This is no joke, friends. What follows will be an incredibly SPOILER-FILLED, SPOILER-DISCUSSING review of
Okay, are you still with us? Then let’s go!
Last chance to pull out, Red Leader…
Up to now, we’ve seen users of the Force influence the minds of weak-willed fools, commune with the past and see the future, and “make rocks float,” but one of the great things about Johnson’s take on the material is that he widened its scope. Force users in
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), General Leia (Carrie Fisher), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) each show us things we didn’t know the Force was capable of. Luke may have wanted the Jedi to end, but that doesn’t mean the Force stops growing or surrounding and binding us. We see just how powerful each of these characters is, and, in the case of Snoke, how that power led to hubris which led to his ultimate defeat at the hands of his apprentice, clouding the mind of his master to his true intention.
We’d been speculating about Rey and Kylo’s connection, and whether, in lieu of Luke accepting Rey as a pupil, she’d find a teacher in Kylo. We also wondered if Luke or Rey (or both) would turn full evil, and conversely if Kylo would turn good.
We see his what happened to his Jedi Academy, and are shown his confrontation with Ben Solo in three different ways. We see a hint of Luke’s memory of Ben destroying the hut as he looked on in horror. We see the same memory, but from Ben’s perspective, which read his trusted uncle Luke as an assassin come to murder him as he slept. And finally, we get the whole truth: Luke confesses to Rey that he had a brief moment of darkness when he considered killing his nephew for the good of the galaxy, which he immediately regretted, but not before the damage was done.
Though Rey sets out with the benevolent mission to turn the conflicted Kylo to the light side, there’s so much raw power and pain in Rey that Luke and Kylo both see that she has the capability of great darkness. But the film sets up (as was reflected in the previous season of
For a brief moment, in the movie’s standout action scene (possibly the best scene in the whole movie), we see what a formidable team they would make, effing up a roomful of Snoke’s impressive gladiator-like guards. It’s a partnership all too brief, for while Rey (and I) thought maybe this meant Ben Solo had turned to the light side, Ben saw it differently.
The Solo-turned-Ren seized this moment as an opportunity to gain power and bring Rey over to the dark side. But neither wish came true; the conflict in Ben Solo is all but gone and his hatred has taken over again, and despite Rey’s own anger, she could never turn to the dark side. They’re destined to be enemies. And in the same moment, all of the speculation about Rey’s parentage is answered: she’s a nobody, born to a pair of nobodies who just ran off and left her on Jakku for no good reason.
I got a split-second of disappointment at this revelation. “That’s it? She’s not a Skywalker? Or a Kenobi, or any of the other billion possibilities we thought it might be?” But Johnson has Kylo call this out. He essentially tells her she doesn’t have a part in this family drama we’ve seen unfold for seven films. And yet we know, and Luke knows, that she absolutely does have a part to play, and it doesn’t matter if she’s part of a lineage of strong-with-the-Force people. ANYBODY can be a Jedi now, as we see the little boy from Canto Bight possessing both innate Force abilities and a spark of Rebellion in his heart. The Force is for everybody, and any ol’ nobody can save the galaxy.
It was pretty roundly accepted that the title
4.5 Force Ghosting burritos out of 5