So I’m not really a Star Wars fan. I had a few of the toys and games when I was a kid just like many, many people that grew up in the eighties and nineties. But, I never actually saw a Star Wars film until I was a teenager. So while I enjoyed all the films for the most part, the franchise never really put it’s hooks into me the same way the TMNT or Friday the 13th did. So imagine my surprise when I saw The Last Jedi with my wife in the theater and I had a blast with it.
I won’t go into the seemingly unstoppable hatred this film still receives, but I will say that this film, while not world-changing, is definitely undeserving of the level of vitriol is has had to sustain of the last year or so.
But as much as I loved old man Luke, as much as I enjoyed seeing Rey train and flirt with the Dark Side, and as much as I loved seeing the cowardly Finn make a heroic turn towards the end of the film (Finn is just…too relatable), this film does suffer from a massive problem, one that actually makes me upset and slightly takes me out of the movie. For how much I roll my eyes at people that talk about immersion in film (honestly, you’re not a space wizard), there is a moment found early in the Last Jedi that, in retrospect, almost ruins the film for me because it involves the charisma machine that is Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron.
Within the opening minutes of the film, we are treated to a stunning dog fight in space between some tiny X-Wing’s and a massive Empire/First Order ship classified as a “Dreadnought”. I don’t know what this Texas-sized hunk of metal does in space, but the audience is told that it has been tasked with destroying yet another hidden Rebel base, and before we can start to wonder how many hidden bases there can possibly be (or hidden planets for that matter), we are introduced to Poe Dameron, the coolest dude you’ll never be.
So Poe and his team are tasked with destroying some type of laser cannons fixed onto the hull of the Dreadnought, allowing time for the Rebel’s to escape their hidden base on a hidden planet. Poe and his team are successful in destroying all but one cannon, but everything works out in the end. The Rebel’s escape the planet and join the welcoming arms of the Rebel fleet near the hidden planet and prepare to jettison off into the relative safety of…I don’t know, more space, I guess.
But this isn’t enough for Poe.
Upon successful elimination of all but one cannon, Poe is told by General Leia Organa to bring his men back to base so they can safely transport the newly acquired Rebel cruiser. Poe refuses, citing the necessity to take down a Dreadnought as if they’ll never have this opportunity again, which may very well be true. Suddenly, and inexplicably, a fleet of (possibly ten) bombers, each with a crew of at least three people, appear to take down the First Order’s much revered Dreadnought.
So I won’t bore you with too many details but, what’s important is that many, many pilots die in a senseless space battle that, while destroying a massive enemy ship, ultimately resulted in nothing more than the Rebel’s needlessly losing soldiers; and all because Poe disobeyed a direct order from a Commissioned Officer. No, Poe disobeyed a direct order from a flipping General!
Okay so, I know that Star Wars is fake and all, but imagine if this had happened in real life. According to Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, receiving an Article 92 (Failure to Obey Order or Regulation) can resulting in a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and up to two years of confinement as a maximum punishment. And all of these punishments can be dealt while a soldier is not operating during a time of war. Considering that Poe basically authorized a bombing mission without authorization during a time of war, while at the same time disobeying a direct order from a goddamned General, he should have been court-martialed, and at worst…he would have been put to death.
So yeah, Star Wars the Last Jedi is a cool, fun movie. Just ignore the fact that Poe should have been locked up in a room without windows for causing the deaths of, minimum, thirty people. So someone explain to me why Vice Admiral Holdo had to explain anything to a guy whose bloodthirsty actions resulted in the deaths of dozens of pilots and soldiers?
And then he attempts to start a mutiny later in the movie…how the shit is this guy still alive!?