The Last Jedi

Spoilers ahead.

I really enjoyed The Last Jedi. I went into the theater confident that Rian Johnson would deliver something good and left the theater grinning both times I saw it. I’ve been surprised to hear about the backlash the film has faced by some. I think this tweet sums it up nicely.

I’m not one to pick fights, unless it’s needling my siblings, over fandom controversies, but I will mention a few things I liked about the movie.

Luke

What a great turn for Luke’s character! His turn to despairing isolation was believable, and his crisis of faith in the Jedi way felt authentic. I loved his interactions with Rey and Yoda, and his confrontation with Kylo Ren totally worked for me. It’s a great send-off for Luke.

Kylo Ren

One of my favorite traits about Kylo from The Force Awakens continues. Kylo is an angry, whiny man-child who has no idea what he is doing. I can’t help but see echos of internet trolls in his behavior and attempts at manipulation. He’s a timely villain.

Snoke

I loved Snoke’s surprise demise. Unlike many, I wasn’t that curious about where he came from. He was the least interesting character in The Force Awakens, so to see him dispatched so suddenly was a genuine surprise and satisfaction. It really throws the stakes of the series into the air. I’m curious to see how it’s handled in the Episode IX.

Rey

Rey continues to be my favorite addition to the series. She’s a great hero, and I’m excited for her to occupy the imagination and fandom for my children that Luke, Hand, and Leia did for me growing up.

Hyperspace Kamikaze

Single most stunning visual moment in all of Star Wars. Amazing.

Humor

Poe’s crank call, porgs, cowardly Finn getting zapped, Poe getting zapped by Leia, sycophantic weasel Hux, BB8 slot machine. I loved it all. Star Wars fans put off by the humor might need to take a second look at C-3PO and R2-D2 bickering, Han and Leia bickering, Yoda, Ewoks, etc. I loved it.

The Force is for Everyone

In the original trilogy the Force was a mystical energy that could run in bloodlines. The prequels destroyed so much of what I loved about the Force by dumbing it down to midichlorian counts, as if you could measure someone’s potential by a blood test. This new trilogy is taking the Force back to its more mystical roots. Is Rey a secret Skywalker or Kenobi? No, there’s nothing remarkable about her heritage. Are the Jedi the one true way to the Force? No, in fact they were pretty stupid during the prequels (as anyone who paid attention to the council-ignores-a-lot Jedi in Episodes I–III will agree). The Jedi way of life died because it could not survive, although their legacy will continue through Luke’s legend and the sacred texts that Rey now carries. The Force is for everyone. It’s a great message. The last scene, with the boy and the broom, is a signal to the audience. The galaxy far far away is a big place and the Force can manifest anywhere.

I think Episode VIII was fantastic and will only grow in estimation as more Star Wars movies get made. I’m looking forward to seeing where JJ and crew take us in Episode IX and am thrilled to find out what Rian Johnson has in store in his new trilogy.