The Last Jedi Takes the Star Wars Trilogy Down a Different Path
By Thomas Hoffman
***This Review Contains Spoilers***
The Force Awakens re-awakened interest in the Star Wars universe for the public, after a disappointing prequel trilogy. The Force Awakens was a romp with old friends. The Force Awakens also ended with a lot of questions. Would Han Solo somehow return as a Force Ghost? Who was Ray? Who were her parents? What romance would develop, and among which characters? We didn’t know the answers. And according to The Last Jedi, neither do the writers.
In this installment, some characters meet their demise, but most of the doors are left open. The Last Jedi leaves almost all of the major questions unresolved. The Last Jedi opens with an action sequence we have been yearning to see since the end of The Force Awakens. After that, most of the story is downhill.’
One message that is questionable is how Finn is treated by the Resistance at the beginning. Finn should not have been stunned, and brought to the prison. He has already “done his part” and should not have been kept in the Resistance against his will. As J.K Rowling reminds us( yes different fiction world, but the message is universal) “the world is not split into good people and death eaters.” This saying translates into the world is not split into good and evil. The galaxy should not be split into Resistance fighters and the First Order.
This concept is not unfamiliar to the Star Wars universe. In the extended universe, there are sorcerers that are neither Jedi or Sith. Even in the original movies, there are people who are independents who were allowed to do what they wish, without being considered “deserters.” Han Solo and Chewbacca were allowed to come and go with the Rebellion as they wanted (they fought in the Battle of Yavin by choice)
One question that is “partially answered”, (partially because it is Kylo Ren who answers it) is that Ray is not the descendent of anyone famous, good or evil. Many viewers are critical of this revelation. However, it is in fact a surprise. Many people complained there were not enough surprises in The Force Awakens. It also caters to the idea that anyone can make a difference, even if they are not from “famous parents” or have no major secret in their past.
Another scene that we thought we would have to wait for Episode 9 for was when Kylo Ren killed Supreme leader Snoke. This scene was a bit of a re-creation of the throne room scene in Return of the Jedi. But unlike Return of the Jedi, it doesn’t quite keep us in the same suspense. Kylo Ren and Ray do not have quite the same battle (or history) Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker have, so when Kylo Ren kills Snoke it is less climatic. This sent the story (and the trilogy) down a considerably different path then the traditional Star Wars trilogy.
However, the ending was rather anti-climactic. The Last Jedi had a “last scene” that was the last straw. Return of the Jedi ended with an interesting musical number, and an image of three ghosts (one ghost was updated to another “cameo” at one point). Rogue One ended with a surprise digital “cameo” and a spaceship jumping into hyperspace away from the audience. Last Jedi ends with someone “playing lightsaber” with a broom.
Yes, the message was (as with the rest of the movie) that anyone can be a Jedi. But to end with someone “playing lightsaber with a broom.” There hasn’t been such a childish Star Wars scene since The Phantom Menace (and even Phantom Menace had a more powerful ending then this). Last Jedi has taken the new trilogy down a different path, and not necessarily a good one.