All right… I’ve been sitting on this for over a week now. I’ve let these thoughts process. I’ve let them stew. And, first of all, it should be noted that there will be SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m not writing this with the intention of blatantly spoiling the movie for anyone who hasn’t managed to see it at least a couple of times by now.
All right, did I get rid of everyone who hasn’t seen it yet? Okay, to all the Star Wars fans out there who have nothing but negative things to say about The Last Jedi, I ask…
I mean, really? Because if there’s nothing about this movie that you can find entertaining, then what do you find entertaining at all about any of the previous Star Wars movies/books/comics/TV shows?!
You know what? It’s fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion about the way these films are made. Which is exactly why I’m about to express mine.I can’t speak to every complaint that I assume people have about The Last Jedi. Because I honestly don’t understand all of the complaints that people have. Some, I do understand. Some, I even agree with. I’ve heard it said that it two and a half hours is too long. I’ve heard that the scenes with Luke and Rey sometimes felt drawn out, even pointless. I’ve heard the same about the scenes with Finn and Rose. I’ve heard the attempts at humor were way too much. I’ve heard people are disappointed by the possible reveal of Rey’s nobody parents. I’ve heard people are also disappointed by Snoke’s demise. Oh, and who can forget Leia’s epic space walk?
Like I can understand these complaints. I can even agree with some of them. But not a single one of these things took away from the experience of The Last Jedi for me. I found it to be incredibly entertaining. I thought it was brilliant, overall. I loved it. And I enjoyed it even more the second time.I agree that the humor felt out of place. Not all of it… But there were too many attempts at levity. Poe’s bit of acting like he’s being put on hold at the beginning was ridiculous. They were trying to shoehorn in a joke that makes sense in our reality into a world where, one can assume, they don’t have telephones or a reason to buy into the “I can’t hear you” thing. Maybe it would have been funny once… but they dragged the bit out way too long.
Honestly, I didn’t think it was too long (the movie, not the waiting for Hux bit). I was entertained pretty much the whole time. The more I think on it, though, the more I think the whole plot line with Finn and Rose going to Canto Bight was wasted. I mean, they did what they needed to do, sure, but they get on board Snoke’s ship only to get captured and sold out by DJ? And Phasma was definitely wasted. She had three minutes of screen time and then went out like a punk.I liked everything to do with Rey, Kylo, and Luke. I loved Mark Hamill’s portrayal of Old Man Luke. He’s broken and sees himself only as a disappointment. I really liked the message that your heroes, 30 years later, may not be the legends that you’ve built them up to be in your mind. But I also love that he was able to find redemption at the end through his Force projection and facing Kylo. He felt that he failed as a teacher, that he couldn’t be the symbol of hope that the galaxy needed him to be. But then he’s able to come back, admit his failure to his student, and manages to not only become that beacon of hope all over again, but embarrasses the crap out of the First Order’s new Supreme Leader in the process.
The issue of Rey’s parents… I get everyone’s frustration with that. Personally, I would be okay if it does turn out that her parents were nobodies. Because that means that you don’t need to be born into a special family to develop the power to save the galaxy. But… I can’t rule out the idea that Kylo was lying to her. They’d just done battle together, which was an incredible scene. They’d had this amazing connection through the Force throughout the movie (and I really think their scenes together were some of the strongest in the movie). She wants to turn him back to the light, but that’s just not gonna happen. He’s too driven by his selfish desires to give up the Dark Side. So he wants to turn her. What better way to do that than to manipulate her into believing that her parents threw her away. That she has no role to play in the story. That she’s unwanted by everyone… except by him. If he could plant the seed that she’s nothing and means nothing to anyone but him, that would make his offer to stand beside him all the more attractive. I don’t think the door is closed on Rey’s true origin.I’m okay with Leia using the Force to get back to the ship after she was blown into space, too. At first, I was like, “Oh, this is how they kill her off.” But I’m okay with believing that someone as strong in the Force as Leia is (even though she’s basically untrained) would be able to do what she did. Hard to swallow, but I can live with it.
As for Snoke’s death… I get why people would be upset by that. Because they built him up to be this larger than life character in The Force Awakens. Then he’s cut in half without a moment’s thought. But I liked that, too. And I think I liked the movie overall because it was so unexpected. For two years, everyone has been speculating… Who is Snoke? Who are Rey’s parents? How will Luke train Rey? Will he be more like Obi-Wan or Yoda? Everyone was looking forward to having their questions answered and having them answered in a satisfying way that would match what they had all built up in their minds as an appropriate continuation to the story.
And then The Last Jedi came along and flipped the Star Wars galaxy on its ear. And I dig that! Oh, you think Snoke’s a big deal? Just kidding… he gone. You think it’s important who Rey’s parents are? Just kidding… they’re worthless junkers who sold her off for drinking money. You think Luke will be this wise teacher who will show Rey the ways of the Jedi… or maybe even a better way that fixes what went wrong with the Jedi Order in the Old Republic? Just kidding… he’s a hermit who wants nothing to do with the Force…It’s like they heard everyone’s complaint about how The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope and said, “Okay, now it’s time for something completely different.” For decades, Star Wars has pushed the ideas of destiny and choice and whether or not there’s a balance between the two. Kylo said, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” The way I see it, that’s kind of what The Last Jedi is doing. In a sense. It’s not killing the previous Star Wars movies. It’s embracing them… but at the same time, it’s pushing the new characters in new directions. These are characters that aren’t meant to repeat the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han. Rey isn’t meant to rebuild a Jedi Order that mirrors the one of the prequels. Kylo isn’t meant to rebuild the Sith Order in a way that mimics Palpatine and Vader. It’s different and it’s exciting. I like it.
I think the reality of the situation is, so many fans expect to see something on par with the original trilogy. And that’s never gonna happen. George Lucas stumbled onto something great 40 years ago. And he’s no genius of storytelling (just look at the prequels for proof of that). He stood on the shoulders of filmmakers that came before him and put something together that turned out to strike a chord with a lot of people. I’ll give it to him, he’s a genius when it comes to film making and the creativity that drives the practical effects that make the movies great. Now, Star Wars is this gigantic thing that just keeps going. And now that Disney is in control, it’s not going to be about making great films that stand the test of time. It’s about making big budget blockbusters that will drive people to the theater and sell toys.But it’s still fun. Am I enthralled by The Last Jedi the same way I was enthralled by Empire Strikes Back as a kid? Absolutely not. But it’s still entertaining to me. And I look forward to the next one. And the one after that. And I’ll keep looking forward to these movies until they stop being fun for me. And if that happens, I guess that’s when they stop getting my money.
But what do you think? Did you like The Last Jedi? Did you hate it? Why or why not? I’m open to spirited dialogue in the comments, even if you want to argue that George Lucas is, indeed, a genius of storytelling and you question my sanity for saying he is otherwise.