Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I’ve seen The Last Jedi twice now. There’s been a lot of hoopla, you know?[1] People complaining about things that are debatable matters of taste[2], people complaining about the politics of the movie that are not really debatable[3]: to the extent that they are not simply injecting their own politics instead by complaining, their politics are wrong and the movie’s are right, so that’s how I feel about that.

But all of that is stuff I can’t go into, because I presume that people care about spoilers, not only now even though it’s nearly two weeks past release, but even for posterity. I will say that I liked it quite a lot, have virtually no complaints[4], and have a lot of praise. Was it the best Star Wars movie? Man, how can I even judge something like that after watching it twice, when the first three are so fundamentally entwined into my childhood. But seriously, it might be[5]. It was absolutely the most emotional, emotion-driven of the films, and I do not say that due to foreknowledge of Carrie Fisher’s recent death. Although that knowledge certainly adds an extra gut punch beyond what the movie had already accomplished.

I guess I’m saying these things: 1) if you’ve ever gone to see a star war, and you somehow haven’t gone to see this one yet, you really ought to. 2) It rewards multiple viewings.

[1] Spoiler footnotes below the cut

[2] eg, Luke doesn’t behave like Luke. I disagree, partly because Mark Hamill convinced me and partly because the current canon doesn’t have a whole lot of characterization of Luke Skywalker to go against. Like, from three movies plus one infant scene, how would you know? (Also, in point of fact, I agree with most of his conclusions that led to his behavior around Rey.)
[3] I have not dived deeply in these waters, but if I understand what I’ve seen, they seem to be complaining that instead of thrilling heroics being the right move, careful forethought and strategy are, and also that mostly dudes are on the heroics side and mostly ladies are on the strategy side, and therefore it is feminism emasculating the movies of their childhood. This, as I said in the non-spoiler space, is stupid. (I’m not even sure the movie is saying what they’re arguing against; the ladies aren’t always right and the dudes aren’t always wrong, and to the extent that it is saying that stuff, mostly it’s saying it about one misguided character who makes some boneheaded mistakes, instead of about an entire gender; and, that character still ends up in charge of the Rebellion by the end of the movie, so.)
[4] The only change I can remember as of right now that I would actively make is: the master codebreaker that was not used by the movie except as a five second cameo before things went awry? He should have been Lando Calrissian.
[5] Obviously the best one is The Empire Strikes Back, and this movie is so much that movie through a funhouse mirror, it’s not even funny[6]. Unexpected parental revelations, AT-ATs marching on an unevacuated base through an unbroken white landscape, an aggravated Jedi Master unwillingly training an apprentice he doesn’t seem to believe in, a Rebellion crushed and on the run… and yet it’s the differences from Empire that make it seem possible it has risen above its spectacular source material. The Force Awakens was a conscious pastiche of Star Wars: A New Hope; The Last Jedi is the collective unconscious of a generation having a fever dream about Empire. The as yet unnamed third movie, I predict, will have nothing to do with Return of the Jedi, though. After all, the Jedi’s return seems to have been a mistake, yes?
[6] no pun

2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi

  1. Terry

    After watching TLJ with you I think I largely agree that it was a good movie, though it felt too modern (e.g. with the Marvel type jokes) to me to capture the feel of classic Star Wars (which TFA did a lot better IMHO). I think I also agree with Kevin Smith’s rather lengthy review of the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRwmtpr79qE

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