It may have been the longest wait in all my life, but I finally saw The Last Jedi on Tuesday.
Having stayed away from most fan theories, teasers, and spoilers, I went into the theatre with minimal outside influence on my expectations and was so not disappointed. As other outlets have noted, TLJ is the first truly feminist film in the franchise, which makes it utterly amazing, and of course, also means plenty of fanboy rage.
Fair warning: scrolling past the Porg will expose you to spoilers… you have been warned.
Criticism surrounding TLJ seems to stem from the fact that there are female characters in prominent roles, or maybe the diversity of the cast, or PC culture, or ignoring the Extended Universe in the novels, or not following the traditional Star Wars formula and doing a remake of The Empire Strikes Back—it all depends on who you ask. Rey is the titular last Jedi, not the beloved Luke Skywalker; Leia leads the Resistance and command is handed to Vice Admiral Holdo—another woman—when she’s incapacitated; the non-white Rose and Finn have their own subplot and aren’t relegated to the background; the villains and are a pair of angry white men in Hux and Kylo Ren. Too much politics, not enough Luke Skywalker doing Jedi things. Questions asked in The Force Awakens are not satisfactorily answered (What do you mean Rey isn’t a Kenobi!?).
Disney has destroyed childhoods, or some dumb thing.
A fandom as huge as the Star Wars fandom will always have its detractors; anything that deviates from the sacred original trilogy is seen as blasphemy. But the entire franchise has been about a group of rebels fighting against space fascists, be it the Empire or the First Order, so how can people complain about it being too liberal or socialist or PC or whatever the hell?
Was it the fact that the gun-happy pilot Poe Dameron was shut down by Vice Admiral Holdo? Like, how dare she not just listen to every single word he says and just relinquish command over to him?! Yes, Holdo could have told him her plan, but he wasn’t entitled to know what it was—he was demoted by Leia, and Holdo was the commanding officer. That’s the way it works. Mansplaining the situation to her just makes him look like a dick. Seriously, did no one notice that his plan to take down the Dreadnought got almost the entire squad killed?
Then you’ve got the original hero, Luke Fucking Skywalker, now a hermit living on an island with a bunch of frog nuns and space puffins. This isn’t how a Jedi Master should be living! This can’t be the real Luke Skywalker, yadda, yaddda, yadda.
Life doesn’t always work out the way we expect it to; shit often goes sideways in a breathtaking fashion, as it did when Ben Solo embraced the Dark Side and murdered everyone in Luke’s little academy. That was his nephew, his flesh and blood, and he failed him, both as an uncle and as a teacher. I don’t care who you are, that kind of thing fucks you up.
The Last Jedi is about letting go of the past in more ways than one. On film it’s about Rey and her abandonment issues, as well as Luke and his guilt over what happened with Ben. In the real world it’s also about letting go of the original trilogy and accept this is a new generation’s Star Wars—if that final scene of that kid with the Rebel ring didn’t beat this over your head, you clearly weren’t paying attention. Those that don’t let go of the past and embrace the future become Kylo Ren—bitter, angry, and childish.
Maybe that hit a little too close to home for some fans?
The cinematic Star Wars universe is expanding, as it should. It can’t stall out and become stagnant just because some diehard fans are stuck in the past. And if they don’t like it, they can always stick to the books.
Stray Thoughts About The Last Jedi
- I love the Porgs and I don’t care who knows it.
- Puppet Yoda, are you shitting me right now!? Amazing! Also, he’s still a dick.
- Leia used the goddamn Force to get herself back to the ship after she was blown out into space, I don’t know how people don’t understand that.
- Holdo is a boss bitch and should be respected.
- Luke better come back as a Force ghost or I’m gonna be super pissed.
- I ship Poe and Finn forever.
- Phasma got a raw deal—why bring her back for all of five minutes just to kill her off for real?
- More BB-9E please.