Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Yes, this has been out awhile. I’ve waited to put my thoughts down.
(The movie has been out long enough. There be spoiler’s here ma’tey…)
Star Wars is unreviewable.
It doesn’t really matter what anyone writes about Star Wars people will still see the movie.
But I am an addict.
I have issues. I have seen every new Star Wars movie at the earliest possible showing since Episode 2 Attack of the Clones. And back in the day of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, those were the midnight showings baby.
With The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now The Last Jedi thos first showings became 7 pm the Thursday before the real opening night. I like those times better, I’m too old now for midnight showings.
I do those showings because I know myself. I would have no ability to stay off social media and the internet to see what people are saying about the movie. If I go to the very first showing I can see the movie with just mine and the audience’s reaction to it.
Me running to get tickets for the first showing.
A for a while the only people that went to the first showing of a Star Wars movie were the true fans. Now it’s become corporate. Literally. There were businesses there as a group outing with their Star Wars badges and pressed dressed pants. Ugh!
New idea. In order to see the first showing of a Star Wars movie, you have to come dressed up as a Star Wars character. That’s the level of geekdom you need to have reached in order to see it first. Not because you hit your sales quota for the month.
So on December 14 at 7 pm I went to see The Last Jedi. I was there among my people. I saw a guy dressed up as Luke from The Last Jedi. It was quite an impressive cosplay I must admit.
And here is my overpriced BB8 cup just before the movie started.
Let’s get straight to the point. The Last Jedi. I loved it.
I was befuddled and confused the next day when I began to see the serious backlash against the movie.
I felt like I had seen a completely different movie.
So on December 15, I went and saw the movie again at a 2 pm showing. Just to make sure.
I was right.
It was a great Star Wars movie.
It wasn’t perfect.
Rian Johnson had two chances for complete and total knock punches and he totally pulled his punches.
Let’s get it out of the way: Space Leia.
I think the reason people really hated Leia’s space return is that the audience was cheated out of a great death of their princess. The theater was silent. SILENT! When Leia was sucked out into space. If Leia died there Johnson could have had the best Star Wars movie ever. But he cheated a little. We all know that Leia has Jedi abilities from being Luke Skywalker’s sister, and from her ability to hear Luke in Empire Strikes Back. She has Jedi powers. That’s not the issue. But Johnson took a great death, and then pulled the punch.
Unfortunately he did it again at the end of the movie as well. Finn was all prepared to sacrifice his life for the rebellion. The camera holds on Finn’s face, cuts back to the machines, then cuts back to Finn’s face.
I remember thinking, “No, don’t kill Finn! He can’t kill Finn!” Which means he probably should have killed Finn.
But instead Johnson pulled his punch and Rose comes in for the rescue.
Those two things kept The Last Jedi from being the best Star Wars movie.
Luke, like Yoda before him, has gone into hiding after failing their Jedi trainees.
When people complain that Luke wasn’t like we thought he would be. Well, he is thirty years older. Lots of stuff happens in three decades. You’re not the same person thirty years down the road.
Plus, Episode 7 sets Luke up. Han tells us that Luke blamed himself for Kylo Ren, so he went into hiding. This isn’t a happy-got-himself-together Luke. This is a sad and depressed Luke we are told about in Episode 7. Rian Johnson didn’t set this up. JJ Abrahams did.
Luke is a monk. I freakin’ love that! Luke is a monk, living among monks. This is what monks do. They hid up on the mountain and contemplate life.
Luke’s Force projection is the most ultimate of Jedi skills. He came through with the most bad-ass Jedi ability ever. Luke could your kick ass, and not even be on the same planet as you. That is epic.
And I gotta be honest, the shot of Luke standing alone before the Imperial Walkers gets me teary. That was the greatest image in the whole series for me. The Empire stops because Luke was standing there. And he WASN’T EVEN THERE! He made the walkers stop! Stop! And he wasn’t even there. Wow. That is power. That’s why that scene works.
Rey’s parentage was the punch to the gut that Johnson did give us.
When Kylo Ren says “You’re nothing. You mean nothing to this story.” I feel that pain.
Now, I’m not sure that I believe him. We know that Kylo is a liar. Why wouldn’t he be lying here? I don’t know. But I know I felt it when he kicks Rey with her parentage.
Johnson did something never done before in a Star Wars movie, when Rey and Kylo fought together against Snoke’s guards. That fight is invigorating. It is both visually beautiful, with the red of the room, the red of Kylo’s lightsaber, and the red of the guards. As the fight ends, the tension is palatable. They just spent the last few minutes on the same side defeating Snoke, now Johnson has us back to wondering who will turn. This is what Johnson did superbly, holding the tension.
The Last Jedi is one of the better Star Wars movies. I find it more interesting when things don’t go the way we expect that is more interesting.
It is more interesting and compelling when it is called Star Wars: The Last Jedi not Star Wars: Everything is Exactly as you it expected it be.
And that’s better for the whole galaxy.