I’ve seen The Last Jedi twice so far. Yes, I loved it. Yes, I will spoil. You have been warned. Also, I have linked to a bunch of articles about The Last Jedi that I have found very interesting and say some of my thoughts better than I could.
Point of no return.
Okay. This is the longest Star Wars film to date. It didn’t feel that way. Time wise, this may be the most compressed of the Star Wars films to date as well. It basically starts where The Force Awakens ends: the Resistance is evacuating their base before the First Order comes and Rey has found Luke Skywalker.
There are basically three plot threads: Rey with Luke, Poe with the Resistance, and Finn with Rose on their mission.
Rey with Luke meant the most to me. Luke is grumpy. We see three different versions of at least a part of the reason why. Rey gets her cave moment, like Luke did in Empire, but it is much more ambiguous. I like Rey’s determination. Her decision to leave was not wise, but came from good intentions. Her relationship with Kylo Ren is very complex, which adds to it. Both actors do terrific. But the prize for acting here is Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. He shows us every Luke we have seen and more: whiny kid, wide-eyed earnest kid, wise Jedi-master, man full of regrets, grumpy-old man. His ending was a masterpiece and quite fitting I thought. Some of the articles I linked to go into why this was so.
Poe butting heads with Vice-Admiral Holdo was on the one hand realistic. I liked seeing him grow. On the other, my one complaint would be they didn’t explain why Vice-Admiral Holdo wasn’t explaining what her plan was, especially as things got desperate. “Above your rank/paygrade” doesn’t quite cut it at that point. Her sacrifice was perhaps the most gorgeous thing we have seen in Star Wars to date. And yes, I know, it doesn’t even make entirely in universe sense. I don’t care. I also don’t care that flying Leia doesn’t make sense. It was beautiful, and I miss Carrie Fisher. Who Did an amazing job as well. No wonder she was able to create the Resistance from the ground up.
Rose is a great new character. Finn paired with her is great. He has learned to care about an individual, now he needs to learn how to care about the galaxy, and Rose is the perfect one to teach him this. Canto Bight looks amazing. Okay, so I didn’t care about their mission as I did about the Rey/Luke/Kylo storyline, but I think it adds a ton to the Star Wars Universe: that we don’t destroy what has hurt us and therefore we hate, but we protect what we love. That anyone can help, everyone is important. As for DJ, he added an important perspective.
John Williams did his usual amazing work with the soundtrack. No new standout themes to me, but loved the use of old themes.
I loved the themes of everyone having potential, learning from failure, and hope.
What I didn’t like: such little use of Captain Phasma. Better explanation for Vice-Admiral Holdo.
This movie overturned expectations. Snoke’s end. Rey’s parents. (Is that the whole story?) Luke throwing away the lightsaber. Aside from general themes (Light v. Dark, Rey v. Kylo Ren, Resistance v. First Order), I literally have no idea what they want to do with Star Wars IX. I love that director Ryan Johnson broke everything, and therefore is making us think. I can’t wait for the finale.
Worthy of a Jedi Master at Far Far Away Radio
Attack of The Last Jedi by Emily Strand at Hogwarts Professor
The Last Jedi: Lessons in Failure at Far Far Away Raido
The Force Reinforced: How The Last Jedi Reafirms the Values of Star Wars at Eleven Thirty-Eight
Luke Skywalker Ins’t Supposed to Be “Nice” – at Tor.com