In case you didn’t notice it on the big featured image above, this post is going to discuss various aspects of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But don’t worry, I won’t be spoiling anything of the movie.
So, let’s get on with why The Last Jedi is actually genius, despite what so many people are saying.
Not What You’ll Expect
The one thing that we, as fans, have become accustomed to is that the Star Wars franchise largely follows a predetermined set of plot points that seem to repeat themselves. Therefore, we find ourselves embedded in a sort of comfort zone; we know roughly what to expect from the storylines on the trilogies, and this helps to play on our nostalgia.
And as you should be able to guess from my love of retro gaming, I enjoy a good bit of nostalgia.
One of the biggest problems people seem to have about The Last Jedi is that it completely bucks this trend. Rather than giving us the typical mid-act story that we are used to from previous films, it goes on an entirely different tangent. The director, Rian Johnson, instead gives us a very effective yet unique blend of the various stand out aspects of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Rather than simply following suite by having a dark middle act that directly sets up the third, The Last Jedi takes you on one hell of a rollercoaster, leaving you completely unprepared for anything that comes next.
This is a true talent for a mid-trilogy movie, as it doesn’t suffer from the “stepping-stone” syndrome of The Empire Strikes Back or Attack of the Clones. Instead, it is a solid movie that could easily stand on its own, bar the opening which relies on you having seen The Force Awakens to understand what is going on.
It is this departure from the tried and tested formula of Star Wars that will seriously shock people, annoying many who were taken out of that comfort zone of expectation. But it is also a brilliant manouver on Rian Johnson’s part, as it makes The Last Jedi all the more memorable and exciting.
Moving Forward, Not Looking Back
When you actually look at the Star Wars storyline in order (prequels, originals and now the sequels), each trilogy tells the story of a new, younger group of people rising up to a face a threat that the older generation were not able to do away with. In the prequels, you had Anakin dealing with the battle between the Sith and Jedi (which didn’t exactly end well), then in the originals, you have Luke stepping up to do what Obi-Wan and Mace Windu were not able to finish in the prequels.
Now that we are in the sequel trilogy, we have Finn, Rae and Poe rising to the occassion, taking on the First Order – remnants of the Empire that Luke and the others where unable to wipe out from the galaxy. This is the continuation of the cycle of Star Wars, but I think the fact that people fell in love with Luke, Leia and Han has put the idea in their mind that (after Return of the Jedi) everything was great and that our heroes had been successful. As we found out in The Force Awakens, this wasn’t the case, as the First Order was now a threat.
What, I think, annoys many people about The Last Jedi is that it doesn’t sugarcoat this in the slightest. Instead, it reinforces and strengthens the sense of failure of the original heroes. Luke, Han and Leia struggled through so much, and we wanted them to have long, happy lives after Return of the Jedi.
Instead, we are shown that the exact opposite happened. We are also shown that people have finally realised that the history of the Jedi is actually not one of heroes… But rather, of failure. Anakin was a Jedi who should have brought balance to the force, but failed and become Darth Vader. Luke was supposed to end the Empire, but the First Order rose from the ashes… The fact that this constant cycle is actually addressed within the movie was genius, but also a very controversial topic that many fans don’t want to recognise.
There are so many revelations in The Last Jedi, and it is really hard to discuss any of them (or even name them) without spoiling the movie. So, rather than actually talk about the revelations, I’ll talk about why I think they are pure genius.
You see, each one actually builds up the characters and the world, expanding motivations, history, lore and everything else around the new canon for Star Wars. The original canon, setup by the Expanded Universe, was insanely deep and utterly huge. So, when all of that was taken away and removed from canon by Disney, it left a huge hole in the lore of the Star Wars universe.
The Last Jedi has actually managed to sow the seeds that were needed to rebuild such a diverse and expansive canon with some of the revelations made within the movie.
On top of this, the other twists and reveals helped to build up the motivation for the various characters, sealing in cement the reasons why they act the way that they do, and dream of the things that they desire. The movie improves the characterisation of everyone involved, making you really think about each and every character and what they have seen, experienced and been through. For a movie series that has always been set on such a strong “light versus dark” theme, The Last Jedi manages to be a far more grounded movie that the rest, because of the twists and turns.
And That’s All Folks
All in all, The Last Jedi was a large departure from the standard Star Wars format, but it works really well. Everything fits into the canon and makes sense, even if it isn’t exactly what you hoped for each of the characters.
The Last Jedi extends the overall lore of the Star Wars universe, even adding more Force abilities. It expands the universe and manages to truly leave the future wide open for Episode IX.
If you get a chance to see The Last Jedi, you absolutely must. It is an amazing movie that, despite the harsh words of fans who wanted a more standard Star Wars say, is more then worth your time.