Thursday, January 16, 2020

Rise of Skywalker Spoilers: Luke Skywalker’s Legacy

Spoilers here- for a spoiler free review- click here please:

My thoughts on this film are going to be spread out in multiple short posts, like the last one on Lando.  This is partially because my life is insane.  But, more accurately, it is because it’s difficult to figure out what I think about this film.

The best comparison I can come up with has to do with comic books, because it is me.

I have read a lot...
And I mean A LOT…
Of comic book series.

My luck at finding them right when they get cancelled is stellar.  Therefore I have seen the end of a great many comic book series.

They fall into three categories.

1)  No one knows the cancellation is coming and it ends abruptly with a bunch of storylines left hanging.
2)  The run is a set length and the writer brings all his threads to a close after telling the tales desired.
3)  The run is cancelled before the writer finishes telling all the tales, but with several months’ notice to tie things up well enough for a satisfyingly good finish.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker felt like the third case.  I get the impression that the original idea was to use this trilogy as a springboard to a bunch of new adventures, and audience reactions to Last Jedi, and Solo led to a mid-stream decision to make this a definitive ending to the Skywalker Saga.

As such, it does work remarkably well.

It just feels like a bunch of directional suggestions weren’t followed in order to reach that satisfying conclusion.

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to state that Luke’s force ghost is in the film.  Mark Hamill has been on the cast list since before the name was announced, and showing up all blue and glowing after and impressive death scene is what Jedi do.

The surprising part was having Ghost Luke of Episode Nine contradict much of what Cranky Old Man Luke said in Episode Eight about his personal beliefs of the importance of the Jedi order.

Per dead Jedi standard operating procedure, he shows up when his former pupil is at her lowest point.  He then displays more wisdom and tells her more truths than he did when he was alive.

The same happened with Obi-Wan to Luke, and I’m sure being dead does give one a much clearer perspective of the universe.

One of the key reversals is the ghost telling Rey the continuation for the Jedi is important, exemplified by catching the lightsaber as Rey tries to discard it and chastising her for being careless with a Jedi’s weapon.  This was after he flipped it behind him in the opening of The Last Jedi.   I found this seemingly flying in the face contradiction of a scene in the previous film confusing.

Because casually tossing aside his lightsaber was THE DEFINING MOMENT in Return of the Jedi that demonstrated Luke will not turn to the dark side like Vader but is a true Jedi, “Like my father before me.”

What’s even weirder is choosing compassion over violence is the exact same path Rey ends up taking that gains her a key ally in her final fight that she could not have succeeded without.  Yet, they have a scene where she decides to heal a giant sandworm monster instead of fighting it before re-meeting Luke to show she learned that, rather than tying it to Luke tossing aside his weapon instead of wielding it.

However, because of that sandworm scene, it works anyway, and she learns other valuable lessons from Luke that lead the story to a proper conclusion.

Not to mention, watching Luke finally lift the old “Red Five” X-wing out of the water using the force with a big goofy grin on his face as the farewell action to a character I’ve followed for four decades was yet another of myriad manly tears moments.

Thoughts on his sister’s farewell next time.  

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