*There Will Be Spoilers*
Before I get into anything substantial I need to clarify that everything I say, unless otherwise stated, is my opinion and my interpretation. I will simply say why I found The Last Jedi to be one of the more intriguing Star Wars movies since Return of the Jedi.
Let me start by saying that I believe that the first thing that I did to ensure a happy experience was to not watch the trailers. I have come to the realization that movie trailers are becoming more and more likely to ruin a movie for the viewer. Not necessarily because there are spoilers but because it puts things into the minds of the viewers. For example, since watching the movie I have gone back and watched the trailers. I can definitely see how some fans could have jumped onto certain fan theory band wagons. These theories could have been the “Reylo” theory, Rey going to the dark side, or Kylo going to the light. The problem with this is that we, as human beings, tend to think that because a theory exists, and we like the theory, it is the only good way to go. This is very apparent in many reactions I have seen to the Last Jedi. I would like to take some time to show my perspective and why I think that many of the “disappointments” were good choices to make, or, in some cases, not bad ones.
I have read many complaints that the Porgs were too much and that they were, “Just a merchandising ploy”. Here’s the thing, so what? Star Wars has always cared about merchandising. Think Ewoks, all of the different types of Storm Troopers, and pretty much every ship in the galaxy. Also, it was explained that the porgs were created to be an explanation for all of the local puffins found on the island that the movie was filmed on. That being said, porgs are a pretty dumb reason for not liking the movie.
So yeah, Luke is now a hermit that has cut himself off from the force, he has lost hope, and drinks green milk out of some random alien (I’ll admit, that part was a little weird). Sure, Mark Hamill has said that he disagreed with the direction that Rian Johnson went with Luke, but he has also said that he shouldn’t have said anything to the public about it.
I personally liked what they did with him. In the Last Jedi, Luke now has a character development that he didn’t have the chance to have in the original trilogy; he had to deal with the loss of hope. Sure, he had struggles in the originals, but never anything like having your student (who is your nephew) kill most of your others and then leave to take over the galaxy. Put yourself in his shoes. What would you do if you were training your sisters son only to have him go ballistic and kill a bunch of people and try to become the greatest villain? You’d probably lose a little hope and would also probably have a hard time facing your sister. It’s only HUMAN, which Luke still is, even if he IS a jedi master.
The good news is that he overcame the loss of hope and singlehandedly saved the resistance in a very Luke Skywalker-like act. Don’t worry, Luke is still Luke. He just had to remember that.
Alright, I have heard people saying that Rose was “Worse than Jar Jar.” Stop. Stop now. First of all, she has just been introduced and we will see more of her in the next episode. I believe that this movie was more of an introduction to the character rather than a showing of how amazing her character is. Her role actually kind of reminded me of Lando’s in Empire Strikes Back. He played a role but not necessarily a vital one. They were just setting him up for Return of the Jedi. Same thing with Rose. Let’s just wait and see.
- Admiral Holdo
Having read “Leia: Princess of Alderaan” I was able to recognize the personal, close friendship that Holdo and Leia had since their teen years. This made Holdo’s death even more tragic. However, the main complaint I have heard about this is that her jump to lightspeed shouldn’t have done what it did for a variety of reasons. Alright, if anyone wants to debate me on this issue I will gladly do it. My explanation of this one would be way too long and way too nerdy. Just know that Holdo’s act is in good order.
Alright, A lot of people are upset that their various theories about Snoke’s backstory didn’t pan out. They wanted him to be Plagueis, Ezra Bridger, Emperor Palpatine reborn, or a host of other already known characters. I never bought any of these theories. I’m fairly certain Snoke has never been seen in any Star Wars movie, TV show, book, or comic book before The Force Awakens. There are such things as new characters. In addition to that, Snoke’s death was necessary and his backstory doesn’t really matter in this story. This is a story of Rey and Kylo. Snoke was getting in the way. Both in fans’ attention and the development of Kylo’s character. If Snoke continued on to the next movie Kylo would continue to be a Darth Vader wannabe and would always be the temper tantrum throwing kid that he has been.
On that note, others have complained that Snoke didn’t see what Kylo was doing. THAT WAS KIND OF THE POINT. Ren was showing that he had become more deceptive than his master. Snoke believed himself safe from the attacks of his apprentice because of his blinding pride in his own power. Kylo used that to his advantage. Such is the way of the Sith.
- New Force Powers
Some people complain that there are “Made up force powers.” Duh. They’re all made up. Also, The “New” force abilities shown have been around since the old books that are no longer canon. A Jedi apprentice in the “Legends” book I, Jedi showed the ability of making others see things that weren’t there (like Luke with his lightsaber battle with Kylo). Sure, this was in a non-canon book, but it was once canon. The power had been used before. Also, there are always new force abilities. In IV the force was shown as being a power that allowed wielders to see the future, convince people to do things, and talk to dead people. In V Luke uses Telekinesis. In VI we saw Force Lightning. Each new movie brings new abilities. That’s how Star Wars has always been.
- Leia’s Flight
This may have seemed a bit odd, but it was pretty cool in my opinion. Fans have been wanting to see Leia use the force since Luke said the words, “My… Sister has it.” Now, Leia decided not to go the route of the Jedi but to pursue politics instead. This scene proved that Leia did in fact have that power, just as Luke said. Also, it is a perfectly good way to use the force.
- Holdo and Poe
Some have complained that Holdo didn’t let Poe in the loop and that caused all of the problems that came after. These people don’t understand how the military works. I am no expert in the ways of military chain of command, but I’m pretty sure that admirals don’t typically take orders, nor do they confide in recently demoted officers. It just doesn’t make sense. Admiral Holdo’s decisions, however, do.
- Rey’s Parents
I, for one, am a fan of the reveal. She comes from nothing. Some people don’t like this. I think these people don’t understand how the force works. Yoda, as far as we know, wasn’t the offspring of some powerful jedi, nor was Obi-wan. Anakin, although created by the force, wasn’t a link in some Skywalker chain of super force wielders. He was the beginning. He was new. Now, so is Rey. She is the transition character away from the Skywalkers and into something new.
- The Infinity Mirror
This was, perhaps, my favorite scene in the movie (other than the fight scene after Snoke’s death of course), and here’s why. The first time I saw the movie I didn’t really understand, but the second time it clicked. Rey’s journey, every choice she makes up to this point, is to find out who and where her parents are. She cares so much about belonging to something that she is willing to try going toward the dark side to find her answers. Luke realizes this. It’s what scares him so much. So, she goes. Just like Luke and the cave on Degobah. What I love so much about this scene is that, as she tells Kylo later, she knew that the infinity mirror was going somewhere. It had answers for her. The dark side had answers for her. The only problem? The dark side has no REAL answers for her, and now she knows it. That’s the point. She made the decision in that moment that she was going to fight for the light. This is how she was able to resist Ben’s invitation to rule.
- The Humor
People have said that there was too much humor. Um, Star Wars has ALWAYS had lot’s of humor. “Aren’t you a little for a stormtrooper?”, “What a piece of Junk!”, “Another happy landing”, every scene with C-3PO and the Ewoks, every scene with R2 and the Ewoks, C-3PO on Geonosis, and every other comedic scene in the movies. Sure, these weren’t as funny as a lot of the one liners in The Last Jedi, but that’s mostly because the writing was a bit better. The fact is that humor, and lots of it, has always been part of the Star Wars galaxy.
- Canto Bight
I’ll admit, this part of the movie could have been a bit shorter. However, I think that this part was meant more for character development of Finn and Rose than just a quest to find a code breaker. Finn, in particular, does a bit of changing in this part of the movie that will, I think, come into play in the next movie.
- Didn’t “Feel Like Star Wars”
This one actually annoys me. Star Wars fans have spent the last two years complaining that VII felt “Too much like the original trilogy” and now this one doesn’t feel enough like it? Fans need to make up their mind and stick with it. Also, how did it not feel like a Star Wars movie? Parts of it screamed out to me as mirrors of both prequals and originals alike. The infinity mirror felt very much like the Degobah cave, Luke walking into the resistance camp felt like Yoda’s rescue of Obi-wan and Anakin from Count Dooku, and the entire fight between Luke and Ben felt EXACTLY like Star Wars. “I failed you, Ben” is an obvious (and awesome) call to Obi-wan’s “I have failed you, Anakin, I have failed you.” Luke’s stance even reminded me of both his own from the originals, and Obi-wan’s from the TV show Rebels in his final encounter with Darth Maul. I felt like Rian Johnson had a perfect blend of old and new in the Last Jedi and it makes me excited for his new trilogy.
When all is said and done, this is a middle movie. We don’t know anything for sure yet. Who knows, maybe we’ll get some more backstory on Snoke, maybe Rose will die, or Rey’s parents will actually turn out to be Obi-wan or some other Star Wars veteran. Or maybe, just maybe, these people actually know what they are doing. Maybe they are setting something up for the next episode that will blow our minds away. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that The Last Jedi was much more intricate and complex than some may think. It was, quite an amazing movie, even if some people choose to deny it.