It isn’t often that a film makes you truly stop and think. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of those movies. It seizes you by the collar, slaps you about, and then parks up in your brain for days on end (in other words, it’s fantastic). Uncomfortable and surprising in a stubborn, determined sort of way, it’s also earnest in doling out a genuinely crucial lesson: no-one’s perfect.
Awooga, awooga – spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead.
Nowhere is this more obvious than Luke. Now a grumpy, haggard old man, he’s far from the hero we cheered on in the original trilogy. He’s rude. He’s disgusting. He’s selfish. And therein lies the brilliance of it. Basically, he’s human.
Luke’s been trapped in storytelling amber for over 30 years; he ended Return of the Jedi on a triumphant, righteous note, and we took it for granted that his troubles were over. He became idealised and messianic, a standard we could strive toward but never reach. Yet life doesn’t work that way. We don’t ever stop making mistakes, nor do we stop learning. This is why it’s so healthy to see Luke become a miserable git who lives on a diet of fish and space-cow milk. It’s a reminder that we’re all flawed. And you know what? That’s OK. Heroes aren’t people who do no wrong; they screw up, just like us. Anyone can be a hero, an idea reflected in the wonderfully down-to-earth Rose.
Furthermore, the mark of a hero is that they get back up again after being knocked down… even if it’s not right away. Although Luke had a momentary lapse of judgement that cost him everything, he came roaring back in the end to save the day. It doesn’t matter that this took time. What matters is that he eventually did. That’s a powerful message. It’s an inspiration, too. If Luke can overcome such enormous problems, we can as well.
For me, this is why The Last Jedi’s easily the most important chapter of the Star Wars saga. It’s a message of hope for anyone of any age.
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