Watched it a second time and from everything I’ve been reading I had to do a spoiler review, because I feel like I need too and come on it’s Star Wars!
I will bring up some issues that I had with it and what I really loved, and of course some of my theories as to where episode 9 will bring.
So that’s a fair warning, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Do want to point out that this is by far the longest review I have ever done. You may continue.
The Last Jedi had a lot of similarities with Emperor Strikes Back and we kind of knew that based on the trailer. We were going to have Rey with Luke on the island and Finn and Poe off with the resistance. I liked that because not everyone is going to be in the same room, this is war after all.
From the end of The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has located Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and has handed him his old lightsaber that belonged to Vader/his father. Just as he as he’s holding it he chucks it behind him like nothing. Which earned some chuckles because it was funny. Some people didn’t like that, stating that isn’t Luke curious as to how Rey came to possessing his lightsaber when he lost it decades ago. My answer is no. I mean I’m curious but no I don’t think Luke was curious. Luke is a very damaged man in this movie. He went into hiding out of shame for what became of his nephew, Ben Solo, who is now known as Kylo Ren. He closed himself from everything and when Rey is reaching out into the force and sees the light and dark, life and death, she realizes that Luke has closed himself off from the force. Luke was done. So when she handed him the lightsaber, something that is tied to the very thing that he ran away from, of course the natural response is to throw it away.
Rey continues to try to get Luke to train her and sometime passes that Luke gives in and tries to make her understand as to why the Jedi must end. I love the dynamic between the two and how well they worked together. Luke ends up afraid of how powerful Rey really is. When she’s meditating she sees the dark and goes to it and freaks Luke out because she was able to pull herself out. That was another issue I’ve heard about with Rey going into the dark but not once is tempted when Kylo tries to bring her to the dark side. Which I’ll go into a little more when I get to Kylo and Rey’s relationship.
I loved the whole Rey and Luke scenes and it did bring back the feels and memories of Luke training with Yoda. The action sequence with Rey alone on the cliff just adds to how bad ass she is. The whole island sequence was definitely one of things that I just wanted more of and really enjoyed watching.
Yoda makes an awesome surprise as a force ghost and has a chat with Luke just as he’s about to burn down the sacred tree that contains the Jedi texts. Having old school puppet Yoda taking with Luke was great! Luke tells Yoda that the Jedi need to end and why he feels like such a failure. Yoda, again with the wisdom, tells him that failure is the best teacher. Jedi must end but as we know it, not necessarily as extinction. I just loved that and they did it so well!
Snoke shipped the shit out of Reylo (Rey & Kylo Ren) in this movie. I’ll get to that later. I didn’t think I would but I approve! While on the island Rey suddenly can see Kylo and vice versa, but only themselves and not their surroundings. Rey yells at him for being a murderer, snake, just worse names and Kylo now knows that she has found Luke. At first I freaked because Luke and Leia can sense each other so does that confirm that their siblings? Yeah, no totally went in a different direction and gave me a new crush, to which I thank you TLJ.
I liked how it wasn’t one or the other trying to have that force link but it would just happen suddenly. Each time Rey would tell Kylo Ren that he was a monster and wanted nothing to do with him. But what immediately drew you in was Kylo asking if Luke told her what happened. Up until now we were told that Snoke was responsible for turning Ben Solo to the dark side. Luke tells Rey that Ben struck his lightsaber and attacked Luke. Then we hear Kylo Ren tell his side, which is Luke went into his hut in the middle of the night with his lightsaber on ready to kill him and he just defended himself.
Rey is suddenly conflicted, both are telling her two different stories and doesn’t know who to believe. But before I get too much into the two different sides thing, let’s talk about Rey and Kylo Ren for a second. Rey goes into this dark hole in this cave that reminds me of when Luke was in Dagobah and sees Darth Vader in the forest but it was actually himself. Rey sees a reflection of herself but multiplied and touches the glass and asks to see her parents, only to see herself. We hear Rey narrating the scene as you’re watching it and you then realize she’s telling it to someone. Kylo Ren. Telling him that she’s never felt so alone and you see that there is a connection there besides this telepathic force. Just then Luke busts in as a father catching their daughter with a boy in her room and tells her to leave. Rey confronts Luke and they go at it!
Luke may be old but this guy has moves. Rey ends up knocking him down and asks him what really happened that night. We hear the truth. Luke had seen what was in Ben Solo’s mind, all the dark, pain and destruction and he if he didn’t kill him than all that would come to true. But in a second he felt ashamed and decided not to but Ben woke up and saw his uncle over him with his lightsaber on and he attacked. Luke feels responsible for turning Ben into Kylo Ren because of that course of action on his part. As a teacher, mentor, and uncle he failed him. Rey tells him that she has seen his future and he can be turned to the light and end the war.
People don’t buy that someone would look into a family member’s mind and see darkness and go and kill them. Hope not because that some serious shit! But let’s go back to The Force Awakens. Leia and Han are talking about Ben and Han says, “There’s too much Vader in him.” Leia then says “that’s why I wanted him to train with Luke.” We know she’s force sensitive, so I think she knew about Ben Solo turning to the dark side by Snoke and she asked Luke to train him and hope that would help him not go that path. Which failed. So they were aware of their son going in that direction and their final hope was Luke. Which brings us to the tragic story, Luke knew and wanted to prevent the bad stuff he saw in Ben but that doesn’t change the fact that that’s his nephew and that’s why he hesitated.
Which brought up another issue some people didn’t like and that was Rey going to Kylo Ren and try to turn him. Which happened after she saw him shirtless. I mean did you not see the guy? I don’t think it was a romantic thing or at least not right away but Rey felt alone after her experience in the cave. Even in Jakku she was waiting for her family to return and so she didn’t really feel alone but a sense of purpose. Now, she’s found someone that knows what she’s going through and he doesn’t want to help. So the one person, though not by choice, is there listening to her and knows what she’s feeling. Kylo Ren made her feel like she really wasn’t alone. Rey saw a different side of Kylo Ren. Even Luke went seeking for Darth Vader because he believed there was good in his father.
And of course that’s different because it was a father and son and Rey and Kylo don’t have that, but because of that force link a bond was created. Rey touched his hand, saw his future, a future with no more war, no more deaths, and good in him so why not try to turn him.
Rey leaves Luke on the island and goes to find Kylo Ren and try to turn him, only for him to take her straight to Snoke. Now we can talk about the Snoke ship! We finally see Snoke instead of a hologram and the dude is menacing. He tells Kylo Ren just how weak he is because even though he killed his father he is mourning his death and it shows. Kylo is forced to take his mask off and you see that he hasn’t slept and just looks miserable. Snoke tells him that he hides behind this mask and that he isn’t what he thought he would be and it really pisses him off. Kylo Ren destroys his mask and you see that he wants everyone to know him and be fearful of him. But he still has a mask. With Rey we see a vulnerability with Kylo but then he goes off and acts like a baddie in front of everyone else. Is he good pretending to be bad or bad pretending to be good?
Which brings us to one of my favorite scenes! Kylo Ren brings Rey to Snoke and it does have a lot of similarities to Emperor Strikes Back, with Rey in cuffs, the three in one room, Snoke shows Rey the Resistance and of course Snoke trying to get her to join him. Snoke reveals to Rey and Kylo Ren that it was him that bridged their minds together and they fell for the trap. Snoke than turns Rey around to face Kylo Ren and just when you think Kylo is going to use his lightsaber to kill her he uses the force and kills Snoke.
WHICH LED TO A KICK ASS FIGHT SCENE!!
We knew they had chemistry, I mean we saw it in every scene, but how well they worked together during that fight sequence was more gratifying than if they were to make out in the hut on the island. You see Kylo Ren fighting on one side and Rey on the other, than she sees him in trouble and yells “Ben” and throws her lightsaber or Luke’s, to him and he catches it and stabs the guard in the eye. Even the second time watching it, it gives me chills and makes my heart race. Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley do a great job with their characters to make them work well together yet see how strong they are apart, in one scene. It’s definitely a scene that is engraved in my head!
Just then you think he’s a good guy now, completely ignoring the fact that he still killed his father, he looks at Rey and tells her to leave with him. The second he said that I immediately thought he was going to do an Anakin and he did. He tells Rey forget the The First Order, forget the Resistance, join me and we can rule a different empire. Rey cries and begs him not to do this and here is what a lot of people didn’t like. Kylo tells Rey he saw her parents and to say it out loud because she knows too but has locked it away. Rey says that they were nobodies. They sold her for drinking money. What they did with her story arc is brilliant! I know, The Force Awakens set up to have Rey have this big secret of who her family is or is she connected to the Skywalkers. But really that was our interpretation. We see her as a little girl being left behind on Jakku, and now we know that her parents abandoned her. She knew her parents didn’t want her, sold her but she still waited for them. Because it’s her parents. She created this idea in her head that maybe her parents had to leave her behind, that they had a legitimate reason for what they did other than being horrible parents. When you start replaying this idea, because the truth sucks, you begin to believe it. That’s the case of Rey.
Star Wars isn’t about being a Skywalker, Rey comes from nothing and the force chose her and now we have her story. I just love the idea of her being completely new, while others and yes I too thought the same, speculated that she was a Skywalker or Obi-wan’s daughter, or something connecting her to a story we’ve known for decades. Who knows maybe she’ll take the name Skywalker. Leia was Organa than Skywalker. Either way, I love the direction of her story and I thought that was an awesome twist.
Rey ends up rejecting him and they both start using the force to get Luke’s or Vader’s lightsaber and ends up breaking. Rey escapes, leaving behind Kylo Ren. Now for the issues I had of the film. The casino scene should have never been in the film. It felt like it dragged the film down. We meet a new character named Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), who meets Finn and together they come up with a plan to help escape The First Order. In the beginning of the film we learned that The First Order has placed a tracker on the Resistance ship that can track them through lightspeed. Low on fuel, Finn and Rose figure out that the only way out is to get into the The First Order ship, disable the tracker, and escape without their knowledge. But in order to do that they need a hacker, which brings us to the casino planet.
I get the message behind it but it just didn’t add to the story, and frankly that 20 minutes could have been spend on something much more interesting and important, like Rey and Luke, Kylo and Rey or even Finn and Phasma, which I’ll get to. It comes down to that the whole scene was for one a quick scene at the end and that’s not something you have to add for a about 10 seconds of screen time. What they should have done is make Rose the hacker and they go stealth mood onto the First Order ship and then shit hits the fan. That would have made Rose relevant. It was a lack of opportunity for Rose. Instead they find a hacker played by Benicio Del Toro. He was weird, that’s the best way to describe. He tells Finn that every side thinks their on the right side so why bother joining. Which should have been a red flag because he ends up betraying them and tells the First Order that the Resistance is heading to the planet Crait.
With the sudden death of Carrie Fisher, I expected this movie to have her character die as well because we still have one more film and she won’t be in it. But as I was waiting it just never happened and I don’t know if I’m mad or confused. It was said she was going to have a promising role and no CGI. And I think this movie was a thank you letter to not just Carrie Fisher but Princess Leia. When Luke sees R2-D2 and tells him that nothing will change his mind and then R2 shows him the hologram from 1977 Leia with her infamous lines, of “help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Moments like that were hard to watch.
I did think she died when her ship was blown up by star destroyers but she ended up using the force and flowed back to the ship, like a boss. Leia is in a coma for a large part of the film so when they mention her if felt like they were talking about losing Leia. What really broke me was when Luke and Leia have a scene together and you see Luke wanting to apologize to her for everything and Leia just saying I know what you’re feeling and I’m here. It was much more powerful because Carrie Fisher did pass away, so I felt like it wasn’t just a goodbye from Luke and Leia but from Mark to Carrie. I have no idea where her story will be in episode 9 because she is very much alive at the end of this movie. Again they said they weren’t going to use CGI but did that mean in this one or for the next? That was one thing I felt like it was unresolved.
While Leia is in a coma, Holdo (Laura Dern) takes over and plays a total dick! She was someone I instantly thought was going to be a trailor. In the beginning of the movie Poe disobeyed an order from Leia to retreat, though his mission was complete a lot of people died. For that Poe was demoted which was fine, dude messed up and I liked that it made you aware that it’s not okay to just blow things up. You want to complete the mission but keep as may people alive as possible. The Resistance isn’t known for large numbers. Poe goes to Holdo and asks what the plan is and she basically says you’re a trigger happy fighter and we don’t need that.
Which is a total bitch slap! Then she starts evacuating ships to refuel, and it does look like she’s killing her own people. Poe seeing that comes to the same conclusion and I think things would have been resolved if she would have just told him the plan instead of keeping him in the dark. She redeems herself when she sacrifices herself in the most beautiful shot in the history of cinema. Everyone is in an escape pots heading to Crait, while Holdo stay behind to distract the First Order. But when DJ, the hacker tells the First Order the Resistance plans, they begin shooting. Holdo than turns the ship to face Snoke’s ship and rams into it with lightspeed. Leia wakes up from her coma, after knocking out Poe, tells him the plan and he immediately agrees, so why didn’t Holdo just tell him in the first place which would have prevented Finn and Rose to go to Canto Bight/casino planet.
Rian Johnson does a great job in making you feel like that character is in peril and will probably die. I thought Poe in the beginning was going to die when he turned off the com. I nearly yelled out NO when Finn flies directly into the cannon in Crait. I can’t think of a movie or show that you see a character in danger and think, it’s okay their going to be fine. I loved that, so well done!
Another thing I wished they would have done differently is Phasma and Finn’s showdown. I was so excited to see Finn have his shot with Phasma, someone who ruled him. It happened so quickly that I didn’t find it as satisfying if it were maybe longer or cut short and then have them face off again in the last movie. It felt too hyped up for it to end so quickly.
I’m saying this right now, I didn’t like the Rose and Finn romance scene. First, I didn’t see them as a romantic duo until she kisses him in Crait, which looked forced and awkward. Which says a lot because have you seen the prequels? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she saved him but when he shakes her awake after the crush and asks why, she could have just said, “I’ve lost my sister, I can’t lose another family member.” Because it’s a family and you don’t have to be blood to be family. It would have been much more effect and real than her saying, “I saved you dummy. That’s how we’re going to win. Not by beating those we hate, but by saving those we love.” Which didn’t bring an awww but a wait what, response.
No I don’t think Rey was jealous when she saw Finn look at Rose. It was more of intrigued. Here was a human connection, and she had one with Kylo Ren, but was it real or all Snoke, I do think something along those lines was playing her head.
On Crait Finn, Poe and Rose are the last flying ships trying to take out the cannon when in comes the millennium falcon with Rey and Chewie drawing away the tie fighters away. Kylo Ren still pissed off that he got rejected orders to blow the ship out of the sky.
This is something I knew in my heart was going to happen but was hoping to be wrong. The Resistance is trapped while the First Order is right outside with this massive weapon, and the return of AT-AT’s. Luke arrives and calls out Kylo Ren, and he places every weapon on him and fires. There was no way that was how Luke Skywalker was gonna go out. After they stopped firing out of the red smoke, because the ground has red sand, comes out Luke unharmed and brushes his shoulder, because he’s a bad ass. Kylo Ren meets his uncle and old master and he strikes and misses Luke and I didn’t notice it but when Luke moves there’s no red streak on the flood. Then he stabs Luke but nothing happens and we see that Luke is still on the island in meditation mode using the force to appear as if he was there on Crait. It was beyond amazing! Kylo Ren telling Luke that he would kill him and Rey, only to have Luke tell him that the war has just began. That the Resistance has been reborn. And that Rey would be the last Jedi. Luke then says, “see you around kid.” which is something Han would say and that just made it all the more glorious and a suck Kylo moment.
The Resistance seeing that Luke is buying them time go in search for a way out. Here is where you see Leia looking at Poe as someone who has the potential to lead and has learned the values she’s been try to teach him. Back on the island Luke collapses from exhaustion, then sees the two suns, a shot that was from Tatooine, and we see him fade and become one with the force.
Here is another thing people disagreed with and I get why. To lose Luke was something expected but not prepared for. I’ve read a few comments asking why did he die? Isn’t projecting himself a Jedi thing, so why did he die from it? My theory is he had closed off the force for god knows how long. From going to not using it to using everything you can possibly give, of course it’s going to have an effect. Jedi’s aren’t immortals, and though Yoda lived to be 900 years old he was a different species. Luke is human that is force sensitive. He gave everything he had within himself to help the Resistance and that caused his human form to die. I am about 99% sure he will return as a force ghost to help Rey with her training in episode 9. Knowing did not make that scene any easier. I still cried! But it was a beautiful shot.
Rey and Leia sense Luke being one with the force as everyone climbs onto the millennium falcon. Just as she’s about to take off she has another telepathic force with Kylo Ren, which begs the question why are they still able to do that now that Snoke is dead and was responsible for it? I’m sure that will be answered in the next movie, but it does make the scene more interesting when they’re both looking at each other and she closes the door.
Snoke was built to be this all powerful villain and then killed in the second movie after only two scenes is a bit disappointing, but again it brought one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie. It does make me wonder how episode 9 will tie everything up. Kylo Ren is now the new Supreme Leader. When Snoke was alive the possibility Kylo Ren turning over was a possible outcome or dying while turning to the light. Now I’m not sure. If Kylo Ren dies than there will be no baddies in the galaxy. Is that even possible?
What about the porgs? Yeah those were to sell toys. There are no reasons for it other than merchandise. Which we had before and I don’t want it leading in the direction again. Make them have a purpose other than being cute. Don’t get me wrong, their cute but I prefer my characters, creatures, basically everything to have a meaning behind it and a reason for their appearance. The porgs didn’t add to the movie and if you were to remove them, again it wouldn’t change anything. So why bother having them in it.
We still have yet to see the Knights of Ren. Will we finally have Lando Calrissian make a cameo? How are they going to deal with Leia’s arc? Will we get to see how Ben Solo was seduced by the dark side? I do love that there’s so much speculations as to what episode 9 will bring. Star Wars is something that can make a conversation never ending, which is just one of the reasons why I love the franchise so much. I’m beyond excited to have J.J Abrams back and know that it will be one to remember.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi had some flaws, which is to be expected when they switch directors and writers, and because no movie is ever perfect. I love what Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Issac bring out with their characters and it shows that they push themselves to be the best they can be, and that doesn’t go unnoticed. Mark Hamill’s return was worth the wait. Visually stunning. Overall a damn good time.
If you haven’t seen it go watch it and if you have and didn’t enjoy it I suggest watching it one more time. Or you can just wait until 2019.
Want to wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy hanukkah, Kwanzaa, boxing day or just happy Sunday the 24th and Monday the 25th.