Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★½

I could write pages and pages about that throne room scene, but the line that stood out to me this time was one of Kylo's pleas to make Rey join him--"you don't belong in this story". Because really, on a meta level, she doesn't. He does. The son of two of the most famous characters in the original trilogy, trained by the third, a grandson of Darth Vader, a literal great-grandson of the Force itself; in a franchise obsessed with bloodlines and lineage, chosen ones and destiny, Ben Solo is supposed to be our hero. But destiny is not everything, and instead, he is our villain. He says, let the past die, but it is his obsession with the past--his murder of his father, his loathing of his parents, his reverence, imitation, and borderline cosplay of his grandfather--that makes him uniquely evil, uniquely powerful, and uniquely terrifying, yet leaves him completely alone. His last shot in the film is him in isolation, black garb blending into a stark black room, the last memento of his father dissolving in his hands, separated even from his antagonistic force bond with Rey. On the other hand, Rey, the girl who is nothing from nowhere, who called herself no one the first time they met--she is surrounded by allies, by people who love her, nurtured by Kylo's own mother, miraculously alive. She should not belong in this story, but she does, because the thing is, Kylo isn't wrong: you do have to let the past die, but what he fails to grasp is that the death of the past means the death of past stories, or at least traditional ideas of who belongs in them. Rey's parents were not characters from Star Wars past, or characters at all; they were junk traders who sold her for drinking money. And yet, the past is dead, and she is here. Let it burn.

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