Massive amounts of virtual ink have been spilled in thinkpieces about this movie. It's merits or lack of any merit have been debated ad nauseam two years and counting. You either love it or hate it with very little middle ground. What movie is up this week? The Last Jedi, of course!
A few thoughts:
-I land on the side of thoroughly enjoying this movie, although I do not believe it is perfect by any means.
-The story of Luke is an excellently posed study on religious deconstruction and reconstruction. Thanks to a combination of trauma, a lack of original understanding, and forces outside his control we meet Luke at the darkest point of his religious deconstruction. Everything about the Jedi seems trite and a joke. For anyone who has done any amount of religious deconstruction, Luke should be painfully familiar. Then, however, forces outside of his control and a challenging relationship set him on a journey to reconstruction with a new and better understanding of his religion. We need more stories like this in our modern mythology. People like to get stuck in deconstruction, but deconstruction becomes meaningless if it does not lead to a reconstruction. Luke was a compelling archetype of this journey.
-I am not a professional editor, but the movie felt just a smidge too long. I could not tell you where it needed some edits, but I just got the general feeling.
-Poe's storyline was a little grating to me on my first viewing, but I understood more of the nuance the next few viewings. He was easy to like in The Force Awakens, but he got precisely what he needed in The Last Jedi. His attitude toward his own abilities was definitely toxic, and he needed to fail and be left out to understand the greater cause to which he was dedicated. Outside of the Luke-Rey-Kylo dynamic, this movie was about Poe's journey.
-Finn felt like an afterthought for much of the movie, which is a bummer, because he was amazing in The Force Awakens. I actually thought he was going to ram the laser at the end, and I was both sad but also glad that he finally got to do something meaningful. Then, he didn't do it, so he lives on to hopefully be awesome in The Rise of Skywalker.
A few memories:
-It feels a little strange to talk about memories of a movie that only came out 2 years ago, but there are a few things I will forever associate with it.
-I remember live streaming the first trailer reveal from Star Wars Celebration while at the park with my kids. The line about the Jedi needing to end was shocking and cause for much speculation.
-Leaving the theater after this movie was the first time in a long time that our usual group felt kind of mixed. There was not the usual fist-bumping, high-fiving euphoria; rather, a few of us were pretty excited, and you could tell the others did not want to rain on the parade.
-I am still trying to figure out what makes people take such strong sides over this movie. I would love to do a data study on people's The Last Jedi opinions to see if there is common overlap in certain worldviews or cultural factors that match with opinions about the movie. You know, in all that free time...
It is difficult to talk about the legacy of a movie that is part of an unfinished story. Sometimes I wonder if this is how people felt in the years between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi since I was not privileged to be around then. In about four days, I can give you an answer, or at least the first answer that will continue to grow and evolve as I add the ninth and final Skywalker movie to my Star Wars story.
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