You are on page 1of 10

The Sublime Brilliance of The Last Jedi

An Deconstructive and Metatextual Approach

1 - "This isn't going the way you think"

Everything commonly critised and disliked on the level of plot and characterisation in Star
Wars - The Last Jedi is rightfully so, in the confined space of these dimensions at least, but a
more or less elaborated approach to reception unveils a greater value of metatextual
commentary, consisting of subversion and deconstruction of the essence of Star Wars. Its a
daring take and a direct response to the orthodoxy of Episode VII to the point of its
rehashing.
2 - Kylo, Luke and Berthold Brecht
"Let the past die, kill it if you have to" as Kylo demands, is the essence of the statement
Johnson wants to express. I am convinced it's meant to be complemented with Luke's overall
ideas and teachings in the movie. The Jedi, everything along side them like the eternal
conflicts and their absolute claim of light and goodness is the storyinherent dimension of
this. The radical, unsympathetic approach to Luke is the only suiting elaboration of this
motive in the plot and it works on the meta-level as well, in it's disregard for expectations
and how off putting Luke is.
The viewer is meant to experience dissonance and estrangement. This can be seen in
tradition of Berthold Brechts epic theatre, that seeks to break the emotional immersion that
shall ultimately lead to catharsis, we are used to experience in classical performance,
conceptualised over 2000 years ago by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
Introductory intermission
My analysis will begin with the Canto Bight-subplot, solely created to subvert the ethical
framework of clear dualism and dichotomy, followed by the actions on the ship, doing the
same to goodness and heroism. On that matter I want to point out that we are meant to
struggle with Rose and Holdo and they are intentionally written flawed.
Afterwards comes a complete reevaluation of the plot, that is very rough and only sheds
light on general or specific things.
I conclude with a final verdict on what the movie was, why and what can be thought about
it.
3 - Johnsons "SJW agenda": Viceadmiral Holdo and her stupid shit
Regarding Holdo I want to emphasise first, that she probably was competent and in control
of the general Situation beyond the mutiny all along. Her failure was leadership and in more
generally communication in speech and attitude. If she only were patient and empathetic
concerning Poe and her subordinates he represented the situation might would've been
solved masterfully. Since she had justified reasons to be absolutely discretional about all her
intentions and planning, it would possibly already have been enough to tell Poe, that the
situation and its possible implications (of a mole e.g.), necessitates her condunct. I read it as
a commentary on some of the conflicts with and within social justice, for many ends and
intentions that are (arguably) fine, suffer almost identical under miscommunication and
destructive attitudes of their advocates and activists.
Just as Holdo is rightfully fed up with reckless heroism, it's consequences and the damage it
specifically causes her, the same can be said about structurally misfortunated people
engaged in social justice regarding the unaffected ("the privileged") and the people
unaware. But the usual accusation from fans, that Johnson just furthers "general SJW
nonsense" as I would formulate the general essence of the accusations and critique seems
laughable unlikely to me.
The reason for this is, that to consider, Holdos actions are presented benevolent and good, is
obviously wrong and not the case at all. Holdo, her complete attitude and behavior is on the
level of plot and social implications explicitly meant to be controversial and calling for
discourse on it. Again it is an instance of intentionally causing thoughtprovoking discomfort,
that is meant to overcome the emotive immersion that he questions. Beyond, on the level,
where it questions Poe's ideology and demonstrates the quality and effectiveness of Holdos
conduct, that is it's direct antithesis and that plays just like Luke's attitude into the
deconstruction of the orthodox values, traditions and customs that are inherent to Star Wars
as of now.
4 - Rose's and Finn's seemingly (plot)irrelevant excursion to Canto Bight
It is just another front in Johnsons war of deconstruction he carries out against Star Wars.
And I will emulate him here a bit and deconstruct my work in how much I elaborate what,
because the biggest, most thoughtful and amusing twist of at least that part, comes to the
viewer as a forgettable detail:
What went wrong and is the basic problem on Canto Bight is that Rose and Finn get arrested
for false parking on the beach.
The absurdity of it is the most generous and underappreciated jest of the whole movie. We
rarely visit civilised planets in Star Wars and its never a problem in the prequels and in the
originals the landing on Bespin was written problematic from the beginning. But this takes it
far further, to the point where they are imprisoned for a minor administrative
offence/misdemeanor. This is some of the finest deconstruction you can find in
contemporary Hollywood for it takes relevant conceptions that build the world of Star Wars
individually and takes them to one of the absurd conclusions that is drawn when the
premises of Star Wars and the particular Situation are seriously and responsibly thought out.
-When there is galacticwide traffic and transportation there must be universal and local laws
and regulations.
- A planet that serves as resort for the rich in the galaxy or even just the outer rim is heavily
regulated, rigid about offenses and harsh in punishment (at least if you cannot afford
generous compensation)
-A former stormtrooper that most likely never landed anywhere but in military bases,
wilderness and the countryside and is therefore faultlessly ignorant about formal, regulated
travel
-A former servant, most likely without something inbetween, joined the paramilitary that is
the resistance was probably just as oblivious to the situation they brought upon themselves.
Beyond this small masterful deconstruction the whole subplot is drawing the conclusions of
a military conflict that is asymmetrically carried out by private militias and a galactic
economy that resembles the worlds economy. This economy appears as the industry and its
military-industrial-complex that is in complete disregard of any values and their
consideration, but maximised profits.

5 - Derrida and Campbell


The most fundamental truth about "A New Hope" and the original trilogy is it's realisation of
the "monomyth" or "The hero's Journey", as described in Joseph Campbell's "The hero with
a thousand facts". In that book, a fundamental structure is described, that is found in the
myths, legends and tales of countless cultures, religions and nations. The reason given is that
it is an complex expression of Jungian archetypes that are in everyone's subconscious.
Lucas just took the concept and ran with it, giving its elements shape either to his liking or in
an attempt to make the trilogy as universally successful as possible, who knows.
Deconstruction, how I repeatedly called, what Rian Johnsons does, is a conception by the
French Postmodernist Jacques Derrida. To keep this very complex idea simple: Initially it was
a interpretative method of analysing a works conceptional and linguistical structure, what
usually led to a whole lotta dichotomies to be discovered. Then the elements are remixed
structurally and even straight up combined (destruction+construction=deconstruction) and
you are basically meant to run wild with it in order to transcend archetypical order,
historicity and orthodoxy. As a creative tool you just bring the analysis into the art.
Intermission 2
For my next trip I actually work somewhat chronologically, but fast and in expectation that
my statements are just accepted and in acknowledgement of the analysis and interpretation
(or analypretation to step up my Derrida-Game). Also I don't really explain everything in
detail but want the reader to understand the by now obvious.
6 - The lack of consequence
The beginning with Poe, his reckless, off-puttingly obvious fuckery with Hux, lack of any fear
of being shot, the near flawless attack and last minute success of the evacuation and the
bombardment are all individually but even more in sum overstraining the viewers suspense
of disbelief. Poe almost appears to be somewhat selfaware of his fictionality and his infite
supply of Plotamor.
Johnson wants to make the viewer painfully aware, that there are really no stakes and the
farce is impossible to overcome. Even the first order officers, Hux and Snoke in his more
comedic than serious punishment of Hux seem somewhat selfaware. Poe is demoted for the
death toll of his attack that was directly against Leias orders, but when the First Order
attacks out of hyperspace Leia is all chilly-vanilly and smiling when it comes to him leading
another charge.
When Finn awakes he is in stupid-comical suit, walking around basically naked.
Luke's infamous throw of the lightsaber, might appear like a cheap, cringy joke, but is meant
to have this uncomfortable effect. The trivial depiction of his fishing routine, the disgraceful
milk-scene and the complete resentfulness towards Rei are meant to depict the state of "The
legend of Luke Skywalker" in person, but also on the meta-level on Star Wars as a whole.
Meanwhile on the dark side, Snoke is keeping it real with Kylo, telling him he is no Vader, but
a boy in a mask who in consequence pounds the mask against a wall until its broken. The
following attack of the resistance's ship starts for the first battle in Star Wars with the logical
destroying of their hangar, exposing how bad all capital ships are, at least after the events of
"A New Hope", for they define fighters capable of outspeeding almost all stationary
blasterfire. This is followed up by the just as reasonable destruction of the ship's
bridge/command deck. The triviality of the event in which fan favorite Ackbar and at first
glance Leia die is defining and subversive.
For some random nonsense of "the fighters being too far from the capital ship", despite
completely wrecking the resistance the First Order retreats. All immersion and classical joy is
broken by how obvious the lack of stakes is.
7 -The lack of consequence II
Now there is obviously one of the most controversial, intense and original moments in the
movie: Minutes after being exploded into space, Leias body is shown to be not affected by
the explosion at all, magically awakes and reenters the ship, one can only assume it is the
living force is taking control over her situation. It's as unbelievable and nonsensical as it gets,
especially because the ships were chasing each other at the max speed possible without
using the hyperdrive. We are forced to realise how void of tension and consequentiality the
whole movie is.
Rose and Finn meet and if he really wanted to escape like all the time in TFA or really meant
to find and save Rey from following the signal into the desperate deadlock they are in is
unclear, but Rose decides to stun him and before consequence they come up with an idea
how hyperspace tracking works and how to disable it. The joke here, consists of two people,
who, by any stretch of the imagination, can't be the most knowledgeable and genius
astrophysicists and theoretical shipengineers in the galaxy, figure out in seconds how the
thing works, that was considered impossible by everyone else and even still is in
consideration of a possible traitor within the ship. The cheap shoe in of Maz Kanata and the
convenience of some random "Master Codebreaker" being on Canto Bight at a specific table,
with a specific appearance is again just a mockery, especially if one realises that Maz had to
mean he is there 24/7 looking relatively the same 24/7.

8 - Metacommentary and Simulacra


The mysterious connection and everything random and awkward about it like the teleported
rain and Rey being embarrassed of halfnaked Kylo is the mainstage of the metacommentary.
Kylo talking about Rey looking for parental replacement figures in Han and Luke is a not so
subtle addressing of the viewer.
Everything about Reys training has something off putting when she cuts rocks that almost kill
the natives, Luke pranks her with letting her think she feels something when he tickles her
and his only real lesson is that the Jedi, their ways and control over the force is to be
overcome. On the other hand Rey is recklessly tapping into darkness and intentional reaches
out its source, where a mirror shows her infinite reflections instead of her parents.
Don't really know what that means but one might argue, that it hints metatextually at her
being just another archetypical hero(ine) who is nothing but the product of the concept of
herself or a baudrillardian "Simulacra", which is copy that either has no original or the
original no longer exists. Even if she is shaped after Luke, Anakin and countless other heroes,
they themselves are just copies of copies that for a long time or even for ever only exist as
signs/symbols of each other and themselves but nothing that truly is. The thing about her
recklessness with the dark side might be in a greater idea I will put in the conclusion.
Before Rey leaves she learns about Luke's attempt to kill Kylo as a conflicted, sleeping child
he took under his mentorship. It shows how the Jedi teaching of absolute light and
destroying all darkness is corrupt and how on the meta-level the whole dichotomy is spoiled
and actually problematic.
9 - Highway to Farce

Rey offers herself up to Kylo who turns on her and turns her in. Snoke who already had
shown, that he is untouchable for Kylo, reveals everything was just his plan and Kylo now
shall kill Rey. In a shocking turn but anticlimactic turn of events Kylo kills Snoke, moving and
activating Anakins lightsaber with sheer willpower use of the force and sides with Rey in a
cool fight against faceless guards that defy any tensover
Snokes appeal, actions and lack of any actuak backstory make him even more generic of an
"Simulacrum" than Rey already is.
Afterwards Kylo halfway talks Rey into believing her parents where insignificant junkers that
sold her for alcohol. He also straight up states that. While that could be true and deconstruct
all conception of fate and the deep lore of Skywalkers as the chosen lineage, it is very
questionable for a couple reasons.
Rey remembers in TFA how her parents left her with an actual ship and nobody would've
payed for the girl to just let her live like any other junker. Especially when it was Unkar Plutt.
Anyway; - Kylo wants her to join him, not explicitly to be evil and destroy the galaxy, but
getting over with all bullshit of the established factions and traditions regardless of their
convictions.
It heats up to a force-pulling deadlock over the lightsaber. Simultaneously Finn and Rose face
execution, due to the most anticipatable betrayl by the most obvious traitor that is DJ.
Meanwhile the whole Resistance Ship is evacuated, after Leia woke up in no time, storms
the bridge and stuns Poe. In their last dialogue Leia and Holdo talk about their sympathy for
Poe with a smile, in total contradiction to Holdos whole attitude and in a lack of any
consequences for his cause and lead of a mutiny that could've ruined everything.
10 - The ex machina to end all machinae
When Poe wakes up in a transport and wonders what is happening, he realises what Holdos
intention in the moment all the subplots are described until here:
Holdo ignites the hyperdrive and rams the ship in a Kamikaze-attack into Snokes Flagship,
leading to the whole fleet of the first order to crack as if a lighting struck the ships building a
solid body.
It's many things that all deconstruct the concept of a deus ex machina-idea to save the day:
It's ridiculous that she is the first person to think of this and execute this in a world where
this could have been done for at least 70 years (roughly episode I) or rather many thousand
years, considering some KOTOR is more or less canonised.
It just is illogical to think hyperspace-artillery was never used if obviously possible, because
no matter how expensive, it must be affordable, at least for great military actions, because a
huge number of publicly available transport and even personal transportation is hyperdrive
based. The actual uselessness of capital ships in orbital and spacial combat due to overly
capable fighters got the final nail in the coffin. And finally its hard to think about anything
worse than ridiculous superweapons that can destroy several planets at once and basically
all ships in the galaxy being superpotent weapons that despite Holdos symbolic selfsacrifice
could be launched remotely.
11 - skip this, nothing relevant, for real
Rose, Finn, BB8 get it over with Phasma and the troopers. Rey escapes on Snokes ship. They
head to the old base on Crait and meet up with Poe and the rest of resistance. The First
Order under new Supreme Leader Kylo Ren attacks with 6 AT-M6 walkers that look like buff
AT-ATs and a groundbased superlaser-canon. The resistance on the other hand can offer a
big metal portal, which is arguably worse than the shield on Echo-Base over 30 years ago and
even worse speeder that consistently scratch the ground. Rey and Chewie give some
assistance luring away the TIEs with the falcon.
12 - This isn't how we win
Finn tries to sacrifice himself by charging into the ignited canon, Rose rams him away. They
both survive basically unharmed against all logic and she makes her infamous statement that
they are going to win, not destroying what they hate but saving what they love.
This is where I think, Johnson makes fun of romantic idealism, liberal pacifism and
appeasment diplomacy. Also just as there was an intentional negative appeal to Holdos
behavior, this is here the case too. It sparks conversation and controversy and one can even
argue Rose just acted upon egotistical desire, that can be further considered, for they barley
know each other, as a being superfical and sexual.
12 - The Final Farce
Next up Leia learns not on of their allies answers the call for assistance and announces the
galaxy has lost all hope.
The plot does not really stop to let the viewer really experience this ultimate desperation,
rather it disregards it in the whole motive of false tension and lack of consequence. Luke
appears out of nowhere at Leias side for some quick pathos, steps alone towards the
Walkers and survives tons of definitely deadly attacks. He asks Kylo for forgiveness. Kylo
rejects him and declares the resistance and Jedi defeated. Luke says that the Jedi and the
resistance are born anew, turns out to be a projection and becomes out of exhaustion one
with the forcla Through cute crystal foxes the resistance is lead to a blocked exit somewhere
else, Rey moves all rocks with the force and all Remaining resistance members escape in the
falcon. There we are shown Rey took the Jedi Scriptures we were tricked into thinking Yodas
ghost destroyed when Luke gives up on his on intention to do so. Then Leia declares they
have everything they need for the resistance to rise again and the last thing before the
credits is a scene on Canto Bight, where the slave-children talk about Luke, one grabs a
broom with the force and a resistance ring he got from Rose is shown. Cut and Credits.
13 - Conclusion
The last big joke and basically dedeconstruction i, to have all this twists, turns and
subversion rendered meaningless. Luke completely changed his mind and nothing he initially
said had consequence. Despite only a handful of people survived and fled on the falcon, we
are meant to expect a comeback and triumphant final of the trilogy in Episode IX.
Indifference to Episode V there wasn't three years that have passed and a furthered the plot,
which means despite all that has happend, the only things that really happend is the
destruction of the Hosnian-System and Starkiller in VII and what just happend in Last Jedi,
which boils down to the reduction of the Resistance from super small to ultra small and Kylo
killing Snoke and seizing power. Luke died, but he just had this one appearance and it's
impact anyway.
We don't know exactly what will happen in the last episode, but Rian Johnson made clear it
doesn't matter, for ultimately it's not relevant what happens when the conclusion is, to
some extent or even completely, written in stone.
The problem people have with the movie is not really, that it is bad, but rather that it
confronts us with the reality, that the magic and significance the original trilogy had cannot
return, but its far more the case, that it's spoiled and dead. The fans don't want something
different like the prequels and they can't have the same they had, strongly proven in Episode
VII. To deconstruct everything and smash our futile desire, that is in fact, just a literary
deathdrive we have towards Star Wars, was maybe the only act of authentic and genuine art
possible.
I hope that the quite plausible possibility is true, that J.J. Abrams either was involved all
along or understood it. Maybe the rehashing in VII and how we felt about it, the ridiculous
starkiller base and how void of all emotion, meaning and significance its simultaneous
destruction of several planets was to us, were all meant to be.
Hence it would be a thoughtout part of a trilogy, that only can tell the tale of its own
impossibility, to tell a tell like its predecessor. And it tells it in a galaxy that always was far,
far away, but now is simultaneously closer and further than ever.
14 - Bonus. A galaxy far far away - but close to home
The Star Wars universe can be abstracted to an aggregate of different ideological apparatuses, that
correspond with certain structures and tendencies in marxist critique and analysis. The reason for
that is, that the galactic bourgeoisie of star wars is very much like ours in nature and structure and
that really shows in the analysis of specific factions.

The whole CIS and their droid army was a Confederacy, in actuality and reality based in libertarian
and minarchal ideologely. Hence all important parties were more or less exclusively invested in an
unregulated market and a government that isn't invested in anything but granting classical property
rights, but especially not the people's lives and it's quality.

And to all rightist and libertarian readers that don't consider this a bad thing I want to articulate in all
clarity and distinctness, that it is not relevant how one judges the structural relation of worker and
employee, the inequalities and shortcomings in capitalism, that are everything between inadequate
high or low income and lethal lack of basic goods. It doesn't matter, because certain separatists like
the Zygerrians seek to legalise and promote actual slavery, in which they are invested in already
anyway. The CIS mirrors our planets "global players", the richest, most powerful company's, their
respective interests and massive political influence. One could even argue the clone wars
corresponds with the consistent clash of the peoples and companies respective interests, in which
only more or less symbolic armies are lead into war and death. Consider me saying ironically:

The deceptively decent republic on the other hand, while possible having some conscience, is
characterized by being, for the most part, absorbed by the matters, needs and concerns of a small
number of planets in the core sectors around coruscant. These core worlds are coincidentally
inhabited by a small minority of socities that are defined by a disproportional high percentage of
humans, the highest average wealth and for the most part the highest quality of life through
education, scale of the cultural life, social services and welfare, environmental protection, dominant
fields and industries, infrastructure, safety and anything relevant.

Worlds of the middle and outer rim, many that joined the CIS, for better or worse, were estranged
and excluded by this centrism on a regular basis with effects of all magnitudes and were open and
clear about this problematic custom.

It corresponds well with our actual, global sociopolitical system and it's political bodies, completely
regardless of their extent, almost all show focus on specific people, places and their interests, usually
based on preexisting beneficial characteristics that accordingly keep growing indefinitely.

Further and maybe more importantly there is the fact, that the senate voluntarily gave palpatine and
his subordinates everything to seize power and form the empire.

It's a direct depiction of the historically consistent phenomenon that representative, liberal
governments are for the most part indolent, lack conviction or determination and become vulnerable
to tyrants and extremists that are happy to seize and utilize the power in its barely protected state
and malleable lack of directionality.
Its the same as what the Weimar republic did for Hitler and the Nazis and the Roman Republic for
Cesar. Interestingly it's much closer to Weimar in events, but the naming and presentation is far
more resembling of Rome in order to defamilarise, to keep the film being fun, lighthearted
entertainment.

While the republic seems to indicate historical imagery, the CIS very contemporary appeal rather
negates that, towards a general critique of the contemporary, where the fall of the republic, while
modeled after historical examples, is meant as admonition that the threat of utmost contemporary
relevance.