends a decent chunk of time out there. The Raddus is ostensibly moving very fast to keep away from the First Order. But it was also stationary long enough for Leia to have her very cinematic entrance. But then it was also moving the whole time so it didn't get blown up. For fuck's sake, another human should have looked at this script at least once.
As Leia does her Superman entrance she cuts through the hologram of the Supremacy. Foreshadowing! Heavy Handed Metaphor Score - 3
You know how Carrie Fischer died a year before this movie was released? Maybe this was a good chance to kill off her character. Instead of blindly forging ahead with the script you already had and couldn't be fucked re-writing or even doing a second draft of. Not to mention leaving JJbrams in a hole he can't possibly dig his way out of. Did nobody at Disney, at any point, have a look at any of this before it hit screens?
“SNOKE: The mighty Kylo Ren. When I found you... I saw what all masters live to see. Raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special. The potential of your bloodline. A new Vader.” I acknowledge your story arc from the previous film where you’re trying to emulate Vader. Now let’s never speak of it again. In fact, why don’t you get rid of the thing that makes you resemble the guy I’m trying to get you to be?
Remember that Kylo Ren was obsessed with finishing the legacy of his grandfather in TFA, to the point of rescuing his burned helmet from Endor? Well he changed his mind about the past in roughly 20 seconds of introspection after Snoke makes fun of his helmet.
TFA established that the mask was important to Kylo Ren. He never wanted to be seen without it - he removed it only for Rey and Han and flinched when Hux saw his face. It's really important to his character and presumably to the Dark Lord Snoke is trying to get him to become. For him to get rid of it is just jarring on so many levels.
Also do you remember the Knights of Ren, the elite group that Kylo Ren leads? Johnson clearly hopes you don’t.
Snoke is really good at reading minds. We establish that in this film. Kylo Ren then says that when the time came to kill Han Solo he didn't hesitate. Except he did. He did a big speech about being torn apart and it took him a couple of minutes to work up the courage. Snoke politely doesn't mention this lie. Come on Rian, did you watch The Force Awakens at all?
Luke meets R2 for the first time in years. There's nothing wrong with this scene, it's a rare moment where Mark is allowed to actually play Luke properly with whimsy, humour and melancholy, before it's all taken away again. Another scene that sadly shows what could have been possible.
“LUKE: tomorrow at dawn. Three lessons. I will teach you the ways of the Jedi”. Three lessons? Is Luke selling Jedi training on the late night shopping channel? If Rey signs up now does she receive a free set of steak knives?
Luke clearly states that Rey’s training will begin ”tomorrow at dawn”. The sun is well and truly up when they start.
Leia is in the medical bay of the Raddus, and not on the ship that is a custom built medical facility, just like Finn. Why even bother having a medical frigate if the Raddus can do all of this? Why not use the medical frigate as a hyperspace battering ram and save everyone right now?
The way the Force now works is it's powerful enough for you to fly through the vacuum of space without harm but not powerful enough to prevent you from being in a coma, but powerful enough for you to snap out of that coma with no ill effects when the plot needs you to.
“D’ARCY: We’re the very last of the Resistance”. But you just said your whole plan is to send a signal to your allies. Are they not also Resistance? Who are you sending the message to then? Your allies in the Outer Rim? Are they not Resistance? Or do they not know that they’re the Resistance because they call themselves Rebels?
"The downtrodden and the oppressed know our symbol”. Do they? You don’t even have a fucking clue who you are.
“HOLDO: we are the spark that will ignite the fire that will restore the Republic” Heavy Handed Metaphor Score - 4
Poe mentions that he's heard of Holdo but never seen her before. Your entire organisation is roughly 500 people tops before this film. She's an admiral, you're in command of the fighter forces. You two have never met, interacted or even been in the same room ever?
Let’s establish some needless secrecy and tension between Dameron and Holdo for absolutely no reason. Someone has obviously told Rhomboid Johnson that storytelling is all about conflict but forgot to mention how to do it. This friction only exists because the plot requires an element of conflict and can’t find one organically.
It’s at this point in the film that Finn, whose sole contribution so far has been space Charlie Chaplin, begins to repeat his character arc from TFA beat for beat.
Finn just has to tell Rose that he’s on a secret mission and everything is fine. But we need to create some tension here don’t we Remus Johnson? Better shoehorn that in.
Rose, a character we've never seen before, is mourning her sister who we saw in one scene at the beginning. We get all of this but we don't get a scene of Luke mourning the death of a major character for 4 films.
“ROSE: Wow. You too. Good. But you are a hero. You left the First Order-what you did on the Starkiller Base. When we heard about it, my sister Paige said... "Rose, that's a real hero." "Know right from wrong.... "and don't run away from when it gets hard," she said. You know.” I’m glad Rose got to have a heart to heart with her sister about a guy they just heard of in the half an hour they had to evacuate the entire base because Rhesus Johnson has never seen a Star Wars movie, not even The Force Awakens.
“ROSE: I'm taking you to the bridge and turning you in for desertion.” He’s not deserting. He never joined the Resistance. He’s just a guy at this point. Also why the bridge? Did you mean brig? They sound alike and I can see how an idiot could get confused when writing a script.
Rose thinks Finn is a deserter. He then comes up with a thing that's impossible as the reason he's deserting (he's not actually deserting, like I said, he never joined.) Rose then does a 180 and decides to help him, by getting him into a hyperspace capable shuttle, which is exactly the kind of thing someone trying to desert would pull.
Finn, who until this point has only cared about Rey, now wants to save the Resistance. No reason is given for this quick change of motivation, as ever everything is predicated on not asking questions.
“FINN: Who would know where the system breaker is on a Star Destroyer?” You, apparently, considering you have fully detailed schematics of this top-secret-built-in-the-Unknown-Regions-shouldn’t-possibly-exist-ship on your iPod.
Finn once again mentions that he was a janitor. While also being part of Kylo Ren’s personal advance guard beachhead assault force. I’ll give you partial credit for this one RJ, it’s JJ’s fuckup to begin with but you’re keeping the dream alive.
He also mentions that he used to mop the circuit breaker room for the super secret technology. Considering how the First Order have robots to iron the uniforms, how menial is that job? Is that why he defected?
Wait, hang on. Finn said he was a janitor on Starkiller Base in TFA. Now he's telling us he was a janitor on Snoke's flagship? Did he just get randomly assigned to every location that was going to be important to the plot in the future? "The only way we can break in is if we have clothes made out of the silk of worms that live on a secret facility on an uncharted planet in the Unknown Regions. Luckily I used to mop it, so I know where it is."
They go to a lot of trouble to establish that they can't get to the tracker, they have to go to the breaker room. This is important later when Roblox Johnson forgets that he established this.