The Last Jedi But Not the Last Star Wars Movie

Caution: SPOILERS.

The Last Jedi was a lot of fun. The adventurous spirit of the Star Wars saga was maintained well; the movie was full of action sequences, lightsaber battles, and even some wisdom from the old Jedi Master Yoda. But those traits might have also been the movie’s downfall—it was an awful lot like every other Star Wars movie, which is what some critics have complained about. That didn’t really bother me.*

One of the hallmarks of the Star Wars series has always been the complexity of the relationships between the characters and how they affect the series. The relationship between Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker is reminiscent of the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi back in the first three episodes: we have a very angered young man, strong with the force, who feels a pull to the dark side, and a Jedi master who is powerless to stop him.

I also feel as though the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey could become similar to the one between Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and Padmé/Queen Amidala. The “ship” of Kylo Ren and Rey is already pretty contentious among the fans because many are still convinced that the two are related by blood,** which would make a potential relationship incestuous. I’m a sucker for villains/bad boys, so I’m hoping that Kylo Ren and Rey end up in a relationship, and she is able to “turn him” to the light side as she predicts. However, other fans see this as a potentially abusive relationship and damaging to the movie’s image of the “strong woman.” That would be reminiscent of Anakin and Padmé because Anakin turned to the dark side, became Darth Vader, and even used the Force to choke Padmé while she was pregnant with Luke and Leia. (But was Padmé a “weaker” woman because of that? I don’t think so.)

Is there enough of the light side left in Kylo Ren that he can be changed? I think so. There’s still not enough explanation for why he turned to the dark side and became so angry, and his anger still seems more along the lines of teen angst/mood swings and not truly justified. Because his anger is so petulant, he may very well be able to turn to the light. He’s not as steeped in darkness as Anakin was, and in my mind, he doesn’t have a good enough motivation to keep toward the dark side, especially since his mentor, Supreme Leader Snoke, has been killed.

Some critics were complaining that the movie was essentially a left-wing spiel about left-wing values, like feminism and diversity, but I don’t agree (or at least, I don’t agree that this is something new). Females were always given powerful roles in the Star Wars series, and by virtue of being a space opera and taking place in planets all over the galaxy, the characters had to be diverse. It only makes sense. Star Wars characters have been diverse from the beginning of the saga.

Would I recommend the latest Star Wars? Absolutely. It is quite long (about 2.5 hours), but it doesn’t feel like it’s that long because it’s 100% pure fun from the first moment to the last.

*There is really nothing wrong with The Last Jedi being like every Star Wars movie because God knows, in real life, situations repeat themselves, humans make the same mistakes twice, and that lineage of error affects entire generations. I do hope that there is closure in the ninth episode in the saga (supposed to be coming out in December 2019) and that Kylo Ren turns to the light side simply as a reversal of what Anakin/Darth Vader did in the first three episodes. Reversals do happen in real life, too.

**I’m really hoping that they’re not blood relatives, but at the same time, I feel like Kylo Ren lied to Rey when he told her that her parents were “nobodies.” At least one of her parents has to be somebody important. She’s spent so much time wondering about her parentage that it seems weak to just leave it at “they were nobodies who sold you for drug  money.”

Mission: Find Luke

SPOILER WARNING!

You knew this was coming: the inevitable Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens post.

I didn’t expect to be impressed by the movie, but it was highly enjoyable and faithful to its predecessors. It was more than two hours long, but it felt like it moved much more quickly; slow moments were few and far between.

The lure of the Dark Side must be strong indeed for Han Solo and Leia’s son, Kylo Ren (AKA Ben Solo), to join and commit heinous deeds in an effort to become as powerful as his grandfather, Darth Vader. Even so, he came off more like a spoiled teenager with a bad attitude problem and anger issues than a villain to be taken seriously (not unlike young Anakin Skywalker). It was hard for me to believe that Rey, one of the main protagonists, could defeat Ren with powers of the Force that she had discovered only a few scenes prior.

The movie wrapped up nicely, but I was left with many questions that will have to wait for Episodes VIII and IX before they are answered. I was wondering about exactly why Kylo Ren’s obsession with Darth Vader started and why he chose to turn to the Dark Side. This was explained a little bit in the movie, but Ren struck me as such a weak antagonist that I wanted more explanation. I got the feeling that Rey, because she is so “strong with the Force” is somehow related by blood to the Skywalker family. I wasn’t sure who Maz Kanata was, but she seemed to play the same role as Yoda had in previous Star Wars movies: the old sage with knowledge of the Force. I hope she appears in future films.

In short, J.J. Abrams kept the series faithful to the universe that George Lucas had created, and he gave us several interesting characters to watch in future movies.

Breaking Up with Star Wars

The new Star Wars movie is coming out next month, and the hype is intense. In the wake of all this excitement stands a very bitter George Lucas, who has announced that he is “done” with Star Wars. Many creative people wish they had the problem of selling their brainchild to Disney for billions of dollars, then no longer having any control over it or any rights to it. Seems like Lucas should just be happy with his money and stop whining.

I understand where he’s coming from, though. In this article, Lucas says that Star Wars is “actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems – it’s not about spaceships.” Others involved wanted to take the franchise in a direction opposite from Lucas’s vision, so he let them do that. From the standpoint of a creative person, it is awful to give up your magnum opus and watch it become something you never intended.

Yes, George Lucas has tons of haters who think that he destroyed the series by creating Episodes 1, 2, and 3, which were supposedly horrible. I was 10 years old when Episode 1 came out, and it was my first Star Wars movie. Once I had seen all the movies in the series, I ended up liking the prequels more than the originals (probably because I didn’t grow up with the originals). So I’m not one of the haters, but I do understand that once you put your work in the public eye and it becomes as insanely popular as Star Wars is, it becomes less yours and more the world’s. People become emotionally attached to it, and they project their own ideas onto it. Perhaps George Lucas did not take that into account when he made those remarks about someone else “doing their own thing” with his work. After a lifetime of creating and being immersed in your own universe, it must be easy to forget that it technically isn’t your own after you’ve given it away.

But the haters forget that if it wasn’t for Lucas, they wouldn’t have any Star Wars at all.