I loved Star Wars The Last Jedi. The movie is brilliant. I’ve only watched it once as of this posting and I plan on watching it a few more times to catch all the little things I may have missed.
Spoilers below of course.
Empire and Return
The movie has similarities to both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The dark tones are similar to Empire. The failure of Luke Skywalker and the entire Jedi Order was touched upon. By the end of the movie, the Resistance aka Rebels were crushed to a group that fits on the Millennium Falcon.
Snoke’s character and throne room was reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine’s. Him bringing Kylo and Rey to fight each other also a callback to Return of the Jedi.
Our heroes took their hits just like in Empire, and it ended with a view out into the stars with hope.
New and Different
The Last Jedi also introduced new characters in a story that had so many twists and turns that I could not predict anything! I just enjoyed the ride instead of trying to figure out the plot.
I really liked how they focused on other characters besides the Jedi. There are other heroes in the stories besides those that are force users. Poe Dameron, best pilot in the Resistance has his struggles with leadership. Finn, a First Order defector– has some qualm with Captain Phasma, although his origin story is still unexplored. General Hux had his funny moments– a break from the serious generals of the Empire.
So many women had memorable moments in the movie. Amilyn Holdo self sacrifice was amazing and beautiful. Rose, a maintainance worker that admired Resistance heroes saved Finn from foolishly sacrifing himself. Rose’s sister Paige actually sacrificed herself by dropping the payload on D’Qar.
Fans be Hating
Star Wars fans are never happy with movies. From Jar Jar Binks, the script’s bad dialogue, midichlorians count, too much CGI, too many releases, Han shot first, etc– fans have complained about everything. They even put forth a petition to remove the movie from canon. See: Fans Start Petition To Remove ‘The Last Jedi’ From ‘Star Wars’ Canon. Note, the OP has since stepped back from the petition and urges others to find better causes.
The biggest complaint is how Luke Skywalker was portrayed. Some say he would never think to kill or hurt his nephew. Luke would never think his nephew Kylo would be irredeemable, considering what Luke went through with his own father Darth Vader.
They have a point, from a certain point of view.
The problem is that we put Luke Skywalker on a pedestal. He is a childhood hero of many people. The thought of our beloved hero not succeeding is blasphemous.
But his character is flawed. It is within his character to raise his laser sword on impulse or fit of rage. We saw that in Empire when Luke left Dagobah to help his friends when his Jedi training was incomplete. In ROTJ he almost loses it when fighitng Vader when he baited him out of the darkness with a comment on how he could turn Leia to the dark side.
Star Wars has dark things that people overlook for the story and fantasy elements.
Anakin Skywalker, as Darth Vader murdered young padawans. He hunted and killed fellow Jedi. He also ordered the destruction of an entire planet and it’s people. We are talking about mass genocide here. Yet his son Luke wanted to save him and saw the good in him. Turning Darth Vader was also necessary to defeat the Emperor too.
And Kylo wanted to be like his grandfather. Sure, he was swayed by the dark side, but that’s not an excuse for his desire to be a mass murderer.
So it’s believable for Luke to give up on his nephew considering the death and destruction he’s had to deal with before. I don’t think many people are going out there saying they would be okay with someone who was involved with killing billions of people on a planetary level.
Luke’s story arc is similar to Yoda’s and even Obi-wan after Revenge of the Sith. Their big failures led them to live as hermits. All of them had students that turned to the dark side. Perhaps this is part of the flaw of the Jedi religion, this pattern of self imposed exhile to meditate and be one with the force.
Not Happily Ever After
Bad parenting and adulting is all over in the current trilogy. Han and Leia didn’t have a functional family with their son. I guess that’s to be expected, considering that Leia has been a princess, politician, and general in a war all her life. Han is a dirty smuggler that cheats for a living. It seems they were not there for Ben Solo, leaving it to Luke to train him, and ultimately fail.
That happy ending in ROTJ didn’t last long. There couldn’t be since there’s Episodes 7-9 and 10-12 following with who knows how many more. The war and conflict continues, always.
Rey’s parents were drunks that sold her off. I think it’s true, as it lends itself to the the other underlying theme that you don’t have to be a royalty or come from a special bloodline to be a force user or part of the Resistance.
The Knights of Ren were present in the flashbacks in The Force Awakens, but were completely absent in this movie. Maybe in the blu-ray release there will be scenes that didn’t make the cut.
There should have been more backstory on Finn, Captain Phasma, and expecially Snoke. For a 2.5 hour movie, some time should be given to these new characters, ableit the latter are two are probably dead now. Phasma looks great, but I mostly just see her stand or walk into a scene– she barely has any actual action. What a waste.
The Canto Bight casino story felt a little long considering the their transports were under heavy fire and they were running out of… fuel. I didn’t think starships back then used fuel to do space travel.
The scene where Luke was milking the local creature and drinking it fresh was just odd. I’m just not sure what they’re trying to say other than that Luke really has to live off the land there.
The DJ character seemed rather annoying and incomplete. The stuttering and oddity didn’t work for me. However I did like how he pointed out that the filthy rich made their money from selling weapons and ships to both the First Order and Resistance. This is an interesting bit that was added. Now the arms industry has been introduced. I’m not sure if they are going to expand on something so complex going forward or not. But at least we know it exists.
I initially found BB-8’s take over of the First Order’s mech unit to be funny, but then it felt a bit much for a droid to do. I was hoping it would be DJ to redeem himself in some way, like Lando. But when in doubt, BB-8 is used to be the hero’s way out.
I really hoped they would get more into the Gray Jedi, those that walk between the light and dark.
Fans have a right to be upset with The Last Jedi. Their childhood heroes are almost all but gone from being main characters in future Star Wars movies. If they choose not to be a Star Wars fan or support it anymore that’s their choice. They can vote with their wallet.
There is a part of me that doesn’t want to see Princess Leia, Han Solo, or Luke Skywalker exit the Star Wars universe. With Carrie Fisher’s death last year, I wasn’t ready to see her on the big screen for the last time.
However, we can also celebrate the movie for what it is– a bold move to leave the past and venture into new territory. That is one of the main themes of the movie, to move on and not live in the past. I’m not interested in seeing the same characters in the same time period where there are limitations on what they can and cannot depict. We need new characters and stories to tell.
Star Wars has been around for 40 years now. The first trilogy came out in 1977. The second trilogy, the prequels, came out in 1999. And the third and current trilogy came out in 2015. There are going to be fans that weren’t alive for the previous trilogies. For many fans out there, this is going to be the Star Wars trilogy for them, their heroes and their different struggles. And there’s a fourth trilogy already in the works.
Images for this post were from wall.alphacoders.com.