“It Was Worth It.” The Last Jedi(Part 1)

*Full Spoilers for The Last Jedi will follow. If you haven’t seen it then please stop, go watch it and then come back. This article will be waiting. I promise.*

Since the new films came out, many people have said that Star Wars ended for them in 1983 and some even say that it ended in 2005 but I’m here to tell you why Star Wars will never end for me.

I never want The Fandom Correspondents to become a site of vitriol or intimidation. If you disagree with me about something then I will never be writing to prove you wrong, I will only be writing to back up what I believe and where I stand on a subject. To me, one of the greatest things about Fandom is the ability to discuss and debate between two people. It can occasionally be the worst thing about Fandom as well but that’s entirely dependent on who you’re talking to. This article was not written lightly, I’ve chosen my words very carefully and I implore you to keep an open mind about it.

Star Wars has always been a big part of my life. I don’t remember not knowing about things like The Millennium Falcon or Darth Vader. That being said, I have to tell you that this year was the year when I saw my favorite Star Wars Film in The Last Jedi. Now that is clearly a polarizing comment in itself but apparently not nearly as polarizing as the film itself. Originally, my plan for this article was to discuss the things I loved about the film and the future of the series. I still fully intend to do this but I will also be offering rebuttals to certain complaints and other articles.

First up, let’s get my only complaint about the film out of the way :

Captain Phasma

So, Phasma was featured heavily in the marketing for this film as well as The Force Awakens and she just wasn’t given enough screen time in either film in my opinion. I would’ve liked to see more of her in the film before she received her send-off. She’s basically just a warrior in the film and is a solid adversary for Finn but I feel like they really could’ve kept her around for Episode IX. The really annoying part is that if she comes back now then she’s just the character that can never die which doesn’t really make her compelling and it kinda takes away from the weight of her scenes. This is, of course, a very small complaint and I still love her exit scene but I would’ve been just as happy if she was given more screen time or was saved for Episode IX.

Now let’s move on to what I loved about this movie and why it was my favorite of the Star Wars Films.

The Force

“Lesson one.  The force is not a power you have.  It’s a tension that binds the universe together. The force does not belong to the Jedi.  To say the Jedi dies, the force dies is vanity.”

This is a phenomenal quote and it starts the main theme of the film which is that anyone can be a hero. They’ve advanced Star Wars in this way and really just built off of the original idea of Luke and Anakin basically coming from nothing at the start of their journeys but more on that later.

I just love the idea that the force isn’t something that just lies within the Jedi or the SIth. I’ve always viewed the force as something that truly resides within everyone and that it reacts a lot like our own strength which is another reason why I didn’t mind how Rey or Leia used the force in these films. A lot of people made the complaints that they had no training and Rey shouldn’t be able to use the Jedi Mind Trick in The Force Awakens and that Leia shouldn’t be able to save herself from space in The Last Jedi and I fully disagree. For me, the force is much like adrenaline in that sense. Each character can only do these amazing feats when they are under extreme duress such as being held captive or shot into the vacuum of space. Both of these women were born with strong force abilities and I saw nothing wrong with either of them being able to do these things.

The force is an ever growing thing just as the characters in the story are. The fact that they discuss it as a balance instead of light and dark is something that’s new and foreign to a lot of people and I fully understand that but I loved the way they use the force in this and I can’t wait to see more of it in Episode IX.

Rey and Kylo Ren

Now if you ever hear me talk about The Force Awakens then you already know that these two are my favorites of the new characters. Their juxtaposition of characteristics is nothing short of perfect and The Last Jedi just keeps building on it.

This film shows us that Rey actually comes from nothing. I love it, I love that she is a completely self-made woman, she won’t have to follow anyone’s path beyond her own and that’s why I’m excited for her as a character in this series. She keeps saying “I need someone to show me my place in all this.” But really she doesn’t. Luke knows it, Snoke knows it and ultimately Kylo Ren knows it too which is why he tries to exploit it.

Rey’s Journey is one that we can all get behind. How often do we feel alone ourselves? How many times do we feel like we have no idea where to go or what to do next? Rey has the choice placed before her in the first film that she can either get involved or go back to Jakku, she decides to stay and help get BB-8 back to the resistance. It’s in The Last Jedi that she has another choice placed before her. To become a Jedi or Join with Kylo Ren and I enjoyed that it wasn’t a direct yes or no. It kept it open very well for the next film. Their mental connection makes for some of the better scenes of the film primarily due to the chemistry between Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. They’re both phenomenal performers and their dynamic is something that is only going to improve in the next film.

Kylo Ren had some great character development in this film. He wasn’t just a clear villain in this film and I think that’s why he works so well. If Rey is the version of ourselves that makes the best decisions then Kylo is the clear opposite. He’s not someone who’s pure evil and there’s multiple times where one could even agree with him. But it’s clear that he is someone who is capable of doing terrible things. I did find it interesting that he can’t bring himself to attack Leia or Rey. Perhaps each of them are his weakness, I could easily see that being a part of it and I think it makes him a more complete character if he does.

The film’s big lightsaber duel is actually one that isn’t traditional at all. Instead of it involving two or three combatants it was 2 force users taking on 8 of Snoke’s elite guards after Kylo kills him. It was such a well done scene, Snoke’s death was a huge twist in the film and I really enjoyed that we didn’t see a bunch of back flips and fancy things like that but instead this entire fight is one of emotion and passion which is something that a lot of films could take a lesson from when it comes to fight scenes.

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and Jedi Knight Rey is something that I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of.

 

Poe Dameron

Poe’s entire character is improved in this film. He gets a chance to shine as the brave pilot in the opening scene but he ultimately forces too many losses for the resistance which is where the inner conflict comes from. Poe wants to be this strong fighter and he is, he just has no idea how to step back and lead without jumping in first and blowing things up.

It’s interesting to think of what the original plan was considering Poe was originally supposed to die in the crash at Jakku but I feel fortunate that they chose otherwise for him. He grows so much in this film while learning from Leia and fighting with Holdo. Holdo’s inclusion into his story was a welcome addition in a lot of ways to me. They each want to help the resistance but Holdo wants to wait for the right time and Poe just wants to rush in and fight. This, of course, also leads to the one of the coolest scenes in the film when Holdo sacrifices herself and uses a cruiser at Lightspeed as a battering ram while the others can escape. It’s definitely a worthy finale for any character and it’s clearly a huge inspiration for Poe.

I love his development here because it’s not something that they shove in your face the entire time but they also make sure that you know how important it is for him. The entire film for Poe is really about learning what decisions to make for the best course between success and safety. When Leia says “What are you looking at me for? You heard him.” I wanted to stand and applaud. Poe is clearly going to be her successor in the next film and I’m ready to see a Dameron lead Resistance.

Finn and Rose

I find it odd that one of my favorite parts of the movie has been one of the biggest points of contention for a lot of the fan-base. Most people hated both Rose and The Canto Bight sequence but I loved both of them. To me, Rose adds a moral element to this film that Star Wars hasn’t really had before. Most of the previous films have been : “This guy is good, this guy is bad, now they fight.” Which is perfectly fine, there’s nothing wrong with simplicity but I enjoyed the idea that Rose has something more that she’s fighting for. She legitimately wants to help people and she works as hard as she can to do that.

Remember in the first film when Finn’s pretty backward about fighting for the resistance? Well Rose is pretty much the complete opposite, there’s never a point where she shows any kind of fear and that includes the point where they’re supposed to infiltrate the First Order ship. It’s because she has a belief system that backs her up. When her and Finn get to Canto Bight they have that discussion of slavery and war profiteering in the galaxy and how it has funded this gigantic casino town that Finn and many others are so enamored with. The concept of looking just a bit closer to finding out that maybe things aren’t as perfect as we’d like to believe is just a great message to me. You can have the nicest business around but if you’re not a kind and respectable owner then someone’s gonna notice it eventually.

Following that, Rose and Finn release a group of Animals called Fathiers(Pictured above) from their pens, these animals were previously used in races and were horribly mistreated by various handlers. They use the animals freedom as a means of escape from the casino. There comes a point where they get the Fathiers into a new area where they can run and be free and Rose says the title of this article : “It was worth it.” This line is the perfect bookend for the Canto Bight sequence. It may not have progressed the story as much as some scenes but it has heart and that’s what makes it “Worth it.”

Later on in the film, we have that finale with the speeders and everything and Rose chooses to save Finn instead of letting him sacrifice himself. The internet has hated her since this happened because a lot of people thought that Finn deserved to have a hero’s death and she denied him of that. I thought otherwise here, when Rose saves him she says “That’s how we’ll win, not by destroying what we hate but by saving what we love.” Look, you can call that cheesy all you want but you have to realize that’s a perfect motivation for a hero. Rose is the perfect hero for me and I really like her because she helps to improve Finn in this way.

Finn starts the film just wanting to leave, get Rey and just leave everything behind like he wanted to do on Takodona in The Force Awakens. However, Finn gets pushed by Poe and Rose to be something better. Poe wants him to be his right hand man in the resistance and Rose genuinely looks up to him as a hero and Finn’s never witnessed that before. At the end of the film, before Rose saves him, Finn is about to fly that Speeder directly into the laser even though Poe tells him to stop. Finn takes his headset off and everything which is a complete callback to the opening where Poe did the same thing with Leia at the start. It’s such a great scene and to me, had the best outcome that it could.

For me, everything about the newer characters made the film “Worth it” and I’m really excited to see where their stories go in Episode IX.

 

This ends the first half of my article and I’ll have the second half out tomorrow where we discuss Leia, Luke and where it goes from here.

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