Star Wars: The Last Jedi [movie reaction]

The Last Jedi is Episode VIII of the Star Wars movies, which follows the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015). We follow the stories of Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren. In the last movie, the story ends when Rey goes to Luke Skywalker in the hopes that he'll join the Resistance again. So much is going on in this movie, and I'm going to give a gist of all the storylines.

Meanwhile, the Resistance is trying to escape from the First Order. With the enemy finding their rebel base, they try to find a new one but the First Order is hot on their trail, causing a deadly chase across space. Poe Dameron, the pilot, stages an attack against the powerful ships of the First Order, but ignores the orders of General Leia Organa to retreat and continues his attack on his own. They face one big problem: their enemy can track them through hyperspace as they escape.

Finn, the former stormtrooper FN-2187 wakes up from his coma. While the fighting is going on, he tries to escape to find Rey again. On the way, he meets Rose Tico (a new character played by Vietnamese-American Kelly Marie Tran), a maintenance worker for the Resistance. Together, they try to find a way to disable the enemy's hyperspace tracker to give the Resistance time to escape. They travel to the gambling planet Canto Bight, in search for a 'code breaker' that can help stop the First Order.

Meanwhile, in Ach-to, Rey tries to convince a reluctant Luke who doesn't want to go back anymore. Luke senses her force powers and agrees to train her after his initial misgivings. Rey soon finds that she has a 'connection' with Kylo Ren, Snoke's apprentice. In the previous movie, Kylo Ren 'abducted' Rey to interrogate her, and the movie ended with their epic fight in the snow-covered forest in Starkiller Base where Rey defeated him.

Actually, in the Tumblr community, a lot of people saw a possible romantic connection between them (their pairing name is called 'Reylo'). This is the famous 'bridal carry' scene from The Force Awakens:

There's an analysis of the sexual connotations of this scene in this brilliant essay by Tumblr user Ohtze, "Death and the Maiden: How 'Reylo' will be canon" (Death and the Maiden is related to the Hades and Persephone symbolism) If you follow the Reylo community, there's been a lot of drama with Reylo supporters receiving hate, but I'm surprised that a lot of predictions there came true! For The Last Jedi, Ohtze also posted another brilliant analysis: "Kill the King and take the Crown: Kylo Ren, Rey, and the Usurper/Holy Mother."

I think its the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey that's central in this movie. Rey is confused with her strong force powers and her equal is Kylo Ren. They find themselves capable of communicating with each other through the force (a "force bond"), and Rey finds that they might be more similar than different after all. While training with Luke, Rey tries to find the answers to her lost parents and her place in the universe. Kylo Ren and Rey, though working for different causes, find understanding and sympathy with each other, which is quite an unexpected turn in the story.

Spoiler: Kylo Ren and Rey fight together in this movie, not against each other. It's the greatest fight scene in the movie.

As I'm not articulate enough for a coherent reaction and I'm intimidated by the Star Wars fandom, I'll just write what I think of the various characters.

  • Poe Dameron. Poe is the resistance pilot who leads them to fight the First Order. Poe here is reckless and doesn't follow orders, and his decisions caused harm. His interactions with Leia were amusing but I like the tension between him and Admiral Holdo. I really can't get over the scene where they were choosing the next leader due to General Leia unconscious, and Poe was really expecting to be called. I think that it was a wise decision not to choose him, if he was the leader instead of Holdo then the Resistance's chance of survival will be down to zero.
  • Leia. This is the last movie of Carrie Fisher starring as Princess Leia. I feel bad that she's already gone, but I love her in this movie. She shows everything we like about Leia in the original trilogy and more.
  • Luke. In the last scene of The Force Awakens, Rey goes to Luke and presents him his lightsaber. Two years of waiting for the next movie, Luke just throws it off a cliff. Luke has exiled himself and has no intention of going back. He senses and fears Rey's power. I love his funny scenes with Rey. His last scenes with Leia and Kylo Ren is very heartbreaking. In this movie, we see another side to the hero and legend 'Luke Skywalker'. We see how he has also failed, and the expectations that come from being a hero has weighed him down.
  • Finn in this movie is worried for Rey and tries to escape. He meets Rose, and they go to Canto Bight. Finn is fascinated by the glitz and glam of the gambling planet, but Rose shows him the abuse that happens behind the scenes. We also get to see the economic workings in the galaxy: the rich supply arms to both the First Order and the Resistance, the good side and the bad side.
  • Rose Tico is a new character, and we see her sister Paige in the first parts of the movie sacrificing herself to defeat a First Order ship. Finn and Rose meet when Finn was trying to escape, and Rose assigned herself with the task of stopping those trying to go away. Rose is very normal compared to the force-sensitives around her, she's a maintenance worker. But she shows that no matter how small your role seems to be, that can't stop you from fighting for a greater cause. I'm curious how her and Finn's story will play out, and she's my new female fave in Star Wars.
Star Wars is really good at surprising viewers, and I hope Episode IX will exceed expectations. 

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