5 best and 5 worst moments in The Last Jedi

After its release on December 14, 2017, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi immediately divided fans of the franchise. The movie was polarizing—some fans claim it is the best installment since The Empire Strikes Back, others call it the worst thing to happen to Star Wars since Jar Jar Binks. While the truth likely lies somewhere between those two extremes, there's no question that it will take some time for Star Wars fans to come to a consensus. In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the worst and best moments from The Last Jedi—which may help explain why the film has proven to be so divisive. Spoilers ahead!  

Best: Holdo's sacrifice

Although the various mishaps leading up to this scene leave much to be desired, Vice Admiral Holdo's heroic decision to take the Resistance flagship on a kamikaze hyperspace jump directly into Snoke's ship was one of the best and most viscerally shocking parts of The Last Jedi. The amazing visual effects of the collision between the Raddus and the Supremacy—paired with the artistic choice to cut out all sound for several seconds—made for a particularly impactful moment. 

It's especially fitting that the Resistance ship, in case you missed it, was named after the Mon Calamari Admiral who proved essential to the Rebellion's success at the Battle of Scarif. There's no question that Amilyn Holdo's selfless and awe-inspiring maneuver will go down as one of the most incredible Star Wars moments of all time.

Best: Kylo & Rey's fight

The battle between Rey and Kylo with Supreme Leader Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guard was one of the highlights of The Last Jedi. The level of skill and the high-tech weapons these eight elite warriors wielded posed a dangerous threat, even to Force users like Rey and Kylo. While many Star Wars fans may had hoped for a traditional lightsaber clash between Kylo and Rey, this unique battle was a standout moment for the movie and the franchise.

Seeing the two come together to defeat Snoke's bodyguards was thrilling, and the fight choreography was extremely well done, further showcasing the strong psychic connection (established earlier) between the pair as they worked together. Their team-up made the scene of Rey trying to convince Kylo to join her, and vice versa, all the more heartbreaking. This sequence ends with a struggle over Anakin's lightsaber—with both Rey and Kylo using the Force—that is only interrupted when Amilyn Holdo rams the Supremacy at lightspeed.

Best: Escape from Canto Bight

While many of Finn and Rose's scenes could have surely been trimmed a bit, the duo's escape from the casino at Canto Bight was definitely the most rewarding part of their time together. In a moment of desperation, Rose takes a leap of faith by revealing she and Finn's Resistance status to some slave children working in the Fathier racing stables on Cantonica. Aided by the children, the pair climb aboard one of the space horses and ride it to freedom as the herd of abused racing animals wreaks havoc by smashing through the casino and streets.

After being pinned down by the local police on the cliffside, Rose removes the saddle from her beast and sets it free. She and Finn share a moment, reveling in the damage they did to the wealthy resort city that is so popular among arms dealers. Even when all seemed lost, they found hope and happiness. This ties in nicely with the final scene of the film, where we see one of those slave children using the Force to grab a broom before looking down at Rose's ring and raising his hand to the sky.

Best: Yoda trolls Luke

Another amazing moment from The Last Jedi occurs when the legendary Jedi Master Yoda made an unexpected appearance. 

Yoda's force ghost visits Luke on Ahch-To after Rey leaves the planet, hopeful that she can bring Kylo Ren/Ben Solo back from the Dark Side. Star Wars fans hungry for some original trilogy nostalgia were no doubt pleased by the fact that practical puppetry effects were used for Yoda's appearance instead of CGI, and Frank Oz also returned to voice the character. Also returning for The Last Jedi was Yoda's trademark quirky sense of humor—a Yoda quite unlike the serious and stoic (and pre-dementia) Jedi Master seen in the prequel movies.

Yoda surprises both Luke and the audience by calling down lightning to strike the wizened tree and set it aflame. Obviously, Force ghosts are potentially much more powerful than we previously realized. Yoda teases Luke, telling him that Rey already possesses the information she needs. Of course, we learn later this is because Rey has stolen the ancient Jedi texts and hidden them aboard the Millennium Falcon, but Luke doesn't know that. Yoda also gives Luke some sage advice about being a teacher, telling him, "The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters."

Best: Luke trolls Kylo

Luke's final scenes in The Last Jedi were among the best in the entire film. After mysteriously appearing on Crait, Luke has a short visit with his sister Leia before walking out alone on the salt plain to confront his nephew. After a bombardment of blaster fire fails to kill the Jedi, a furious Kylo confronts him face to face. Luke looks strangely younger, and his feet make no impression in the salty ground. Luke also carries his father's blue lightsaber, which was recently destroyed in a Force tug of war between Rey and Kylo. However, Kylo is too blinded by anger and fear to notice these oddities and lashes out in his rage.

Luke toys with Kylo, giving Leia and the others time to escape in the  Millenium Falcon. After promising to haunt Kylo and telling him he will not be the last Jedi, the truth is revealed: Luke has been using the Force to project an image of himself across the galaxy. Back on Ahch-To, while gazing at a binary sunset reminiscent of Tatooine, Luke passes away peacefully from the massive effort, becoming one with the Force. It was a powerful and memorable moment and a fitting capstone to the life and career of this now-legendary Jedi Master.

Worst: Skywalking

One of the most surprising moments of The Last Jedi was Leia's miraculous survival after the bridge of the Raddus was blown apart in battle by Kylo Ren's two wingmen. The scene starts beautifully, with a close-up shot of her face as ice crystals begin to form on it in the cold vacuum of space. But things go downhill from there. Her eyes open, she reaches out, and Leia uses the Force to pull herself back through zero gravity to the damaged Resistance flagship.

We've never seen Leia use the Force in this manner before, but it has long been known that she has the same potential power as her twin brother, Luke. While the scene was surprising, the concept itself wasn't completely awful. What made it one of the worst moments of The Last Jedi was the way it looked. The poorly executed shot and Leia's outstretched pose make for an awkward moment, where Leia ends up looking like a sci-fi Mary Poppins as she flies back into the shattered bridge of the Raddus.

Worst: Poe's mutiny

After Poe Dameron's insubordination during the battle above D'Qar, Leia demotes the impulsive pilot. By ignoring her orders to retreat, Poe endangered the fleet, and the Resistance lost all of their bombers while trying to back him up. After Leia is incapacitated during the attack on the Raddus, Poe seems surprised when Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo is named the interim commander of the Resistance. Poe and Holdo soon butt heads when he demands to know her plan for escaping the First Order. Mistrusting the hot-headed pilot, Amilyn refuses to tell Poe any details and orders him to his post. Without consulting his superiors, Poe impulsively sends Finn and Rose on a risky mission with very little chance of success.

Later, Poe becomes convinced Holdo is preparing to abandon ship, and he initiates a small mutiny against her. Eventually, Leia recovers enough to shut Poe down and restore order to the ship. Unfortunately, Poe's actions led to the First Order discovering the Resistance's plan to use cloaked transports to escape to Crait. While failure was a major theme of The Last Jedi, it was extremely painful to watch Poe fail so badly and get so many people killed in the process. Additionally, the plan he hatched with Finn and Rose was ludicrous and not believable. Worse, after Leia's return, Poe is welcomed back into the fold immediately with apparently no consequences. All in all, this mediocre plot line could have been made a lot better with some script rewrites.   

Worst: Casino scene

Rose and Finn's escape from the Casino on Canto Bight was entertaining, but their time spent at the gambling den was another matter entirely. It may be a new, more affluent corner of the galaxy than we've seen before, but the casino definitely seemed too polished for a Star Wars film. There are dozens of new aliens in the casino, but not a single one is from a species that's previously appeared in the franchise. This has the unfortunate effect of making the casino sequence seem quite out of place.

First, Rose and Finn wander around the high-class joint in their scruffy Resistance uniforms before getting arrested for where they parked. Then they coincidentally happen to meet a different code breaker in their jail cell, one who looks like he has no place being on the planet either. That code breaker, DJ, ended up being an interesting character who offered some important elements to the plot, so it's perplexing why Rian Johnson didn't just make him the initial target of their quest—instead of having Maz Kanata send Rose and Finn on a hunt for an unattainable MacGuffin wearing a plum blossom pin.

Worst: Rose's heroics

One of the biggest strengths of The Last Jedi was its character development. Finn began the film terrified of the First Order and ready to run. His only motivations are protecting himself and Rey. Meeting Rose—who clearly worships him—and joining her for their abortive quest teaches Finn a lot about himself and what it means to stand up for what's right. The casino subplot was particularly weak, but it evolved Finn as a character. When DJ betrays them to the First Order, Finn berates him for his treachery—which is similar to what Finn tried to do himself earlier by stealing an escape pod to run away.

By the time the Resistance makes its last stand down on Crait, Finn is a completely changed man—one totally ready to give his life for the cause. When Rose saves Finn at the last moment by knocking him out of the way of the battering ram canon, it was almost a letdown to see that redemption arc interrupted. Her cheesy line and impromptu kiss seemed extremely out of place too. What really makes this scene bad is that there were no consequences. Rose survives, and Finn somehow manages to haul her back across the active battlefield safely. We can't help but think Johnson missed an opportunity to develop Finn further by having Rose give her life to save him—echoing the heroic sacrifice of her sister Paige from the start of the movie.

Worst: Snoke's abrupt exit

One of the most talked-about and controversial moments from The Last Jedi will undoubtedly be the death of Supreme Leader Snoke at the hands of Kylo Ren. The death scene itself was played out masterfully by Rian Johnson, creating a real sense of suspense as Snoke confidently narrates his apprentice's inner thoughts. The Supreme Leader was so confident that Kylo was about to ignite his lightsaber and kill Rey, he ignored Anakin's lightsaber sitting at his side and was blind to Kylo's true intentions—which were revealed when Kylo ignites the blue lightsaber at a distance, cutting his master in half. What consequently makes this scene one of the worst in the film is the anticlimactic letdown it represents.

After the new Supreme Leader was introduced in The Force Awakens, fans feverishly speculated about Snoke's backstory and identity. When the answer ended up being "it doesn't matter, cause he's dead," that was definitely a disappointment to fans who wanted more. While a lot of this can be chalked up to an overeager fan base with too much time on their hands, it's not all their fault. Andy Serkis (who plays Snoke) and others—like J.J. Abrams, Pablo Hidalgo, and Rian Johnson himself—have fed the rampant speculation by revealing tidbits about Snoke's tortured past and implying he'd have a much larger role to play in the future. We can't complain about how it played out onscreen, but we definitely hope Disney puts out some comics or novels that finally bring Snoke's history to light.