When I started this rewatch and putting my thoughts out there I knew The Last Jedi was going to be the last movie I had seen, which only makes sense since The Rise of Skywalker is the next part of the story after TLJ, but its talking about this movie it not necessary something I enjoy doing anymore. Probably because its very tough to have reasonable conversation about it. The divisiveness has soured me a little bit. I have some problems with the movie myself, its not perfect, but I do think people can be a bit easier on it than they are. Now there are people that are defending The Last Jedi to death as well. The Rise of Skywalker is already seen online hate from The Last Jedi supporters, two days before most people can see it. Doesn’t make much sense.
I remember reading quite 4-5 years ago about Rian Johnson getting hired for Episode VIII. The only movie I had seen of his at that point was Looper. I hardly remembered a thing about it. I just knew it was well received critically. Johnson was not a name I was particularly excited to see get the job, but I wasn’t disgusted by the choice either. I liked this choice far more than Colin Trevorrow for Episode IX. I did study up on Johnson’s past films a bit, so by the time the movie came around they had awarded him with another trilogy, which sent the hype to huge levels.
I did get on board with Johnson’s ideas over the marketing campaign. I was prepared for the Luke Skywalker that we got in The Last Jedi because I read nearly any Star Wars report. Many others do not have the time to devote to Star Wars that I have. I do think if more people were prepared about Luke going in, more people would’ve enjoyed it, whether that is right or wrong. I do think at the end of the day the handling of Luke is what most people don’t like about it.
Oddly enough The Last Jedi is probably the movie that makes Luke Skywalker my favorite character. Luke. Rey and Kylo Ren’s side of the story is probably the strongest in the film if you ask me. I think the other two storylines are weaker.
The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, which is the first time that’s been done in the Skywalker saga. I wonder how people would have felt if The Force Awakens ended with Luke throwing the lightsaber? It would’ve changed the tone of the ending in a big way, but it would get fans prepared for what was coming. That said, I’m sure JJ Abrams had something completely different in mind for Luke than Rian Johnson did. Someday I’d love to hear what JJ would’ve done. In Johnson’s defense, if Luke Skywalker is going to live out of the rest of his life in isolation I figure he has to have a reason for doing it. It didn’t seem that logical that when Rey showed up with the lightsaber that Luke would be suddenly join the fight no questions asked. Considering killing his nephew would be enough to do it.
One thing I compliment The Last Jedi for (and many probably think of it as a detractor which I understand) is that its one of the more thematically rich Star Wars movies. I also think stylistically its one of the best. Even if you don’t care for the direction the story chose to take you have to admit the movie looks phenomenal from a visual standpoint.
One thing I always forget to mention about this movie is the unsung performances. In the early minutes there are a couple who are never mentioned. Mark Lewis Jones as Captain Canady, who was able to make a faceless First Order Officer into an memorable role. I also think Rose’s sister Paige has a pretty intense moment too. A lot of that is because of how well its shot.
Although Snoke meets his end here I think Andy Serkis does a great job in the couple of moments on screen. Although if Snoke is really that powerful why is he not more involved in the fight? Can he not fight because he is physically frail? It seems like he is so strong in the Force that he’d do a lot of damage if he wasn’t so lazy.
One of the several things people found jarring about The Last Jedi was the humor. I don’t remember Rian Johnson’s films having so many jokes prior to this, but there’s a lot of it in this movie and its present in his new movie Knives Out also. I enjoyed a lot of the humor. The caretakers constantly getting fucked with was my type of humor. Especially when Rey destroys their cart.
Oddly enough, pretty much any character that is created for this film ends up being a bit of a disappointment. Rose was weak and so was Holdo. I personally really liked DJ, but others didn’t. Finn is also fairly short changed by this movie. His journey in The Force Awakens should have been enough to decide that he wants to be a part of the Resistance, so in some way he almost has a similar arc as the last movie.
One of my favorite moments in the whole movie is the Yoda moment. If you followed the production it seemed very likely that a Yoda return was coming. His appearance really sets Luke on the right track. I like the thought of Luke still needing guidance from his master. Yoda delivers some of the best quotes in the sequels in just a short moment, and its likely his words that drive Luke to do what he does at the end of the movie.
I’ve said before that I think The Last Jedi is excellent in the last hour. Luke’s final stunt is not the display of power that I hoped to see from him, but it ended up being more than that for me. It was not a physical display of power. He was able to inspire in the most Jedi way possible, without causing any violence. I still think its one of the coolest moments in the whole saga. The small moment he shares with Leia is perfect and it gained so much more significance since she had passed prior to the movie’s release. Even the slow walk out to his confrontation with Kylo Ren is a huge moment. I wasn’t smart enough to figure out that he was projection on my first watch. Although Johnson definitely plants the seeds throughout Luke’s moment. Then of course, the display of power is enough to kill Luke and he fades into the Force, looking at the twin suns.
JJ Abrams said recently in an interview “I don’t think Star Wars fans come to a movie to be told ‘This doesn’t matter'”. The Last Jedi backtracks a lot of what is set up in The Force Awakens, in a way that doesn’t exactly make it a great sequel. I think its a solid movie, but I think Johnson’s desire to make the story unpredictable put himself behind the 8 Ball a bit. I really like that Snoke was killed and I’m pretty cool with Rey being no one too (although it looks like that backstory may be altered again in The Rise of Skywalker).
The movie ends with broom kid, which is an interesting choice. Its not really something I like or dislike. I probably would’ve felt the same about the ending if it was broom kid or a shot of the remaining Resistance members on the Falcon.
So, I’m glad this retrospective is done. I figured since the saga was coming to a end it would be a cool way to close the book on these movies. It ended up taking a lot more time than I wanted it to, and I left it to a the last minute. Although a Star Wars rest is coming soon.