Hopefully this will not go ignored as I am going to make my best attempt to break down the film.
I think The Last Jedi, more so than any other film in the series, relies on parallel themes. First the theme of legends and how holding someone or yourself at a high standard only leads to disappointment and failure:
Kylo with Luke
Poe with Holdo
Rose with Finn
Or surpassing you former idol:
“We are what they grow beyond” as Yoda said.
Finn with Phasma
Kylo with Snoke
The Luke complaints in my opinion are unrealistic. Do you think a human being is incapable of making a mistake like Luke did? The whole point of the film is that no one, even a legend, is incapable of mistakes. Someone as great as Obi Wan failed with Anakin. Not a huge stretch of the imagination to me.
There have been a lot of complaints about Snoke as well. He gets no more or less a back story than Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. He is a victim of his own arrogance. Kylo, who couldn’t win a fight with Snoke one on one defeats him the only way he can, by exploiting a character flaw. He thought he was so powerful and knew Kylo so well. He underestimated him because Snoke believed his own myth. He closed his eyes and looked into Kylo’s mind but couldn’t see what was happening right in front of him.
Poe was so disappointed and distrusting of Holdo he refused to hear her reasoning before calling her a traitor and committing mutiny because she was famous and he held her to an unrealistic standard.
Finn’s ambivalence to the cause is reflected through his willingness to run away at the beginning in the escape pod scene. Rose as a result feels betrayed by her “legend” image of “the Finn”. The hard truths of the moral ambivalence of Canto Bight and DJ’s betrayal lead into Finn’s defeat of Phasma and embrace of the name “rebel scum”. These the beginnings of his embrace of the rebel cause ending with his willingness to sacrifice his life to save everyone.
The next is destroying the past and moving forward:
The Jedi Tree
Kylo destroys his mask to move away from Vader idolotry and become his own person.
Rey thought her parent’s identity would give her meaning or the fans thought being a Skywalker would give her a place in the Saga.
The destruction of the tree is a symbol of the end of the old Jedi order and a move away from the religious aspects of the black and white Jedi vs Sith. As Luke says why should a religion take ownership of something as universal as the force?
The final scene between Kylo and Luke is an act of pacifism. He has no intention of killing Kylo. Like Obi Wan in A New Hope he sacrifices his life against a failed apprentice to save the others and “the last jedi”.
The two suns aren’t merely a call back but an emotional parrallel. In A New Hope he was a farm boy ready for something greater and now he is a Jedi Master in the same place he was then. “Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter”
I wrote this in a past post but I don’t think anyone payed attention. A detail I caught at the beginning of the film is when Rey hands Luke the lightsaber he’s wearing white robes. Luke then returns to his hut then puts them up in a box. We do not see him wearing this until near the end. It seems he was ready to die at the beginning of the film and Rey interrupted him.
Let me know if I missed anything.
This is a great post, and even though I still didn’t enjoy TLJ and maintain that huge chunks of it were just bad, this post has at least made me appreciate it a bit more (appreciation being different to enjoyment).