Watching this movie on opening night had been carefully planned for a long time. In fact, my husband and I swap going to our family’s houses every other Christmas, and our years with his Star Wars loving family has been falling on each release of the sequels. Several weeks ago, we searched every movie theater within 40 minutes to find opening night seats. Luckily we found them and snagged some!
So with great anticipation, we planned out the vehicles, our snacks were decided, and we drove to the movies making predictions on the film.
Here’s what you need to know without spoilers:
The movie was fantastic. If you are loyal Star Wars lovers, this movie will be right up your alley. There was enough Star Wars culture and “old school” storylines to keep fans engaged. There was definitely a new feel to this movie though. There were several themes that became more pronounced (keep reading below) that allows this movie to “turn over some new leaves.” While there are some slow parts in the middle, the overall movie was gripping. Several times I anticipated an outcome and was quickly proven wrong. Expect some twists and turns in the plot line! There was definitely more modern humor in this movie than previously. Specifically it felt like some of Marvel’s clever one-liners were trying to make an appearance here, but they brought laughter to the audience. This is definitely a great addition to the Star Wars universe.
The Review (spoilers below)
Nothing is black and white
In addition to the time old theme of light and dark, good and evil, they also featured the theme that there exists good and bad in all things. Even the light, has dark spots. Kylo Ren and Rey both feature moments of light and darkness. Audiences saw this when Rey was reaching out to feel the force. While there she was drawn to the darkness and did not fight it. This revolved around her fear of knowing who her parents are. She was desperate to know their identity and equally anxious to know of the truth. Kylo was more blatantly shown as conflicted since this was spoken to from both Rey and Snoke.
Additionally we saw the theme of “grey” instead of black and white in the casino planet. It was gorgeous and fun on many levels. But after closer inspection, we saw that the city was built on child slave labor. They pointed out that this planet was so rich because they sold ore to the First Order for weapons. The irony is that later it was discovered that the same people were also selling ore to the rebellion. This blatantly showed that not everyone is perfect.
Luke also showed weakness when he confessed he thought of killing Kylo when they were learning in the temple. Fear overtook him and he contemplated killing Kylo. Unfortunately, he changed his mind too late. Kylo woke up and saw Luke with a light saber in hand, and in turn destroyed the Jedi temple and students.
The danger of fear
This is not a new Star Wars theme, but it was shown to fuel most of the poor decisions. When choices are made from fear, the need for control arises. When control is the end goal, only darkness follows. Being able to choose your fate, to be able to choose light, if what keeps the darkness at bay. Rey epitomized this trait by not being in the Jedi order, believing that anyone can came back to the light, and then choosing to refuse Kylo’s offer to rule the new universe with him. Kylo is obviously the anthesis of Rey. Not only did he have a powerful blood line and strict teachings from a Sith Lord, Kylo choose to allow fear of loosing control effect his decisions. He went after power even when his soul encouraged him to stop. These powerful examples continue to show that fear brings darkness.
Organized religion is dead
For half of the movie, Rey tries to convince Luke that the Jedi’s need to return in order to fight the darkness. Luke continues to refuse and believes that the Jedi order was useless and actually bread darkness. Eventually Rey leaves and Luke attempts to destroy the ancient tree holding the ancient Jedi books (unknown to him that Rey actually took the books with her). When he becomes too hesitant to do it, the spirit of Yoda came and did it for him. Symbolic that the Jedi religion’s time is over, Yoda nods that the order’s time is done.
Later, Kylo makes the assertion that the “past should be left in the past.” While both and Kylo and Ren embrace the new age without Sith lords and Jedi orders, Kylo ultimately interprets that to mean he can rule uncontested. Ren chooses to use that knowledge to mean she can choose (and ultimately everyone) the path that they want.
Both of these are symbols that, although introduced in previous movies, are prominently featured in this movie. The tree burning and Snoke being killed, was symbolic of the organized instruction and/or religion being over. Ultimately, this means that anyone can (even the daughter of no bodies) can tap into the force.