The teaser trailer for The Last Jedi was released today. It has one huge problem. It is promoting a movie that is a sequel to The Force Awakens. And The Force Awakens was a really bad movie. It wasn’t, “I like the originals better,” kind of bad or the, “I’ve seen better,” kind of bad. It was really, really bad.
In case you missed The Force Awakens, it had tons of problems, but there are three things that made it irredeemably bad. First, it had a completely nonsensical plot, if you can call that a plot. It was more like a series of coincidences. Nothing lead to anything else, it was just a bunch of stuff that happened. A good plot seems inevitable. There is an internal logic that drives it forward. This movie had a missing Luke Skywalker, which was never explained, a storm trooper who defected, which was never explained, a pilot who died, except he didn’t and seemed perfectly fine later, which was never explained, a force sensitive girl who didn’t want to leave her home, but left anyway, which was never explained, a couple of whiny bad guys who were looking for Luke Skywalker, which was never explained, and a solar system destroying planet, which was never explained. The only thing all of these pieces had in common was that they were in the same movie. Nothing connected them. If someone took the time to re-edit the movie in a different sequence, it wouldn’t make any difference.
The second huge problem was the characters. They were ill defined and had no apparent motivations. Finn was the best drawn character. At least part of the time, it seems like his motivation was a pretty face. That’s a fine motivation, I guess, but it doesn’t apply to his decision to defect. There was the whole, “Will he abandon his friends?” moment in the middle which came out of nowhere and lead exactly nowhere. It was just a waste of our time. Rey was worse. She was waiting for someone, not for any reason, just because she’d been waiting for a long time. She could use the force, again not for any reason, it’s not like she even knew what the force was, she just could use it. And she’s heard of the Millennium Falcon’s impressive Kessel Run, but didn’t know that Han was a general in the rebel army? And then there’s Poe. There was so little character work with him that I can’t even think what to say about him. He was there, then he disappeared, then he was back. They simply told us that he was the best pilot in the resistance, and that’s all I know about him.
The third problem is the worst of the three. The Force Awakens was supposed to be the continuation of a story that left off with Return of the Jedi. The problem is that it completely failed to do so. According to The Force Awakens, the Empire was never defeated, it was simply rebranded. There was never even an interruption to the armed forces. That’s just crazy. Can you imagine winning a war and then just letting your enemy’s army continue uninterrupted? But that’s apparently what the rebels did. And all of the character work from the original films was discarded. Luke grew from a whiny, bratty kid to a thoughtful, compassionate adult. But, in The Force Awakens, all we know is that something bad happened, so he went off by himself to sulk. Han grew from a cocky, brash scoundrel into a committed, skilled leader. But in The Force Awakens, he was a smuggler again. And Han lost the Millennium Falcon? Seriously? Ugh.
So, what does all this have to do with The Last Jedi? It is what caused me to feel nothing upon seeing the trailer. There is a new Star Wars movie coming out and I simply don’t care. Rey is getting trained, but I don’t care. She was pretty good with the force without any training. Finn is unconscious or something, but I don’t care. They’re probably not going to kill him, but I might not notice either way. Poe’s x-wing blows up, but I don’t care. Who is Poe again? There is a trailer for a new Star Wars movie and it didn’t get me even a little excited and that makes me really, really sad.