Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Finally! At long last, THE LAST JEDI is here. Two years after THE FORCE AWAKENS, we finally get the next installment. But just what exactly did we get? Sure, we got some answers, but we also got more questions. A lot happens in THE LAST JEDI, and at the end of the movie fans might just find themselves more confused than ever. Let’s break it down. From A Certain Point Of View Review: A++ By the way — SPOILERS AHEAD!! Big Questions I had a few major questions were going into THE LAST JEDI. THE FORCE AWAKENS did an excellent job setting up new mysteries for fans, and after two long years of fan theories, endless debating, and wondering, we finally have some answers. But are they the answers we were hoping for? Who Is Rey? This, right off the bat is perhaps the biggest question of the new trilogy. Just who, exactly, is Rey? The delightful desert scavenger captured audience’s hearts with a sad story about a lost family. This was built up as a major part of the new trilogy. Rey is determined to return to Jakku so that her family can find her. After all, she knows they’re coming back for her one day. Except… THE LAST JEDI throws all that out. The build-up, the expectation, leads to a slap-in-the-face dead end. Even in this movie, there’s still more build up. Rey, at one point, is having some sort of Force experience. She knows that she will finally discover her true parentage… only to have it reveal her own face, instead of mysterious parents. Kylo Ren tells Rey he knows she will turn to the Dark Side because he has seen her parents. Rey deserved better. So with all this build-up, it’s gotta be a great reveal, right? Just who are they? Who would make Kylo Ren certain that Rey would turn? They draw the moment out, Kylo telling Rey she’s always known, pushing her to say it for herself. What answer does she finally give? No one. Rey’s parents are nobodies. They are, according to Kylo, just desert nobodies that sold Rey into servitude to get drinking money. Or rather, they were, because they are now dead. What a snub to the fans! We’ve been waiting so long, comparing notes. Is Rey a Solo? A Skywalker? A Kenobi? No, it turns out, she’s nobody. What About Snoke? The next biggest mystery after Rey is probably the identity of the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke is a shadow figure in THE FORCE AWAKENS. He haunts the story, having turned Kylo to the Dark Side and sparking this whole conflict. Like Rey, fans have debated Snoke’s true identity ever since THE FORCE AWAKENS came out. One popular theory is that he is Darth Plagueis, the Sith master of Darth Sidious. We learn the story of Plagueis in REVENGE OF THE SITH when Palpatine uses his legacy to tempt Anakin Skywalker. Palpatine learned Plagueis’ secrets, then murdered him. Kind of a letdown. How cool would it be if Plagueis was not dead? He had the power to stop people from dying, but couldn’t save himself, is what Palpatine told Anakin. To have Plagueis return to life, scarred to be sure but still powerful and menacing, would have been a cool twist. So is Snoke Plagueis? Or perhaps a new Palpatine? Some other cool figure to bring back? Nope! Well, okay, I can’t say that for certain. We don’t know who Snoke was — we just know he’s dead. That’s right, Snoke is dead. Easily defeated, betrayed, gone and done. This Supreme Leader, this shadow figure that has been turning the galaxy dark, is now gone. Twists and Turns So how did Snoke die? Well, in some ways, you could see it coming a mile away. In other ways, it was a huge surprise. And that is true of a lot of THE LAST JEDI — there’s a lot you don’t see coming. Vanquishing Snoke In a clear hearkening to RETURN OF THE JEDI, Rey goes to Kylo thinking she can turn him. He brings her before Snoke. It’s a clear homage to Darth Vader bringing Luke to Palpatine. So it really shouldn’t be too huge a surprise to see that Kylo turns on his master, killing Snoke. To be sure, even knowing it was coming, it was still a shock. Kylo is supposed to be killing Rey. He stands before her with his lightsaber ready, about to strike her down. Snoke narrates it, telling how Kylo positions his weapon, prepares to turn it on… all while Kylo uses the Force to manipulate Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber sitting next to Snoke. Kylo activates it, slicing Snoke in half. And that’s that. “A Long Time Ago” and the Sci-Fi Legacy of STAR WARS What makes this more confusing is that, in RETURN OF THE JEDI, Vader turns against his master at the last second. This is the end of the concluding movie of the trilogy. Vader takes his chance at the end. We’re only in the second movie, and this doesn’t even occur at the end of the movie. Suddenly, THE LAST JEDI is no longer following a familiar pattern. Or, rather, it is, but it’s doing it wrong. Creating Kylo Ren Another interesting twist is the revelation of what really happened the night Kylo Ren destroyed the Jedi Temple. It’s revealed to Rey in bits and pieces, first by Luke, then by Kylo, then again by Luke, more fully. It turns out that Luke sensed the growing darkness in his nephew, and went to confront him. Sounds straightforward, right? The face of Ben Solo. That’s where this gets tricky. The way Kylo tells it, he awoke to Luke standing over him, lightsaber drawn. Luke is poised to kill his own nephew, and Kylo reacts out of self-defense, crushing Luke beneath rubble and destroying the temple. To hear it told this way, Rey blames Luke for “creating Kylo Ren.” He sensed darkness in his nephew, but Kylo had not fully given over until his uncle and teacher betrayed him. Kylo Ren: STAR WARS and the Tragedy of Ben Solo However, Luke reveals that he would not have gone through with it. It was a moment of weakness that provided lifelong shame. Kylo came to the wrong conclusion, but it’s easy to see why he did what he did. This is a case of there being no right answer, no hero. Luke’s Return Luke himself is one of the most contrary and confusing individuals in THE LAST JEDI. However, it is in his return that he throws the audience for a loop. In the end, when it seems all hope is lost, the remains of the Resistance are facing annihilation by the First Order. Having finally accepted the end, Leia is stunned to see Luke. They have a moment to bond before Luke goes to confront Kylo Ren all on his own. 40 Years of STAR WARS: The Evolution of Lightsaber Fights in STAR WARS Finn wants to help, but Poe reveals that Luke is stalling to give the Resistance time to escape. Watching Luke and Kylo fight is interesting. Kylo is, predictably, fast, rash, and aggressive. Luke evades every blow until finally Kylo loses it and lunges forward, slicing his lightsaber across Luke’s torso and seemingly cutting him in half. The keyword here is seemingly. Kylo is stunned to see Luke completely unharmed and stabs him again… only for the saber to go through him. Luke isn’t even there. This was all a Force illusion. Luke was still on Atch-To, manipulating Kylo at no risk to himself. The audience cheered! Luke is still safe! Jedi Masters seem to always cut and run when things get tough. Except Luke then promptly dies. Having fulfilled his mission, he rejoins the Force. Rey tells Leia that there was no sadness, no pain. Luke was at peace. That may be so, but the audience sure wasn’t. The first twist — the fact that Luke wasn’t there — really came out of left field, but his subsequent death was truly out of nowhere. What Did THE LAST JEDI Get Right? Okay, so there were some serious issues in THE LAST JEDI. The questions fans had been asking were given nothing answers. There were a lot of twists and turns that seemed to come out of nowhere. But this was not a bad movie. What did THE LAST JEDI get right? STAR WARS is Finally Funny STAR WARS has always been a more serious franchise. Sure, there have been funny moments, but the series as a whole has been rather action-oriented and dramatic. Attempts at humor were often seen as clear misses, like much of the prequels. But finally, at last, STAR WARS gets humor right in THE LAST JEDI. I love this beautiful, sassy man. Right from the start, we have humor interspersed with action. When the First Order is attacking the Resistance escape, Poe Dameron comes in to save the day. He calls General Hux with “an important message,” and then proceeds to sass him until Hux loses his cool. Given that one of our first introductions to Poe was him sassing Kylo Ren, this was both on point for the character and utterly enjoyable. At various points in the movie, the audience around me laughed at minor jokes. When Luke first sees Leia, she tells him she knows what he is going to say… “I changed my hair.” This is the same thing Han first says when he reunites with Leia, and it’s both funny, and an emotional call-back to THE FORCE AWAKENS. 10 STAR WARS Characters That Deserve Their Own Movie Although I felt a little dissonant — STAR WARS isn’t supposed to be funny! — I feel like THE LAST JEDI finally found the proper balance. These were good jokes, but they didn’t distract or take away from the plot. It was more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has done a masterful job balancing humor with action. No Animals Were Harmed THE LAST JEDI also did a great job bringing in new life. Numerous creatures were popping up that brought xenobiological diversity to the series. I have always considered alien life to be one of STAR WARS’ high points. Compare it to STAR TREK, where all aliens are basically humans with facial prostheses. Even in the original trilogy, where effects were minimal, STAR WARS wasn’t afraid to create new life. In THE LAST JEDI, the new life forms we meet add a lot. Obviously, I’m a huge personal fan of the porgs. Right from the start, I’ve thought they were fun and a great addition. So it was great to see them pop up so frequently (although I was utterly disturbed when Chewie killed and cooked some porgs!). Fathiers save the day on Canto Bight. But the porgs are just one of many species that not only appear but play a role. In the trailers, we caught sight of what looked like an ice-type Pokemon, but we finally learned that they are crystalline creatures. They live on the base where the Resistance takes refuge, and are integral in helping the survivors find an escape route. They’re not just there to be cute. Likewise, the fathiers on Canto Bight are impressive. Horse-like creatures that are used in racing and gambling, the handlers’ cruelty towards these creatures shows Finn the darker side of the glittering locale. In the end, when he and Rose save the creatures (thereby saving themselves), I was happy. These creatures had been abused and used, but now they were free. New Faces There were a lot of good new characters as well. I wasn’t sure what I was getting, going into THE LAST JEDI. I knew Kelly Marie Tran was playing a character named Rose Tico, and Laura Dern was playing someone in the Resistance. What I did not know what that both of these characters would be high points in the film. Rose Tico was a treat. I already knew that Kelly Marie Tran was fun and adorable, and she plays Rose so well. Rose starts off mourning her sister and starstruck to meet Resistance Hero Finn. However, when she realizes Finn is deserting, she doesn’t hesitate to do her duty and take him down. Later, she goes along with his reckless plan to save the Resistance… but she’s no longer starstruck. Kelly Marie Tran is awesome, but Rose Tico stole my heart. Her hero lets her down, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She sasses Finn and bosses him around. She shows him that Canto Bight might look pretty and lovely, but has a darker underbelly of hatred and violence. When she sacrifices herself to save Finn, she gives one of the best lines of the film — “that’s how we’ll beat them. Not by fighting what we hate, but by protecting what we love.” Granted, I do not ship it, but it was a proper character development. Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo was more of a wildcard. This was a character that seemed wishy-washy… until the end reveals that she is more concerned with survival than appearances. I was stunned to see her shut down Poe, and rooted for his mutiny. In the end, however, Holdo sacrificed herself to save the Rebellion. She was a true leader, and I only regret that she is now gone. Old Friends Of course, new favorites aren’t the only characters around. We get old favorites back. I was happy with Poe’s character in THE LAST JEDI, even if I never would have guessed how his story would go. Poe, a mutineer? That seems highly unlikely. Poe was the most dedicated Resistance fighter we meet in THE FORCE AWAKENS. However, it made sense in this context that he would stand up for what he believed in, even if it went against protocol. 40 Years Of STAR WARS: POE DAMERON in STAR WARS BB-8 was, of course, brilliant as ever. One could even say BB-8 is the hero of THE LAST JEDI. He has a lot more action in this one and does things that one wouldn’t expect of a droid. At one point, he takes down a whole group of guards to rescue Rose and Finn from prison. Later, he mans an AT-ST walker to stop stormtroopers from executing them. An unexpected old favorite to pop up was Yoda. That one definitely came out of nowhere, but it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise. Yoda comes up just in time to give Luke some much-needed advice. Luke is lost and confused in THE LAST JEDI, and Yoda is just the person to knock some sense back into him… literally, if need be. So Where Does THE LAST JEDI Stand? THE LAST JEDI is a good movie, to be sure. It’s leaps and bounds ahead of disasters like THE PHANTOM MENACE and ATTACK OF THE CLONES. However, I would argue that, in comparison to THE FORCE AWAKENS, it’s a little weak. It suffers growing pains as Rian Johnson deals with the massive legacy of STAR WARS and all its baggage. Discovering STAR TREK: WARS vs. TREK THE FORCE AWAKENS frustrated me endlessly because it was such a rehash of A NEW HOPE. Given that the Expanded Universe novels had great new stories to tell, it was annoying to see them retread familiar ground. In that respect, THE LAST JEDI is confusing because it both does and doesn’t retrace the original trilogy. Some aspects are a direct revisit, like Rey’s confrontation with Snoke. Other elements are confusing because they don’t match up.What makes THE LAST JEDI weak is the fact that it tries to do too much. This is the longest STAR WARS movie, coming it at 2 hours 32 minutes. That’s thirty minutes longer than EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, often considered the best STAR WARS movie. Could have been better. Could have been much worse. To be honest, THE LAST JEDI felt like it could have ended sooner. There’s a natural break when the Resistance reaches their base, and to have Kylo Ren attack it as the new Supreme Leader just felt like too much. The whole final sequence didn’t add much and would have been an excellent start to EPISODE IX. All that being said, I did enjoy THE LAST JEDI. It’s a good movie, and it does answer some questions, even if I don’t like the answers. Most of all, it sets up EPISODE IX. Now, we only have to wait two more years to see the thrilling conclusion to the saga.