Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett talks about holiday entertainment:  The Last Jedi and the Doctor Who Christmas Special

In preparation for seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Christmas Day I did something unprecedented for me: I intentionally avoided any spoilers and pointedly ignored all online reactions. This is unusual as for me, the Comic Book Guy who likes to say nothing can “ruin” a movie, certainly not “spoilers.”  Because with my encyclopedic knowledge of genre conventions and tropes, it’s pretty hard for a genre movies to genuinely surprise me.

But upon discovering in spite of almost universal critical approval there were a number of Star Wars fans who absolutely loathe the film, it made me decide that for once I wanted to see a movie knowing virtually nothing about it.  And so I went to my local Regal Cinema with my expectations set to absolute zero.  I assumed the most surprising thing about the trip was discovering the theater had begun serving samosas*, but The Last Jedi continuously surprised me; it showed me things I had never seen before and veered off in unexpected directions which actually left me wondering, “OK, how are they going to get out of this one.”

I loved the character of Rose Tico, and not because she was, as so many online articles put it, the “first ever woman of color to have a leading role in the franchise.”  I mean, that’s groundbreaking and everything, but the thing about her that mattered the most to me was how the movie finally focused on one of those nameless extras, presumably members of the support staff, who mill about in a scene’s background.

Maybe it’s because I’m neither Asian nor female, but the thing about the character I focused on was that she didn’t look like a hero, or at least what we’ve come to expect heroes to look like anyway.  From the photos I’ve seen of her online, actress Kelly Marie Tran seems to be a perfectly attractive woman.  But not only is Rose Tico not spectacularly good looking, in her bulky uniform she comes off as sort of schlubby.  It's her perspective which allows Finn to see that opulence of the casino city of Canto Bight was created from the wealth of weapons dealers.  And unlike the "heroes” of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace who just shrugged their shoulders at slavery, Rose actually does something to help the city’s enslaved child stable hands.

Something else I did on Christmas was watch this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special: Twice Upon A Time.  For those not familiar with the franchise, I’m afraid these annual extravaganzas aren’t good places for you to begin watching. While they do have some sort of connection to the holiday, they're not really traditional holiday stories as we know them.  Each one has its own individual tone, which can be sweet, sad or just plain silly, and they tend to be deeply immersed in the series’ long, complicated mythology.  The most accessible one was probably last year’s The Return of Doctor Mysterio.  It's a loving appreciation of the first Superman movie and while it's decidedly on the silly end of the spectrum, it's never snide about superheroes and actually treats the one in the Special, The Ghost, with a certain amount of respect.

They also often involve The Doctor regenerating, the process by which the role gets passed from one actor to another.  Which is certainly the case with this year’s Special, where current Doctor Peter Capaldi passes the torch to the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker (see “Doctor Who Revealed”).  As is traditional this occurs at the programs  very end.  If you want to witness this historical moment for yourselves, the BBC has made it extremely easy for you to do so by posting it on it's YouTube Channel; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJqsPBWbtjk

If you’re doing this out of pure curiosity, the regeneration takes place at around the 3:30 mark, but I’d recommend seeing the entire thing.  Because Peter Capaldi’s final speech as The Doctor manages to encapsulate exactly what the character is always supposed to be about.  This slightly edited version is something that everyone should aspire to:”

“Never be cruel, never be cowardly. Remember – hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise. Always try, to be nice and never fail to be kind. Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.”

*For the uninitiated, Samosas are a staple of Indian cuisine, a small pastry which usually has a savory filling; at Regal Cinema you have your choice of either Chicken or Vegetable.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.