The Last Jedi is finally out in the wild and we’ve spent the weekend digesting how we feel about it. And wow, is there ever a lot to digest. Some genuinely great moments are littered among some beautifully strange ones, along with some frustrating and confusing decisions sure to leave fans arguing for years about whether they were the right moves and what they mean for the greater franchise.
We have years to debate those moments, though. So let’s break down our favorite moments from the movie, because there sure are a lot of them.
Get ready for Starkiller Base-sized spoilers below the cut.
Luke and Leia Meet Again
Few moments in film have felt as meaningful and earned as this one did for me and for countless other fans. We first learned of the connection between the two almost 35 years ago. The bond the characters formed through the original trilogy was one fans latched onto and nurtured through our love of the original movies and through the now non-canonical novels that followed. Luke and Leia might as well be members of our families.
The look exchanged between the two was that of both the characters and the actors – friends for the ages brought together again. Despite the reality of that moment, Luke and Leia couldn’t have been closer in that moment
Rey and Kylo Ren Talk
In a series that is best loved for many of its bombastic moments and derided for some of its dialogue, the quiet moments between Kylo Ren and Rey were some of the best written in the series. Kylo Ren’s conflict is palpable, and Rey’s naivete is there for the exploiting. The two are children, echoes of Anakin and Luke, full of emotion and confusion, two things people don’t exist without and things Jedi and Sith can’t exist within.
The Last Jedi was about bringing balance to the Force, about the truth we don’t want to acknowledge about our beloved Jedi and what they’ve done to the galaxy far, far away as they try to save it. These scenes helped birth the notion of grey areas in the Force in Star Wars movies. The idea that the balance isn’t one of light versus dark, but of shades of grey in a grey galaxy.
Rey and Kylo Ren Fight for their Lives
When you look too long at the fight scenes through the Star Wars films, a lot of them suck. The fights in the original trilogy are emotionally significant, but aren’t put together very well. The first part matters more than the second, so we still love them. The fights in the prequels, though, are entirely toothless with a few exceptions. Characters we barely care about, drawn with computers, hopping around in fights that feel inconsequential or unnecessary. That might not describe every fight or character, but it works for way too many.
Then there’s the fight that pits Rey and Kylo against Snoke’s Praetorian Guards. It’s one of the best-looking fights and it means something, making it a visceral fight that’s as significant as it is entertaining. The fight was clearly done using real actors and skilled choreographers, because every moment had weight. The characters cared about each other, and we cared about the characters.
That the Praetorian Guards’ armor was dope as hell, that the fight was so exciting and varied, and that the Jedi and Sith used some fresh new lightsaber moves was just icing on the cake. You can’t tell me the moment where Kylo Ren flicked the lightsaber on for a split second wasn’t the coolest.
Luke shows Kylo how it really works
Immediately after the movie, I was cursing – I should’ve figured out the final scenes with Luke much earlier. But that I overlooked them let me experience them in the moment instead of as an armchair plot analyst. The whole sequence is from Kylo’s point of view, and hints are dropped constantly that things aren’t what they seem. Luke has unquestionably mastered his connection to the Force in ways even someone like Yoda never could. Yoda might have a monopoly on dropping wisdom bombs, and we might’ve seen a (once again non-canonical) Jedi pull a Star Destroyer out of the sky.
But Luke? He projected himself across light years, maintaining a solid form systems away for an unimaginable amount of time, and then went toe to toe with a powerful Force user of his own bloodline and schooled him completely without even touching him. Luke brushing his shoulder off and dodging Kylo’s frustrated strikes was satisfying. And then when we realized it was all a Force illusion? It felt like Luke was talking to us, too, telling us that we’ve only barely begun to understand what the Force could be capable of.
Rian Johnson loving Star Wars’ past but not worshipping it
This isn’t one specific moment, but more a collection of small beats throughout the movie. With something like Star Wars, it’s easy to get lost in trying to do it justice. The end result can be overly serious, overly reverent. Star Wars was filled with goofy, funny moments, both intentional and not. The Last Jedi was peppered with these moments. When Poe was messing with Hux in the beginning of the movie, reminded me of Han in the Death Star without directly pointing us back at it. When Luke answered two years of waiting by simply tossing his father’s lightsaber aside, it told me, Rey’s story is more important than lingering on this relic of the past. Yoda’s return as a puppet, not a CG effect, accompanied by what felt like trademark Yoda wisdom showed us that you can’t beat 900 years of living for building up wisdom. And then the iron. Oh, the iron. It as all at once a reference to Hardware Wars, and shot like something out of Spaceballs. There are too many moments like these to name – touching, strange, and funny moments.
Really, though, there are too many to count here. What was your favorite moment? Admiral Holdo taking out an imperial fleet in one move? Yoda cackling? Luke going grocery shopping? Jump in the comments and tell us.