Writer, Storyteller, Blogger
poster image of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“The Last Jedi”: Happy? or Shaking Your Fist?

– Posted in: Film and TV Reviews

SPOILERS: DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE

It’s been a week since I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I wanted to wait to review it because as my daughter often points out, I’m fond of spoilers and can’t seem to help letting juicy info slip out.

I have to admit a couple of days went by before I realized there was Star Wars backlash. I loved the film, and yes, I was surprised at the negative press, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been shocked. After all, there was backlash from The Force Awakens: the film was too much like Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. True, but that didn’t even ruffle one of my feathers. I thought the nodded to the original was a nice touch, and I expected the next film to diverge.

The Last Jedi Backlash: the film was non-canonical, too progressive, too corny jokes (have they seen the 1-6?), too many women, too diverse. So, you get the picture.

I’m shrugging again. I loved the Last Jedi.

We watched The Force Awakens the night before, and I had one little complaint. “I wish there was more diversity and more women in the film.”

My daughter quickly pointed out that one of the stars was a black man and women were women all over the place, walking around in the background and even saying a few words.

She was right, so I clarified. Yes, The Force Awakens did a better job than the other Star Wars films. I wanted more. Yes, I was delighted there was a black lead. I didn’t want all the major players to be men and one woman surround by a sea of testosterone. After all, this is the 21st century and the 1980s was a long time ago in decade far, far away. I wanted women to have more prominent parts in the story. I didn’t just want them just visible, I wanted them to count.

A few minutes into the movie, and I was saying to myself. “Wow, they got it.”

I felt as if the writers and the director time traveled and miraculously heard my complaint. Of course, that’s my fantasy. Actually, they have progressed into the 21st century world and are not stuck in a cannon that doesn’t change with the time. Yay!

WHAT I LOVED

I was delighted that the film isn’t wedded to a cannon of forty-years ago. Time passes and things change: the Jedi, the Alliance, the dark side of the force. In life, people change with the times. Some don’t and they are stuck in the past. They’re the ones saying, “In my day, . . .”

The diversity works, and it’s something I think George Lucas did with the various creatures he created in the early films.

There are strong women who play important roles in the plot.

The importance of choice rather than fate. The characters make choices, which determine their paths, rather than people fated to walk a certain path. Some choices are excellent. Some have negative repercussions. Some characters change their choices. Some choices reflect our current political climate.

Examples: Benicio Del Toro’s character is for sale to the highest bidder. He can be your friend one minute and your betrayer the next. For him, people are fighting on all sides, but he doesn’t take sides. He sales arms to either side, or sales out one group to another. The only thing that matters is who pays the most. Sound familiar? Profit over people.

Ray makes a conscious choice to follow the light side of the Force.

Luke, who is still a little bit of the whiner he’s always been, decides he was wrong to close himself off and chooses to help the rebels.

We think Supreme Leader Snoke is the ultimate evil guy, but end the end, we see he isn’t the all knowing one he leads people to believe. He completely misreads Kylo Ren’s intentions and is easy prey. Kylo Ren chooses to fully embrace the dark side of the force and will kill Ray if she doesn’t join him. This film shows us the birth of the dark side’s new ultimate evil leader. However, because we’ve seen his internal struggles and even though he chosen to step deeper into the dark side, he can’t completely deceive us or Ray. We’ve seen his internal struggles and that leads me to question the past evil ones: where they pure evil? or things more complex?

Shades of Gray: We leave behind the old idea of binary opposites of good vs evil and enter a world a grays. The good guys aren’t all good, and the bad guys aren’t all bad. The Force is a little like yin and yang. Dark and light both at play in everyone. Again, it’s the choices the characters choose to make that determine who they.

This film is complex and reflects our world back to us, which is what good science fiction does. The increasing fascism we see around us is reflected in this film. Those who profit on war and at the expense of others is there. The idea that the choices we make, like karma, lead us down various paths.

MY PROS:

Overall the story is good. When you are watching, there are several plot lines happening at once, but in the end, they come together and fit.

As a matter of fact, I think I need to see this one again in the theater because I have a feeling I didn’t catch everything. Like do the books Luke/Yoda burn show up later in a drawer? When Yoda said Rey has everything she needs was he talking about the books. You know Yoda, he’s sometimes cryptic. My daughter caught this one.

The movie is a great weave. One thing that seems off is that Ray’s training seems to take months but the other plots move faster. I’m okay with imagining that her training was short, but I give that one a nod as a possible glitch.

All those questions you had from the last movie, they’re answered. You may not like the answer, but they are answered. None of my guesses were right.

CONS

I don’t really have any cons, but I do have a word or two for all those people who want the Star Wars films to stay within some old cannon: the world is diverse, women are half the populations, times have changed, and these movies reflect that. The only languages and cultures that don’t evolve are the dead ones. I like my science fiction to be alive and reflect the world as if is now.

SOMETHING EXTRA

If you loved the porgs or hated them, here’s a fun article to check out.

I thought they were cute and adorable. I also thought they were a nod to George Lukus’ seeming love of strange little creatures. I was wrong. The real story is more interesting and shows the ingenuity of the film making crew.

Here’s the interview with the artist:

“Designing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Part 1: How Porgs Were Hatched”

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s puffin-like critters may be more than meets the eye”

THE USUAL REMENDER

If you enjoyed this post, please share. You can use the links at the top or below the post. Thanks!

Related Posts