‘The Last Jedi’: It’s Funny, but Also Pretty Cringeworthy
There are plenty of reasons to criticize Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Without getting into spoilers, the movie has fans split down the middle. There is so much to like about it, from the visuals of Ahch-To and Crait to the return of Luke Skywalker. But there’s also a bunch of stuff to complain about, including the direction that it takes the franchise, its lack of cohesiveness with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the humor.
Yes, that’s right. The comedy in The Last Jedi is actually bad. Although there are a ton of legitimately funny moments, director Rian Johnson often missed the mark. We put together a list of the funniest and most cringeworthy moments in The Last Jedi.
Cringeworthy: Luke wets his whistle
The biggest shock value moment in The Last Jedi may also be the cringiest moment intended to get a laugh from the audience. Shortly after Rey arrives on Ahch-To, she begins following Luke around the island and pleading with him to return with her to the Resistance and his sister, Leia. But Luke wasn’t having any of it.
As some form of protest, Luke walks down to the edge of the island where some ugly-looking creatures are just sitting on the rocks by the water. We get a solid, lingering closeup of this animal’s “breasts” – it has four of them, similar to how a cow has udders — before Luke squeezes green milk into a jug and defiantly drinks it while staring at Rey.
The whole scene was extremely cringeworthy. We get it, Luke doesn’t want to come back. He’s happy, alone on his private island. Did we need the alien breast closeup and the milking scene?
Funny: ‘That’s it! That’s the Force!’
During Rey’s first lesson with Master Skywalker, the old hermit takes the girl up to a ledge high above the rest of the island and places her on a rock overlooking the ocean. Luke tells Rey to close her eyes and reach out, which she takes extremely literally. Rather than reaching out with her feelings, Rey actually outstretches her arm like she’s trying to grab something that’s just barely out of reach.
Annoyed, Luke takes a reed and begins to lightly tickle her fingertips. The entire exchange that follows is legitimately funny. Rey exclaims that she can feel something, and Luke responds, “That’s it! That’s the Force!” before slapping her hand with the reed. It was a nice moment that humanized Rey and made her less perfect at everything, which was a common complaint with The Force Awakens.
Cringeworthy: Holding for General Hux
The opening sequence of The Last Jedi was probably both the funniest and most cringeworthy scenes in the whole movie. As an attempt to stall the First Order unloading a massive laser cannon on their base, the Resistance sends Poe Dameron with his trusty droid, BB-8, and nothing more than his X-wing.
Dameron radios ahead and asks to speak to General Hux, the sniveling leader often seen locking horns with Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. Hux spouts off a few angry tirades, but Poe toys with him and pretends that he’s unable to hear anything. Admittedly, there are some laughs in the bit, including when Dameron explains that his urgent message for Hux is “about his mother.”
What makes this moment so cringeworthy is that Hux is no longer the same character. While he had that Hitler-esque speech on Starkiller Base before ordering the destruction of several planets, Hux was otherwise composed and subservient to Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens. His actions in The Last Jedi immediately take a dive into self-parody.
Funny: Chewie loses his appetite
Much was made of the Porgs heading into The Last Jedi, with Disney ramping up the marketing campaign and doing everything they can to sell Porg-related novelty items to kids and kid-like-adults everywhere. It was an obvious cash grab, which is nothing new to Star Wars. Remember the Ewoks? At least the Porgs didn’t have any real bearing on the plot of the movie.
Probably the best moment with the Porgs on Ahch-To was when Chewie has very obviously skinned and cooked one. As he prepares to take a bite, he sees several adorable little guys with their big, puppy-like eyes staring back at him. He attempts to turn away from them, but sees another even more adorable Porg staring at him. Chewbacca’s expressions make the exchange both funny and cute, even if no words are spoken.
Cringeworthy: Luke’s saber toss
The Force Awakens left us with an awesome cliffhanger, teasing Luke Skywalker’s return to the franchise but giving him no actual lines of dialogue. After the opening space battle sequence in The Last Jedi, we’re finally transported back to Ahch-To for the resolution of that epic moment. Rey walks closer to Luke, handing him the lightsaber — his father’s lightsaber, the one that Obi-Wan Kenobi had given him so many years ago. The lightsaber he last held when Darth Vader cut off his right hand at Cloud City.
After a moment of curious examination, Skywalker’s face turns from amazed to uninterested. He looks right at Rey as he throws the lightsaber over his shoulder and off the edge of a cliff. This was no doubt intended to shock the audience, give them a laugh, and express Luke’s lack of desire to return to the fight all in one motion.
What it actually did was insult the audience that had been waiting two years for that very moment. Could Luke have handed it back to Rey? Could he have kept it as nothing more than a cherished memory of years gone by? Despite his disconnect with the Force, Luke had a handful of Jedi artifacts lying around. All that his lightsaber toss accomplished with the audience was maybe a nervous chuckle.
Funny: Rey makes some surprising enemies
As it turns out, Luke isn’t exactly “alone” on Ahch-To, after all. Outside of the Porgs and the green milk creatures, there are caretakers — essentially alien nuns — that are native to Ahch-To. They don’t have a ton of screen time, but they’re around just enough for Rey to run afoul of them.
First, Rey shoots a hole through her hut during a moment when the Force is connecting her with Kylo Ren. Later, as she’s training with her lightsaber, Rey cuts a massive boulder in half and watches as it stumbles down the hill and takes out a wheelbarrow being pushed by two of the nuns. It made for some solid physical comedy, as the caretakers were obviously displeased.
Cringeworthy: Luke brushes off Kylo’s attack
Fans were delighted to see Luke Skywalker — or at least a projection of him — return to action in the third act. After a touching (albeit bittersweet) moment with his on-screen twin-sister Leia, Luke heads out to stall the First Order by taking on his nephew Kylo Ren (Ben Solo). But before Ren actually takes on his former master face-to-face, he first orders all First Order weapons to fire at Skywalker.
An unholy arsenal of lasers are unloaded on Luke in that moment, to the point where Hux sarcastically questions Ren, “Do you think you got him?” But to their shock, Luke walks out completely unscathed. That was cool enough, and leaving it there would’ve been perfect. But instead, Luke feigned brushing dirt off his shoulder in a hand gesture familiar to those that grew up in the early 2000s with Jay-Z’s Dirt Off Your Shoulder.
It was a bit over the top, in search of a cheap laugh in a moment that was otherwise an epic sendoff for the franchise’s most famous character.
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