To say I was too hyped going into The Last Jedi would probably be an understatement. I, like a majority of people, have loved this franchise for as long as I can remember and it means a lot to me. After reading Rian Johnson's bold script, JJ Abrams stated that he regretted he was not directing saying “It’s so good, I wish I were making it.” I had heard from so many people involved with the movie say that this is unlike any Star Wars film before it. The excitement was high.
In short, I will say I ultimately loved the movie. The humor, action, and storytelling are all top notch and in my opinion fit in with the best of the series. It was a strange ride but once the credits were rolling I was again left speechless. I could write so many words about different aspects I liked and I still might but there is one moment that really struck a chord with me.
From here on out this is going to get very spoilery, if you are interested in watching it without spoilers and I highly suggest you should, please stop reading and return once you have watched.
Being pretty fanatical about Star Wars, I will often go above and beyond to defend/praise it, yes even the prequels. This being said I am someone who just days ago came to terms with The Force Awakens being a remake of A New Hope. So upon reading the opening crawl of the
Empire First Order closing in on the Resistance my nerves started to kick in.
For better or worse, The Last Jedi does a great job of making the viewer feel. I am still not quite sure how to describe the multitude of emotions I was jumping to and experiencing simultaneously. Maybe after a few more viewings the words will come easier but I don’t know if I ever will be able to. For the first half of the movie, we see all of our favorite characters in a different almost frustrating perspective. Poe is a wreckless pain in the ass whose hero complex will be the death of him and those he’s fighting to protect. Finn is still a selfish deserter trying to leave when times are looking bleakest. Even my personal favorite character Luke is reduced to a shell of his former self, living with the regrets of his past and wallowing in self-pity. In a sense, Rian Johnson killed the character of some of our larger than life heroes in the span of about 45 minutes.
By the time we got to flying Princesses in space I was starting to feel more than a little lost. I appreciated all the Rebels style of the casino chase but by around the halfway mark, I was starting to question whether I even liked what I was witnessing.
I started to question everything I knew. What would life be like in a world where I don’t like a Star Wars movie? Did we wait all this time in vain? Was I lead astray by all the good early reviews? Oh, cool a lightsaber. Why are they even on this planet right now? Why was Maz even here? Did I allow myself to get overly excited that I can no longer enjoy this? Is it bad? Is it me? Am I bad?
Then it all stopped. All the questions, everything. Suddenly and completely with the unexpected appearance of a green, pointy-eared, little friend. His presence, in puppet form, was enough to shake me back into the theater. Every line of dialogue between him and Luke restored my faith in Rian, in Star Wars, in Disney and life itself really. Yoda’s affection for Luke is felt immediately and the effects of his seclusion induced madness are still apparent. This went beyond nerding out however, this became my new favorite Star Wars moment. He manically chuckles about Luke having always been a boy looking to the horizon never in the present.
This quality has always been Luke’s biggest obstacle and one that eventually cost him everything. The wisest muppet of all then imparts some wisdom on what it means to be a master and finally leads his last pupil to where he needs to be.
"As masters, we are what they grow beyond."
This moment literally changed be me as a person.
I think Luke’s fight is one we all are familiar with these days whether we realize this or not. For me, the realization that this mythical symbol of strength I’ve grown up with has the same struggle is motivating and cathartic. It is the closest thing I have come to what I’ve heard others describe as a religious experience. It made me want to commit to being a better person and better father. As a child, the moment I saw Luke stare out at the twin sunset all those years ago I identified with the boy yearning for adventure. Now watching him fade away, a new man, to another sunset I could not help but get emotional. He has changed, I have changed, everything has changed. The only people who didn't realize it was us.