I wasn’t sure how I felt about The Last Jedi until fifteen minutes in the middle of the film.
The first. Rey and Kylo Ren fighting back to back and side to side in an unexpected partnership. The second when Vice Admiral Holdo uses hyperspace to destroy the flagship of the First Order. The silence in that moment coincided with a sharp intake of breath.
In the two hours (though this will likely go up in the morning) since I’ve come out of the movie I am 93% happy and 7% confounded. I love that it was unexpected. I love that I have no earthly idea of what is going to happen next (least of all without Carrie Fisher’s guiding light.) I loved Rey lifting rocks, finding her power and Finn and Rose (ROSE!) and Poe as characters.
BB-8 is cool. The Porgs are adorable.
I love, and teared up, over Luke’s stand against his nephew, recognizing that not everyone is redeemable. Oh and that twist, and the Twin Suns. A beautiful, thoughtful, heartbreaking farewell.
The movie was visually beautiful. With some amazing performances and lightsaber fights all around. It expanded what the Force could be, without being tied to what we saw a generation or two ago.
There are things I did not love (some have faded with this morning edit). I will continue to ask myself, as much as I find Andy Serkis to be a genius, what the heck was the point of Snoke even existing in this story in the first place. Not to mention what was the point of Canto Bight and the master coder. In a lot of ways that whole plot line felt like Prequel territory. I will also muse over why this felt like a true first movie rather than a second in a trilogy. Or, in a lot of ways, an ending.
Looking about on Twitter I see a lot of high effusive praise and the casual throwing around of the word ruin. I’m not in either camp and I think that might be ok. I woke up this morning still thinking about different parts of the movie and how they played out – it was different. Rian Johnson shifted the landscape so its not George Lucas’ Star Wars anymore. It’s not comfortable. It wasn’t overly nostalgic (though it couldn’t help but be in certain moments).
If I sound like I’m still trying to convince myself I liked it, you aren’t wrong. I promise more coherence and a longer review in the days ahead, following my second viewing on Sunday. But for right now I leave you with this. When Holdo pushes her cruiser into hyperspace and the fracture, sans sound filled the theater I heard Luke’s words that “this was not going to go the way you expected.” echoing in the void.
To which I say this. True Story.
PS: I will say it often and again. Mark Hamill is a National Treasure.