Star Wars launches its eighth (ninth if we’re counting Rogue One) installment with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans flock to the theaters seeking answers for questions like: Who are Rey’s parents? What’s happened to Luke while he’s been away? Is Supreme Leader Snoke really that big?
Rian Johnson’s highly anticipated story takes aim to finally provide some of those answers. In The Last Jedi, we pick up right where we left off with our favorite characters. Rey has discovered that Luke is not what she expected, General Leia Organa’s Resistance is still facing the pursuit of First Order, and Finn is just now waking up from his spell of unconsciousness brought on in episode VII.
After suffering heavy losses in their escape from the First Order, the Resistance, still under the leadership of General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), comes out of light speed to find that they’ve been tracked by the First Order, something previously thought impossible. During an attack which leaves Leia physically wounded, the Resistance falls under the leadership of Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern), whose leadership doesn’t sit well with the rascally fighter pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and others on board. Poe dispatches the now-recovered Finn (John Boyega) and a newcomer to the cast, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), on a mission to find one who is capable of getting aboard the First Order’s command ship in order to disable the tracking device. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) trains with the emotionally scarred Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and quickly finds that there is more to Luke’s past than what he’s told her. This inkling is spurred on by the tortured Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is able to communicate with Rey in a series of visions. Strength, coupled with deep conflict, rises within Rey during her time with Luke. In the end, she finds herself facing the same question any good Star Wars fan knows will be asked by our hero: will she stand for the dark side or for the light? The ending of an epic like this will not be spoiled in this review. However, if you’re debating on going for other reasons, here’s where Dove can help you out.
From Dove’s perspective, the movie earns the Dove Seal of Approval for 12+. It’s Star Wars, so it’s safe to expect lots of explosions, lasers, and conflict with the Dark Side. “D,” “Bastard,” “H,” and “A” are all used, but they’re quick, and singular. It should also be noted that there is always an interesting conversation waiting to be had regarding the philosophy, mythology, and even (dare we say it) theology happening in the Star Wars universe.
It’s no secret that the original creator, George Lucas, tapped into eastern mysticism for inspiration behind the iconic “Force” held dearly in this story. It’s about balance, tranquility, and yet… there’s more there than just that. From the beginning of the series, there’s been one message that proves intriguing to audiences of Christian background: good overcomes evil. In a universe where “balance” is what we’re striving for, our heroes always find themselves in an ironic position where harmony doesn’t resolve the tension, but rather, offers choice. They must choose between the sides, despite the mystic message of balance. And this, we think, is intriguing.
Perhaps this can be credited to Lucas’s unapologetic inspiration found in Joseph Campbell’s groundbreaking work in his book A Hero with A Thousand Faces, which explores humanity’s fundamental attraction to the hero’s journey – a universal story told in all corners of the world and in all mythologies, that of a hero overcoming the rising enemy. So while some parents might be concerned with the wonky philosophy happening in a galaxy far, far away about balance, impersonal energy, and reaching out with your feelings, note also that the story is simultaneously echoing the tune sung by Christians from the very beginning: good overcomes evil.
As this film stands as an icon in today’s cultural conversations, it’s best to watch it for yourself in order to actively engage with the deeper themes being told. It is, after all, a silver-screen masterpiece that has earned its place among the stars as a sight and story to behold. At the very least, the kids will want to see the film. Since it’s approved by Dove and should prove no problem for the family, make a night out of it and let the meaningful conversations flow freely afterwards.