My husband and I enjoyed seeing The Last Jedi, and we both wrote up appreciations of the film. At Aleteia, I wrote “Kylo Ren: The Star Wars not-quite-villain whose temptations are familiar”
The combination of great power and great irresponsibility would be enough to make for a challenging antagonist, but Kylo Ren is more than just a boss for our heroes to defeat. He’s a reminder of what temptations we have to resist to be heroes and saints. People doing evil more often look like Kylo Ren than they look like Darth Vader.
Evil isn’t glamorous. It isn’t underscored by John Williams or versified by John Milton. It doesn’t sweep down a hallway, cape rippling, basso profundo voice booming. Evil is a privation of good, a rejection of something, and it is always a little smaller, and a little more tenuous than the whole that it gave up. Kylo Ren is chasing something that doesn’t exist, that is willfully always diminishing itself.
And Alexi wrote on how the new film handles hope and heroism, “Martydom in The Last Jedi“
It’s easy to see Holdo as a study in female leadership running up against boys’ club mentalities. It’s also easy to be reminded of great classical generals, like the canny Fabius Maximus, who outlasted Hannibal’s superior forces with delay tactics and guerilla maneuvers. In Livy’s history of Rome, he records Fabius advising a younger general: “Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generalship weakness; it is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise.” Holdo embodies this counsel because she’s unafraid to seem cowardly or overcautious if her actions can give the Resistance a fighting chance.
For me, though, Holdo’s storyline most vividly recalled St. Thomas More’s in A Man for All Seasons. The play (like the film based on it) is a meditation on what martyrdom is—and what it isn’t.
Finally, Alexi has one more piece on Rogue One, specifically on the choice to resurrect Peter Cushing as a CGI-revenant. He argues against that choice at The New Atlantis, in what is my favorite piece of his writing of the year.