The Last Jedi

I think I understand why some fans are so against this episode: we all grew up on the Skywalker myth that Anakin, then Luke, would bring balance to the Force. Luke even thought that Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia, would follow him as the next great Jedi. Instead, we see the bloodline turn to the dark side with the rise of Kylo Ren and the light relying on a host of nobodies: Rey from nowhere and a poor stable boy.

We also saw a changing of the guards. Han has died. Luke too. Leia is sure to follow since Carrie Fisher has passed away and Disney is not inclined to digitally resurrect her for the final episode. We are left with Poe as the leader of the rebellion and Rey possibly the last Jedi. It is not certain that she will call herself that after all this. Kylo Ren himself has not taken the Darth name although that would not be unusual since other Sith have used titles like Count and General rather than Darth. In any case, Kylo Ren himself is against being called a Sith because he wants the old ways gone, killed if necessary. No more Sith or Jedi. Again, it all drifts away from the familiar galaxy we knew.

Then there’s all the confusion about who was what. Before, we understood that the Republic became the Empire until Luke & Company destroyed the Empire and restored the Republic. What remained of the Empire became the First Order and where they still operated, there arose a rebellion. We learn in this episode, however, that the First Order destroyed the Republic and is now in control with whatever remaining resistance scattered in the outer rim. The Skywalker rebellion was in fact a failure. Nobody even came to their rescue even if Leia herself made the call. Again, how so not the Star Wars of old.

But that is the beauty of this episode. It does not concern itself with Jedi or Sith, Republic or Empire. There is simply the Light and Dark, and the way Rey moves between both sides makes it appear that she, not some Skywalker, will bring balance to the Force. If anyone was attentive enough to note that Rey has the Jedi scriptures in the Falcon, then one can surmise that it is she who will finally give meaning to those books. The next generation of Force users may not be called Jedi but they will certainly be the future of the franchise.

Then there’s Luke. Jaded but a child of the light he will always be and, in the end, fights for the light. Luke’s story may have ended but hope still burns brightly for the galaxy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do an awesome second episode to a trilogy.

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Rogue One

I’m sure that most who are even vaguely interested in this movie have seen it by now and this piece won’t be considered a spoiler anymore. If you are interested in the movie and haven’t seen it, then that’s on you.

Frankly, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. The start was a flurry of scenes that made me feel you were watching a series of short films. Important for sure but confusing and maybe could have been treated better.

The end tried to do too much squeezing in Princess Leia coming out from the damaged ship. It was supposed to be a link to Episode IV but it created problems because Episode IV, A New Hope, started with Darth Vader killing soldiers because they intercepted the transmission of the Death Star plans. Rogue One just had the rebels transmitting the plans out to a ship, which was then passed on in disk form to Leia who then made her escape. No interceptions there. I don’t think Vader would have mistaken a transmission from an intercept.

In between, there was a lot to digest. Did you know that the Death Star can actually jump through hyperspace? Makes you wonder why it didn’t pop up at the right place at Yavin and have a clear shot at the rebel base instead of having to maneuver around and give the rebels time to exploit the one weakness of the weapon.

Then there’s that itsy-bitsy  scene where Senator Organa and Mon Mothma talk about getting the Jedi, which can only be Obi Wan. Nothing ever came out of that scene even if it did make the final cut.

What all these tell me, when taken together with the early teasers and trailers, was that, somewhere along the way, the story got rewritten in a massive way. I mean in the early teasers, Jyn was a rebel even against the official rebellion, which implies that she was more Saw Gerrera’s follower than just a recruit to the rebellion. Still, the mad pilot was a good character. Even the ‘bot with attitude. It’s sacrifice was the most…human…of all.

Then there were the two Asians that while I enjoyed their banter, couldn’t figure out their relevance except to indicate that there were those who still believed in the Force even if they were not Jedis but we already got that with Maz  Kanata in Force Awakens, and all the people who kept saying “May the Force be with you”. Still, if they had to be there, then I wish they made them aliens instead. Would have made them more interesting.

We all know how this was supposed to end: they get the plans and transmit it until it gets to Princess Leia. What was a bonus, however, was Darth Vader in a truly Sith action scene and not just waving the saber around or telepathically but clumsily throwing things around but a real well-choreographed fight. That, at least, was refreshing.

This is just me being a fan-boy.

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