I think the need to tell vs. show comes down to what matters to the story. Which matters more, what came before or what is happening now? The dialog satisfied me. Luke saw a darkness that scared him and instinctively drew and ignited his lightsaber. The fear passed, reason returned, but the damaged had been done it was the final straw that broke Ben Solo and turned him into Kylo Ren. Leia and Han sending Ben off to what amounts to boarding school with his uncle didn’t turn out well. The reasons for the past actions are not as important as how the characters react and develop in the current story. Luke is now a supporting role, not a starring role. How this relates to Rey and Kylo is the story at hand and we are given enough to justify the current state of affairs. Luke was always a bit petulant and his reaction to the events at his new Jedi temple are just an older version of the whiny farm boy who complained about not getting to go to Toche Station. Yes he has grown, but the trait remains, as it does with most people.
Rey has her own journey and that is what the story was focused on. She is trying to find her role and Luke did not help her at all, except for giving her access to the Jedi texts (which she stole… or scavanged?). Luke is now in the Ben Kenobi role.
I find it funny that we got so much more from Luke on how Kylo Ren fell than we got from Ben Kenobi back in 77. Have we asked the question of why Ben was in the Tatooine desert? He was a powerful Jedi Knight. What is he doing there? He tells us a great deal, but didn’t show us anything. And it turns out, as the story developed, that what he told Luke was a pack of lies. A carefully orchestrated story to get Luke involved and start his training. Why didn’t Ben fight to the death to try to defeat Vader and Palpatine. Luke is facing a much larger foe. Rather than 2 sith it is a whole band of dark knights and Snoke. The combination of scope of his failure plus the might of those massed against him and it makes sense. We don’t need more than what we were told.
The difference is that we grew to know and love the character of Luke in the OT before seeing him being this broken douchebag in TLJ. Add to this, that Obi-Wan is a far more sympathetic character in ANH than Luke is in TLJ.
The fact that so many people were turned off by Luke’s characterization to me is a good indication we needed more than we were told. I know, I did.
I think the question is why you were turned off. And from what you describe your image of Luke being, I think the movie had an answer for you. Luke is a man not a legend. He really answers the question of why he didn’t fight when Rey asks him to return. He’s not a Legend with a laser sword.
Part of the issue, for me at least, is I never envisioned Luke as a “Legend.” I don’t see Dre making that claim either. The few lines in that direction in the new films fell flat for me. The view I see being expressed, that I share, concerns Luke as the person in the OT.
Exactly! We witnessed Luke the person in the OT, and not some legend. Our expectations are based in how Luke grew as a character in the OT, and how that character reacted to setbacks, challenges, and disappointment.
The “legend” line in TLJ feels like a weak excuse for explaining the lack of development of the transition in Luke’s character. It sort of paints the older generation of fans as idiots, as if we didn’t understand the character, but RJ does. As if we believed jn this idealized version, “the legend”, and he’s going to show us the real Like.
36 year old fan here: I felt like this Luke Skywalker definitely fell in line with the Luke we grew up with. Abeit one who made a mistake and can’t help but hide in shame.
The funny thing is: I was expecting a curmudgeon Luke when TFA came out. I mean, they pretty much set it up in that film. Jedi school gets wiped out by Kylo, Luke runs off to find the Jedi temple (looking for answers?), and doesn’t find solace and decides that life isn’t worth living.