Tag Archives: Star Wars The Last Jedi

I Miss Loving the Sequel Trilogy

Yeah, this is a totally random post but honestly, I’m just feeling a bit of Sequel Trilogy nostalgia. I miss the days when I used to cling to roughly every word and every scene from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I miss the days when my favorite Star Wars character was Kylo Ren and Rey was my personal embodiment of girl-power goals. I miss the days when I used to break down every juicy scene to determine how the trilogy would end. And I miss imagining The Rise of Skywalker to be this grand finale with a totally riveting and fantastic story.

So…because I miss the Sequel Trilogy, here’s a look back to my favorite scenes in the Sequel Trilogy.

Let’s start with the opening sequence of The Force Awakens and the ultra-rad introduction to Kylo Ren. This scene was perfection; a powerful opening featuring the bad guys with a charming hero being captured n the same vein as A New Hope. It was while watching this scene for the first time in theaters nearly six years ago that I knew I was about to have one of the best movie theater experiences in my life.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens L to R: Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB-8 Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Ah, this scene. The moment that spurred Rey onto an adventure of a lifetime. This shot, the music, the whole nature of this scene provides me pure joy.

Continue reading I Miss Loving the Sequel Trilogy

‘Star Wars’ and the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Art of the Great Third Act

Denis Villeneuve recently commented that MCU films are “cut and paste of one another” and even though I tried not to be, I got a little triggered. I understood what he meant and that he’s mostly correct but as an MCU fan I felt I had to defend a franchise that I loved so much.

What turned into a simple observational rant with my sister transformed into an epiphany as we realized the secret sauce for Star Wars and Marvel’s greatest third acts. And of course, I’m here to share that epiphany with you. Enjoy!

(This is a longread.)

For some, the MCU’s final acts can be a little stale. For years we have come to expect a story that finds a way to challenge the heroes in the film before reaching a climactic CGI-heavy battle that range from awesome and unforgettable to kind-of-underwhelming.

And while most of the time the third acts are my favorite portion of the film I understand some fans’ exasperation for this somewhat tiring formula. So why do some Marvel films stand out against others? Well, to understand the power of a third act let’s look at the Star Wars movies.

Star Wars: A New Hope followed the classic storytelling template of the Hero’s Journey with a young man going on a wild adventure to save a princess and becoming a hero by the conclusion of that story.

He became a hero, however, thanks to a climactic showdown that featured a giant weapon that had to be destroyed: the Death Star. It was a riveting story and when he managed to blow it up it’s one of the greatest moments in the franchise.

Since then, nearly every Star Wars movie has featured a weapon of some kind needing to be destroyed. Talk about repetitive!

Return of the Jedi, the first somewhat-disappointing Star Wars movie, featured an unfinished second Death Star that was the primary focus of the film. And of course, in repetitive fashion, the Rebel Alliance had to destroy it or the galaxy would be in turmoil.

The only thing that saved that third act from being the ultimate snooze fest was the riveting confrontation between Luke Skywalker, his father Darth Vader, and Palpatine. It was that personal touch that made the movie special and memorable.

You see, Luke fighting to save his father gave emotional gravitas to an ending that could’ve been kind of boring but his showdown with Palpatine was anything but boring because there was that personal connection.

That storyline with Vader and Luke honestly saved the movie because everything else was kind of so-so. Think about the rest of the films that feature massive third acts resulting in some sort of weapon needing to be destroyed.

The Phantom Menace, Trade Federation ship needs to be destroyed to save Naboo. The Force Awakens, the StarKiller Base (Death Star 3.0) needs to be destroyed. The Rise of Skywalker, a satellite needs to be destroyed to stop the Final Order from taking over the galaxy.

And even though Attack of the Clones doesn’t exactly have a weapon that needs destroying, its climactic battle held no personal connection to the characters. The same can be said with Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie’s climax is boring because we don’t really care about Qi’ra’s story with Dryden, Han’s relationship with Beckett, or even Han’s connection with Qi’ra. So the end just kind of…happens.

You see the trend with these movies? The lack of the personal touch in these movies’ third acts make for somewhat a boring movie. And even though The Force Awakens is a great film it’s a copycat of A New Hope‘s entire structure.

Now let’s look at the best Star Wars movies and their incredible third acts.

Revenge of the Sith didn’t conclude with a massive space battle for the fate of the galaxy. It concluded with a very personal showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar and across the galaxy we had the ultimate duel between the galaxy’s greatest Force-users, Yoda and Palpatine.

We feel so many feelings throughout the film’s final minutes because the trilogy has established a profound connection between these characters that when we see this lightsaber-duel conclusion it feels like it means something.

Padme dies, her children are born and separated, Yoda goes into exile, and the galaxy has actually been taken over by the Empire. It’s a somber ending but it is a fitting conclusion to the Prequel Trilogy.

Rogue One does have a very loooong climactic finale but the personal connection comes with Jyn’s determination to see her father’s plan realized. Plus, not only are the stakes very high but all of the characters die. It’s shocking, it’s emotional to watch, and it’s one of the more memorable endings in the franchise.

The Last Jedi is a mixture of both worlds. On one hand, it suffers terribly from the need-to-destroy-the-weapon storyline as Finn and Rose are assigned on a boring mission to find a way to disable the Dreadnaught’s hyperspace tracker. On the other hand, the film concludes with another personal showdown between Kylo and Snoke, then Rey and Kylo, and then finally Kylo and Luke. The film’s final twenty minutes are utterly fascinating and if the rest of the movie had found a way to exclude that ridiculous casino-detour and Poe’s annoying shenanigans, the movie would’ve been so much better.

The Empire Strikes Back is the perfect Star Wars movie because it takes the personal touch to a whole other level. The film’s biggest battle comes in the film’s first forty minutes on Hoth. After that, the story establishes the connections between the characters–Han and Leia’s burgeoning romance, Luke and Yoda’s master-and-apprentice dynamic–so that when the film’s third act arrives you’re so invested in these characters’ stories the movie becomes even more riveting.

Han gets frozen in carbonite which is a heartbreaking development for Leia. Luke faces Vader in an epic lightsaber duel that concludes with Skywalker losing his hand and a bombshell announcement, Vader is Luke’s father.

You can’t get more personal than that.

So yes, we have now established that a great third act must have a personal touch. Now let’s look at the MCU stories that actually follow this approach.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Endgame, just to name a few.

And what do all of these movies have in common? Their third acts are permeated with that personal touch.

Through all of the classic climactic explosions in The Winter Soldier, there’s a deeper emotional storyline as Captain America tries to save his friend, Bucky. Groot dies in Guardians of the Galaxy. Iron Man goes to town on Captain America and Bucky in Civil War because of their connection to the death of his parents. Black Panther‘s final act features a climactic showdown between cousins T’Challa and Killmonger. And Infinity War and Endgame‘s final acts features Thanos who, having already killed off some of favorite characters, raises the stakes to astronomical levels as we see The Avengers take him on, lose, then fight him again and win, only to lose Iron Man and Black Widow permanently in the process.

Now, let’s look at the MCU stories in Phase 4 so far.

solci lvs jude 🐉 on Twitter: "SPOILER #WandaVisionFinale . . . . . . Cómo  me recupero de esto? "you, vision, you are a piece of the mind stone that  lives in

WandaVision concludes with a bit of a boring CGI-showdown but it still manages to retain that personal connection to Wanda and her story of grief, making the series as a whole fit together rather nicely in that department.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ep 6 recap: MCU series ends with an  uneven but thrilling finale | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s finale is very lackluster because:

1: There’s no real personal connection between the heroes and the villains.

2: Karli’s motivations are murky and hard-to-understand so the stakes don’t seem very high. Hence, the reason why the finale is so boring.

Loki finale: Kang the Conqueror, multiversal war, and other key takeaways |  Entertainment News,The Indian Express

Now, Loki gets it. Instead of having a massive showdown like I think we all expected it takes the very personal route with the introduction of He Who Remains, the man that destroyed Sylvie’s life. He tries to give Loki and Sylvie his job but she has no time for it, resulting in a fight/romantic moment between Loki and Sylvie that was anything but expected. Even the final moments with Ravonna and Mobius contain that emotional connection that makes their scenes interesting.

Review: 'Black Widow' Looks Back To The Future Of The MCU - Movie News Net

Black Widow‘s final act is slightly muddied by the CGI-explosion fest but it’s a very personal conclusion for Natasha Romanoff as she is forced to face off with Taskmaster, the man who destroyed her life General Dreykov, her fellow Black Widows, and she has to save her sister Yelena. It’s a powerful conclusion to her story in that film and a great origin story for Yelena at the same time.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' Film Review: Marvel's  Martial-Arts Saga Nails the Characters and the Kicks

And even Shang-Chi, through the CGI-heavy dragon showdown, found a way to make the entire climactic third act personal with Shang-Chi’s connection to Wenwu and his realization of who he is by embracing the light and dark within himself. And guess what? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the highest-rated superhero movies of all time.

So that’s it. That’s the secret sauce. If Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm can realize that their movies are best when their third acts are imbued with a personal touch there will always be a chance of getting a great movie.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

The Reason Why Finn’s Story Lost Steam in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

I just finished watching The Last Jedi a couple of hours ago after having dragged myself through The Rise of Skywalker yesterday and the contrast between the two films is drastic! I’m talking absolute night and day. The Rise of Skywalker feels like an absolute abomination to the franchise as it tears the characters and saga limb from limb while The Last Jedi manages to feel fresh, new, and ultimately, quite satisfying. No, The Last Jedi isn’t perfect but it does have its moments.

As I watched The Last Jedi I noticed the main reason why Finn feels so starkly different in The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, it’s very clear.

Why was Finn such a compelling character in The Force Awakens? Because he was a stormtrooper. It was that simple fact that made him one of the most enduring and unique characters in the franchise. I loved Finn’s story and I was excited to see his arc in the Sequel trilogy.

Continue reading The Reason Why Finn’s Story Lost Steam in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

A ‘Star Wars’ Double-Header and Why ‘The Last Jedi’ Is a Must-Watch

I did something the other night I didn’t think I’d ever do again. I watched The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker in one night. And get this. I watched them back to back.

After being inspired to watch the Sequel Trilogy again after personally boycotting it for roughly half a year (that’s a long time for a diehard Star Wars fan like myself) I decided to bust out and watch The Force Awakens suddenly. As I watched the movie that used to be my daily get-away flick I found myself overcome by a sense of joy. Yes, at times I got a little bored (because I’ve seen the movie over a hundred times and that’s not an exaggeration) but overall, I just had fun watching these characters that I loved so much.

When the movie I was so overwhelmed with Sequel Trilogy magic that I decided to do something even more random; go straight to The Rise of Skywalker. Considering that the “final” film in the Skywalker Saga felt like it rescinded so many interesting threads left behind by The Last Jedi I figured it may be interesting to watch the two Abrams movies back to back to see what would happen.

Continue reading A ‘Star Wars’ Double-Header and Why ‘The Last Jedi’ Is a Must-Watch

My Thoughts on the Return of *That* Character

When Ahsoka told Mando that a Jedi would come for Grogu if he called out it was very clear that we would be seeing another Jedi by the end of the season.

The theories ran rampant. People started speculating that Mace Windu might make his long-awaited return, I started freaking out when I began to spectate Cal Kestis’ live-action debut, and so on and so forth. But no, they didn’t do that. They did what made the most sense but we thought was impossible.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Continue reading My Thoughts on the Return of *That* Character

This Is The Coolest Cup Ever!

The Last Jedi wasn’t a perfect Star Wars movie by a long shot but there were some incredible moments in the movie that I really enjoyed and the Praetorian Guards were part of that enjoyment. Ever since I saw the Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Guards I have loved these red robed characters and The Last Jedi took that concept to the next level.

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It looks just like the Praetorian Guards!

This cup is the most incredible Star Wars cup I have ever seen. I’ve seen stormtrooper cups, Death Star cups, Captain Phasma cups, Kylo Ren cups, etc. but this cup clearly beats them all. The Praetorian Guards are my favorite new additions to the Star Wars universe for so many reasons and this cup accentuates that.

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It’s amazing from every angle too.

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I obtained this cup before I watched The Last Jedi and after seeing the movie I love it even more now. I think this is going to be the only cup I use for a very long while.

Well, that’s my post for today. I thank you for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day. May the Force Be With You.