This is Part II of IV in an ongoing series where I review The Last Jedi.
While we were dealing with the desperate escape of the Resistance, there does not seem to be much optimism with the Rey/Luke storyline, where she tries to convince Luke to return and give the galaxy hope. Luke seems to be determined not to give the galaxy anything, instead he would rather brood on an island, drinking the milk of Thala Sirens. (Really? Did we need that scene?)
I really wanted to be convinced that the explanation for why Luke was isolated and in hiding was a legitimate reason. I think they convinced me at about 70%. I understood Luke’s shame and his reason for ending the Jedi Order. In fact, that was one thing I strongly came away with from this movie – maybe it was good that the Jedi Order ended. The references to the Prequels and how Sidious masterminded the destruction of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire was a nice nod. To galaxy inhabitants, it was almost 100 years ago (almost, but not quite) and the galaxy had built the Jedi Order and Luke into a legend. By ending the Jedi Order, it opens up a new realm for the way the Force flows. Perhaps there is no dark and light, but a combination of both. I’m hoping they explore that in greater depth in IX.
I understood Luke’s fleeting moment of wanting to kill Kylo because of the dark he saw in him and then the immediate, but too late, regret. It’s kind of like when I’m very, very irritated by something in my business or an email I get and would really love to take my computer and smash it. Like that – but on a much larger scale, haha.
What I don’t understand is why he deserted his friends and family because of this. I could not match that up with the Luke from the OT. Even in ROTJ, where he is much more serious than the previous movies, he still has that optimism within himself. And for someone who spent 20 years of his life yearning to know his real family, I doubt he would have given up on Leia and disappeared on her.
Some of me is also frustrated with the end of the movie and the weird Force holograms. It takes away from his awesomeness. I feel like if he had actually gone to Crait with Rey, instead of being stubborn…all that would have been SO much cooler. Instead, the Force vision/hologram thing cheapens everything a bit. It’s a minor point and I wasn’t as annoyed by it the second time I watched it, but I mean – wouldn’t it have been way cooler if he actually fought Kylo in person?
It is what it is and I reluctantly accept his story line, but I wanted to voice my opinions here. It’s just going to take me a while to believe in it. All that aside, I was happy to see Yoda join Luke for a few moments. It felt like a reunion between old friends…almost as if not much had to be said because they had kind of been with each other the entire time.
Thank you, Johnson, for not ruining Rey’s character. Thank you for keeping her real and a hero to look up to. I enjoyed her perseverance in getting Luke to come back to the Resistance, but what I most enjoyed were her chats with Kylo Ren. At first it threw me for a loop (as I’m sure it did with many fans) but then I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed her flirtation with Ben but also her flirtation with the dark side throughout the movie. She was trying to understand everything and where she fit into the entire picture.
Rey was unashamed of her call to the dark and confronted it. A few times in this movie, she was invited to the dark side of the Force but did not fall. It had me thinking that perhaps it’s just the lust for power that skews you toward the dark side. Or perhaps you always lean one way or another, but if there is opposition, then there is balance. Kyle Ren is not wholly bad. Rey is not wholly good. Both are heavier in one direction but maybe there is no need for such strict delineation between both.
Rey was a shining example in this movie of always doing what was right, even when it was hard. She didn’t give up on Luke, but she did give up on the training when she knew it was no longer the right path for her. She didn’t join with Kylo Ren after he defeated Snoke, though it was tempting, especially as he tells her that her parents were nobodies and she was a nobody…but not to him.
It was interesting to watch Rey grapple with who she was and who her family was the entire movie. It was almost as if Johnson wanted to say, “Rey’s a nobody, and are you okay with her being a nobody?” There are many fans out there who refuse to accept this is true. There’s a possibility that Abrams may reverse this in the next movie as all we have is Kylo Ren’s word that Rey’s parents were not anyone important.
Even though I rooted for Rey to a be a Skywalker, I also think this could be a good direction to go in. The movie was saying, “Enough with the Skywalkers. You don’t have to be a Skywalker to do great things.” And I believe them. After all, wasn’t Anakin a nobody?
Do you think Rey is a nobody? Or do you think there is more to her story that Ben did not tell us?