I’ll give you a second to process all that. Seems like a mess, right? Yeah, I thought so too. When I heard Maz say Finn and Rose had to go to the casino to find a codebreaker, I thought, “Oh, here’s a sub-plot that should take a good half-hour to an hour. I hope it’s worth it.” Well, it is and it isn’t. See, Del Toro’s character, DJ, just happens to be one of the only other people in the galaxy with the codebreaking skills they need. I won’t even comment on the odds…
This entire subplot could’ve been avoided, and many people think it SHOULD have been because it didn’t add anything to the main plot, but I partially disagree. If it wasn’t for this scene, we never would’ve gotten development from Rose (which reminds me, isn’t it a little weird I didn’t see her make an appearance in any of the trailers? She’s a pretty prominent character; why didn’t she get acknowledged?). Rose reveals how she loathes the type of people in the casino because they make a huge profit off the war (especially when it comes to selling the First Order its weapons), while people like her are forced into lives of servitude and treated like garbage. Really makes you think, doesn’t it?
Finn, Rose, BB-8, and DJ escape the planet and break into the First Order’s main ship. They predictably get captured and are taken before Captain Phasma (yes, she’s back), who reveals that DJ not only betrayed them, but also revealed something important about the Resistance.
Back on the Resistance ship, Poe stages a mutiny against Holdo after she orders the transport ships to be deployed with the remaining survivors (the ships had no shields, so they were easy targets for the First Order’s cannons). Leia wakes from her coma and stuns Poe, and later on reveals to him the real plan behind the exodus. The First Order was concentrating its fire on the main Resistance ship, so it never would’ve noticed the tiny transports escaping to an old Rebel base on an adjacent planet. Holdo remains behind to pilot the main ship while everyone else evacuates. But of course, good ol’ DJ revealed the plan to the First Order, and the villains begin their assault on the transports. Holdo selflessly sacrifices herself by piloting her ship into lightspeed directly toward the enemy flagship, tearing it in half.
With the enemy ship in ruins, Finn, Rose, and BB-8 make their way to an escape pod, but not before we get a showdown between Finn and Captain Phasma (and after an awesome scene where BB-8 commandeers an AT-ST and goes to town on a small army of stormtroopers). Phasma is defeated rather easily, and dies after calling Finn “scum” or something.
I’ve heard complaints about Phasma being wasted (both in this movie and in The Force Awakens), and while it would’ve been great to see her with a more prominent role, you can’t say she was wasted when Boba Fett (her clear parallel in the original trilogy) barely got a shot off during his brief appearance. At least Phasma went out like a champ this time around.
While all this is going on, Rey has gone to the First Order’s ship to confront Kylo with hopes of turning him. The two meet in the main throne room in front of Supreme Leader Snoke/Darth Sidious Part 2. Was anyone else expecting Snoke to be a giant like he was in the hologram in The Force Awakens? Oh, well. Turns out he’s just regular sized. A bit of a letdown, but it’s Andy Serkis‘s voice, so let’s call it a wash. Oh, and the CGI used for Snoke was perfect. In fact, I’m honestly not sure if it was CGI or just really good makeup. He looked fantastic!
Sorry, rambling. Anyway, Snoke steals the lightsaber from Rey and places it on his throne while ordering Kylo to execute Rey. You think he’s about to do it, but then you notice that there may be a glimmer of hope in his eyes. With a little hand-wave, Kylo twists the lightsaber toward Snoke and slices him in half, putting an end to the evil Sith Master.
Here is where people REALLY started to diverge on their opinions of the movie. All these complaints about Snoke being killed off so easily. Does absolutely nobody remember how Sidious was picked up and thrown down a shaft? His death was no more significant than Snoke, and he had just as much development. All we knew about Snoke and Sidious (not including the prequels) was that they were evil dudes pulling the strings on their Darth apprentices.
In one of the best scenes in the movie, Kylo and Rey team up to fight off Snoke’s royal guard. This is one of the things that makes the new movies so great. Remember how awkward and clunky the lightsaber fights were in the original trilogy? With advancements in technology (and choreography), we can finally experience the true badassness of the Jedi. I could watch this fight scene over and over and over again (much like the fight in The Force Awakens between Rey, Finn, and Kylo).
After that awesome scene, Rey and Kylo seem to arrive on friendly terms, but with one catch. Rey wants Kylo to join her on the Light Side so they can take down the First Order, while Kylo wants Rey to join him on the Dark Side so they can rule the galaxy together. The two end up in a struggle over the lightsaber, and eventually tear it apart. Rey escapes, and Kylo tells the First Order that she killed Snoke and that he is the new Supreme Leader. I can’t wait to see this come back and bite him in the ass in the future movies. How much do you want to bet that Episode IX will end with the First Order turning on Kylo and him fighting off an army of his own troops? You heard it here first!
Rey, Finn, Rose, and the rest of the main good characters meet at the Rebel base, where they prepare a defense against an upcoming assault. The First Order uses Death Star technology to build a laser-powered battering ram to break into the base. All hope seems lost, but then, the personification of hope himself arrives: Luke Skywalker! After a brief interaction with his sister (and a cute wink to C-3P0), Luke goes out to confront the enemy army. Kylo’s not falling for any Jedi Mind Tricks and orders a barrage of cannon fire against the lone Jedi. Want to guess what happens next? Luke pulls a Neo and walks out of the crater like it was nothing (while nonchalantly dusting his cloak off). Kylo leaves his ship and goes to confront Luke. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The big showdown between Master Luke and Kylo Ren. How epic will this battle be?!
Sorry, folks. No lightsaber fight to be had. As it turns out, Luke was still on his secluded island. He was creating a Force-projection to make it seem like he was actually at the battle in hopes of stalling the First Order long enough so the Resistance fighters could sneak away. Luke gives a final farewell, and then disappears.
Were you pissed? Of course you were. We’ve been waiting for years to see Luke throw down and show the true power of a Jedi Master. Instead, we see him pull a Joker-esque trick as a means of distraction. And then he actually dies! Many people feel cheated (just like with Snoke), but I feel like it was an original way to end the chapter. Not everything has to be all “pew pew!” and “light sword battles!” Sometimes, you gotta win with your mind instead of your fists. Isn’t the Jedi code about avoiding violence unless necessary? Yoda’s fight scene in Attack of the Clones was eye-candy, but it completely went against what the Jedi stood for. Luke proved himself a real Jedi Master with his tactic. You wanted the movies to stick close to Star Wars lore? Well, there you have it.
Also, I saw people moaning about how Luke’s Force-projection power was strictly a Sith power “according to canon”. Where in the movies was that explained? I may very well have missed it, but if you’re referring to books, comics, video games, or what-have-you, well, they were dismissed as non-canon when the new movies came out. Sorry, it’s something you have to live with.
There’s so much more I can say about The Last Jedi, but I think I’ve hammered the point home. It was a great movie, but the divisive opinions are understandable. I think it’s worth seeing in theaters, especially IMAX. Many will tell you to just Redbox it. Either way, I think if you’re a true Star Wars fan, you should definitely see it. Just make sure you’re forming your own opinion and not regurgitating something you saw on a comment thread.