So the wait is finally over, and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, has hit theaters. I’ll open by saying that this movie was better than The Force Awakens. This film was far darker than I expected from “Disney Star Wars,” but had more comedic, almost cartoonish moments compared to the original trilogy and the prequels.
This may be hard to believe, the prequels featuring Jar Jar Binks, but the opening of The Last Jedi is completely outlandish. While the “message for your mother” joke got a laugh out of the audience, it made General Hux look like a complete idiot. Poe should have been blasted across the cosmos. Of course, the hero must win in a last-ditch effort. Cliché cinema, cliché Star Wars.
Speaking of Cliches…
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is full of them. First of all, the movie followed the same pattern as the other trilogies that came before it. The first movie introduces the new generation of characters and the present conflict, featuring a superweapon that is easily destroyed in a last-ditch effort. The second movie focuses of the advancement of the primary Jedi character’s prowess and ground-based combat. The Last Jedi even featured a snowy planet and AT-AT walkers (AT-M6, whatever).
Some echoes of Return of the Jedi were also present in the film, such as the chase of the Millennium Falcon flying through the caves of the planet Crait mimicking the Falcon flying through the ducts of the second Death Star, and Snoke attempting to turn Rey to the dark side, much like Palpatine tried to do to Luke.
“You’ll Find I’m Full of Surprises…”
Despite the clichés in the movie, The Last Jedi also threw quite a few curveballs. One of these being the death of Snoke.
Ever since Supreme Commander Snoke appeared in enlarged hologram form in The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans wondered about who he was. Was he Mace Windu risen from the dead? Darth Plagueis returned? Perhaps he was a being that orchestrated everything from the prequels and original trilogy behind the scenes.
These questions were still not truly answered, and I must say that I am disappointed. Snoke got very little screen time before he was killed.
Another surprise was that Finn did not die. At one point in the movie, I thought that Finn was going to sacrifice himself to save the Resistance, but he ended up being saved by the new AZN girl, Rose.
The death of Luke Skywalker was another disappointing surprise in this movie. No, he did not die fighting Kylo, but rather demonstrated his Force power by projecting an image of himself for Kylo to fight, and just dies in the end. Another nod to the original trilogy (Obi-Wan’s death), and another disappointment. I expected to see more of Luke, who was one of few characters I could connect with in this movie
It was also strange that they did not kill off Leia’s character since her actor, Carrie Fischer, died in real life. Her using the Force to get back aboard her ship was quite a curve. It was always hinted that Leia was Force-adept, but certainly not to that degree. Perhaps she will be portrayed by CGI in the next movie.
New Republic or New Democrats?
One thing in the new “Disney Star Wars” universe that confuses me is how the New Republic grew so weak. The opening crawl of The Last Jedi emphasizes that the Republic was peaceful. This differs from the extended universe books that I read as a child, where the New Republic still had a strong military to deal with Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Imperial Remnant.
Looking at politics today, and subliminal political rhetoric in media, I would reckon that the New Republic in the Disney Star Wars universe represents the American Democratic Party and the Alt-Left. Years of peace made them weak and forgetful that eternal vigilance is the cost of freedom.
I do not believe in warmongering or picking fights, but I most certainly believe in preparedness. This is one lesson learned from the new trilogy, although I doubt it is the lesson that they are trying to push on audiences.
No, feminism is the lesson being pushed on audiences. The command structure is primarily female, lead by Hillary Clinton, oops, I mean General Leia. The second-in-command of New Republic forces is a purple-haired “cougar” named Admiral Holdo, who shows signs of sexual tension with Poe.
At one point in the movie, I though that Poe was going to take command and show the necessity of a competent male leader, but of course, in the end, a woman’s judgement had to be correct, with Holdo’s plan being to save the remnant of the Resistance all along.
Another piece of neo-liberal propaganda is the portion of the story arc that revolves around Rey not knowing her parents. Kylo Ren focuses on this aspect of Rey’s character to almost bully her. If Disney leaned a bit more towards adult entertainment, I’m sure that he would have “slut shamed” her. The delivery was much different from other instances in the Star Wars universe when the bad guys tried to convert other characters to the Dark Side.
Return of the Black Guy
Finn returned, and survived until the end of the movie. He is still a cowardly simp that bumblefucks his way to victory, and occasionally nuts up. Unlike other Black characters in Star Wars, like Mace Windu and Lando Calrissian, he is not masculine, brave, or badass; he absolutely sucks.
The saving grace of Finn in my eyes is the inclusion of possible love interest and confirmed AZN, Rose. In my opinion, Rose is a much better match for Finn, given that they are both unlikely heroes. She is like the cute, nerdy girl that is overlooked for the hot, popular girl, but ends up being a better match. Also, she’s an OK looking Asian woman. Kudos for that from Admiral-land.
Rose saving Finn was a major let-down though. As a Black man, I am biased and like to see Black male characters. I would rather see masculine, cool characters like Mace Windu, but Finn could have had his moment of redemption had he sacrificed himself to destroy the battering cannon. Rose saving him made little sense, especially when she said that the fight was about “saving who you loved rather than fighting who you hate.” Sometimes, to defend what you love you must fight those that hate you. Hating them back makes it easier to fight them effectively as well, and that leads to our next point.
The Message of Balance
Before The Last Jedi came out, fans theorized that the end of the Jedi Order would mean bringing true balance to the Force. Luke mentions that the Jedi Order was filled with hubris, believing that the Light was the only way, and that they had sole claim to the right way of doing things.
There is a place for both Light and Darkness, and the usage of Darkness for the purpose of right. As a tangent, this is why Mace Windu is one of my favorite Jedi in the Star Wars universe.
The thief (DJ, according to WookiePedia) was also an interesting character. Other than Luke, BB-8, and Chewbacca, he is my favorite character in the film. His philosophy that “good guys and bad guys” are “made up words” rings true in real life. This statement also gives Finn and Rose’s secondary story connection to the greater theme balance in the movie.
I give Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi a solid B. The new creatures and effects were interesting, there were great space battles and fights, and the story was alright. I did not link with most of the characters in the film. Save for Luke (who didn’t do enough), Chewbacca, DJ, and BB-8, I just did not build a connection to them. As said in the film, “out with the old,” I guess.
There were many disappointments in this film, and the feminist rhetoric is strong with this one. Still, it was an enjoyable movie and a good time.