My Five Favorite Things About The Last Jedi

Here’s my list for The Last Jedi, the second installment of the sequel trilogy. You can find my thoughts on The Force Awakens here.

Favorite Scene

Luke facing down the First Order on Crait. When Luke says to Rey on Ach-To “What, you think I’m going to face down the First Order all by myself with a laser sword?” little did we know that that is exactly what he was going to do. Because in the end, he’s Luke Skywalker, and he does heroic things. He just forgot for awhile, or rather, rejected it. And he did it in the most Jedi-like way: non-aggressive, his actions a subterfuge for a higher purpose–giving the Resistance time to get away. And the fact that he wasn’t actually there just blows my mind. I didn’t see it, at first; I just thought he cleaned up for his appearance, you know? I didn’t notice the clues: the fact that he didn’t leave any red footprints in the salt; Leia’s lack of worry at her brother facing down the enemy alone; his wink at C-3PO; and where the heck did he come from, anyway? His scuffle with Kylo and the “See ya around, kid,” was great, and the fact that he sacrificed himself to do this–and more than likely knew he would die doing it–is just profoundly sad and awe-inspiring. A great scene in a movie full of great scenes.

Favorite Duel

Rey and Kylo vs. Snoke’s guards. This was an eye-popping duel, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the prequels. Everything’s red as blood, and Kylo and Rey are working together rather than against each other. And they are a force to be reckoned with. We don’t hear the word “dyad” yet, not until TROS, but these two clearly work well together, and their connection in the Force is apparent. I love Rey’s savage yells, and how Kylo keeps checking on Rey when he can. It’s a foreshadowing of their working together in TROS at Exegol, but here it’s only their potential. As long as Ben is Kylo, it ain’t gonna happen.

Favorite Line

“You’re nothing. But not to me.” This is one of those “Um, thank you?” statements that insult and gratify at the same time. Kylo doesn’t get any points for charm here, but he doesn’t have time for that. He gets right to the point. And so when he holds out his hand to Rey and asks him to join her, adding a vulnerable “please,” you almost want her to take his hand already, for goodness sake. Almost. Again, Rey feels the connection, but can’t accept Ben as Kylo, and rightfully so.

Funniest Moment

General Hugs. Some people thought that this little exchange between Poe and Hux was dumb or silly, but I thought it was pretty funny myself. But I have a goofy sense of humor. I do think it’s exactly in Poe’s nature to mess with Hux like this, and Hux to be fastidious enough to take the bait. When Poe says into his comm “Yeah, I’m looking for General Hugs,” I chuckled. Good enough for me.

Most Impactful Character

Luke Skywalker. See aforementioned “Favorite Scene,” as Luke saved the day in this film. But it wasn’t just that scene that makes Luke the most impactful here; the whole movie was his, when you think about it. Everyone’s been looking for him, Rey finally finds him and–oh my goodness, why is he so crabby?–and we have to process and react to that; we find out that his moment of weakness was the nail in the coffin of Ben Solo and put him on the path to Kylo Ren. Everything centers and swirls around Luke here. We even get to see Yoda once more! A lot of people didn’t like how Luke was portrayed in this movie, and I understand that. Call me weird, but I liked it from the get-go. My first thought was, “Oh, this is interesting.” I HAD to know what the hell had happened to Luke, what was going on his mind, and if and how it would change by the end of the film. What I loved about The Last Jedi as a whole was how it just subverted all of our expectations. The Empire Strikes Back, the second film of the original trilogy, did much the same. TLJ is following a pattern, where the good guys take heavy losses, and characters surprise us in numerous ways. Anyway, that’s a whole other post, lol, but Luke gets the prize for this one.

What did you like about The Last Jedi? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Monday Musings: Poe vs. Holdo

Oscar Isaac & Laura Dern - Star Wars TLJ
Hands off the Vice Admiral, mister.

In The Last Jedi, after Leia is injured, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes command of the Raddus, the command ship of the Resistance fleet (if you can call it that) fleeing the First Oder.

And Poe immediately dislikes her and causes trouble.

Despite knowing that Holdo is Leia’s good and trusted friend (and Poe nearly worships Leia), he immediately distrusts her and whips up a mutiny on the ship. Why?

Because she won’t tell him–or anyone–her plan for escape.

He proceeds to have a hissy fit about it and demands–demands!–to be told what she plans.

Now, at first viewing, I shared Poe’s frustration. Why doesn’t she just tell him and get him out of her hair? But on reflection, Poe’s antics on the Raddus just shows how much growing up he needs to do.

Holdo knows this about him, and maybe this was a test for him. A test he failed miserably. It can be argued that this probably wasn’t the best moment to teach Poe a lesson.

But think about it. Holdo is a Vice Admiral-she even outranks Leia–and Poe has just been demoted to Captain, for his reckless, foolhardy ignoring of orders, a recklessness that caused them to lose their bombers. And she has to explain herself to him? Or to anyone for that matter? I don’t know much about the military, but I’m pretty sure questioning orders from your superiors is frowned upon.

Holdo speaks to what’s left of the Resistance

So why does Poe feel he can get away with it? I get it–the situation is critical, they’re up against a wall–but to me, it seems that maintaining the chain of command is essential in these situations.

Is it the purple hair? And I hate to even go here, but it has to be said: is it because she’s a woman? Would he have done the same if Holdo were a man?

Star Wars has been pretty good at getting women equal footing in the Galaxy, especially in the prequels and sequels. They’re everywhere, doing everything and anything, and that’s all to the good.

Still, with this Poe/Holdo standoff, I can’t help but think, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions. If I think about Poe’s character–Holdo herself called him a “trigger-happy fly-boy”–he probably would have been that way to anyone. He has no patience; he can’t sit still. It’s a mark of extraordinary arrogance to believe that your superiors don’t know what they’re doing or that you deserve to be in the know in all things. He lacks trust in anyone but himself. He even disobeyed Leia, which caused them to lose their bombers, leading to the death of Rose’s sister, Paige. I wonder if Rose knows this?

oscar isaac trash — Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Last...
Trigger-happy Fly-boy

I also know this is the Resistance, not the First Order. The First Order is a well-oiled machine, with clear hierarchies and chains of command. There’s a lot of order to the First Order, and Poe’s insubordination would not have been tolerated.

But the Resistance isn’t a fighting military machine. It’s a group of people coming together to fight for freedom. Like the Rebellion before it, they’re a rag-tag bunch, and though they try to maintain an orderly chain of command out of necessity, they’re a bit more forgiving. They understand Poe’s value as a pilot. And they just like him. In the Resistance, people are individuals, not cogs in a machine.

Even after Poe’s shenanigans are stopped by Leia, Holdo says, “That one’s a troublemaker. I like him.”

“Me, too,” Leia replies with a smile.

I don’t know if I would have been that forgiving. But in essence, these older women are regarding him like some wayward child who misbehaves. Oopsie! That little rascal almost derailed our entire escape plan. Oh well! He’ll grow up someday, right?

And I’m glad to see that he does in TROS, after some further tests. Even in The Last Jedi, he’s sobered by Holdo’s sacrifice.

Naturally, this showdown between Holdo and Poe was a kind of forced conflict in the movie, as some tension was required in that part of the story. I found it a little over the top on Poe’s part, and Holdo seemed unreasonably stubborn on keeping her plan a secret. Oh well. It seemed to work, I guess.

But the whole thing left me feeling baffled.

"Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you see it, you'll never make it through the night."  - Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I wouldn’t look happy, either.

What was your take on the Poe-Holdo showdown? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!