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Yesterday, I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters. And all I knew about it going it was this movie was supposed to rival that of The Empire Strikes Back. Which is one of the greatest Star Wars movies ever put out. So to say I was excited to see this and also a little nervous is an underestimate. Nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But the hype is well deserved. As the movie was speculator! Though I do have to say if certain moments or choices were made differently by the characters, the conflict would’ve been resolved much quicker and with less losses on the side of the Rebellion. But then the movie would be insanely short and not as fun to watch.
The Last Jedi was the first arc and build from the original three movies to the new generation by bringing back and closing out the stories of the remaining characters: Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Chewbecca, and R2-D2. Though I’m sure we’ll see some of them in the following film when it’s released, while others we said goodbye to for the final time. And we were introduced to more of the next generation of the Rebellion. It was a nice touch in my opinion. As much as I loved seeing all of my old favorite characters again, it’s time to move on to the next wave. And this movie bridged that gap left from Force Awakens perfectly. I can’t wait to see how they continue on with the next generation in Episode 9.
I do have to admit, I am a little sad they didn’t care about the fan theories. From who is Snoke to who are Rey’s parents? The answer was ultimately the same, it didn’t matter. Rey is impressive just because that’s who she is. While Snoke is just a distraction and a stepping stone for Kylo Ren becoming the ultimate villain and surpass that of Darth Vader.
As I mentioned earlier, there was a plot that was a huge waste in my opinion. That was Rose and Finn’s journey to the casino planet of Canto Bight. Sure they saved from creatures and inspired the youths to the Rebellion’s cause. But their entire journey was worthless. If they never went, then the rebellion could’ve escaped with less deaths as the First Order would have no idea they were going to the mining planet. Yes it had to happen for the hand off from the old generation to the new. But it just muddles up the middle of the movie. Whereas, focusing more on Poe or Rey’s individual plots could’ve been better. And fixed the pacing just ever so slightly as it just felt off during that part of the movie.
Mark Hamill’s performance as Luke Skywalker was incredible. I’m not going to give away the ending in case you haven’t seen it. But you can truly see the Jedi “Master” learn from his mistakes, and find peace in the end. As well as passing off the torch to Rey to be the true “Last Jedi.” His performance was even more amazing considering he gave a lot of criticism to the director and changes were made to Luke’s arc. We don’t know what changes they were, but whatever it was I’m glad with the final direction.
The Last Jedi similarly to the Empire Strikes Back is about flirting with temptation. Rather than on good versus evil or figuring out how to be good. It’s being tempted by the darkness and choosing what side you fall on. Rey faced this on the island and Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) faced this is his showdown with Snoke/Rey. But the line of good versus evil in The Last Jedi isn’t so black and white like it is in other movies. Which is what makes the moments when good and hope triumph even more powerful. But there are moments that undercut itself within the movie on the side of good. Holdo’s sacrifice is noble, while Finn’s thwarted sacrifice is foolhardy. But the movie does try to redeem that moment through Rose’s words. Rose explains that she saved Finn because you need to save what you love, not destroy what you hate (something Holdo did as well, if you think about it).
The Last Jedi is about this tension, about the ways that generations uneasily give way to other generations and the ways we all learn to accept that our parents (or parental figures) sometimes have the right answers and sometimes don’t. It’s a big, bold, complex film, full of contradictory notes, a little like Empire was. I suspect, in time, it will age just as satisfactorily, but it’s also possible I’m wrong. Loving it means letting go, just a little bit, of some rosy past and embracing a future that might lead to disappointment.
The people we were aren’t always the people we become, and that’s both a necessary lesson and a bitter disappointment, but you can’t become yourself without learning to live alongside that discomfort. And now there’s a Star Wars movie about that very dilemma, right when we all might need it most.