The Last Jedi was not a perfect film, but I want to discuss the thing that truly won me over, heart and soul.
It was Luke. I’ll go point by point:
- Luke acknowledges, discusses, and even argues the failures of the Jedi Order in his scenes with Rey. He says the things that frustrated fans have been saying for years, such as their utter failure to detect or halt Sidious’s rise and their participation in the Clone Wars.
- He mocks Rey’s naive attempts to understand the Force. His line “every word in that sentence was wrong” was delivered against both Rey and Kylo with such awesome charisma that I lol’d each time. And then there’s that sublime meditation scene where she “reaches out” only for him to mock her with a blade of grass.
- Luke actively tries to dissuade Rey from becoming a Jedi, even after he agreed to train her. He teaches her about balance, not just Light.
- Luke’s criticisms of the Jedi Order are then reinforced by his own failure with Ben. He goes so far as to shut himself off from the Force (though not permanently, as has been explored in the EU) to the extent that Rey can’t even sense him.
- Luke’s arc reaches a tipping point when finally decides to burn down the Jedi tree with the books in it. It’s a hilarious and awesome scene with Yoda chiming in to remind him that, once again, he’s being short sighted. And he admits he’s never even read the stupid books.
- Then he goes full Force master and projects himself into the big battle, misdirecting everyone and going out like a champ.
There’s so much to love about that wonderful little bit of misdirection. When he showed up with a haircut and the light saber that we just saw destroyed, I was thinking “wait these things are not right:”
How did he get there so quickly? His XWing was in the bottom of the sea. Rey and Chewie clearly left without him. Did he have a haircutting droid on his sunken XWing? Did he make a replica of his old light saber? When did anyone learn to deflect or absorb massive amounts of blaster fire coming from giant walkers? There were so many little things that didn’t add up, and it was some brilliant writing that was telegraphing to the audience that all was not as it appeared.
Then, after he expended himself with a massive diversion so that his fledgling Jedi and the beleaguered Resistance could escape, he gazes off into Tatooine’s double sunset, basically telling Yoda and everyone else to fuck the hell off, he’ll do what he wants.
Man, this guy sooo should have been Qui-Gon’s apprentice.
Luke was always going to take his own path, no matter what. There’s some pretty decent fan theories that say that Luke actually fell to the Dark Side during his confrontation with Sidious & Vader, and this film does nothing to rebut them. In fact, Luke’s temptation to kill Kylo when he was an apprentice only supports it. So Luke becomes one with the Force, gray Jedi that he was, all the while defining his own legacy and refusing to succumb to what’s expected of him. That’s the bittersweet end.
And that’s what won me over. Thoughts?