Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the most anticipated movies of 2018. It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since we first met Finn and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The film had us all excited to see what trials awaited the characters within it’s sequel The Last Jedi. It’s only been a few days since the release of the film, and already it has fans and critics in shambles. The film has caused chaos within the fandom. Honestly, after my first viewing of the film, I wasn’t sure what to think. I sat in my seat during the credits and was quite perplexed. I didn’t hate the film, I just knew that I had questions. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the film ruined my childhood. That isn’t the case. Set aside all the meaningless fan theories that never were a thing to begin with. I won’t even go as far as to say the film even deserves this senseless petition going around to remove it from the canon.
What makes fandoms great is that we can come together and celebrate our favorite franchises. We watch the films together and have these discussions about the movies and shows we love. I always try to look at a piece of film from multiple points. What did I like about it? What did I dislike about it? If I didn’t understand something, then I can look back and try to understand it. I immediately went back to the theatre the following Friday to watch the film a second time. While I still didn’t quite get the emotional pay off I was looking for from it, it isn’t terrible. I just feel like some things still went unanswered, and I still have questions that hopefully will be answered in Episode IX.
SPOILERS AHEAD PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
The Force Awakens had set the foundation for the story and the characters. Yet inThe Last Jedi, so many plot points that were set up were dropped. From what I understand, The Last Jedi picks up right after the events of The Force Awakens. There was much emphasis put on the fact the destroying Starkiller Base would give The Resistance the leg up they needed against The First Order. They just destroyed a major First Order base, yet somehow the First Order now has control of multiple parts of the galaxy? Some of the new characters the story introduced were not there to be developed or have any impact in anyway. Only to further the plot by their actions. It’s disappointing how some characters established in the previous film took a step back in their development. The conflict within The Resistance is only a fraction of what left me confused during The Last Jedi.
We learned in the commentary of the Force Awakens that our favorite pilot in the galaxy Poe Dameron was supposed to die at the beginning of the film. Abrams chose to keep the character on board and he even went on to have his own comic. However, it was clearly established that Poe is a character who respects Leia, and cares about his comrades. Poe is a cocky guy, but it seemed out of character for him to cut off Leia, and not be affected by how many died by his brash decision. Later in the film command is taken over by Vice Admiral Holdo. Poe and the Admiral don’t exactly start on the right foot. Why didn’t the Admiral just tell Poe that she had a plan that would help them escape The First Order? As Poe’s superior, she does not owe him anything. However, leaders inspire their people. They don’t fill them with doubt. She did not tell him, and that led to mutiny, because that seemed like the only viable option.
Admiral Ackbar didn’t deserve the death the writers gave him. If anything, he deserved the honorable death Admiral Holdo was given. I feel that would have made for a more emotional scene given the fans connection to him. He deserved better, and I said what I said. I understand why they had the conflict between Poe and Holdo played out the way it did. Without the conflict, there would be no Canto Bight subplot. Which leads to my next point.
The entirety of the Canto Bight side quest was unneeded. If you had to go to the bathroom or get some snacks, then Canto Bight was the perfect time to do so. Finn and Rose really got shafted by this ‘mission’. They attempt to give us a bit of Rose backstory during these scenes. The political aspect of it is not what I disliked. If you look back at each second film of each trilogy it delves into the politics within Star Wars. It was brilliant how they touch on the wealthy and corrupt. How they do not care about each side and their cause. As long as there is war, they will make money. the ugly masked with beauty and opulence. They were really going somewhere with that scene until it fell through with the slapstick humor of the stampede. As for Benicio Del toro’s DJ character, I really can’t say he left any lasting impression on me.
Kathleen Kennedy was quick to assure fans that Phasma would have a bigger role to play in Episode VIII. once again Phasma is completely wasted. This is disappointing given the actress they have to work with. Gwendolyn Christie is well known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Christie is a phenomenal actress that I felt did not get to show her range, and what she is capable of in this film. Phasma only serves as a device within Finns character arc. The fight scene had amazing choreography, no doubt. Once Finn defeats Phasma that signifies an end to his character arc. What role will Finn have to play in Episode IX? I want them to do the some much more with Finn. I hoped he would be a force user, but I don’t foresee that happening. I can only hope that they don’t put him in some ridiculous Finn, Rose, Rey love triangle. We all can really do without it.
On to the Jedi Stuff!
I do like the character dynamics between Kylo Ren and Rey. I felt like it was one of the few redeeming parts of the film. It’s a great depiction of the pull between the light and dark. Snoke is supposedly the one who linked the two together, yet the ending of the film can suggest the link was and clearly is still there. Possibly, he just took advantage of that. The fight scene with the two was nothing short of amazing, and really possessed those raw, beautiful saber fights that I live for with Star Wars movies. I haven’t seen anything like that since Revenge of The Sith.
The only issue with this is…Rey suddenly became a polished lightsaber wielder? Her fighting style in Force Awakens was unrefined, yet suddenly she can wield a saber flawlessly without proper training? Luke never gave her a saber lesson on Ahch-To. They did bring in a new choreographer for these scenes, they just needed to set up within the story that she had some sort of training to make sense of it all. Along with that came the reveal we’ve been waiting for, Rey’s parentage. What a disappointment.
No, I’m not upset that the fan theories were debunked. She isn’t a descendant of Obi-Wan or Palpatine. Get over it, your fan theories are wrong. I understand that the lesson is that you don’t have to come from a blood line, be someone to be a Jedi or be able to make change. My issue is that clearly they were setting her up to be that way in Force Awakens. They were constantly going back to the question of who Rey is. What were the visions she was having? Playing her up to be this important person for this mind-blowing reveal. She was raveled in mystery. Nah girl, your parents are trifling and just left you, sorry. Maybe Kylo was just messing with her head. We might never know, or maybe we will in Episode IX. It just makes me feel as if they didn’t think she would prove to be an interesting new character without the unnecessary fluff.
During this sense, something that left me quite puzzled was Kylo Ren and his efforts to persuade Rey to join him. The theme is about letting old things die. Forget The Resistance. Forget The First Order. Yet when Rey is not swayed by Kylo, he is angered by this. Ultimately, he puts himself into position of the supreme leader and ruler over The First Order? What happened to letting old things die buddy? He does the complete opposite of that.
By far one of the biggest disappointments for me. Snoke was set up to be this all-powerful force user. More powerful than Palpatine. Snoke can use force powers through hologram communication. He can establish mental links between force users across the galaxy. He sensed the force awakening and knew that a map to Luke Skywalker was on the millennium falcon. Yet he could not sense Kylo’s actions? That just seems so ridiculous to me.
The theme surrounding this film is the darkness. Down to the use of color and the beautiful cinematography. They could have explored so much. Who is Snoke? How did he corrupt Kylo and what is his affiliation with Luke? We may never know, or you’ll have to buy some expanded universe books. Also, has anyone noticed the Knights of Ren have just been completely forgotten? Where are they? What happened to the training Kylo was supposed to complete with Snoke? we may never know.
I have to say I am satisfied with Luke’s arc. His scenes with Yoda ended up being my favorite scenes. It made for an emotional scene. The Last Jedi is essentially Luke, who symbolizes the old Jedi way dying, to make room for a new kind of Jedi that will carry on the legacy. The fundamentals are still there, but the Jedi will find a new way and carry on with a new generation of force users. The books are on the Falcon. Yoda lied to Luke to get him to let go of his past and accept it. That he can not change everything. He cannot control the outcome of every situation. Luke needed to find peace and the balance within himself. Once he realized and accepted that, he could go on and become a force spirit. He had fulfilled his purpose. My only wish is that he would have faced Kylo not as a projection. That seemed out of character for Luke.
The overall theme of the film is great I was just left wanting something more. I’m still eager to see what Episode IX will bring to the table. There are so many possibilities going forward. Abrams has a lot on his plate to make the end of this trilogy come together.