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Avatar the Last Airbender helped change my opinion on TLJ

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Sierra217, Aug 16, 2021.

  1. Sierra217

    Sierra217 Rebel Commander

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    I've really done a 180 on my feelings on TLJ. I used to hate it, then after a year or two progressed to *wanting* to like it but ultimately being more neutral towards it, now I'm at a point where I'd say my thoughts on it are more "net positive". My original issue with it, like so many other fans, was Luke's portrayal. Not for the simple fact that he was a failure, but more that he'd just given up and had abandoned everyone. However, recently I rewatched ATLA for the first time in over a decade and saw an episode that was nearly identical to the Luke/Rey/Kylo story in TLJ.

    There's an episode in S1 where Aang finds a fire-bending master who's living as a hermit. This "old master" initially refuses to teach Aang out of fear of the destructive power of fire & fire-bending. This teacher had a student turn against him and destroy everything (the student even joined the dark side faction) only for Aang to come along and restore the old master's faith...sound familiar? Seeing this episode just made something "click" with me and encouraged me to reevaluate my thoughts on Luke in TLJ. I watched the movie a few times after that (along with the commentary and the Director & the Jedi), and while I still don't necessarily like it or agree with it, I can accept it (just a little Solo reference ;)).

    Outside of the "Luke side" of things, all the stuff with Kylo and Rey is great; I truly love the concept of the "Force Dyad" (it reminds me of Revan/Bastila & Kreia/The Exile). Kylo in particular is my favorite aspect of this movie (and the trilogy for that matter). Adam Driver gave an amazing performance and Kylo/Ben has always carried the ST for me. Also intriguing in concept was Luke's character (Again, I originally "fundamentally disagreed with" it) and his dynamic with Rey. Luke recognizing the failures of the Old Jedi Order and calling out their arrogance was also welcome.

    Now for what still doesn't work for me. The entirety of Finn & Rose's "side quest" is pointless and has zero impact on anything. It's literally a waste of screen time that should have been given to either the Kylo/Rey/Luke story or Poe's story with the Resistance fleet. Both storylines needed more time & focus, the Canto Bight "side quest" just interrupts them. It's my biggest issue with the movie now and feels like it was written in as an after thought. Replacing it by focusing on the other two main storylines would fix a lot of my remaining issues with TLJ.

    Overall, I now view TLJ as being just "good or average". There's a lot of interesting concepts/ideas in it but also a lot of wasted potential/dead weight. Imo, it's the best of the sequels but it still doesn't do enough in developing it's concepts & characters for me to call it great.

    Sorry for the wall of text! I just wanted to share how I came around to eventually liking and appreciating the TLJ after not liking, even hating parts of it, for almost 2 years. I feel some fans just stick to their "camp" and don't revisit things they disliked and just ignore or bash them.
     
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  2. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Jedi General

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    As someone who loves both TLJ and A:TLA this is a lovely thing to read! I am pleased for you to not hate TLJ anymore, even if you still have the reservations you do. :)
     
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  3. Messi

    Messi G.O.A.T.

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    This is probably my favorite thing in the movie. But it's not a TLJ "issue".

    The concept was created early for TFA by JJ and Kasdan.
     
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  4. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    Jeong Jeong! Great episode, and a great character. Honestly, ALTA does everything right that the ST does wrong. You want a nice redemption story? We got you! You want fleshed out characters that go on beautiful arcs and end up right where you want them to be? We got you! You want a story where everyone feels valuable We got you! You want villains that are actually scary and threatening, even when they lose? Azula's got you!

    While I never had a major problem with Luke's arc and learned to love it in time, Avengers: Endgame really helped put things into perspective, as Luke and Tony's arcs are pretty much the same. Luke is just given more time in the depressive state that the timeskip in Endgame skips over.

    I don't think it was an afterthought, but it certainly wasn't a main thought either. My big problem with it isn't that it was pointless (because I don't think it was - it was negative to the impact of the Resistance, but far from pointless), but that RJ misunderstood Finn's arc and Finn as a character at that point. Finn doesn't need to be told that he doesn't need to join the Resistance - he inherently knows this in TFA, and when his first chance to jump ship comes, Finn takes it. Finn ultimately stays because Rey is in danger, and that's enough of a reason for him to be brave. In TLJ, Finn's arc should have been about understanding the Resistance on a personal level. It would have been a nice moment for Finn, learning that it's not just Poe, but the whole Resistance that sees people instead of nameless drones and numbers. Meanwhile, Poe could have gotten his "head out of the cockpit" and seen the larger works at play in the war. But I'm digressing back into well-traveled territory. The point is that we both agree Finn's arc didn't work, even if we disagree on why that is. (Fun fact, Finn has more cut scenes than anyone. Some of them are supposedly RJ's favorite scenes and homages in TLJ, but he cut them for time and pacing reasons.)
     
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  5. Sierra217

    Sierra217 Rebel Commander

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    Yeah, ATLA is definitely the GOAT! Going through it again reaffirmed that it's my overall favorite show; animated or otherwise. LoK was good, imo, but never reached the same level.

    I haven't gone into the deleted scenes yet but I did enjoy "The Director and the Jedi", so I'll have to take a look at them! I know there's one involving one of Luke's lessons so that'll be interesting to see. And I completely agree with you about how Finn's and Poe's stories should have gone.
     
  6. ManaraiJedi

    ManaraiJedi Clone Trooper

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    I will say Luke's portrayal in TLJ is among my least of problems with the film.

    I think the idea of this former war hero becoming a wise monk, hidden away on an ancient island is one of the more realistic possibilities for Luke.

    I also think the Force Dyad is a very intriguing idea.

    The cinematography in TLJ is really beautiful, particularly the shots of Achc To are awe inspiring. I remember when I first saw TFA, and the ending scene of Rey arriving to see Luke I thought the planet was Tython.

    On a side note, it's interesting how Achc To reminds me more of Legends Tython than Canon Tython does (based on what we've seen of it in Mandalorian Season 2).

    Anyways My main gripe with TLJ is other story elements. I think TLJ as a continuation of the setups we get from TFA is very disappointing, but it's not a film I hate at all. Just a film I dislike. It has positive attributes to it, and I see Luke's story in TLJ as one of the more intriguing elements to TLJ.

    You could argue that Luke force projecting himself across the galaxy, to stop the First Order on Crait, is even more of a Jedi thing to do than actually showing up there in person. He accomplished his mission of saving the Resistance without any violence. What's more philosophically powerful or more of a Jedi thing than that? It's something that Qui Gon Jinn would do.

    I will say the only problem with Luke I have in TLJ, is the way he handled Kylo as his Padawan learner. I know that's a very contentious subject amongst fans even now, so I won't go into why I dislike it as it's all been said before by others. Other than that though, I really enjoy Luke in TLJ. He even looks super cool as a reclusive sage.
     
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