The latest addition to the Star Wars franchise is hands down the most divisive movie yet, and possibly the most divisive geek movie ever created. You either hated the prequels or thought they were “ok, necessary for the story”. You either LOVED Rogue One or fell asleep until the last half hour. You either love The Last Jedi or you hate it. After countless comments and debates online I decided to put all of my thoughts together in one place.
There was such excitement around this movie that my wife and I bought out a local theater for a private screening for Cloak & Blaster guests. For my first viewing, one of the first of opening night, I was sick and stressed. I had a cold. I thought I’d left our bar unlocked. I was a mess for two hours and forty minutes. But I sat there watching, and the entire time saw my theories being shut down and blown apart.
I truly thought Snoke was going to be a complex character. The theory I heard and enjoyed was that Snoke was Darth Plagueis, who in turn was Anakin Skywalker’s actual father. When Anakin was born Palpatine saw that there was a threat due to the Rule of Two and killed Plagueis. But before he could Plagueis wiped Shmi’s memory and put her and his son on the most remote planet they could find. Plagueis obviously survived, using the 50 or so years to build his strength and manipulate events, maybe even manipulating Vader into turning back to the light to end Palpatine! This would have allowed his son to be in control when he eventually surfaced again, easily taking power back.
I thought Rey was going to be Luke’s daughter. After Kylo went Dark she was taken by Han to Jakku.
I thought Leia was going to be killed off within the first half hour. This would have been an easy, no brainer plot point and very predictable.
Instead of any of this I got a whole lot of “eh, nope. Fuck your theories”. Then we have this whole middle story with Finn needing a master code breaker and that code breaker WASN’T LANDO FUCKING CALRISSIAN!
Needless to say, I left the theater after that first showing very salty and unfulfilled. I swore it was the worst movie I’d ever seen. So many missed opportunities and missteps. Then, I saw it again.
I now hold that this is the absolute best movie of the franchise. I spent so much time the first time waiting for my theories to come to the screen that I missed the entire movie, and the movie was great. It has everything. Space battles. Lightsaber fights. Old and new heroes. Humor. Sadness. A deep complex story. It took everything I love about Empire and Jedi and put them together. All in one movie.
Luke. Man, Luke. Old Man Luke! “This isn’t my hero” people are saying. Uh, yes it is. You just had a different hero in your head. “He would have NEVER run away or quit!” Are you sure? You know what, we knew this! In TFA he had run away and hid but no one seemed to give a shit the. He was caught almost killing his nephew, who then become the next Vader in his eyes. He’d failed is entire family, not to mention the families of the other apprentices. I don’t think he left because he was a coward. I think he left to make sure he didn’t do any more damage. Mark did a perfect job making Luke a mix of old crazy wizard Ben and exiled and alone Yoda. He’s crass. He’s eccentric. He gives no fucks. He goes from being funny to an absolute bad ass. This guy saw his entire work wiped out in one evening. So he ran. He failed. And if you actually watch the movie they explain all this perfectly. He cut himself off. He has no idea Han is dead, much less the state of things. He doesn’t want his saber back, his days are great! Blue milk from the tap lol Is this the Luke we thought we wanted? Not really. I’ve read all the books and comics. But in those Luke is flawed. He loses people. He turns. He runs away. They just have an entire universe to tell his story, not a third of a movie. I would have loved to see Luke fly back at the last second, buzzing the First Order walkers in his X-Wing and whooping as he killed TIE Fighters, but that would have been a disservice to everything they had accomplished in this movie. Luke never wanted the responsibility of the Jedi on his shoulders. It was thrust upon him. Now he’s passed that on and could go out like a hero.
Finn’s whole role in the movie. The first time I didn’t get it. Master Code Breaker? Really? You’re going to take a ship away from the fleet, find ONE person, then return all before your ships run out of fuel? OK. It was absolutely an unnecessary part of the movie. Until you realize it had nothing to do with any of that. It was a plot device that finally gave Finn purpose. In TFA and the beginning of TLJ all he wants to do is run. Then fuck Rey. Then run and find Rey. At no time did he give a damn about the Resistance. Whelp, now he does. And he’s going to be an asset. It took a thief to show him the galaxy isn’t black and white. The people in it don’t care about politics and government, only making money. And that’s why he needed to focus on the Resistance.
Poe, being the whiny bitch every Star Wars movie needs. I really wanted Poe to be linked to Wedge somehow. But that’s me. Anyway, I thought this was completely childish and he was a dick that put more at risk than he helped. Between my first and second showings I read his comic books. In those Leia is basically grooming him to lead the Resistance. So in Poe’s mind, he’s important. He’s vital. He needs to be in the know about everything. Watch again. When they announce who’s going to take over the fleet Poe leans forward, then back in disappointment. It should have been him. And the cocky ace pilot, right hand to General Leia herself, was a nobody. He was a soldier, told to take orders and trust officers he’d never met. Over the course of watching his fleet get destroyed, and then watching Luke take on the First Order alone, he realizes he can’t just be a fighter pilot and save the galaxy. He has to be more. He has to run away. You literally see the light bulb go off in his head lol
Rey. Little nobody Rey. Man the theories! Obi-Wan’s daughter. Luke’s daughter. Han’s daughter. Daughter of Jedi that escaped Order 66 and fled to Jakku. She spent a movie and a half trying to find purpose for herself. Find out where she came from. Well, she came from nothing. THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!! Up until this moment this has always been about the Skywalker’s bringing balance. Skywalker vs Skywalker. Well, if the Force truly is what Luke describes in the movie, maybe it means the Skywalker’s aren’t the answer. That there needs to be a new breed of Force user to end the Skywalker line and start fresh. “Destroy the past”. It’s entirely possible Rey’s parents had zero Force ability. That they were just alcoholic junk traders. She’s cited twice just in this movie having as much raw power as Kylo. So, balance.
Speaking of Kylo, can we just talk about Snoke? Another bitching point is that Snoke plays out to be the most powerful person in the galaxy. He raised an army. He was seen using the Force like you or I would use a remote controller. And yet, Kylo does deceive him. And kills him. My thoughts are that Snoke is so powerful and arrogant he was easily manipulated. Most people in power are. How many corrupt officials think they’re above the law, smarter than everyone, invincible only to be taken out by the person they trust the most? And why would Kylo do that? Why did he hate Snoke so much to kill him? Well, Kylo literally kills his father and Snoke shit on him saying it wasn’t good enough. Snoke basically kicked his favorite puppy to show him affection. It’s all right there, if you’re looking closely enough.
Were there a few parts that I thought weren’t great? Sure. But that’s every Star Wars movie. Think back. A monster in a trash compactor? Chewie fighting tiny pigs for parts of Threepio? Ewoks? And we’re not even getting into pod racing, rolling around in fields, or Threepio becoming a battle droid. Or Gungans. All I know is this. When I left that theater a second time I was excited. I immediately wanted to play a game of Armada (fucking hyperspace jump! Which is totally impractical as a mass weapon for all THOSE haters). I started working on final touches for my Poe costume. I played the soundtrack as soon as I got home. That, to me, that feeling, is what makes a great Star Wars movie.
To appreciate and enjoy the Last Jedi, you really must unlearn what you have learned about Star Wars.