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'The Last Jedi': A Film Worth Loving

As a 'Star Wars' film, 'The Last Jedi' paves its own way — and that's as it should be.

I don't get people who are saying that The Last Jedi ruined Star Wars.

I knew I wouldn't be getting a typical Star Wars movie the second Luke said in the trailer that "it's time for the Jedi to end." I actually lost sleep over that line — thanks, Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill.  I was practically panic-stricken, wondering what exactly I was in for when it came to Episode VIII.  

But I was never in any doubt that The Last Jedi would be a very different sort of Star Wars movie. It should be.  

We are now in the post-George Lucas era of Star Wars and if we've learned nothing else from The Force Awakens, we should be aware that when it comes to Star Wars, we are going to get some very different movies than what we saw in the era of 1977 to 1983 when the original trilogy came out.  Remember the prequel series of 1999 to 2005?  It was received so poorly by fans and critics alike that there were individuals who were sorely tempted to leave their beloved franchise in the rearview mirror.

The Last Jedi is intense, funny and quite honestly gripping in spots, so much so there were points where I was ready to walk out of the theater if certain things happened in the film.  It needed to be a different movie than what fans may have anticipated or been looking for; Rian Johnson is a very different sort of director than either JJ Abrams or George Lucas, and that should result in a very different sort of film.  We can't just sit and expect that a Star Wars story will be told in exactly the same way every time we catch wind of a new film coming out in the franchise. 

We need to be able to grow and develop as the franchise does.

We can't expect that the exact same story structure with the somewhat tidy ending every time a Star Wars movie comes out.  Times have changed, and truly, we should really adjust our expectations accordingly.  If one looks at The Last Jedi as a movie in its own right, rather than as a part of a much beloved franchise, it's a solid film.  Sure, there are some parts where there's a fair bit of cheese, but come — it's Star Wars.  Cheese and shtick are going to be a small part of the formula at some point, and to expect otherwise will result in a little bit of disappointment.

What Rian Johnson and the rest of the cast and crew gave us was a solid action flick that helped further Rey's story.  These were things promised in the trailer — and there was no way around expecting that when you see Rey prominently featured and swinging a lightsaber with some efficacy.  It also helped further Luke's story, as we were able to see what happened with him following the events of Return Of The Jedi.  Not all stories end with sweetness and light, and it's almost painful to watch Luke, almost wild-eyed and fearful as he considers someone — we're not sure who — in the trailer and talks about the power that he sees within them that scares him so much.

There's currently a petition circulating online asking people at Lucasfilm to remove the events of The Last Jedi from Star Wars canon, and if there's ever been a greater case of taking something too far, it's this.  Even in the Star Wars novels, we see the children of Han Solo and Leia go off to get trained as Jedi and it doesn't all end lightly.  How can we expect any different when it comes to the newest film, The Last Jedi?

We should embrace these new films as what they're intended as — a continuation of a much-loved franchise seen through the eyes of a new generation.  The fact that Star Wars has continued to hold up over time means a great deal to me; with The Last Jedi, we have a film that's funny and poignant and intense.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else comes from the Star Wars universe and in what directions we're going next.

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'The Last Jedi': A Film Worth Loving
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