Star Wars sequels split fandom

Taking a look back at the Star Wars film that tore fans apart


‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ poster art. (Lucasfilm)

“Terrible plot! Unnecessary scenes and characters! Disney is ruining my childhood!”

Such are the common complaints of the most recent installment Star Wars saga: The Last Jedi. Expected to follow through on Disney’s first try: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi failed to deliver for many. As December approaches, along with the highly anticipated The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment of the Skywalker story, I take a look back at the upcoming film’s highly controversial predecessor.

Before dissecting the story for its worth, we must first take a look at what really happened. To tell this story shortly, The First Order almost wipes out the entire resistance fleet after chasing them for most of the film. The Resistance; more specifically Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rose Tico makes many attempts to save the rebel fleet yet end up failing, resulting in the Resistance having to take small escape pods down to the planet of Crait. Many lives are lost in the process. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker begins to train Rey to be a Jedi after initial reluctance caused by a previously failed teaching session with Kylo Ren, now an outwardly evil, yet surprisingly conflicted villain after killing his father, Han Solo, in the previous movie. Rey and Kylo communicate through the force and Kylo claims to know who Rey’s parents are. (one of the main concerns for fans going into this film)

Rey and Kylo communicate through the force, The Last Jedi

When Luke discovers that Rey is talking to Kylo Ren, he basically gives up on her and refuses to teach her any more out of fear of her turning to the dark side. Rey then travels to The Supremacy, the lead ship in the First Order fleet that is also leading the chase of the Resistance. Rey meets Kylo in person and together they kill Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo’s master, and Kylo appears to be taking a step in the right direction. However, Kylo then asks Rey to join him and offers her a position as his number two in the First Order. Rey is upset by his unwillingness to redeem himself, but eventually refuses his offer.

Back on Crait, the Resistance prepares to stand their ground against a First Order attack. Finn takes the initiative to sacrifice himself so that his friends can escape, but he is saved by Rose. Luke Skywalker then comes almost out of the blue to face off against Kylo Ren alone. It turns out that Luke was only projecting a vision of himself and his trick gives the Resistance needed time to make an escape with the help of Rey and her newly learned force powers. The film ends with the Resistance members celebrating their escape and finally Luke Skywalker’s death caused by exhaustion from projecting his body across the galaxy.

Rose and Finn share a strong bond,

This movie was unique in that it introduced some new characters, and showed the audience that Kylo Ren still has some good in him. It also gave us a new perspective of Luke Skywalker’s character, showing that he is not always so quick to take noble action. This idea alone caused a great deal of bitterness in fans who claimed that this movie was a disgrace to his character. Personally, I think Luke’s actions are justifiable due to what has happened between his nephew, Kylo, and him. The Last Jedi was also unique in that it was quite unpredictable. While this alone does not make a good film, I did not leave the theater unsurprised and bored.

Rey displays her talent in weilding the force to save her friends:

The lead characters all received a good deal of development. Rey gained strength in the force, yet she also appears to have a sympathetic weakness towards Kylo Ren. Similarly, Kylo Ren is not entirely evil, yet he continues to struggle with choosing a side in the war, and appears to care for Rey even though she chooses to fight against him. Luke Skywalker plays a role in this movie that is not typical to his character. In the original trilogy, Luke was the hero who never gave up on his thought-to-be evil father, Darth Vader. In this film, however, Luke loses faith in the Jedi way, and refuses to teach Rey. Although Luke eventually redeems himself by sacrificing his life in order to save his sister Leia and the Resistance, many fans cannot put his behavior in the early parts of the movie aside.

Supporting characters such as Poe, Finn, Rose, Leia, Chewbacca, and BB-8 continue to do what they do best. Poe continues to be an ace pilot, and a force to reckon with within the Resistance. Finn continues to do everything he can to save his friends from the life he used to live in the First Order, and he also develops a friendship with Rose along the way. Leia continues to inspire hope in the hearts of her followers while Chewbacca once again proves to be the best co-pilot in the galaxy. BB-8, the astromech droid, also keeps helping the heroes in their many adventures and often provides them with a way out of very tough situations.

The special effects in this film are absolutely stunning! For many, they are the best part of the entire movie. The lightsabers, explosions, sound effects, and camera work make the movie very enjoyable, even if you don’t care for the plot.

The Last Jedi is by no means a perfect movie. Personally, I thought it was good, but one of the poorest Star Wars films made up until this point. The problems I have with the film are that the plot took place over a very short time frame and it didn’t follow through on everything The Force Awakens set up for it. The Last Jedi also contains a few plot-holes that don’t make sense based off of what happened in the previous 7 films.

However, I enjoyed the character development throughout this film. The characters are very human, and sometimes even stray from what the audience expects them to be, making them unpredictable and original. This movie also had a decent amount of what I enjoy most about Star Wars. The Last Jedi introduced new planets, aliens, creatures, spaceships, and most importantly, new characters. This movie did not fail to immerse its audience in the galaxy far, far away.

The Rise of Skywalker teaser poster,

Looking back, I believe that this film was somewhat sub-par for Star Wars movies, yet it received a lot more criticism than it truly deserved. Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone, yet especially Star Wars fans. I give it a solid 8/10 on my scale. This movie definitely set the stage for the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, and I know that fans will be blown out of the water by the conclusion to the original Star Wars saga regardless of their stance on the film that came before it.