We end Star Wars Rewind with The Last Jedi. Hands down the most divisive film in the series. It’s interesting because every Star Wars film after the first one has gotten some form of backlash, so something like this wasn’t anything new to us. But when this movie came out the fan reactions were crazy! You couldn’t talk about this movie without the conversation devolving into a heated argument. As for us personally, we enjoyed a lot of parts in it while having some problems with others. It’s hard to explain so let’s take a look.
Rey travels to an island on Anch-To and finds Luke Skywalker, who is unwilling to train her for he has forsaken the Jedi path. Rey decides not to leave and stays until he changes his mind. Luke technically comes around and teaches her about the Force while also explaining the failure of the Jedi. While training, Rey discovers that the island holds a lot of secrets, including a way for her to interact with Kylo Ren across the galaxy, who is going through a lot of dilemmas himself. While this is going on the Resistance fleet is on the run from the First Order led by Supreme Leader Snoke in this really long and drawn out chase. Leia is knocked out in the process as Poe wants to know what’s going on but for some reason his leaders don’t tell him what the plan is. Things get confusing when Poe sends Finn and newcomer Rose to go to a casino planet and find a code breaker who will help them save the fleet. These storylines eventually come to a head and we get the usual Star Wars climax.
While the film itself isn’t perfect, we do think people go overboard in trashing certain aspects of this movie. One thing a lot of people harp on is the portrayal of Luke. People were shocked with how he became bitter, cold, and went into exile. It’s so strange because Obi-Wan and Yoda did the same thing in previous films and nobody complained. At this point it’s clear that happily ever after is out the window, and a lot of characters destinies have changed. We didn’t mind this change because this is what we assume Luke would do after all these years. With that said, there are some interesting ideas explored here on the island. Including a connection between Rey and Kylo Ren that allows them to see each other from across the galaxy. These interactions are some of the best parts of the movie. Scenes like these easily make this film the best looking of these movies. Even though some of these locations aren’t designed interestingly. The way it shows it’s great effects, it’s characters, and how they interact. It feels like a huge epic that needs to be seen on the big screen. We think a lot of this works is because it focuses on characters that we really enjoy.
The film has a lot of strong elements but it also has some flaws. In our opinion, it’s easy to point out the pros and cons in this movie. While we remember it being a really good experience, we will admit the more we look back on it the more problems we notice. The biggest one being the subplots, most notably the one with Finn and Rose. Their mission starts off pretty straight forward in finding a codebreaker. But they don’t and instead find another shady codebreaker then the mission goes off the rails, and when it’s resolved it feels like a pointless side quest. While we enjoy these characters, we wish they were given something more interesting to do. If that wasn’t confusing enough we have a luxury casino in a galaxy far far away. This isn’t like the cantina on Mos Eisley where it had its own unique identity. No, this is just another location you can find in any other movie, just designed a little differently. It’s not the worst by any means but it could have more creative than let’s say “take a few aliens in tuxedos and put them by a gambling table”. They do try to have commentary on how this whole establishment feeds this war engine that causes every conflict in the galaxy, but when this sequence is over it’s never brought up again.
The subplot with Poe feels similar. Rather than have his leaders tell him the plan to save the Resistance, they keep him and everyone else in the dark which results in a pointless mutiny that could have easily been avoided. We understand that this was to teach Poe about leadership and taking more responsibility, but they could’ve went a different route. These side missions try to play a part in the overall story, but a lot of the plotlines they set up don’t go anywhere. In fact, a lot of plotlines the film builds up, don’t have satisfying conclusions.
Snoke for example we never learn about. They keep saying he corrupted Kylo Ren to join the dark side, but it’s never explained how. On top of that we never find out who he is, where he came from, or how he managed to create a second Empire. Couldn’t we get at least one sentence of his backstory? It’s strange because they build him up as the big villain in this series, but in the end he’s just a red herring. In fact, a lot of the mysteries that are being built up, seem like they’re going to go in a new direction. But in the end nothing is revealed. Not the same thing or something different, just nothing. We find that strange, especially for a film that’s supposed to escalate the conflict and raise the stakes. Because of that it doesn’t feel like a huge cliffhanger.
Aside from that, everything involving Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren is some of the best scenes we’ve seen in these movies. It’s so ironic how they technically don’t do anything until the last third, but they are so interesting to focus on. They’re so engaging and complex, we just want more of them. It doesn’t just stop there as we get a lot of great ideas, including ways to evolve the Force. We have a general idea of what the Force can do, but it’s revealed that people who have a strong connection can shift and push it into a new direction. Because Rey has this power she can recreate and redefine it. Judging from the direction this series is going, something really big and new can come out of this. It’s really exciting to think about. For the first time in a while something is actually evolving in Star Wars.
While the film is a mixed bag with its complicated storyline and unsatisfying conclusions, the elements that work are some of the best we’ve seen in this series. Even though it’s not perfect. We’ll even admit we remember getting goosebumps wondering what was going to happen, and who was going to come out okay. It’s an exciting feeling that only gets us pumped for the next one.
That about wraps up Star Wars Rewind! Looking back on these films has been one of our favorite past times over the years. While some movies are better than others, there’s a lot of fun in comparing them. Whatever your thoughts on these films may be, you can’t deny that this series has led to a lot of great stories, memorable characters, and a universe that we can’t get enough of. Now, that we’ve covered all the previous films. The time has come to give our thoughts on the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga: The Rise of Skywalker!
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