So I made a public post via facebook declaring my appreciation and enjoyment of The Last Jedi. Little did I know that such a bold stand would dominate many of my holiday and beer conversations. I get it, the movie wasn’t flawless and I hear your valid grievances and saw the same plot holes and gaps in pace you keep bellyaching about. But it was not the same old thing. And that’s where I liked it the most.
It’s incredibly difficult to take such an epic franchise and challenge the entire order. But that’s exactly what this film does. One of my longest gripes with the Star Wars franchise was the stark contrast between the heroes and the villains. They did very little up until The Last Jedi to explore the concepts of justice and moral righteousness within the villains and the value of hypocrisy and failure in the heroes. Now I get it, it’s hard to see our heroes on the big screen struggle with hypocrisy and failure. There is a pharisee (dare I say our own "dark side') within us all that enjoys identifying with heroes that never fail or lose a fight while ignoring our own frailty, imprudence, and defeat. And while we’ve seen the heroes lose a fight in this franchise, we’ve never had to deal with deep and real failure that is within every hero.
In The Last Jedi, every single hero fails and that brings complications that make for great storytelling and even greater lessons beyond the theater, none so poignant and contextually relevant than the value of being humbled. The dark side exists in all of us, including our heroes. Up until this point we’ve always been presented with a darkness that pursues the good guys, but now we’ve been presented with something far more humbling, the good guys are pursued by a darkness within themselves. Perhaps that’s too heavy for the franchise that could honestly just make billions of dollars regurgitating the same ole space western. But I appreciate the honest attempt to bring a bit more honesty to the universe. Anytime I can escape and enjoy a story with my kids at the theater is a success in my book, but when I can escape and then have something really meaningful to talk about with my kids after the movie, it’s 5 stars.
Heeded my words not, did you? Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.-Yoda