The Last Jedi was the second biggest opening weekend in movie history behind The Force Awakens.
Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, the fact that a new movie is coming every year is a worldwide phenomenon. Naturally, there’s going to be discussion from fans, but it’s impressive to see how divisive this movie turned out to be. I don’t know if Disney knew this would happen or not, but it’s the conversation of the moment for movie lovers and general audiences.
Personally, I loved the film. Even though it has flaws, like the editing and some plot aspects, this is a fresh take on the Star Wars franchise that was needed. For this Spoiler Talk, I’m going to express key points that I like from the movie as well as things I didn’t like so much. And remember:
The Last Jedi has many things going, some good and some bad. Evidently, this is Rey’s film. Her journey from no one to beginning her training as a Jedi was a bit underwhelming for me, but I appreciated what they did with her character. The biggest thing about her is learning from Kylo Ren that her parents are actually not special, just some drunk junkers who sold her as a child. A lot of people are angry with this twist, but I loved this!
Here’s my take-away from this: The most influential people on Earth all came from nothing. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Rosa Parks, Da Vinci and many more all came from nothing. Their achievements and marks on the history of the Earth weren’t because they came from being sons and daughters of people with power. They paved their ways through history and, while some had good intentions and others bad, they are people who changed the world. This is the same with Rey.
Rian Johnson’s decision to eliminate Rey’s lineage as a factor for her being a great Force user is so powerful because it proves that the Force isn’t just something for few people. You don’t have to be a Skywalker to be the greatest Force user; your name doesn’t automatically give you Force powers, the Force chooses you. That is proven at the end of the film when the small boy grabbed the broom with the Force, proving that the smallest person in the galaxy can achieve greatness.
There’s a lot of controversy running with the way Luke Skywalker was handled. I thought his development was so good! When we first see him, no one expected him to be this old man who is tired of having anything to do with the Force, the Jedi, Sith or anything else. Mark Hamill’s portrayal is the best we’ve ever seen of this character.
When Rey gave him his father’s lightsaber and he threw it away like it didn’t matter made me understand that this was a man who is broken down because of Ben Solo’s turn to the Dark Side. The thing that sticks out with Luke is the realization that his sister’s son turning to the Dark Side was a wake up call to the famous Jedi Master.
This was proven when he talked about his reasonings for the end of the Jedi Code. We learned that he almost killed Ben because he was being seduced by Snoke. He realized that what he did was selfish and wrong. This is such great character development, to the point it goes alongside Kylo’s development: A master that failed his pupil, and a pupil that failed his master by leaving for the Dark Side.
Luke’s last battle with Kylo was such a great plot twist. Him actually being a projection he’s been doing from the other side of the Galaxy proves that he’s strong in the Force, and even more so when he vanishes in mid air a la Obi Wan in A New Hope.
Not going to lie, when he was looking at the two moons the same way in the first Star Wars, I was heartbroken.
This is a hero’s journey ending the way it started. Obviously, what people are thinking is that he’ll come back in the next film as a Force Ghost like Yoda (which, by the way, is in the movie and provoked the biggest “HOLY COW!” I’ve ever said in the movies).
About Yoda: He was a HUGE moment for the film. Being a Force Ghost, he struck lightning when Luke couldn’t burn the books he’s been carrying for years. This proves what Obi-Wan said in A New Hope, that he became powerful once Vader struck him down. And what I love about Yoda’s cameo is the lesson he gave to Luke: Failure is essential.
This is seen with almost everyone in the film: Poe was failing to help the Resistance escape the First Order, Rey got disappointed with Luke because he isn’t the person she thought he is, Finn and Rose failed to hack the hyperspace tracking system in Snoke’s ship and Luke failed Ben. Even after 30 years, Yoda still has something up his sleeves.
Kylo’s development was one of the strongest foundations of the film. We now understand why he is the “Emo Ren” people have been making fun of. To think that your own uncle would kill you without explanation will probably lead him to make bad decisions in his life. When we last saw Kylo in TFA, it would be logical that the death of Han Solo will fully turn him to the Dark Side, but it isn’t like that.
He is still a character with internal conflicts. He has doubts as to whether or not what he’s doing to please Snoke is enough. He tries so hard to emulate his grandfather that he’s ignoring his own identity, and that’s why he’s so compelling and interesting. Snoke said to let the past die, to “take off that ridiculous mask” and let his face show. The ridiculous mask could be interpreted as the identity of Kylo Ren, as a whole, he’s been forcing on himself.
Evidently, he killed Snoke in order to rise as Supreme Leader and thought he could convince Rey into joining him to rule the Galaxy. The reason why I liked how that sequence played is that Kylo did what Vader never could: Kill his Master. This is how the Sith are born. Killing Snoke made him a true Sith Lord and truly turn to the Dark Side. This decision was his own, he could’ve easily let Rey die, but he understood that after a lot of pain and manipulation from Snoke, he’s in charge of his future.
My previous statement could be understood with Luke’s lessons on the island. He explained to Rey that the Force isn’t just lifting rocks and lightsabers, there’s more to it.
The Force is a balance, something that both the Sith and Jedi believed belonged to each side. That’s why Luke wanted to end the Jedi Code: their selfish interest in ending the Sith with the balance of the Force brings more conflict to it. This is why the scene where Rey and Ben team up is so powerful. (And amazing!) It’s a demonstration of when the Light and Dark Side of the Force are joined together for a common goal. That’s literally the definition of “balance.”
The rest of the cast worked great, too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Canto Bright subplot and how Finn and Rose were treated. They should’ve let Rose be the hacker the Resistance needed instead of Benicio Del Toro’s character (even though seeing him in a Star Wars movie brought me joy since I’m a Puerto Rican) and that Finn and her were infiltrating Snoke’s ship. I get that the subplot would lead to the boy who is a Force user, but it should’ve been handled better and made the movie less clunky.
Suprisingly, Leia wasn’t killed in this movie! I was sure that they would end her character here, but apparently there’s more to her in Episode IX. I do think that the scene with her using the Force was really special for the director and everyone in Lucasart since she left us last year, but it could’ve been handled better as well.
Poe was AWESOME in this movie. I loved the opening scene with him riding the X-Wing and the sequence with the Resistance destroying the Dreadnought. They all were killed, but it works because it proves that Poe is a flawed character as well. In previous movies, the heroes make a plan and 90% of the times it works. In TLJ, they all fail, which makes characters like him unique.
The biggest letdown of the film wasn’t Snoke’s Death, it was him dying without any context to his background. I like that he was a plot point to Kylo Ren and not a Palpatine 2.0 and that the way he was killed was because of his ego.
Sadly, Disney overhyped a character as this big force to be reckoned with and killed him after having less than 15 minutes of screen time, and it fell flat. It would’ve been better to just remove the Canto Bright scene and replace it with more development on him. The same goes for Phasma. I want to believe that she’s alive, but if she’s not back for Episode 9, it’d be a bigger letdown than Bobba Fett in Return of the Jedi.
The biggest highlight of the film was the shot of the Resistance ship driving through Snoke’s ship in Hyperspace. WHAT A SCENE! Never in the history of Star War films have I seen something like this. The fact that it was without sound was so impressive and lead to a huge “Wow!” from the audience.
Whether you loved it, liked it or hated it, The Last Jedi is a film that did what no other could: break the routine. Rian Johnson could’ve easily made a remake of Empire Strikes Back and called it a day, but that would be too easy. This man is a Star Wars fan by heart, and he understands that there needs to be some changes around the saga: it can’t always be about the Skywalkers. Johnson paved way for more fresh content in the next installments, and, while I understand why fans disliked it, I didn’t mind. The focus of this film is “Let the past die.” Now I understand fans aren’t going to start ignoring the previous films, but what it means is that they can let go of the old and create something totally different. I’m very excited for what the future of Star Wars holds, and I’m sure that The Last Jedi is a movie that will make sense in the long run.