The Last Jedi: girls rule, giving a New Hope to the galaxy!

Summary: Blockbuster films are blockbusters because mirror our hopes and fears. As does The Last Jedi, putting on the big screen the historic power shift now underway in the West.

The Last Jedi

The new Star Wars shows us a galaxy of strong gals.

“{Ren is} just another agreeable gal 50 standard deviations above the mean in just about everything.”
—  Review of The Last Jedi by Daniel Klein (Prof of Economics at George Mason U).

Wonder Woman was awesome in her own film (literally so, as a goddess), but in it Steve Trevor was strong and courageous. In Justice League, Wonder Woman considered her male teammates to be like children. But they were competent. For example, Batman was a great leader (self-sacrificing as needed, able to make harsh choices the others could not). WW looks like a 1910 suffragette by comparison with the women in The Last Jedi.

From the grandmotherly older women to the dynamite younger ones, its women are each a combination of everything nice, such as bravery, wisdom, strength, intelligence, and compassion. Perhaps one of them showed a character flaw, but so briefly that I missed it. They are skilled actresses, but portray characters with the depth of cardboard cutouts.

Daisy Ridley does a great job portraying Rey’s growth in power and confidence. The opening scenes in Rey’s first film (The Force Awakens) establish her as a classic Mary Sue character (omnicompetent at any task, even without training or experience). At the end she has powers that Luke had at the end his third film (Return of the Jedi), again without training. She ends her second film — still without training — with powers like Yoda. She slices and dices through a posse of Jedi, defeats two super-powerful Jedi, lifts massive objects, and “possesses” all the knowledge of the Jedi.

What can come next in Rey’s hero journey? What might be her next level of power? What evolution would create drama? Perhaps in Star War IX Rey will become Queen of the Galaxy — then join the dark side. Tolkien describes the results in The Two Towers.

“In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!” …She stood before Finn seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful.”

The Dork Side

The new Star Wars shows us a galaxy of screw-up guys.

The good guys in The Last Jedi are a corps of screw-ups, each a unique combination of weak, venial, unreliable, and reckless. Fortunately, the women provide lots of gal-splaining, plus corporal punishment (but no spankings; perhaps in Episode IX).

The prototype male is Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill wonderfully portrays Luke as a whipped dog who has one last bite. In the second trilogy he was a barely competent Jedi. In Awakens we learned that Luke failed utterly as a Master, whose key job was selecting and teaching the next generation of Jedi. In the The Last Jedi a visitor from beyond gently consoles him: Luke’s mistakes give him so many opportunities to learn!

Of course, each good guy gets a hero’s turn at the end.

As for the bad guys… The big baddie, Snoke, is a dufus. The assistant big baddie, Kylo Ren, is lost in Darth Vader’s shoes: mocked by his boss, outclassed in every way by Rey (who acts like his big sister, alternatively chastising Kylo and beating him up). Adam Driver steals every scene, playing Kylo as perpetually on the verge of tears. Neither Snoke or Kylo Ren is scary. Update, in the comments a reader explains why:

“Maybe one reason why no one seems to be malevolent in a really menacing kind of way is that if they were, you might need actual martial virtues to defeat them. …Defeating the Empire back in the days took guys like Gold Leader from Star Wars, who never got rattled even when Rebel fighters were being blown to electron dust all around him. No one ever questioned if Red Leader and Gold Leader were in touch with their emotional side, or whatever. Those guys were hard core, and you needed that.”

Superhuman woman

More fun things about The Last Jedi

The characters are all unisex in dress, behavior, and dialog (except for the rich, whose women dress up). The kisses at the end have the heat of kissing cousins at a family Holiday party (but without getting prior consent). This, and the film’s obvious fear of strong men, suggest that testosterone testing on the male filmmakers’ might have interesting results — perhaps revealing Buzzfeed-low levels. (This is a serious problem in America.)

Of course, feminists love this film. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017” by Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair — “An eerily perfect installment for the post-Trump era.” “The Last Jedi says goodbye to damsels in distress‘” by Shanee Edwards at SheKnows — “it’s the women in Star Wars: The Last Jedi who rule the galaxy and command the wars with courage, compassion and knowledge of the Force that will make women everywhere proud” (she’s unaware that damsels in distress have been out of fashion for 20 years). “Toxic Masculinity Is the True Villain of Star Wars: The Last Jedi” by Kayti Burt — “Let’s talk about the competent women and the emotionally-challenged men of The Last Jedi.”

Conclusion

Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a far away galaxy. But it also takes place in our America, in our minds. The success of these films means that their themes are our future. Expect to see many more films like The Last Jedi, providing role models for our young.

Other perspectives on the Star Wars saga

  1. A philosopher reviews “The Phantom Menace”, a great film with hidden depths.
  2. The Force Awakens is a film for Boomers. It’s about us.
  3. The Last Jedi is a finely manufactured product!
  4. My review — Part One: passing the torch between screw-up Boomers and great Millennials.
  5. My review — Part Two: girls rule, giving a New Hope to the galaxy!
  6. Last thoughts: Last Jedi’s darkness mirrors the darkness in us, today’s America.

For More Information

For Holiday shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about heroes, about book, film, & TV reviews, especially these…

  1. Women on Top, chapter 10: the growing gender gap in education.
  2. “Mockingjay” shows us a Revolution in Gender Roles. What’s the next revolution?
  3. A new hot trend from Hollywood: women hitting men.
  4. A brief guide to the new war of the sexes. Both sides are 100% right — Music videos are a mirror to our new society.
  5. Disturbing next steps in the gender revolution.
  6. Books to help us see the strange new world following the revolution in gender roles.

This photo of Mark Hamill says much

It shows how appalled he is with what Rian Johnson did the his character.  Also, see this video; the first half shows his comments about the portrayal of the Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. The background song is the same used in the trailer to film Logan — a story of the failure of the X-Men in a world gone to hell.

Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill

 

15 thoughts on “The Last Jedi: girls rule, giving a New Hope to the galaxy!

  1. Rey as Dark Empress? Sign me up.

    Maybe one reason why no one seems to be malevolent in a really menacing kind of way is that if they were, you might need actual martial virtues to defeat them. If the heroes are all going to be girls, then the villains have to be something the girls can handle.

    Defeating the Empire back in the days took guys like Gold Leader from Star Wars, who never got rattled even when Rebel fighters were being blown to electron dust all around him. No one ever questioned if Red Leader and Gold Leader were in touch with their emotional side, or whatever. Those guys were hard core, and you needed that.

    The wars of Star Wars are now war as seen by girls who never have, and will never have to be in a real one. And they haven’t read anything about a real one either.

    1. The Man,

      That’s got to be the “best of thread” winner. I’m adding that to the post (with attribution).

      That’s my view of Star Trek’s The Next Gen vs. the original and “Enterprise.” In The Next Gen they sat in their comfy chairs and watched the screen, as if in their living room. In the TOS and Enterprise they were under pressure, snapped at each other, sweated, and were afraid. They faced situations in which everything was at risk, and they made harsh decisions — all unlike Next Gen. Most of today’s Star Trek fans don’t like TOS and hated Enterprise.

  2. I think this sort of wildly unrealistic sowing of young wymmin’s expectations is to insure the future success of all the somewhat older wymmin who got previously unuseful mental health counselling degrees. With cockamamie codswallop indoctrination like The Last Jedi, their customer base is assured!

    1. Mr. Random,

      “this sort of wildly unrealistic sowing of young wymmin’s expectations”

      Yes, the activities of women in The Last Jedi are unrealistic. But no more than that of James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Batman.

      Think of The Last Jedi as a projection on the big screen of actual trends in our society, magnified so that we can better see them. World-shaking trends. As As Christina Hoff Sommers says (she is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and host of “The Factual Feminist”):

      “Reality check: American women – especially those in the professional/managerial class – are among the freest and most self-determining human beings on the planet. They may run into the occasional troglodyte, but overall, they are not merely doing as well as men – they are starting to surpass them. According to a recent survey of hiring data, young women are starting to out-earn young men. Women now earn most of the advanced degrees – including doctorates. The women’s advocacy group Catalyst reports that as of 2015, ‘women held 51.5 per cent of all management, professional, and related occupations’.”

  3. In the TOS and Enterprise they were under pressure, snapped at each other, sweated, and were afraid”

    Yeah, and you’d sweat too if Kang (Day of the Dove in TOS) or the Romulan Commander from “Balance Of Terror” had phaser lock on YOU. The Klingons went from Mongol warlords in space to professional wrestlers. In TOS they plotted, they schemed, they struck without warning, and they showed no mercy. In Next Gen they grunted, growled, snarled, belched, and didn’t seem smart enough ever to have been a threat to the Galaxy.

  4. Ah, Mr. Kummer… But is it in fact a projection of reality, or a projection of desired reality?

    Women are getting more advanced degrees… In what, exactly? STEM fields? Nope.

    The hottest sector right now is blockchain startups. Lots of wymmin on those teams? Nope. Veritable sausage factories.

    “Starting to out-earn” means means they don’t out earn.

    Holding 51.5% of all management, professional, and related occupations? Across the board in all sectors? Or in certain industries? Is their existence organic? What happens to those industries when the USD easy money system follows it’s historical counterparts?

    James Bond was presented as a cartoonish fantasy, Jason Bourne and Batman as creatures of extreme human conditioning born of trauma. Men have risen to perform countless “superhuman” feats as Bourne and Batman throughout history. Women also very occasionally do as well, Joan of Arc comes to mind. But it’s clearly extremely rare. Regardless, fictional or historical, all of them *earned* it.

    The Last Jedi heroine is superior because… Plot requirements? I hold to my original assertion. Cockamamie codswallop indoctrination.

    Wake me up when they remake Fight Club with a female protagonist, but with the same honesty the original was made with. That will be something to watch.

    1. Mr. Random,

      Those are all good questions. Tune in to tomorrow’s post for some answers!

    2. “The hottest sector right now is blockchain startups.”

      As someone who has been following what I suppose you could call the “blockchain” field since 2012, albeit as an amateur without money to throw into it, I would say that this represents wisdom on the part of women, or at worst, an unwillingness to go for super-high-risk/high-reward situations.

      https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/icos-magic-beans-and-bubble-machines/ This discusses – albeit negatively – a lot of these “blockchain startups.” I suppose there are probably legitimate ones whose purpose is not to attract money hunting a return, but then in a large enough crowd you’ll get anything.

    3. “https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/icos-magic-beans-and-bubble-machines/ This discusses – albeit negatively – a lot of these “blockchain startups.” I suppose there are probably legitimate ones whose purpose is not to attract money hunting a return, but then in a large enough crowd you’ll get anything.”

      That is hands down, one of the laziest, cherry-picked criticisms of the blockchain space I have read so far. Good find!

  5. Ah. yeah. Definitely not an original bone in this one, as one of these reviews did say. Maybe because of Carrie Fishers’ recent death, they had to dwell on her character and therefore the scene surrounding it more than they should’ve. It’s just a plot device to set up the various interactions with Adam Driver’s character, which is basically the point of the movie, with Rey and Skywalker being the set-up, apart from the space battles, which looked cool (remembered to turn off the power to your common sense, right?). I would really love to see a 60’s Sergio Leone version of this. Exact same script, don’t change a word.

  6. When folks ask me whether I liked ‘Last Jedi’, I just smile, and say apologetically, “Nah, not really into chick flicks…”

    1. Hans,

      +1! I usually think of such witty replies a few days later. I’ll use yours!

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