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I can tell straight away most of you are shaking your head in disbelief at this opinion. It’s not a popular opinion, I am aware, but I remain firm in my belief that Rian Johnson developed JJ Abrams’ plot perfectly.
First of all let’s address the elephant in the room which is Rose and the whole Canto Bite sequence that proved to be disappointing for many viewers. Now I’ll admit, when I first watched the film in the cinema (equipped with my beloved millennium falcon shirt), I grew tiresome of Canto Bight. I’ll also admit that seeing Rose Tico crash in to FN-2187- oops, I mean Finn- was incredibly strange for me and I couldn’t understand. But then I sat down once I got home and replayed her scenes in my head, and I finally understood. Her character is the physical embodiment of the effects of war and the concept that you shouldn’t let war change who you are as a person.
Let’s start off with her sister, Paige Tico, who somewhat valiantly gave her life to aid the rebels escape during the Last Jedi’s first scenes. Her death served as a reminder that every lost soldier has a family or someone who loved them. Someone knew them and someone would grieve their loss. This was clearly demonstrated when Finn found Rose crying during his attempt at desertion. Often we watch action movies and cheer when bad guys are killed or when Death Stars are destroyed- and we always forget that there were people with their own individual lives on board. Personally, I felt this added to the emotional depth of the film and indeed Rose’s character. She had lost what is presumed to be what was left of her family, and still she fights on- never once abandoning the cause. Her losses inspire her to later save Finn, to protect the last person she loves.
Of course I’d be lying if I said Canto Bight wasn’t a terribly long sequence but it did demonstrate how people use war to make profits, not unlike wars here on Earth. Rose’s kindness toward animals emphasises her loving nature, and I believe she is an enriched and complex character.
Now, we need to discuss Luke Skywalker. He was my hero growing up, I admired his bravery and how he never gave up on the idea that Anakin Skywalker was still alive. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about his characterisation in the Last Jedi have complained about it. People seem to forget that no one is perfect. Heroes have flaws.
We can see instances of the dark side within him when he brutally beat down Darth Vader with his lightsabre during the events of the Return of the Jedi; is it so inconceivable that he fell prey to it once again when reading Kylo Ren’s thoughts? Indeed, wouldn’t you feel some level of contempt toward yourself if your nephew grew to become a mass murderer due to your actions? Wouldn’t you isolate yourself to prevent any more harm? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it was wrong to fully abandon Leia who suffered the loss of Han and her son, but it is understandable why Luke escapes to Ahch-To.
His death was perfect. I cried buckets when he passed. It was fitting that he left the franchise the same way he entered it; by staring at the two setting suns in the sky. He went from being a young man, desperate to prove himself and join the rebels, to a man who had experienced all the pain life could possibly throw at him. He had finally found peace in his last act of heroism. If that’s not character development, I don’t know what is.
Another topic of discussion was Rey and her parents. It was revealed that she came from no where, that she was nothing and I am so incredibly happy by this revelation. So many people wanted her to have links to Obi-Wan or perhaps even to Palpatine himself, yet her origins make her even more special and a true role modal for young fans. Essentially, you can become anything you want or be as powerful as you want, even if you were under privileged or isolated. You don’t need to be related to someone influential, you can prove to be a hero in your own right! I often aspired to be like the female stoic, Leia, and now I find myself motivated my Rey’s determination in the face of danger. I mean, she took on Ben Solo in a lightsabre duel when not five minutes prior, she was selling scraps for food on Jakku.
Speaking of Ben Solo and the man of my dreams, it was interesting to see him transform from a somewhat moody teenager to a broken man who was capable of single handedly killing his master and owner. Plus, he’s just so handsome with that scar!
Anyway, I think I’ve made my point. I could go on about Poe’s realisation about the human cost of war and Finn’s journey from coward to fighter till I’m blue in the face. I could ramble on about the use of the force bond which showed the antagonist and protagonist at their most vulnerable, but I won’t otherwise I won’t stop writing. Hopefully, this piece has helped to explain how the Last Jedi was not the flop it was made out to be. Obviously I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion, but I wish people would just take the time to consider the semantics and deeper meaning. However, I’m a massive Star Wars fan so I’m incredibly bias.