This is just a list of things that didn't make sense to me from a writing perspective. And I think part of it has to do with Rian Johnson not being interested in building on what JJ Abrams set up for him in Force Awakens.
If you disagree or think I forgot to mention something, feel free to tell me why/what.
- The map to Luke Skywalker
A portion of the map was given to Lor San Tekka by Luke, but the film doesn't explain why Luke left it with him. So we are left to draw our own conclusions. No one aside from Luke (who does not have bad intentions) should be interested in finding the Jedi temple, so it was presumed by seemingly most people that he left it as a way to find him in the event of a crisis.
In The Last Jedi we find out that Luke not only did not want to be found, but he refused to help even after Leia being the one pleading with him, and after hearing that his best friend had been killed by Kylo.
Which leads me to the next point:
- The treatment of Luke's character
Before the film premiere, Mark Hamill said in a few interviews that he "fundamentally disagreed with virtually everything that Rian had written for his character."
Later on after seeing the film he did add that he changed his mind. Whether that was because Disney excecs were breathing down his neck, or he didn't want to influence fans, or he really did change his mind, I don't know but it's interesting to hear his initial thoughts none the less.
But in The last Jedi we see a Luke that is nothing like the Luke from previous films. And I had a very hard time buying that Luke would do these things.
The biggest thing here is that Luke reveals that he for a moment decided to murder his nephew, while he was sleeping, because he sensed powerful darkness within him. The only child of his sister and his best friend, whom he had known since he was a baby. The same Luke Skywalker who refused to give up on even Darth Vader, a father he never knew, because he believed there was some good in him, to the point where he surrendered himself to the enemy.
That Luke Skywalker thought for a moment that the best course of action was to butcher his nephew in his sleep, before he had committed any atrocities like Vader?
I couldn't buy it.
Sure, Luke did fight against his father, but he didn't want to kill him. He rather threw away his lightsaber than take his life. Even if he for a moment considered killing Vader there (we don't know that), that was his last choice. After lowering his guard multiple times, but constantly being provoked by Vader over and over again in a desperate situation until he snapped. But what was Luke's first choice with Ben? Was it to try to help his nephew? As far as we know, it wasn't. His first choice was to butcher him in his sleep, without anyone provoking him, and with all the time in the world to think. That's what I don't buy.
And then we find out that Luke knew about Snoke, and deliberately left his friends to deal with this powerful force user + the now evil Kylo Ren, without a single Jedi to help them combat this threat? The same Luke who cut his training with Yoda short to go recue his friends when he wasn't really ready, now thought it'd be a good idea if they were left fending for themselves against this huge threat.
And to top it off, he refused to help even after hearing that Leia was asking for help, and that Han was killed by Kylo.
Just because he failed with training Kylo (as Obi-Wan did with Anakin, or Yoda did with Dooku) doesn't mean he should believe that it's better if he leaves everyone to fend for themselves.
I could not buy that either. That was not Luke Skywalker to me.
- Holdo not telling anyone her plan
I don't believe it's explained in the film why she doesn't tell anyone about her real plan. Which leads to Finn and Rose going on a dangerous suicide mission, and Poe staging a mutiny. I can only make assumptions about why. But it does not make sense to me that she didn't at least tell Poe when the mutiny started. Instead she opted to use force to take back the ship. Which could have easily ended a lot worse than it did if Leia hadn't woken up at that moment. Another sign that Rian Johnson was obsessed with creating "gotcha" moments, to the point where surprising the audience was more important than having the story make sense.
Leia died. Nope, she didn't! (Flies back like Marry Poppins, and no one questions how she did it.)
Kylo will turn. No he won't!
Holdo is a badguy. No she isn't!
Snoke is a formidable foe. Nope, he randomly dies!
Rey's parents are important. Nope, she's nobody!
Finn is about to die. Nope, Rose saves him!
Luke is here doing badass things. Nope, he's not really here!
- Rose saving Finn
I'm not even going to bother trying to understand how she was able to accelerate past him to the point where she could drive into him form the side, and on top of that not have them both die in the process. But the two things that mainly stood out for me during that scene was her reasoning, and the fact that no one from the Empire shot them. They were really far from the entrance to their base. How they made it back there without any enemy ship firing at them is pretty weird. But perhaps not as weird as Rose's reasoning for saving him. Apparently she did it because she has fallen in love with him, in spite of only knowing him for a couple of hours and having had no romantic chemistry or moments shown on screen. And the message behind her actions greatly contradicts the rest of the film.
"We don't fight them with anger. We fight with love. And we don't sacrifice the ones we love."
.... You're going to kill thousands of enemies, regardless. So as long as you strike them down with love, it's ok?
And why is it not ok for Finn to sacrifice himself to save his friends? What is the movie trying to say, when Holdo sacrificed herself just moments earlier? And Luke did, just moments later?
Speaking of Holdo's sacrifice. That didn't make much sense either. Why couldn't they have left a drone behind to pilot the ship? We see BB-8 controlling a walker. Surely they have some auto-pilot technology they could have used instead of having her stay behind.
And as cool as the warp speed kamikaze crash looked, why has no one else ever thought of that idea? Why not fly a ship like that into the Death Star?
While on the subject of technicalities, I don't think the "we are running out of fuel" plotline makes sense either. If you're going at top speed in space, which they stated they were, you can just turn off the engines and you'll keep going at the same speed. Because you're in space.
- Rey's parents, and her lack of training
In the film, Rey reveals (before Kylo specifies that they were junk traders) that her parents were nobody. It appears she knew all along, but suppressed it because she wanted a more convenient truth that didn't involve her parents not loving her and selling her off.
Now I don't have a problem with that. And I see where Rian Johnson is going with that. He wants to show us that anyone can be a Jedi, regardless off lineage. And we see that suggested again in the end with the little boy holding the broom, looking up towards the resistance. And it's not like this is a new thing in Star Wars. But her background was built up a lot in the first film. JJ Abrams said that "something important happened on Jakku thousands of years ago, and Palpatine believed something important will happen there again." Was that just supposed to be Rey living there?
But the strangest thing to me here is that this means she bested Kylo Ren, who was trained by a Jedi Master, in a lightsaber duel the first time she ever picked one up, without any training, or special lineage.
They've explained before in Episode 2 that you can naturally be strong with the force, but without proper training you won't be able to wield it effectively.
So I'm not sure why I'm supposed to believe that she was better with a lightsaber than Kylo, even if his emotions were unbalanced. She can fight with a bo staff, but this is street fighting (with a different weapon that won't cut off her own limbs if she angles it wrong) vs sword training from a Jedi master.
- Why didn't Luke tell anyone that he was a projection/hologram?
Luke knew he couldn't do anything physical against the empire, because he was just a hologram. The best he could do was stall for time so that his friends could escape. Why then does he go out without telling anyone that? It was by mere chance that Poe realized this because he had a hunch that this is what Luke was doing. He might have never realized this, and Luke would have bought them no time at all.
Just so Rian could have another "gotcha" moment I guess.
- The first mainline Star Wars film without a lightsaber duel
As in two lightsabers never clash. The fight between Kylo & Rey vs the Praetorian guards was cool, but they weren't using lightsabers. And we didn't get a lightsaber duel between Luke and Kylo because he was just a hologram, and couldn't actually do anything, other than pretend he was dodging.
I get trying to be different. But no one is going to walk out of the movie theater feeling relieved that we didn't get an epic lightsaber duel.
Even though people hated the prequels, at least they had some nice lightsaber duels.
- Snoke is so powerful and such an evil mastermind
That he's able to link the minds of two people across different galaxies, and manipulate them into doing what he wants. But he can't notice a lightsaber scrambling right next to him.
(A bit of nitpicking, but I had to throw that in there. And he might come back again. But I don't expect him to.)
- What happened to the Knighst of Ren?
Why build that up and have ambiguous flashbacks of it if you're never going to show us? Maybe this will be shown in Episode 9, but I just don't think Rian Johnson cares.
I've probably forgotten many, but those are the main ones that come to mind.
Let me know if and why you disagree with something, and if I forgot to mention anything.