I’m fighting every urge to feel disappointed or frustrated with this film, because there are many great moments by excellent characters portrayed by wonderful actors. I see the vision captured by Rian Johnson and understand the path that’s been taken. The Resistance. The Rebel Alliance. Ren. Vader. Rey. Luke. The franchise deals with overcoming an oppressive rule, while building the potential of a young Jedi in the making. This is the direction I’ve come to expect, and The Last Jedi continues along this path.
I will focus on Master Skywalker. I have waited for quite some time to see Luke Skywalker’s potential. We’ve seen glimpses of it. We’ve seen Luke receive guidance from Yoda. We’ve seen him fail against Vader. We’ve seen him succeed against his father. Then, for reasons discovered in The Last Jedi, he vanishes sometime after Return of the Jedi and submits himself to exile. The long-awaited return was heightened by Rey’s appearance on an island, extending his lightsaber for him to take back and help rescue the rebellion.
Mark Hamill is fantastic. Daisy Ridley takes the apprentice role perfectly, as the newer films have showcased her abilities as she continues to learn – again, showing potential. Skywalker tells Rey about the Force, without having to exercise his Jedi mastery. It’s a fascinating lead to follow and hopefully find out, “How powerful is Luke?” Again, The Last Jedi provides us with a glimpse of his skills, and as soon as we see it, that’s all we get to see. The anticipation I’ve had to see brilliant displays of finesse or strength using his supreme knowledge of the Force has left me – and now, I don’t think it will ever truly come to form.
I’m a huge fan of the new cast of characters. Rey is self-reliant and tough. She’s intelligent and has the determination to follow through with her plans. Finn and Poe are both resilient and charming, even while they battle through their own fears or insubordination. The visual effects are outstanding. I felt completely submersed within each scene, as I hoped for a change to the narrative – to ultimately see Luke, and Rey, dominate against the Dark Side. I did not expect this to happen with Rey immediately; her path seems to follow Luke’s journey in the first three films released in theater.
The story leaves a significant impact – with devastating loss of lives, the utter destruction of a struggling resistance fleet, and wonderful cinematography that captures amazing action sequences and powerful, expressive responses by outstanding acting. Several moments from Mark Hamill’s performance have left these impressions. The presence of Luke, along with his remorse, truly captures the essence of his failings. His ability to connect with his sister Leia is an emotionally charged moment where their bond becomes reignited in an instant. The ending battle scene gives us a spark to the erupting fire I’ve been hoping to see in Luke.
My take on The Last Jedi resembles the longing I’ve had for seeing such things that have yet, and quite possibly never will, come to pass. The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens have brought amazing characters, some of my favorites. The casting has been magnificent to the point where they have all of the right pieces. My views and my hopes haven’t been fulfilled – and that doesn’t mean this movie is a failure. Rian Johnson had a vision that the executives of Star Wars believed in so much to give him a future trilogy to manage.
This geeky parent has longed to see something I never thought I would see again, and seeing Luke again at the end of The Force Awakens gave me a renewed sense of wonder and anticipation. Hamill’s performance is magnificent. My hope to see a different outcome does not take away from his performance nor the performance of everyone else. The Last Jedi is a good film. I only wish Luke’s presence and power wasn’t so finite, much like Rey and Ben’s coexistence – but, that’s another story altogether.
If you’re looking for another take on The Last Jedi, head over to The Fanbase Weekly to discover additional thoughts on the film, including the performances from the cast, overall values and themes, and Leia’s powers in space.