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.
The issue is not with making a mistake, it’s with acting out of character without providing context or explanation. Luke has seen the terrible crimes of Vader and the consequences of the tyranny he helped create, yet he insists he cannot kill his own father, and stubbornly believes he can be redeemed. Now, it’s possible that Luke has changed in the intervening decades, because of a host of reasons. However, considering the iconic status of the character, and the way he was depicted in the past, we needed a little more than sensing some dark thoughts to have him contemplate the murder of his nephew.
Cannot kill Space Hitler - Contemplates murdering his nephew for symphatizing with Nazi ideology
These two things are in obviously in conflict with each other.
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.
Yes, but by the time ROTJ was released we already knew it was the sixth part of a larger saga, and we also knew the first three episodes would reveal how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. So, while we didn’t get much backstory for Palpatine, we knew we would find out more in the future, as we did eventually. So, while the original six episode saga treats the turn of Anakin to the dark side and the rise of Palpatine as important story points integral to the saga and understanding the state of the galaxy, the ST treats Kylo’s turn and his master’s ascendance as matter of fact. Kylo who also happens to be Han and Leia’s son, and murders his father, is just a bad seed without clear motivation, and his master just some all powerful Force user who somehow managed to take control of the galaxy and turn Ben Solo to the dark side. Since there’s no episode VI 1/2, their respective history is not part of the saga and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be.
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.
Apart from giving Rey a place in the saga, fans also wanted an explanation for her sudden mastery of the Force without any outside help. As with Luke’s out of character behaviour, if you’re going to change the rules of the game, you had better provide some good explanations, which RJ didn’t do. She’s just a nobody who in the time span of days to weeks is able to achieve what The Chosen One Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke took years to achieve.
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?
This is all very nice, but we’re still stuck with the Jedi vs Sith dynamic, even if Kylo is not formally a Sith. The movie ultimately tries to make the case the existence of the Jedi and their percieved ownership of the Force is vanity, but then contradicts itself by having Luke state at the end of TLJ, that he’s not the last Jedi. If the idea is to end the Jedi order, commit to it. Why bulldozer over an old building, if you’re going to suggest it will be replaced by a similar one.
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”.
Which implies we’re right back where ANH ended. That somehow doesn’t seem all that satisfying.