I stayed up way too late on Thursday night to attend the premier of Star Wars The Last Jedi. We brought the entire family, and also met up with friends and extended family at the theater. It’s hard to explain how irrationally excited I was for this movie, but for some reason, this particular episode had me anxious to see what was next.
SPOILERS At this point I’m going to drop into Spoiler territory. Do yourself a favor and do not read further until you’ve seen the movie. Trust me. It’s for the best. SPOILERS
I don’t want to spend a lot of time recapping the story, so I want to just highlight some of the high and low points for me. Overall though, I really enjoyed this movie, and was incredibly excited that it turned out to be nothing like I was expecting. I think that Rian Johnson did an amazing job with this movie, and I’m sad that he won’t be directing Episode IX.
To start, I absolutely loved Luke in this movie. He was vulnerable, powerful, wise, and foolish. He was, in many way, an older version of that young kid that we saw back in A New Hope. Luke never had the benefit of growing up in the full Jedi order, and had to figure it all out for himself. At the same time he had to deal with his status as a “legend” and what that meant to the galaxy at large. When he finally sits down with Yoda one last time it feels like the fulfillment of his long journey from wide-eyed kid to Jedi Knight, and now needing to pass along the future to others.
The Star Wars movies are all about the Skywalker family. From Anakin to Luke and Leia, and what many people (myself included) assumed would be a long lost Rey Skywalker returning home. However, The Last Jedi took a different approach. It is apparent that with Luke’s passing at the end of the movie, and the need for Leia to pass away as well, that the only Skywalker left is Ben Solo. He’s given himself completely to the Dark Side, and is now the biggest threat in the universe to those who embrace the Light.
The final episode will be the conclusion of the Skywalker saga. Ben Solo must be defeated, and with him, the Skywalker bloodline will pass into obscurity. The question of Rey’s parentage was hotly debated, and when we found out that she was really just a nobody, it drove home the point that something new is dawning. The final scene of the child using the Force to grab his broom also showed that the future of the galaxy will rest in new hands.
I loved Carrie Fischer in this movie, and am sad that this was her final performance. I hope that they give her a fitting end in the next movie, without too much over-the-top CGI. Something dignified about her passing quietly in the years between movies would be nice. As Lor San Tekka stated in The Force Awakens, “To me she’ll always be royalty.” The role of Leia was a powerful one over the years, and one that shaped the role of women in movies for decades.
The new heroes of the story, Rey, Finn, Poe, and new addition Rose, we all excellent. I found Rose to be a fun addition to the group, and hopefully her character gets a chance to shine more in the next movie. However, she is part of one of my worries about the next film. I’m really not looking forward to a complicated love triangle between Rey, Finn and Rose. I really hope that it just gets resolved quickly, and doesn’t distract from the story.
Perhaps my only other real complaint about the movie was that we’ll have to wait for books and extended canon materials to find out more about Snoke. I felt like there is an incredible story there, but we never were let in on it. Now Snoke is dead (unless there’s some resurrection deal that’s going to happen), and Kylo Ren is the symbol of the Dark Side. Yet, I feel like I want to know more and more about Snoke, where he came from, and why he was doing what he did. Part of me worries that this was a bit of a marketing ploy to sell more books that will tell more of the story, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
All of the special effects we well done, with a few small exceptions here and there. However, none of the flaws detracted from my enjoyment of the movie. I can honestly say that this was an incredibly fun experience, and I am planning to see it at least once more in the theaters before picking it up to own. I’m excited for the resurgence of a great Star Wars franchise, and look forward to more amazing things to come!