PART EIGHT: FILIBUSTERING FOR THE FACEBOOK FOLKS
So, yeah, I’m going to try and finish this before I go to bed tonight, probably to pop tomorrow morning since I’ll be at work all day and why not. In case it’s not obvious, there are probably going to be places where my memory of the film isn’t quite perfect (I saw it a week ago, after all) and chances are I’ll mix the order of some shit up every now and again. If there’s anything especially egregious, let me know, or maybe I’ll fix it myself once I see the movie again, which is basically inevitable.
Okay. Is that long enough to avoid accidentally spoiling something for the Facebook people, who get a little blurb from the first part of the post every time something gets shared? Cool. Onward!
PART NINE: THE OTHER PLAN
Item #2 in the I Know More than You About This Because I Read Books series is Amilyn Holdo. This lady right here:
The remnants of the Resistance are meeting, with Leia incapacitated and Ackbar dead, and it turns out that now-Admiral Holdo is the new at-least-interim leader of the Resistance. And she, it seems, is not Poe Dameron’s biggest fan. Now, I know all about Holdo, because I read Claudia Grey’s excellent Leia: Princess of Alderaan, where she’s a major character. You may not know anything about her. That’s okay! Just be aware that she and Poe ain’t gonna get along… which she basically makes clear immediately by reminding him that one of Leia’s last acts as a non-blown-up person was to demote his ass and that arrogant, order-ignoring flyboys are not going to be any part of her chain of command.
(Did you hear that? It’s important.)
So Poe pisses off and this is one of the parts where I told this out of order, because it’s after he meets with Holdo that he and Finn and Rose come up with Plan #2. Plan #1, as it turns out after a while, is to get everybody on the flagship (which, the internet tells me, is called the Raddus) before the other ships die and then use the remaining fuel on the Raddus to get everyone off of it and headed somewhere else, basically in escape pods, before the First Order blows the Raddus out of the sky.
Er. Space. Can you blow something out of space? Before they blow it up, at any rate. Escape pods are tiny, see, and hopefully the First Order won’t notice them since they’re focused on the Raddus.
Poe does not like this plan. Poe does not like this plan one bit! Not that he told anybody about his plan, mind you, because he’s the Arrogant Flyboy and his ideas are better. But he gets super pissed about the idea that everyone’s abandoning the ship to fly off who-knows-where and he fights back by staging a goddamned mutiny while everybody else is trying to load the ships up. He and a few others literally hold Holdo and her never-named, beak-nosed lieutenant at gunpoint and try to take over the ship to give Finn and Rose and Slicer Dude some more time to sabotage Snoke’s ship.
This is a bad decision, as Holdo manages to break free of her captors pretty quickly and starts taking her damn ship back.
Oh, and Finn and Rose done got their asses captured and Benicio del Toro is busy pissing off with a couple of giant crates full of, presumably, First Order cash, with not a drop of regret upon his countenance, so pretty much everything Poe Dameron has done in this movie has turned out to be bad decisions.. Turns out dressing like a First Order officer and infiltrating the ship isn’t clever enough to get past BB-H8, BB-8’s no-I’m-not-kidding evil counterpart. More on them later, but needless to say Dameron is practically trying to hotwire the ship when Leia, of all people, bandaged head and all, breaks into the command deck and shoots his simple ass with a stun blaster.
Yeah, turns out the plan isn’t to just, y’know, flee. There’s an old Rebel base nearby on a planet called Crait. That’s where everybody’s going. Oh, we didn’t tell you that specifically, Poe? Why the fuck would we have told you specifically? Maybe your recently-demoted, face-slapped, stungun-stunned ass could, I dunno, follow fucking orders?
But before I go any farther there, let’s go back to Rey. And that Kylo Ren dude I’ve barely mentioned at all so far.
PART TEN: THE BIT WITH REY AND KYLO, OR: DANCE, FUCKER, DANCE
I happen to be listening to The Offspring at the moment, so please don’t assume that secondary subtitle has anything do do with the actual movie.
So, yeah. This chick. She’s been busy:
What with Luke refusing to train her in any sort of proper fashion, Rey’s basically decided to pick up his lightsaber and train herdamnself.
I love this character, guys. I love Rey. She’s the best thing Star Wars ever did. Luke doesn’t wanna train her? Fine. Fuck ‘im. She’s off lightsabering and jumping directly into the Pit of Evil that Luke has warned her away from and shocking the hell out of him with the visions she’s having during the rare occasions when he deigns to show her something.
Oh, and occasionally she finds that she and Kylo Ren are sharing a mental link that neither of them can explain, and they can talk to each other and see each other as if they’re in the same room. The movie even goes so far as to give us a shirtless Kylo scene just so that they can demonstrate that Rey can actually see him. That scar? Goes all the way down, if you know what I mean and I sure as hell don’t.
Anyway, Rey kinda hates him, and it’s unbelievable how good of a job these two actors do of “acting” in a “scene” “together” when they are in fact not even in the same solar system. Over time, though, Rey’s frustration with Luke sort of boils through, and Kylo sort of gets into her head a little bit– at least to the point where she’s not trying to blow his spectral head off anymore, as she does the first time she “sees” him. The frog-nuns who protect the island are super pissed about the hole she blows in the wall of her hovel.
This happens several times, and eventually– and I’ll admit I’m losing the chronology a bit here– the question of What Happened With Luke comes up. Rey gets three versions of the story. First, Luke tells her that he was worried about how Ben was clearly being tempted by the dark side, went to talk with him, and Ben attacked him and burned down his Jedi school and fled. Rey confronts Kylo Ren with this information.
And Kylo tells her point-blank that Luke had his lightsaber ignited when he went to see him, and when Kylo woke up, his master was standing over him preparing to kill him.
And then Luke’s version of the story changes when Rey confronts him about it, and it’s another one of those moments where Mark Hamill being an outstanding actor all the sudden is critical, because Luke describes igniting his lightsaber as a brief, terrible personal failure: that he’d had a vision of Ben Solo’s future as galactic supervillain Kylo Ren and, just for a moment, contemplated killing his apprentice, his own nephew, to prevent that terrible future from coming to pass– and, in doing so, destroyed everything he had ever worked for and guaranteed that future.
PART ELEVEN: SOME BITS I FORGOT TO MENTION
There are a couple of good Luke moments that I haven’t mentioned yet, and we’re chronologically past them in the movie now, so lemme just throw them in real quick: Luke initially basically hides from Rey, who goes and gets Chewbacca to literally knock in the wall of Luke’s hut. Luke takes one look at Chewbacca and immediately asks him where Han is. It’s the first hint we get of how he’s isolated himself from the Force; I don’t believe for a second that Jedi Master Luke wouldn’t have felt Han die. They cut away after the question and we don’t see his reaction to the answer.
Also, the brief, involuntary smile on his face when he sees R2-D2 for the first time– one of only maybe aa couple of times he smiles in the movie– is wonderful.
PART TWELVE: THERE IS GOOD IN HIM, I CAN FEEL IT, OR MAYBE THOSE ARE HIS ABS
So, speaking of Kylo Ren: he’s not wearing his mask anymore. He only gets one really good Get Mad and Wreck Shit scene in this movie after several in FORCE AWAKENS, and it’s after being summoned up to Supreme Leader Snoke’s very, very red throne room and basically mocked roundly for not being the evilest evil dude who ever eviled evilly enough. Snoke, who I briefly thought might be a reincarnated Darth Vader because of the scar on his head but it turns out is actually a gold-bathrobed Undead Hugh Hefner, makes fun of him for wearing the mask and he smashes the shit out of the thing in the lift on the way down from the throne room and we never see it again.
As he and Rey are Force-talking back and forth, she eventually gets the idea that she can win him back to the light side of the Force– that, much like his grandfather, there is good in him as well. And eventually she decides that if Luke isn’t going to help her, or the Resistance, she’s going to take shit into her own hands. In fact, she and Luke have a brief fight scene that starts off with her going after him with her staff and ends up with her using his blue lightsaber again. He throws her off the island (“You can’t fire me, I quit!”) and she steals the Jedi books that I haven’t mentioned yet– there are Jedi books– and splits, planning on going to Kylo Ren and confronting him, either killing him or turning him in the process.
(Oh, and in a Moment! Of! Foreshadowing!, Kylo comments that projecting himself across the galaxy in the manner that either he or Rey appear to be doing really ought to require enough power to kill one of them.)
PART THIRTEEN: I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS
Luke is alone and abandoned and furious, and he storms off to the Jedi Tree, which never really got explained but was where he kept the Jedi books, intending to destroy the entire thing. And then… Yoda.
Force Ghost Yoda.
I didn’t know Yoda was gonna be in this movie. I kinda had some feelings, seeing Yoda in this movie. And Yoda stops Luke from destroying the Tree, by hitting it with Force lightning and doing it himself. He’s very much the impish Yoda from ESB here, taunting Luke with the idea that old Jedi books and old Jedi trees are really something important that needs to be preserved. I really wanted a callback to the line Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter, and didn’t get it. And it is entirely possible that I wiped a tear or two away during their conversation. I ain’t saying. But Yoda kinda gets Luke’s head back on straight, and they sit and watch the Tree burn together.
PART FOURTEEN: HAVE I MENTIONED THIS IS THE LONGEST STAR WARS MOVIE EVER? BECAUSE MY WRISTS ARE STARTING TO HURT, GUYS.
Rey isn’t subtle about landing on Snoke’s ship, and Kylo Ren grabs her almost immediately, taking her up to the Red Room to meet the boss. Snoke is insanely powerful in the Force, slapping her around whenever he likes, including one fun part where he lets her snatch her lightsaber from him, then Force-pushes it past her boomerang-style and clocks her on the back of the head on the way back to him. She not only can’t hurt him, she can’t get close to him, and he’s pretty clear that killing her is how Kylo completes his training. He lets her try and grab her lightsaber from him a couple more times, and then sets it next to him on his throne while he sits back and emotes evilly at Kylo Ren to kill her.
At which point Kylo ignites Rey’s lightsaber, still sitting on the throne next to Snoke, and cuts him the fuck in half.
No, seriously. Cuts him the fuck in half. Darth Maul-style. And his top half slides off the lower half, and he is dead as hell, guys, they aren’t screwing around with this at all, and it’s at least the third time this movie has blown my fucking mind.
And then Snoke’s eight guards, the dudes in red armor who, as it turns out, probably should have been standing closer to their boss if they wanted to be useful, all attack Kylo and Rey, and the fight is amazing, and it ends with one of them getting sucked into some sort of… mechanical thing? Which isn’t really very good for the ship? And everything’s on fire, and blowing up, at least partially because of stuff going on in the A and B plots, and then there’s a brief and very intense fight and conversation between Kylo and Rey, which includes him forcing her to admit that her parents were nobodies, that they were poor scavenger trash who probably sold her for beer money, and she says it out loud, which clearly kinda kills her soul. The fight ends with an amazing Force battle over Luke’s lightsaber, which gets stuck in between them and then explodes, knocking Ren unconscious. Rey gets away, stealing Snoke’s personal shuttle and meeting back up with Chewie on the Falcon.
A lot of people are taking this revelation more seriously than I would think they should. I mean, okay, my Rey is Luke’s Daughter theory is pretty much shot out of the water, but there’s no reason to believe that Ren actually knows anything here or that he’s doing anything other than screwing with her head here. Dude has not exactly shown himself to be trustworthy, right?
PART FIFTEEN: WHY’S THE SHIP ON FIRE, ANYWAY?
Because Amilyn Holdo, in a last-ditch attempt to save the Resistance, has turned the Raddus around and rammed Snoke’s ship while entering lightspeed. Let’s back up: Finn and Rose are captured, and Benicio del Toro has not only betrayed them but has dropped a dime on Poe’s stupid plan, and the First Order is picking escape pods out of the sky. The Resistance, by this point, is down to just a few dozen people at most, and they’re on their way down to Crait. Finn and Rose were seconds away from being executed– oh, Phasma’s alive, by the way– when all the ‘sploding happened, and Finn and Phasma fight, and for a brief second they let us think that Phasma’s dropped him into some sort of pit, because Star Wars still doesn’t have OSHA, but then he clocks her upside the face with the butt of a rifle or something and actually breaks her mask open, and then the ground opens up beneath her and she falls to her death.
OR DOES SHE???
I don’t care, she’s Boba Fett II. Anyway, Rose and Finn get away and head for Crait. Rey gets away and heads for Crait. And Commander Hux finds Kylo Ren unconscious right next to Snoke’s bisected body, surrounded by some very messily lightsabered dead guard bodies. Hux’s hand, very slowly, drifts to his blaster, but before he can make the decision to kill Ren, Ren wakes up. I don’t remember Hux’s exact line– it might just be “What HAPPENED here?”, but oh God it’s totally this .gif:
Hux doesn’t believe Ren’s story about how Rey killed everybody and overpowered him for a single second, but there’s more important shit to do and the ship’s busy blowing up around him, so it’s time for the endgame. To Crait!
PART SIXTEEN: ENDGAME
And now, the last stand of Leia Organa and her immortals: holed up in an abandoned Rebel base on the salt-encrusted planet of Crait, with thirteen rickety speeders and some heavy weaponry against this bullshit:
If you look carefully, you can see some regular AT-ATs mixed in with these new school gorilla-knuckle-walkin’ heavy bastards. Point is, they’re huge. And they’ve detached the cannon from some big ship bastard and are planning on using it to melt the giant metal door that is the only think in between the Resistance and certain death.
Leia sends out a distress signal. No one responds.
Finn tries to sacrifice himself to take the gun out, and Rose stops him. There’s a brief declaration of love on her part, but she’s damn near unconscious when she says it and I’m going to choose to pretend it’s not real, because… nah. I like Rose too much to believe she fell in love with Finn’s dumb ass over the course of their trip to Canto Bight. Call it headcanon if you have to.
Point is, the Resistance is screwed.
(I’m passing over some stuff. There’s shooting, guys, this is at 3000 words again.)
And then Luke is there. And he’s apparently had time to have a haircut. And I swear to God he’s deliberately dressed like Anakin:
He meets Leia, and kisses her on the forehead, and gives her Han’s dice from the Falcon. And then he goes out to meet his destiny, buying the Resistance soldiers time to follow the crystal foxes (roll with it) out of the hidden back entrance to the base.
Kylo and Hux are in the cockpit of his shuttle, commanding the battle. And Kylo loses his mind when he sees Luke, standing alone in front of the base, his feet leaving no footprints in the salt, bare-handed. He orders every First Order vehicle to open fire on him, and lets the shooting go on for probably a full minute. Hux tries to stop him and is unceremoniously Force-slammed into a bulkhead for his trouble, not to be seen in the film again.
When the shooting stops, Luke is unscathed, waiting. It’s an outstanding moment.
Kylo Ren meets him on the ground, alone. Luke ignites his lightsaber– his blue lightsaber. And there is a brief exchange of lightsaber blows, and I can’t honestly say I remember for sure but I’m pretty certain the blades clash at at least a couple of points.
And then Kylo Ren charges Luke, and whips his blade through his midsection… with no effect at all. Because Luke is still on Ach-To, which he’s sworn to never leave, and where he’s sworn to die, and Ren is fighting a Force projection. And Rey, who Luke proclaims as the last of the Jedi, is freeing the remnants of the Resistance through the back exit of the base, moving tons of rock aside to do so.
They are the spark that will ignite the hope of the galaxy, Luke’s specter tells Kylo Ren. And then, on Ach-To, he disappears, joining the Force, his robes fluttering to the ground around him.
Elsewhere, at Canto Bight, a young slave boy is entertaining several other children, telling the story of a battle between good and evil, using straw dolls as toys. His master comes in angry, and the boy flees. In the faithier stables, he looks at the ring on his finger, a ring that bears the symbol of the New Republic.
And then he calls his broom to his hand and begins to sweep the stable.
I loved this fucking movie, guys. I almost don’t want Episode Nine now, because it’s JJ again, and JJ’s going to fuck everything up. Rian Johnson gets his own Star Wars trilogy all to himself that he can do whatever he wants with. I am so, so, so in.
And now I’m going to go ice my wrists for a while.