Before I wax poetic, it should be obvious that this is a spoiler-filled, foaming at the mouth, adulatory prose. No one who hasn’t seen the film should be reading this. Don’t ruin the surprises. You’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice. Spoiler warning out of the way, let’s proceed.
As I write this, I’ve only seen the movie once. Everything below is based on my first reaction and recollection to The Last Jedi. There’s so much to like. It’s akin to a thirsty man drinking water from a firehose. Rian Johnson has truly delivered a special film. It was impossible to whittle this article down to a meager top ten list. Some scenes were earthquakes in the Star Wars universe, but smaller moments were damned entertaining as well. The Porgs were freaking awesome, but I refuse to be further ensnared by Disney marketing cuteness. They’ll get my hard earned cash with the hundred times I see the film. I’ve also steered away from space battles, the casino on Canto Bight, and the red salt planet of Crait. These settings were very cool, but all Star Wars films deliver the goods on visual effects and production design. The below are not deep dives, but just my initial thoughts on what was exceptional; the scenes that just hit you in the gut. Porgs aside, here are the best moments of The Last Jedi.
Rey’s parents revealed.
Rey did not find the answers to her heritage on Ahch-To. Her descent into the cave showed her a vision of herself. This bizarre outcome is explained as she and Kylo Ren come to terms in Snoke’s chamber. Kylo Ren saw her parents when they connected in the Force. They were junk dealers on Jakku that sold her. Their bodies buried in the dessert. Now this could be a lie, a ploy from Kylo Ren to drive her to him. But the likelihood of this being true fits perfectly in what we know and have learned about Rey. She is the light that rose to match the darkness. She isn’t a princess, a Skywalker, or some hidden treasure. Rey is a poor girl from nothing that is the embodiment of the light. Just as Maz Kanata told her in The Force Awakens. She already knew her parents were never coming back. Her future, her destiny, is with Luke Skywalker and the light side of the Force. This bombshell reveal is truly one of the most shocking surprises.
Kylo Ren kills Snoke.
How spectacularly unpredictable was this outcome? Snoke was supposed to be the supreme villain, a bad guy that was even more powerful than the Emperor. In the end, his arrogance, just like Palpatine’s, led to his shocking downfall. I couldn’t believe my eyes as Kylo Ren slowly turned Luke’s lightsaber at Snoke’s side. While Snoke sneered at Rey and taunted his apprentice, Kylo Ren’s resolve against his master was solidified. Just as his grandfather could not kill Luke, Kylo Ren could not kill Rey. He slices Snoke in half, killing a shadowy figure that remains a mystery. The result of this action is galaxy changing. Kylo Ren is now the Supreme Leader of the First Order, much to General Hux’s chagrin. Ben Solo has achieved the power that his grandfather, Darth Vader, sought so ferociously. No one saw this coming. Snoke’s backstory will surely be revealed in the finale. It must be integral to this trilogy’s conclusion. I am still convinced that Snoke was Darth Plageuis.
Luke tosses his old lightsaber.
The Force Awakens closed with Rey (Daisy Ridley) giving Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) his lightsaber. She’d been through hell to reach Ahch-To. This was her moment, finally to have found the legendary Jedi Master. I almost had a seizure laughing when Luke blithely chucks it over his shoulder. He couldn’t care less. Every Star Wars fan has put so much emphasis on the importance of this particular weapon. The fact that Luke summarily dismisses it, and Rey’s presence, was astounding. This is the beginning of his incredible character arc. Luke Skywalker is a broken men that retreated to Ahch-To in complete failure. He went there to die, having completely rejected the Force. His reaction is a total shock to Rey and Chewbacca. Luke’s response, “How can one man with a lightsaber stop the First Order.” Wow.
The return of Yoda.
I had a tear in my eye when the greatest Jedi of all, Yoda (Frank Oz), appears before Luke again on Ahch-To. The wise Jedi Master returns to Luke as he goes to burn the sacred Jedi texts. Luke is shocked when Yoda beats him to the punch. Yoda sends a bolt of lightning to destroy the first Jedi temple. He lovingly replies that the Jedi texts were not “page turners”. Then chastises Luke for not passing on what he learned. Yoda’s final message was to say that Rey knew what she needed to move forward. How awesome was it to see the Yoda puppet again?
Kylo & Rey team up to fight the Praetorian Guards.
Just as you were trying to process Kylo Ren slicing Snoke in half, the red-suited Praetorian Guard attack. Rey and Kylo Ren engage in an ass-kicking lightsaber battle for the ages. The newly found allies protect each other in a scene that rivals the best sword fighting on film. I loved the brutality and frenetic nature. It didn’t have that vanilla choreography of the prequels. This was a raw, unhinged fight that further cemented the bond between disciples of light and dark.
Luke & Leia’s Reunion.
As the Resistance faces their final moments on Crait, Luke Skywalker at last comes to the rescue of his sister. His shameful actions regarding his sister’s precious son led Luke to a life of imposed exile. When he opens himself back to the Force and sees that Leia is injured, the lost hero regains his spirit; with a little reminder from R2D2. I loved that their reunion was not weepy or sentimental. The fate of the galaxy lay in Luke`s hands. He had to get Leia’s blessing to kill her son. How great was that little wink that Luke gives to 3PO before he leaves?