There are The Last Jedi spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
I think this review by Sean O’Neal at A.V. Club captures what I loved about The Last Jedi even better than the one I linked to last night.
And yet, that’s not how life works. Victories fade, replaced by new challenges. Heroes get older. They become broken-down and kind of pathetic, bearded and cynical. Sometimes they even end up all alone, stewing over decades-old fuck-ups, suckling at the nipples of sad, mutant cows. Happy endings are always undone because “endings” don’t really exist. Time doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your “destiny” can and will be slowly eroded away by the many small, cumulative abrasions of life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and it’s disillusioning, and it can fill you with righteous anger at the unjustness of it all. And then, you die.
In tackling this notion head-on—in being willing to not only challenge Star Wars’ happy ending, but to question whether happy endings actually exist—these new films are giving the saga something that it’s always somewhat lacked, even in all its constant grappling with themes of the spirit versus the machine: humanity. That’s not always an easy fit with the kinds of myths that Star Wars updates; rarely do we talk about the fact that Hercules, for example, triumphed over his Twelve Labors, only to end up a twice-married widower who got killed by a shirt. And the very idea of it pisses off people who cling to the illusion that their own hero’s journey will someday be “complete.”
And yet, that’s the story of life. We get to what seems like a comfortable end—married with children, say, accomplished in our careers, content to just let things remain status quo forever. Then life intrudes, because we’re only one small chapter within its story. Those things change and slip away. We may “fundamentally disagree” with what life decides for us. Life writes its epilogue anyway.
Via Marisa Mohi.