This 150 milestone passed unmentioned.  No small commitment of time, when you consider the peripheral hours, editing, traveling, and post-show soaking in pharmaceuticals to ease the troubled mind.  The Last Jedi is perhaps an accommodating cultural milestone, injecting a touch of gravitas to our otherwise whimsical conversational meanderings.

Why does The Last Jedi confer gravitas?  It’s a dumb action movie about space wizards and laser swords.  And we are into that.  But this Disney production is a very special kind of parasite, performing the typical Hollywood-blockbuster maximum target audience wallet-suckle, but also carving the path that future films will take to the teat.  All movies play this game, of course, the whole of Hollywood benefiting every time a blockbuster becomes a cultural icon, relevance by association.  But movies that exist in a cinematic universe distill the whole of the Hollywood-self-propagandizing-circle-jerk into a microcosm.  A volatile microcosm.  The manner in which boardrooms of executives choose to navigate the conflicting seas of hardcore fandom, the Asian markets and the casual movie-goer are often more interesting than the film itself.

If you think too hard about it, it’s a disjointed collection of characters failing, with tenuous links between individual arcs and the collective narrative, cringe-worthy moralizing and CG horse-rabbits.  Looked at under a microscope the cracks are canyons.  But don’t!  All of that is true, but it is also true that the Last Jedi does successfully capture some of the magic of Star Wars while pointing the way for something different.  Rei has acquired some agency and becomes a real character.  Finn walks no stereotypical roads.  Kylo matures, earns some credibility and becomes a legitimate villain.  Maybe Poe grows?  Whatever.  The characters have matured at the end of the film and I like all of them more than I did at the start of the film.  It hurts that so much of the movie was so very stupid.

But the path to the teat.  See, The Last Jedi breaks a lot of the rules in the Star Wars universe.  Crazy flyboy schemes fail, daredevil missions to infiltrate the enemy base fail and make things worse, people sacrifice themselves for no reason, love doesn’t win.  Maybe the rules are broken enough that future Star Warses won’t always be so similar.  This would be the real victory of The Last Jedi.  If there’s a Last Jedi then after that there can be something new.

I guess I’m a little optimistic for the next one.  Not Han Solo though, that one is almost certainly going to be a disaster.  Is Disney ballsy enough to straight cancel it?





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