Alright people, this is your first and only warning! What follows is going to be the spoiler heavy review going into depth on the film: Star Wars EPisode VIII: The Last Jedi! I wrote this review for those among us who have seen the film already and actually care for my thoughts on said film. And/or those people who either don't want to see the film or don't care about getting spoiled! If you have no been to see the movie, and don't want spoilers...be gone with you! Go see this amazing film first! I will be making a spoiler free review as well!
Okay, are you still with us? Then let’s go!
Last chance to pull out, Red Leader
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has garnered much speculartion and kept the rumor mill at full tilt! Most of this speculation concerns the future of new characters ever since the early screenings of the force Awakens! The rumors and questions have got fans discussing and arguing so many different aspects of the film. Chief among them, who the hell is Rey's parents? Of course, this also includes the intensified aforementioned efforts that fired up all the more with the release of more and more promotional material, trailers, etc. I've entertained theory after theory in my private ruminations. Now, it is time to tackle the movie that is Star Wars: THe Last Jedi!
Up to now, we had thought that we had seen all that the force was capable of doing. From making rocks and other objects fly and be tossed at your enemy to choking someone out with your mind or pushing them across the room. or the cooler tricks such as force lightning, and the Jedi Mind trick to get others to do what you want or to make them forget all about you. still this film has taught us that was plain wrong and we need to rethink what we thought we knew about the mystical energy that surrounds us, and binds us.
Luke Skywalker, (Mark Hamill). General/Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, RIP :( )Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Supreme Leader Snoke (motioned captured by the maestro of the art form), each of them show us something new and amazing about the force. It is capable of much more than we had previously thought! Luke is haunted by his failure to bring Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) back from Snoke's control, after he turned to the Dark Side. Now, Luke may have desired to bring the Jedi to an end. This doesn't mean that the Foce doesn't continue to grow and explan upon what is possible with the fielding of its mystical energy. It will persist in its primary function, which is to surround us, and bind us. As yoda taught us back in The Empire Strikes Back.
Now, Snoke demonstrated what he was capable of and just toys with Rey after admonishing his apprentince, Kylo. The latter must have grown weary of being punshined time and time again after all who likes constant beratement? Of course, Snoke's nonchalant attitude towards both Kylo and Rey was hubris and led to his untimley demise at the hands of Kylo Ren's via the force control of the lightsaber Rey brought with her. Then in spectacular fashion, the duo, Rey who still believes there's good in him, figt sidebyside against Snoke's Praetorian guard, and the fight scene was not only glorious and epic but was masterfully choreographed!
Snoke's death by his apprentinece Kylo Ren while a result of the former's hubris, was true to Sith tradition. The master trains his pupil and later the latter betrays and kills his master. I expected Snoke to bite the big one just not this quick. But Kylo Ren was playing the role of abused kid, and he acted out and used Snoke's hubris and distraction (Rey's being tossed around like a rag doll) to act and kill the evil bastard!
We have all supsected that Kylo and Rey had a connection and it was made apparent in this film that they did have on but this was all Snoke's doing. of course, I began to wonder about this, too. I mean if Luke decided against teaching her (Rey), would this mean she'd turn to Kylo for training? Thus, forcing her to turn to the dark side. Also, there was talk of Luke turning evil and joining snoke. Also, as many have discussed with me the possibility of Rey turning Kylo Ren back to the LIght. Luke had closed himself off to the force and simply abandoned the whole of the galaxy turning a blind eye to the galaxy's problems...namely the first order. But this made him also mysterious and after listening to him detail out the event of his nephew going to the dark side and destroying what he had built and all that made you kinda understand why the man shut himself off.
All of these elements not to mention the plot threads from The FOrce Awakens were handled beautifully within the confines of the two and half hour film duration. Not only did Rian Johnson wrap up many of those plot threadss, he introduced new ones. Some of which he brought closure to while others still linger to be handled by the return of JJ Abrams in Episode 9.
We all get to see what happened to the new JEdi Temple Luke had built and what happened to his pupils and the fall of Kylo Ren to the dark side. From Luke's perspective, he had gone to Kylo's bedside and was about to put a end to the boy but decides against this course of action. Only Kylo awakens to see his master standing over him and unleashes the full extent of his raw untapped power, destroy the temple and kill all but a handful of Luke's students who I assume became the Knights of Ren. Luke confesses to Rey that for a brief moment, he had tapped into the Drkness. Even though this would've been for the good of the galaxy, he regretted his actions regardless of his not going through with it. The damage was already done.
Though Rey sets out with the benevolent mission to turn the conflicted Kylo to the light side, there’s so much raw power and pain in Rey that Luke and Kylo both see that she has the capability of great darkness. But the film sets up (as was reflected in the previous season of Star Wars Rebels as well) that the Jedi and the Sith are two parts of a balanced equation, that you cannot have darkness without light. Snoke mentions this specifically, that he knew for Kylo to have such dark side energy, there’d have to be an equal counterpart on the light side.
For a brief moment, in the movie’s standout action scene (possibly the best scene in the whole movie), we see what a formidable team they would make, effing up a roomful of Snoke’s impressive gladiator-like guards. It’s a partnership all too brief, for while Rey (and I) thought maybe this meant Ben Solo had turned to the light side, Ben saw it differently.
The Solo-turned-Ren seized this moment as an opportunity to gain power and bring Rey over to the dark side. But neither wish came true; the conflict in Ben Solo is all but gone and his hatred has taken over again, and despite Rey’s own anger, she could never turn to the dark side. They’re destined to be enemies. And in the same moment, all of the speculation about Rey’s parentage is answered: she’s a nobody, born to a pair of nobodies who just ran off and left her on Jakku for no good reason.
I got a split-second of disappointment at this revelation. “That’s it? She’s not a Skywalker? Or a Kenobi, or any of the other billion possibilities we thought it might be?” But Johnson has Kylo call this out. He essentially tells her she doesn’t have a part in this family drama we’ve seen unfold for seven films. And yet we know, and Luke knows, that she absolutely does have a part to play, and it doesn’t matter if she’s part of a lineage of strong-with-the-Force people. ANYBODY can be a Jedi now, as we see the little boy from Canto Bight possessing both innate Force abilities and a spark of Rebellion in his heart. The Force is for everybody, and any ol’ nobody can save the galaxy.
It was pretty roundly accepted that the title The Last Jedi referred to Luke but we now know it simply referred to the last Jedi specifically taught via the Jedi Order. As Yoda appears to Luke as he almost brings himself to burn the first Jedi temple, the pint-sized Force Ghost says it is in fact time to let the Jedi end, but only the Jedi as we’ve known them so far. When Luke has his final, super badass confrontation with Kylo, he says he is not indeed the last hero to use the Jedi teachings, but he might be the last official Jedi, which, great! Get away from pomp and circumstance.
The Last Jedi was about establishing the new normal for the franchise. Johnson is already committed to telling new stories in a new trilogy of films, and this movie set that possibility up in a big way. The First Order has won, and has all but reestablished itself as the new Empire, and the Resistance (which was initially set up as a covert, sanctioned-but-unsanctioned task force by the New Republic to stop the First Order) is in tatters and it’s up to people to reform a Rebellion. So by the end of The Last Jedi, we have a new main bad guy in Kylo, a new (although let’s face it, she was pretty much this already) main hero in Rey, and a new generation of freedom fighters and Force-wielders.
If The Force Awakens was about reestablishing what people loved about Star Wars, The Last Jedi is about setting up what they’re going to love about the films going forward. And for a 40-year-old franchise to keep us guessing like that, it’s as welcome as a cool glass of blue milk.