Star Wars: The Last Jedi — Big Dog’s Review

Star Wars The Last Jedi posterI know, I know… Why is there a 3rd review of The Last Jedi on here? What is it that Troy’s ol’ pal Big Dog could possibly say that he already didn’t? Honestly, I don’t know. So let’s go on with what I do know, shall we? Oh, and there will be SPOILERS!!! Just so you’ve been warned…
Let’s start by saying that I saw this opening day. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, and I was genuinely excited by it. The last time I did that was all the way back to The Phantom Menace. I had largely gone into this movie with no spoilers. I didn’t want them, which is highly unusual for me. These days, I’d rather know what I’m getting upfront and then judge based on the presentation. I don’t know why I drank the Kool-Aid this time around, but I think it’s the greatest Force trick this movie pulled off, and that’s saying a lot. I went in blind and sat there for the 2 hours and 30 some odd minutes to see what this had to offer me. What I got out of it was the feeling like I wanted to love it, but it all just felt weird. I had to wait to discuss this with another fellow Star Wars fan to see if I could work through these feelings. My initial reaction was that I liked Porgs. I liked scenes in this movie, but I couldn’t find the love for it I desperately hoped that I would. My overall analysis for when anyone asked me the next day? I’ll have a better opinion of what I think when Episode IX hits.
The problem with this response is that, according to so many, it automatically paints you in the “hater” category. I’ve said to people, even if my fandom discussions get heated, I can at least count on my friends to maintain the notion that we’re all just venting opinions. In the end, I don’t care that you loved a movie or hated it, but you asked for my thoughts, I’m going to give them. In the meantime, I’m also going to respect that you have an opinion that might not match with mine. Well, not all people feel that way. Instead, they take the stance that I’m automatically on a crusade to hate this, that, and everything. To use a catchphrase that Troy taught me many years ago: Perception defines your reality.
Here’s the stance I’m taking now: I’m not going to go over every little detail in the film, but instead what I took issue with. I also want to get into what others have taken issue with we fans who didn’t fall for this film.
Right out of the gate, I had a problem with the opening dogfight sequence. In general, I like Poe Dameron. I like the fact that he’ll throw a one-liner in the face of anyone trying to kill him. What I’m not fond of is that in this scene he’s playing Bandit to Hux’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice. If that’s too old a reference, then may I suggest looking up the movie Smokey and the Bandit? It’s one of my favorite movies from the 70s. Ironically, it came out May 27, 1977, just a couple of days after Star Wars.
For those of you not inclined to look this up, the short synopsis is that legend Bo “Bandit” Darville (as played by Burt Reynolds) has been bet $80,000 that he can’t go from Atlanta, GA to Texarkana, TX to bootleg a semi-truck full of Coors beer, and back in 28 hours. Bandit recruits his friend Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed) to help haul the goods, while Bandit drives blocker in a black Pontiac Trans-Am. While the trip is relatively uneventful on the way to TX, on the way back to GA Bandit picks up Carrie, or “Frog” as he will nickname her (Sally Field} She is escaping her own wedding to Junior, son and deputy of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Sheriff Justice, a belligerent, foul-mouthed, and relentless lawman, isn’t taking Frog’s abandoning Junior well. This begins his pursuit of Bandit across state lines, all the while becoming the butt of Bandit’s endless jokes. Much hilarity and awesome car chases ensue in this hit road comedy.
Never in my life did I ever think I would have to explain the plot of this movie to explain something I’ve seen in Star Wars. The problem I’m running into is that no matter how much I try to escape the thought, I run right back into it. Hux is being punked liked Buford all the while he’s screaming at what he’s going to do to the Resistance. Then the First Order unleashes a dreadnaught to destroy all of the Resistance capital ships. Poe gets this idea in his head that we’re going to do the job right and take it out. It goes from this comedic event to downright disheartening when Poe decides to defy Leia and take a squad of bombers to destroy it. While they do get the job done, it’s at the expense of every bomber in their fleet. Seriously?! You bet your reputation on this maneuver, and then expected others to back you up? What’s worse? The bombers apparently agreed with this, in spite of the fact that Leia kept saying no! She’s a General, he’s a Captain. They should have turned around and fled the scene before more ships got lost. Okay, I get loyalty and what it would mean for them to destroy such a ship as a dreadnaught, but it’s hardly the Death Star or Starkiller Base either. Seems to me they’d have an easier time just building another one and accepting the loss. Add to that, even if they were loyal to Poe, and that’s fine that the fighter ships would be, where’s the loyalty to Leia? It’s not only that they were defying direct orders, but disrespecting her as a leader and legend.
If it’s not bad enough that all this has gone down, the only consequence is that Poe’s rank is lowered. Again, I get that the Resistance isn’t exactly plentiful in numbers, but this wasn’t losing pilots on a raid that made sense. It was a guy defying logical orders and losing a major part of your fleet. Seriously, it’s not a demotion that he needs. At best, the very best, he should be flying a cargo ship full of rubber Bantha poodoo out of Tatooine. Then you have the newly awakened Finn. He’s been healed from his injuries, and we’re excited to see him again. Then, in a moment’s notice, he’s ready to run away from the madness of the Resistance. I sort of get this, as I think he was only in it for Rey. I sort of bought that he was escaping to go track her down, though I’ll be damned if I know how he thought to accomplish that. Leia was keeping track of her, but no one knew that until later. What bugs me is that they do all this to set him up to meet Rose. I like Rose. She’s a good character that has the potential to grow. What I like about her is that she’s got a lot of heart, and is willing to do whatever she can to help. A lot of times when they pull this sort of thing in stories it can across as an annoying, but they did a great job in making her someone worth having on screen.
So I like Finn, I like Rose, what’s the problem? Canto Bight! Seriously, it’s like they shoehorned a Clone Wars episode into the middle of this movie! The First Order has found a way to track a ship through hyperspace. This was something that they mentioned the Empire was working on in Rogue One while Jyn searched for the Death Star plans, if memory serves. The Resistance figures this out, and has decided not to waste any more fuel in a futile effort to jump away. Instead, we put Smokey and the Bandit in slow-mo, give Sheriff Justice more friends, and turbo-cannons! Admiral Ackbar dies in the midst of all this! You only hear about that as an “oh, by the way” situation. More importantly, Leia ends up being jettisoned into space, just like Ackbar was. All is not lost with her, because the minute she starts to freeze in the vacuum, she Force glides back into the ship. She has enough energy left to help get the door trapping her in the bridge open, then goes into a coma. From here we are given a new leader in Holdo, some sort of legendary figure herself. If you’ve read some of the Star Wars novels that have come out, then you might have met her. If you haven’t, you’re not in for someone you’re going to enjoy right away, or possibly ever! I know I didn’t!
Holdo creates a bunch of drama right up front. Instead of laying out plans for how they’re going to survive this endless ship chase, she basically gives Poe the brush off which causes him and Finn to come up with a plan of their own. Their plan is to sneak aboard Supreme Leader Snoke’s ship, which has now entered the chase, and shut down their hyperspace tracker. Damn fine plan, except that have no one aboard that can do the job of breaking into this high security area. Except they have BB-8, or they could have used some other droid to hook into the mainframe and talk the ship into letting them in. No… They contact Maz Kanata who drops the name of some code cracker on Canto Bight. So Rose, Finn, and BB-8 go to find the guy. This is basically the Monte Carlo system, with more slavery and abuse on the underbelly. It also turns out that Rose and Finn fail to get who they need in this venture. They manage to find the one guy on the First Order payroll and take him back with them. I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence as to how this goes.
Seriously, this entire planet storyline could have been a James Bond nod on Clone Wars. They set up a McGuffin to find, have Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka undercover to find it, and even set up a side mission about the treatment of the kids. This is a hot button issue for Anakin if ever there was one. Have Anakin dressed like Daniel Craig’s Bond, Obi-Wan in the Connery white tux, and Ahsoka as Lita Saber (yeah, okay… I’m trying to go with a theme here). Point being, this has no place in this movie otherwise. Too many droids are in this film with no real purpose in their appearance other than, “well what would Star Wars be without them?” If they took the entire plotline out, it wouldn’t hinder what happens one bit. For that matter, DJ (our code cracker) could have been part of the Resistance. If they made him a likable character, had him follow Finn and Rose since their meeting, this would have made his eventual betrayal have some small weight to it. As it stood, there was none.
Let me say something complimentary about Snoke. Andy Serkis does an incredible job in his performance, which is to be expected. He does add gravitas to the character, and he needs that. The reason he needs it is one of the issues that’s been brought up so much since the movie’s release: we aren’t supposed to be mad that we learn nothing about him. The logic of this follow that we knew nothing about the Emperor in the original movies. Now a bunch of bitchy fanboys are making demands of this film to explain with Snoke that which they never bothered to explain with Palpatine. Okay, let’s get something straight here… If we exclude anything we learned in the prequels and just stick the original trilogy, yeah we didn’t know anything. We didn’t really need to, but we wanted to. What we do know is that there is an Empire. Vader and Tarkin have a master that they answer to, and his presence is felt in the background the entire time. We get a brief glimpse of a holo-transmission, but we get to see the evil bastard up front in Return of the Jedi. He’s small and shriveled, but he has Vader kowtowing to him. There has to be something there, and luckily we have plenty of room to build and expand upon, which they did when we got the prequels. The reason Snoke doesn’t work the same way is because we have 40 plus years of story to build from. This guy comes out of nowhere, somehow gets his hands on the Imperial Remnant, reforging it into the First Order. All this, and he actually influences Ben Solo to a point where Luke considers cutting Ben down in his sleep, which only further pushes Ben into become Kylo Ren. Where did he learn his power? Why did the Imperials trust him enough to allow him to take over? Why didn’t Palpatine know about him? How did he plan to finish up Kylo’s training? The excuse has been that none of this mattered in this film, because it didn’t matter to Rey. That maybe be true, but while it doesn’t matter to Rey, it would matter to Luke, Kylo, or Leia. As it is, he again becomes a 30 minute villain of the week, especially when he allows his arrogance to get the best of him. Now you’re here, now you’re dead. Whoops! Shoulda seen that one comin’!
This goes into other things that people have harped on. Apparently it’s just sour grapes because I had a story worked out in my head that didn’t come to fruition. I supposedly wrote a script about who Rey was, who Snoke was, and what was going to happen with Luke. When none of this happened, I just started harping on the movie to harp. No, that’s not what happened. At least, that’s not what happened with me. First, I am not on Lucasfilm’s payroll. They aren’t paying me to write a script for them, so creating canon that they may or may not use is useless. I can rationalize anything in a script if I want to write out what I think the reasons were for things. I’ve done that plenty, but in the end, I’m not getting any screen credit or money for it, so why bother? I had no expectations for this movie whatsoever. I had discussed the possibility of Rey’s origins, as well as Snoke, but only with friends, and never once did I even begin to believe they would follow the lines of logic we came up with. Why would they? Sure, it might tie into things we’ve seen or heard before, even stuff we could bring back into canon. But why? Even if Snoke turned out to be Darth Plagueis, would it really make this story any better? It wouldn’t to me, because then there are more questions with his backstory than ever. Plagueis was a Sith Lord of extreme power, if you believe the book. James Luceno does an amazing job crafting that tale, if you have a notion to read it. Regardless, if he’s returned from the dead and decided that he’s moved past the Sith and all the machinations, I would want to know why. Honestly, I’d just rather they didn’t.
That brings me to my next point, there is no plan here. You can tell this entire trilogy is being written by the seat of their pants in an attempt to please fandom. Sorry, that’s a moving target at best. How do I know? Look around! What they needed to do is plot this trilogy from start to finish, and I don’t mean creating bare bones sketches either. You plan out this story, and adjust as you find it necessary. This entire setup is something I find problematic with the world in general right now. It’s a reactionary story. Everyone is dealing with the right now vs. dealing with the long term. Leia’s scene with Kylo and the dreadnaught point that out perfectly.
I can hear it, “well, aren’t people supposed to react to events when they happen?” Absolutely they are, but the problem is that they’re working harder, not smarter. This is a giant failing when you’re talking about the fate of the galaxy, and our original heroes. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi tells us something very hard to hear, the future of the galaxy far, far away was bleak. This isn’t just about how Luke failed Kylo, but how Han failed his family and so he ran to escape what became of his son, and how Leia failed to keep the New Republic safe. Sure, they were probably aware that the Empire wasn’t completely dead, and that they’d come back to seek some sort of revenge. Still, only a little over 30 years later and the New Republic is no more? She was there promising to make a better tomorrow for these people, and it fell apart in her hands like so much tissue. This leads to the biggest heartbreak at the end of the film. More on that later, but the gist here is that love wasn’t enough. The worked hard for a time, but when the dream started to fail, Hand and Luke fell back into cynicism, and left Leia to watch the dream die.
Let’s focus on Luke and Rey, which was the highlight of the film for me. Any scenes on Ahch-To were my bread and butter. I really wanted to see where Luke’s head was all these years later, especially since 2 years ago all we got was him staring at Rey and the lightsaber. This is where it felt like an old Japanese martial arts flick. Last Samurai, tired of a legend he could never live up to, seeks isolation. He has failed too much, and cannot allow himself to pass on those failures to other students, especially after his most prized pupil fell so far. When I initially walked out of the theater, and up to a week later, I was okay with this. I got it in a sense. Thanks to the internet meme pointing out that he was acting in accordance with how Jedi have always done things, and that was to run away, I have since changed my mind. Luke ran… Luke ran to another planet and hid from the galaxy, and while I would be okay with this under some circumstances, here’s where it falls apart for me: Luke made the mess he ran from. He ignored what Yoda had taught him, and it’s what led him to almost kill Ben in the first place. He saw a vision of what Kylo Ren became, and that prompted him to act. He was ready to strike Ben down, when he realized what was about to happen. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize this sooner, and by that small moment of indecision, he created the very link to thing he feared would happen. All props to Mark Hamill for his portrayal, but let’s examine what was seen here. Even if I were to buy that he did this, which isn’t to say that I don’t, what I can’t buy is that he didn’t stay to correct this mistake. He used this as an excuse to run away, knowing all the while that something worse was coming. He also knew that he could be tracked through the Force, that he would have to feel all the turmoil that the dark side would bring him, and so he shut himself off from it all. You cannot compare what Obi-Wan and Yoda did to that. They went into exile because they knew they would be needed to train Luke or Leia for what was to come. The two against the horde would have left the infant Skywalkers vulnerable to their father, and then they would have been weaponized for further use by the Emperor. Likely, one of the two would have killed their father to take their place at Palpatine’s side. No such issue was present here.
I get the Jedi and the Sith need to be a thing of the past. Users of the Force will always pick their chosen way to use it, Dark side, Light side, or they’ll try to be Grey. Without the dogma of all involved, these things could happen. Luke’s quest to never train another Jedi is one that I’m not totally upset about, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a Jedi. I’d say he was still more a Knight than Master, but then we don’t know what all he went through in that expanse of time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens either. We know he was looking for Jedi artifacts and came across Ahch-To in those travels. He decided to use it as his final home before he passed into the Force, because its location was so well hidden. I would agree with that choice, as it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s here where we get some old school lessons of the Force and we get to see Rey being told of what lead to the Jedi’s downfall and the rise of Palpatine. There was good stuff here with great scenes that had some real emotion from both Rey and Luke. We also get Porgs. Their point was to hide all the Puffins that were all over the film set, and they gave some really fun comedic moments, but other than that they’re pointless. I want one anyway.
What breaks my heart is that Rey, even though she’s trying her best to figure herself out, isn’t getting as much help from Luke as she really needs. He’s too cut off from everything but his own fear of what he’ll unleash. She cannot convince him that the galaxy needs him, and he sees her as the next Kylo Ren because she won’t back down from the darkness. In the end, she and Kylo are learning how to communicate through the Force. Call it Force Skype, or Force-time, whichever you feel fits your needs. It’s by doing this she learns about Kylo’s story with Luke. It brings her to have a showdown with her would be master. She gets the other side of the story from him, and comes to the realization that whatever hope that she wanted to bring back with her did not lie in him. She leaves him behind in order to go back and help her friends by trying to turn Kylo back to the light. After she’s gone, Luke threatens to burn an ancient tree which holds the Jedi texts, but stops himself short of doing this. In that moment we get Yoda! That old Empire Strikes Back Yoda at that! The one who was completely mellow, and giggling. Apparently being one with the Force agrees with him. He gets to stick it to Luke once more by blasting the ancient tree with lightning, knowing that Rey has already removed the precious contents. Luke looked shocked to see what his old master had done, but Yoda brushes it off and passes on a lesson that Luke has forgotten. People fail, but it’s in those failures that we learn. Hence, even masters are still students. It finally digs Luke out of himself enough to take action. This is where we start gearing towards the finale.
Rey decides to give herself over to the First Order and convince Kylo he’s still got good in him. Sound familiar? In the end, and in embarrassing fashion, Snoke gets smoked and Rey cannot convince Kylo to join the light. The Praetorean Guard finally spring to life in an old martial arts movie way, and are just as quickly dispatched as they are ineffective to the job at hand. I mean, they were training Stormtroopers to be ready for a Jedi incursion. The Guard were supposed to be more elite than that. Obviously they were trained by Captain Phasma. This brings me to another disappointment: they bring her back to put Finn and Rose in a bad situation, only for them to find a way around it and have Finn put a beat down on her. What? Really? What freakin’ use is this woman? I don’t want to say that, because I love Gwendoline Christie. They use her to zero effect here, and basically leave her to die, AGAIN! I swear I’m going to call her Captain Kenny if she’s comes back next film. Oh my God, you killed Phasma! You bastard!
In the meantime Poe has decided to mutiny in the face of Holdo coming across like some sort of saboteur. Once Leia comes back from her coma, she stuns Poe, and we find out they were just stalling so they can get to an old Rebel Base on Crait. Their capital ship is just about out of fuel, they’ve apparently used what’s left to gas up smaller ships to get them there when they were close enough. This pretty much sets them up as a duck shoot once they leave the ship that’s been chased for the past 2 hours. Now, we get another Smokey and the Bandit moment! Holdo decides to show us that she really is the good guy that Leia always knew her to be. Everyone left in the Resistance is doing their best to get to Crait, and being picked off, Holdo decides to let them know she’s there and aims her ship at Snoke’s. She hits the hyperdrive one last time, and short jumps right into the enemy causing a really great effect. Why do I call it another Bandit moment? She’s playing Snowman to Leia’s Bandit now. What follows is a conversation from near the end of Smokey and the Bandit:

“Cledus?”

“Talk to me, my boy.”

“Goddamn it, son, we gave it our best shot. I don’t like this any more than you do, but… We ain’t gonna make it, son. We’re gonna hang it up.”

“Whoa, negatory, negatory! You crazy or somethin’? We come this far, ain’t we? When we say we gonna do a job, we do a job!”

“It’s me they’re after. They don’t even know Cledus Snow exists.”

“Oh, they don’t? Well, I’ll tell you what we gonna do. We gonna introduce ’em to the boy. So move over, good buddy, ’cause the Snowman is comin’ through!”

I know it doesn’t seem like this when you see it on the screen, but you have to understand that once I’ve seen it one place, my brain is filling in other places where it thinks it fits. I didn’t go into this wanting to find it, or even fit more pieces in, but I can’t help but see it once I’ve gone there. I also don’t want to disparage the glorious amount of destruction she causes in her sacrifice. If you let yourself in the moment, it’s pretty thrilling.
Our heroes aboard Snoke’s ship miraculously make it off, find their way to Crait and prepare for the big assault. The rest of the First Order arrives shortly after and they’ve brought all this heavy artillery that they barely try to use to bunker bust the door, or the wall around said door. Instead, they drop a miniature Death Star laser so that they can blast it open. So they’re mining Kyber Crystals for the use of door busters? Wow, how the mighty have fallen! I guess the big bad of having a Death Star or Starkiller was too much, and deservedly so I suppose. The next step above that would probably be something like a Galaxy Bomb, and doesn’t that seem really pointless?
In any case, by the end, the Resistance is trying their best to find a back door to the place, and we’re left with Luke arriving, dressed like he was in the flashbacks we had seen previously. He’s there to try to help his sister and what’s left of her party escape. This is especially poignant when you realize that Leia has sent out a cry for help, and she’s being ignored. So to recap her journey so far: she’s lost Ben to the Dark Side, she’s lost Han, she has only a handful of people left, she’s been given the cold shoulder by those who she thought she could turn to, and now Luke has arrived to save the day, but will obviously be sacrificing himself to do so. All this, and in real world terms, we know that Carrie Fisher is gone and we don’t get her back. This is where the weight of the entire movie comes crashing down. We hope Luke isn’t going to die, even if it was like when Ben Kenobi joined with the Force, but it’s there in our minds that this is coming. We don’t want to see our beloved Princess and General being left practically alone with the few people she has. As much as I like the new characters, this isn’t something I’m relishing. It’s because I know that when the pick this up with IX, unless they use some sort of cut footage, she’s likely to die in the opening scrawl. That’s a downer on every level.
In any case, Luke faces Kylo in a not-so-epic showdown. Kylo, who has improved from the last film, falls back into his angry boy phase and blasts Luke with all the firepower at his disposal. This face off should have been like the fight back in Snoke’s throne room, styled more on that Samurai film of old, except with a lot of better work. While I sort of like the cockier Luke in the brush off the shoulder thing, what this ends of being is Luke pulling moves from the Matrix. We are meant to realize he’s been projecting himself from Ahch-To this entire time. He’s still there, dressed as he has been this entire film. I kicked myself for not picking up on it sooner. I was too engaged on why he wasn’t using HIS lightsaber. Instead he’s using Anakin’s lightsaber, the one Kenobi gifted him, and Rey just broke a little bit ago. Once we realize he’s just a projection, we then see our Resistance remnant find their escape with the help of Rey, and they speed off in the Falcon. Luke joins the Force, and we get Leia telling Rey that there is still hope and that they are the sparks of the new Rebellion.
Okay, I’ve given a lot of words to this. Let me get down to brass tacks here. What was done, was Rian Johnson shitting all over what Abrams did in grand style. They set it up pegs in The Force Awakens, he knocked them down one at a time. He might not have intentionally done that, according to some things I’ve heard.  Intentionally or not, he’s done it anyway. The problem I have is that they’ve left me wondering where they go from here. I have no idea, which should be exciting for a fan. I’m not excited. They really don’t know. I realize movies are supposed to be like that, but at the same time, we have to consider that they were doing this in trilogy format to keep in style with the others. Instead they’re treating this like any other sequel, and it plays out a little like the Halloween series because of it. In Halloween 5: the Revenge of Michael Myers, they set up a Man in Black character. He shows up, he does a thing, and he leaves. They had no idea who this guy was, what his motivations truly are, they just wrote him in to give the next creator something to work with. I have a problem with that mentality. I like setting up building blocks for the future installments, but not when I know there’s no pay off. There isn’t. The last movie is full of these types of things, and was practically a remake of A New Hope to boot. This was supposed to have a few pay offs in it. Was there? Not by my estimation. “It’s nothing.” If it’s nothing, why is it here?
I’ve spent the better part of the rambling essay comparing this movie to a bunch of other films. I’m sorry that I did, but then they sort of backed me into that corner. As I said, the last film spent so much time making remaking the original, even down to creating comparison characters. Rey = Luke, Kylo = Vader, Snoke = Emperor, Hux = Tarkin, Poe = Han. Those are just the five I went out of my way to see. Of course you have them trying to develop their personalities independently of the roles they’re supposed to be filling. The Last Jedi does some of that. I took that with the Hux comparison especially. There is no way that Tarkin would have ever put up with Poe’s rhetoric. Tarkin would have told his gunners to destroy him. Kylo was set up to be the Vader type, but The Force Awakens broke that almost out of the gate. He couldn’t live up, and that’s one thing this script did right. He couldn’t live up, he didn’t, so they made him his own mess. That was the right decision. That, and destroying that stupid mask. In any case, because of what The Force Awakens set up, I figured they would try to avoid this trope. I was prepared that they might fall back into that comparison chart but I remained hopeful that they wouldn’t. It had shades of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi all over it, direct lifts in fact, but it felt like it borrowed from so much else.

I wanted to love this film. I actually do have more I did like about it, but right now it’s just not as strong as what I see that I didn’t. It’s a collection of scenes and TV episode plots. I guess one of my biggest gripes outside this film is with the fans out there saying I’m being too rigid and not giving in to what this story is trying to tell me. That’s just it, I don’t think this story is telling me what you think it is. Even if you believe it’s telling you that out of the ashes of failure, something new and hopeful is coming, what I see is quite different. Vader never tolerated failure. If you failed him, you died. A better teacher might scold and possibly punish a student for a failure, or they will understand that not everything goes successfully and guide them to learn for it. What we learned from constant failure in this movie is that we should burn the bridges of the past and start anew. The problem with that is if we forget the past, we soon find ourselves doomed to repeat it. Somehow that’s what happened to the galaxy far, far away. I don’t know why they would, or why Luke didn’t have Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin there to guide him before it all went to this length, but this is what we have now.

The other gripe I have is that I’m digging too far on this. Yes, I am. Why wouldn’t I? If you go through the Star Wars fandom, you find people who have dissected every moment these films have to offer. They are looking for the connective tissues between each. The Easter Eggs are just the beginning. They’re analyzing dropped lines to see if someone was hinting something in the prequels that would come to fruition in the original trilogy. Some people have dedicated their lives on the Cantina scene, going through all the characters, their stories from the old EU and what it might currently be. They could tell you what Stormtroopers were outside, and if there was any minutiae on them put in a book somewhere. They could read you chapter and verse about them. I might not be washed that deep in the blood of fandom, but I am steeped enough to dig deeper than what’s on the surface. If I watch a movie like this, and I’m watching merely for what they give me on the surface, I could probably enjoy it far more. That won’t happen, because the tapestry that’s been weaved to be a cohesive unit meant to have people pouring over every stitch. At least, it should be. It isn’t like the Lethal Weapon movie series, where if you don’t like the second film, you can largely skip it and go to the third without feeling like you missed much.

Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I cautiously will await IX. I’m going in without a lot of hope, but perhaps it will surprise me.

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