While the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise has become somewhat of a controversial topic, most critics, including myself, seem to consider it a definite feather in Disney’s cap. Many people see The Last Jedi as a fine, nicely made film and a good fit for the saga, but many still saw it as a disappointment. Some found it too complex, some found it too simple, some felt it veered too far off track from the other movies, and some simply disliked it because Leia used the force and Snoke died. However, I strongly hold the opinion that The Last Jedi is actually one of the best Star Wars movies yet.
To those who say they had a difficult time keeping up with the convoluted story, yes, it did have a lot of twists and turns. But to those who felt the movie was simple and fairly uneventful, well… it was that too. The main plotlines of the rebels retreating, Rey going through her training, and Finn and Rose going out to find a hacker are all easy to digest, and they stay on fairly straight paths until the very end. However, each of the separate stories slowly adds more and more detail and small complications, making it a bit tricky to keep up with all of them at the same time if you’re not paying attention closely.
The movie also had its flaws and its unrealistic plot conveniences, like every Star Wars movie does, but the reason that I truly see it as a great film is because of how it contains such a grand scale in so small a frame. The Last Jedi doesn’t give you a mountainous story to distract you with and get you lost in (for the most part); instead, it chooses to be put under the microscope, and what it shows us when we take a look is astounding. In having this lengthy movie with simple plotlines that either take place over the course of a day or almost entirely on a small, sparsely populated island, we get to explore a whole new level of depth in the Star Wars universe. Suddenly, it’s not clear whether good is really good and bad is really bad, and both Rey and Kylo Ren find themselves being attracted more and more towards a middle ground, where they temporarily meet. For the first time in Star Wars we see the flaws of the light side and the necessity for the dark, changing the ideal mindset to accepting the two and finding a way to exist between them. For so long Star Wars has largely been spaceships and lasers and explosions, and the only sense of a meaningful relation to the real world would be simple and surfacy ideas like the importance of good but the temptation toward evil. But, after a long wait, The Last Jedi has brought back that deeper layer of meaning in Star Wars by implementing a whole new philosophical concept of the force that gives the film and the entire saga a brand new and enormous scope.
Over its two-and-a-half hours (making it the longest Star Wars movie), The Last Jedi takes three simple storylines and juggles them flawlessly, mixing in just the right amounts of intricacy, action, and depth. While only time will tell if this eighth episode will go down as a classic as the originals have, I think that there’s a pretty sure bet that we’ll be looking back at it fondly. Never (well, not since Empire Strikes Back anyway) has a Star Wars movie been so grand, beautiful, interesting, shocking, and subtly similar to the real world that we live in. In 1977, George Lucas created a world that ended up touching the lives of millions of people on an incredibly personal level, and now, 40 years later, I truly feel that we’ve finally come back home to the Star Wars that we fell in love with.
After the major events and plot twists that took place in The Last Jedi, we’re all left wondering where the story is headed from here. In the film, everything was up in the air: Luke was rejecting Rey as she drew nearer towards the dark side, and Kylo Ren was continuing to struggle with ridding himself of goodness. Thankfully, by the end of the film, each of them found their “place in all this.” Kylo, having killed Snoke and taken over the First Order, no longer has to focus on choosing light or dark and instead finds his purpose in conquering the galaxy. Rey, on the other hand, although tempted to do away with the Jedi and join Kylo on their own path, is pushed back toward the light after seeing Kylo still fixed on destroying the Resistance.
While both of the lightsaber-wielders have solidified their positions in either the First Order or the Resistance, they each have quite a bit of work to do. By the end of The Last Jedi, both sides were left devastated and desperate. An entire First Order fleet was destroyed, including a Dreadnought and Snoke’s Flagship, and the Resistance was dwindled down to just a handful of survivors. Both sides still determined to destroy the other, and we’ll most likely see the two forces scrambling to build up their armies as quickly as possible before they eventually engage in a final battle that will end the trilogy.
Alongside this epic fight between armies, we’ll also most likely see a finalizing altercation between Rey and Kylo Ren. While we can safely assume that the rebels are going to come out of the trilogy victorious, the outcome between Rey and Kylo is still a bit foggy. Neither one will want to kill the other, and each of them attempting to persuade their combatant to join their side will surely make for an emotional fight with a backdrop of the two armies clashing.
While it is difficult to speculate what exactly will happen in the final episode of this new trilogy, we can tell that it’s sure to be epic. Yes, it is doubtful that Disney will have the guts to have the rebels lose and the First Order maintain control of the galaxy, but if we’ve learned anything from The Last Jedi, it’s that they’re not afraid to give us something we’re not expecting. Both episodes VII and VIII were major hits and (although with some backlash) loved by fans, and I expect nothing less from this finale that will be the concluding film for a whole new generation of Star Wars fans.