Joseph Gordon-Levitt knows that Luke Skywalker “sorta sucks” in “Last Jedi” — defends him anyway in a 2,000-word essay

By now, you’ve probably heard people speak out against The Last Jedi. While the film has done well at the box office and has been largely praised by fans, many had trouble with the journey Rian Johnson led Luke Skywalker’s character down in the film. Spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead, obviously.

Despite having a cameo in the film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was only recently able to see the movie for the first time (he has kids, y’all, cut him some slack). After leaving the theater and scouring the internet to see how people felt about the film, the negativity he uncovered (regarding Luke specifically) fascinated Gordon-Levitt enough that he wrote a 2,000 word response to the negative reactions, which he posted on Medium.

Obviously, seeing Luke go from magnificent hero to a grumpy hermit who almost killed his own nephew and turned his back on the Force was a startling shift. To some, as Gordon-Levitt acknowledged, it seemed like Johnson was intentionally ruining Luke Skywalker. Gordon-Levitt, however, had another take. He saw this new, flawed layer to Luke as serious, relatable character development:

"No one is a perfect hero or a perfect villain, we’re more complicated than that, every one of us," he writes on Medium. "Flawless characters feel thin. And forgive me if I blaspheme, but the young Luke Skywalker always did feel just a little light to me, which is why it was so cool this time around to see him fill out into a more imperfect human being."

"A flawed main character is one of the main distinctions between a story with substance and a gratuitous spectacle. It’s often through a character overcoming their flaws that a movie can really say something."

Gordon-Levitt goes on to say that though Luke starts out in the film cynical, isolated, afraid of the Dark Side, and having lost all faith in the Force, he doesn’t end there. And that’s the important part. Sure, Luke lost his way for a time (and who doesn’t, especially over the span of decades), and Luke made several very serious mistakes. And to make it worse, instead of dealing with them, he chose to run. It’s not very heroic, but it’s a very human thing to do.

However, by the end of the film, Luke manages to recapture his faith in himself, the Force, and in the good people can do. As Gordon-Levitt puts it, The Last Jedi offers its audience a provocative challenge by presenting a beloved hero as a fallen man, and then shows us how he manages to get back up and make amends — like real heroes do. While it’s hard to see a character many of us have held in high esteem like that, the message of coming back after mistakes and big failures is most definitely one a lot of us can draw power from these days.

It’s hard to watch Luke fall, but getting the chance to watch him get back up made his character arc and The Last Jedi undeniably important.