Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★½

I am a casual Star Wars fan. I think most of the movies are fair / good, each with its own successes and failures. I am neither a fanboy, nor a hater. I typically approach these in my thinking as "movies" and not so much as properties or franchise entries.

That being said, I think the Last Jedi fits right in there with most of the rest of the films. I did think the Leia in space scene was bizarre (although I feel like that is a direct visual reference to another movie and I just can't put my finger on it. Possibly a dream sequence image from the Big Lebowski???). I thought The Last Jedi was goofier than it needed to be. Luke brushing the dust off his shoulder was eye rollingly bad. And milking a space sea cow was just gross.

I do think though that every scene with Rey and Kylo are among the best scenes that have ever been in a Star Wars film. Fin's side plot does seem a bit pointless. It is a fun distraction, but not much more than that. Rian Johnson does manage to insert some significance to the casino stuff with the inclusion of "the broom boy" as he is being called on the internet.

Which gets me around to the point(s) of the movie. 1) You have to move on. This is the meta-message of the movie. At some point this had to happen in the storyline if we were still going to get more of these films. I think placing this message in the 2nd installment of a trilogy is a bold move. One thing that I like about this film is that I never knew what anyone was going to do. That isn't because they were behaving erratically. It was because the characters were being fleshed out and diversified. They are more complex at the end of the movie than they were at the beginning.

I think Rian Johnson was also telling the fans that you can still embrace the legacy of Star Wars, but you need to be open to embracing a new future. Clearly, if you have been paying attention online or on Twitter, this message didn't set well with many people.

The 2nd point of the film was to embrace everyone with the force. The broom boy was playing with a Luke Skywalker action figure at the end of the movie. Just like I used to do with my friends. We are all the broom boy. So when the broom moves to his hand, that is Rian Johnson saying that the force is all around us. It is flowing through all of us. The Jedi's are better at sensing and manipulating it, but we all have the ability access it. This is reinforced with Rey's genealogy. Kylo tells her she is a nobody. She is a nobody that is an equal to if not superior to a trained master. Guess what? I am a nobody. So is the broom boy. If he and Rey can achieve so much from such humble beginnings, that is encouraging to me.

I know that hard core fans are upset that their icon, Luke Skywalker, now seems less significant. I guess I can understand that. I see this as a bit of a Harvey Dent plot line like in The Dark Knight. Luke was a symbol. It is the people of Gotham that really made the difference.

From a pure cinematic perspective, this film is pretty impressive. That should not come as a surprise if you have seen any of Rian Johnson's other films. The fight scene in the red room is hands down the best fight scene in any Star Wars film. To me, this is not debatable.

I will say that I am excited to see what happens in the next installment. I honestly have no idea what direction JJ will take this property now. I hope he is brave enough to make a film that is even half as original as this one. But originality isn't really his style. I guess we'll see.

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