Before I get into this outrageously fun post, I have THREE QUICK THINGS to share with y’all:
- NUMBER ONE: I had two articles published last week! My very first article as a team member of The Cultivating Project, “A Saving Rest,” went live on Thursday, as did my article “Cultivating a Christ-Centered Lifestyle” with Milk & Honey Magazine! Needless to say, I’m thrilled and I really hope they’ll prove a blessing to all who read them!
- NUMBER TWO: The February edition of The Wordsmithery goes out on Wednesday, so if you haven’t already subscribed and would like the special Valentine’s Day-themed issue, sign up here!
- NUMBER THREE: For those who want to read my new Star Wars fanfic…the first two chapters are up. Ba-dum-tsssssssh.
Okay, enough with the announcements. I mentioned in my review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that I still hadn’t seen The Last Jedi–but I finally remedied that problem a couple of weeks ago. And guess what? I LOVED IT.
Now, The Rise of Skywalker did retcon some things, and I do have some minor quibbles with certain plot points and storylines. But as Jane Austen would say, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can.” And like Rose Tico, I’d far rather focus on the things I love rather than the things I hate.
So without further ado, here are 10 reasons why I loved The Last Jedi!
1. BB-8’s Most Excellent Adventure
BB-8 is my favorite droid, hands-down, bar none, no questions asked–so I was thrilled he got so much fun screen time in this movie! Between helping Poe destroy a First Order Dreadnought, pelting bad guys with casino coins, and rescuing Finn and Rose multiple times, who knew the Resistance’s most adorable mascot could also be such a fierce little fighter?
He is also a smol baby who needs lots of cuddles from his daddy, as you can see from this sweet GIF.
2. Luke Skywalker’s Character Arc
Luke’s inner conflict in The Last Jedi gets a lot of flak, but I thought it made perfectly good sense based on what we already knew about him. Luke feels everything very deeply, and he tends to takes a lot onto himself: we saw it in his desperation to help Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, and in his unshakeable faith in Anakin Skywalker in The Return of the Jedi. He’d probably be terribly hard on himself if ever he failed someone…especially if that Someone happened to be his young nephew.
I wasn’t shocked by Luke’s self-imposed isolation or his depression…but I really appreciated the fact that he didn’t stay in that place of self-loathing. Skywalker Males tend to be a bit melodramatic (*side-eyes Anakin, Luke, and Ben*), but they always get their act together in the end.
3. Rose Tico
Okay, Rose’s adventure with Finn and BB-8 didn’t really advance the plot (except to get the Resistance into even deeper trouble). I’ll admit that right-up front. But I don’t mind too much, because Rose still represents the small, ordinary folk of the Star Wars universe–people we don’t often get to see! Yes, we’re dealing with space battles, galactic politics, and awesome warriors, but we’re also dealing with everyday people who just want to defend their homes and regain their freedom.
That is why Rose is important. Plus, she’s an absolute dear–so pure and sweet!
4. Poe Dameron
Poe is such a fun character: warmhearted, reckless, snarky, and intensely loyal to his General-Princess. He learns a lot in The Last Jedi, though–namely, that he isn’t the Fount of All Strategic Wisdom, that Ellie Sattler–uh, I mean, Admiral Holdo–might actually know more than he does, and that if he misbehaves, Her Royal Highness Princess Leia will literally rise up out of a coma to shoot him with a stun gun.
Leia loves him dearly, though. I suspect that he not only reminds her of Han, but also that she’s “adopted” Poe in the absence of her own son.
5. Rey’s Jedi Training
Rey went to Ach-To expecting to recruit Luke Skywalker and learn everything she ever wanted to know about the Force. Instead, she got pushback and scorn from a depressed old man. Not exactly the most encouraging situation for my favorite Star Wars character of all time.
But Rey proves in The Last Jedi that she is more than able to face these challenges. Not only is the Force always with her, but it highly favors her–and her courage, compassion, and intuition serve her well. When Leia looks straight at her and tells her the Resistance has everything it needs, it’s because Leia knows Rey is the Last Jedi. She is their greatest weapon against the Darkness.
[Disclaimer: I could digress into a long discussion about how the Force is an unbiblical concept, but we’ll confine that to the comments and/or another post for another day. Suffice it to say that I’ve noticed the Force has become more “personal” over the years, which is interesting.]
6. ForceTime™ (because it’s like FaceTime…sort of)
I LOVE the scene when Rey and Kylo Ren are quietly minding their own business in their own places, when boom–all of a sudden they’re in each other’s presence! They’re still in their own locations, but they can see, hear, and even touch each other now. And Rey’s first impulse is to try and shoot him in the gut. (*proud grin*) That’s my child.
We get an immensely satisfying explanation for this in The Rise of Skywalker, but watching them figure out how it all works in this movie is mesmerizing, especially as they become less hostile, more vulnerable, and even sympathetic towards each other.
7. Princess Leia
This was technically Carrie Fisher’s last movie (J.J. Abrams used recycled footage to build her scenes in The Rise of Skywalker), and I’m so glad Leia played such a pivotal role in it. We got to see her in action not only as the Resistance’s beloved General, but also as a grieving mother and a trusting sister.
I also love the fact that Leia “adopts” Poe and Rey and that her own skills as a Jedi are on full display in this movie. She is truly an iconic character–not just in Star Wars, but in modern storytelling as a whole.
8. The Throne Room Scene
Okay, guys…THIS SCENE. I was on the edge of my seat, and I had no idea what to do with my emotions. Rey’s defiance, Snoke’s nastiness, Kylo Ren’s absolute horror when his master starts torturing Rey, the “WOW WOW WOW” look on Rey’s face when Kylo sent her lightsaber flying back into her hand and they got to fight together…gosh, it was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. And don’t even get me started on the “Join me” bit. I didn’t know whether to be furious or heartbroken.
And may I just say how unbelievable the choreography is? Daisy Ridley says it took twenty-five takes to get it right, and when they were finally finished, Adam Driver hoisted her over his shoulders and carried her off the set in exhausted triumph. (#bless)
9. The Battle of Crait
Crait was so unique: a salt mine planet where everything looks white…until you scrape your foot along the surface of the ground. Then it looks like you’re leaving bloody footprints in the snow. My inner artist’s appreciation for symbolism and dramatic effect found it rather fascinating.
The desperate “last stand” of the Resistance against the full might of the First Order also establishes a few key points: Kylo Ren is still a horrible person (in spite of the Throne Room Scene, alas), Luke Skywalker is still a true-hearted, self-sacrificial hero, Poe Dameron has learned what it means to be a real leader, and Rey is truly the new hope of the Resistance.
10. The Foreshadowed Eucatastrophe
Watching The Last Jedi in a post-Rise of Skywalker world is thrilling when it comes to the Eucatastrophe of the Sequel Trilogy (which I discussed at length in my review of the final film).
“If [Ben Solo] were turned from the Dark Side, that could shift the tide!” Rey tells Luke. “This could be how we win!” She even goes as far as to insist, “He’s our last hope!” When I first heard that, I had goosebumps.
It wasn’t the only moment of foreshadowing, of course. The Throne Room Scene itself foreshadows Rey and Ben’s epic reunion on Exegol beautifully. But Rey’s plea to Luke predicts Ben’s Eucatastrophe beat for beat. His “conversion” does shift the tide, it does help Rey and the Resistance win against Palpatine, and he does prove to be Rey’s last hope by bringing her back from the dead.