Ben Adams, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Richard Rosenbaum, and Matthew Wrather give into their feelings and rip into Star Wars: The Last Jedi which was awesome in parts but, come on, was borderline incoherent. Admit it.
Subscribe: iTunes Other Apps
- “Commentary: Fighting casinos. Disney wants voters’ help … this time” from The Orlando Sentinel
The Finn and Rose subplot had one vitally important message that you are overlooking. It reestablishes the hetero-normative domination of the Star Wars world. In the Force Awakens the most romantic chemistry was between Finn and Poe. JJ Abrams shot many takes of the Finn/Poe reunion in Force Awakens and the one he chose to use was the romantic one. Many of us were excited by this because before this sex in the Star Wars universe has been between a man and a woman solely for the purposes of procreation. Having a LGBTA friendly Star Wars was new and exciting. Just look at the amount of Stormpilot fanfiction. I don’t think this was welcome by Disney. To undermine this unintentional advocacy they had to remove Finn and Poe from each others proximity. Then they add Rose and crowbar in a romantic subplot between them. Now they can pretend it didn’t happen.
True, it was borderline incoherent. They made a lot of interesting storytelling choices. But I have what seems to be a unique ability to see all the faults, agree that they are faults, and yet still enjoy the movie. It’s not as good as Empire, but it may be one of the top 5 best Star Wars movies.
I think it’s important to note that this film strongly implies that everything the Jedi and the Sith believed about the Force was wrong, and therefore the things that we have been led to understand about the Jedi and the Sith are also wrong. I think the series’ use of the Darkside Cave is telling. When Luke enters the cave, he sees Darth Vader and immediately attacks him. His victory over symbolic Vader proves hollow: what he has really done is destroy himself. The message here is that if you use the Force to attack, you’ll end up just as evil as Darth Vader. I’m still working out exactly what happens when Rey goes into the cave, but her only response is “Hmm, that’s interesting.” It’s like the dark side is no big deal to her. She’s so good (or neutral) that it doesn’t even affect her.
Both Luke and Anakin experience the dark side as if it were alcoholism: Anakin just can’t stop drinking, and Luke can only stay sober if he has no temptations around him. The Sith are basically raging drunks, while the Jedi were all going to AA meetings twice a day. To continue this bizarre metaphor, Rey can go into a bar, have a few drinks, and then go home, without ruining her life. For me, it’s exciting to contemplate what this means. But if this dynamic isn’t clear to everyone who saw it, I grudgingly agree that’s a failure of the filmmaker.
“His victory over symbolic Vader proves hollow: what he has really done is destroy himself…. I’m still working out exactly what happens when Rey goes into the cave, but her only response is “Hmm, that’s interesting.”
I have a guess as to what her vision meant, I think they needed to do more to make it make sense to the audience. She sees infinite duplicates of herself. That’s a visual metaphor for what the Empire does–“brings order to the galaxy” means endlessly reproducing itself (like, with clones), creating sameness. The individual/psychological manifestation of that is narcissism–and I think maybe Luke actually wanted Rey to see that. Now I think about it, this vision connects the Jedi plotlines and symbolism to the rest of the universe better than had been done before (we can believe actual Nazis are somehow a result of hatred & misdirected anger, but it’s harder to see how anger/hatred is the root of the Empire in Star Wars). If we take Rey’s memories of her parents as important/powerful as a kind of self-delusion, which is what Johnson is implying now, then the ‘big reveal’ is that Rey is inventing herself (making these images), and actually everybody is constantly reinventing themselves, and what separates the dark side from the good side is how they replicate/invent themselves.