‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Made Me a Fan Again

Some spoiler-free thoughts on ‘The Last Jedi,’ a Star Wars movie that wants to say something about war.

Dec 15 2017, 4:00pm

All images courtesy LucasFilm Ltd.

There are no spoilers in here, so don’t worry.

Last night, I partook in what’s become a ritual in the last few years—I saw a new Star Wars movie on opening night, in the good old AMC theater in Union Square. The crowd was excited—clapping, cheering, laughing at the funny bits. I’ve enjoyed this, the last three years, as an event. I liked The Force Awakens and Rogue One, quite a bit, despite some issues. But here, with The Last Jedi, I finally saw something that I’m really itching to go out and see again.

There are some issues here as well. It’s cheesy, but in the way all Star Wars movies are cheesy, and charming enough to pull it off. Formulaic in the same ways. And some of the humor works better than the rest.

But, better than anything else, here is a Star Wars movie that pays much more than lip service to the moral grays of fighting a war, the nature of hope—and what it actually looks like when things are fucking terrible—and what, in the end, is really worth fighting for.

There are several plots here, and each of our leads has a satisfying arc this time. But there are a few throughlines that support the narrative in each, examining, in a frankly surprising no-bullshit manner for a series known better for cartoonish archetypes and good guys vs. bad guys rhetoric, what it really means to enact change. This is what I keep being promised by Captain America and Avengers movies, and those movies continue to dance around, so, color me happily surprised to see it here.

Is it starry-eyed? Unsubtle? Sometimes a bit over-the-top? For sure. But there is so much more moral weight here, and a harder examination of what it means to actually be a hero, than I’ve come to expect from the series.

Also, hey, Rey is a really awesome character. I’m just saying.

How about you, readers? Are you planning to see the new Star Wars? Have thoughts? Swing by Waypoint’s forums to share them!