The Last Jedi and The Star Wars Fan Divide
The Last Jedi premiered towards the beginning of December 2017 and has since sparked an epic debate among Star Wars fans. Was it good? While critics gave the movie a near perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, the fan score has been floating around a poor fifty five percent. The online conversations and reviews between fans seem to back up that divisive score as well. So what has fans so divided? Here at the Nerd Collaborative, we too are split almost down the middle with Clayton and Kurtis finding it to be mostly a wash, and Josh who enjoying it quite a bit. Here are some of our personal reasons for our own split reaction of this movie.
I'm the loan supporter of the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise. To others, this movie was more of the same and regurgitation of previous Star Wars tropes. I can acknowledge that there are some similar plot setups, however the outcomes of these situations are a far cry from previous installments. To me, The Last Jedi challenges the long standing ideologies that have been the same for 7 previous films (not counting Rogue One). The way Luke views the Jedi's, the idea that Rey's parents aren't some super powerful force wielders, and Kylo and Snoke's dynamic. Although Kylo turning on his master is not unprecedented, I don't think he believes in Sith teachings. If this is the end of the Jedi vs. Sith teachings (we'll see) it will open the Star Wars Universe to a plethora of more interesting story Arcs. The progressive nature of this movie came through in the dialogue and actions of the characters. Was it a perfect film? No. But which Star Wars film is without many faults? Empire would be the closest. But let's remember that Empire was killed when it came out until later, when fans got the full trilogy and full story. The aspects Rian Johnson got right far outweighed the small negatives in my opinion. I came out of the film being more excited for the future of the of the Franchise than I went in.
Probably the hammiest of the Star Wars movies, it's hard to imagine other films about the galaxy far far away with the same level of humor. Imagine if you will, if the previous Star Wars movies had something like Han Solo making a "your mom" jokes to General Tarkin via intercom, no? How about Qui-Gon Jin confronting an army of droids on a battlefield as a force hologram which is then shot to oblivion; then once the dust settles Qui-Gon walks out unscathed and smirkingly dusts his shoulder off... These are just a few parallel examples of the "wonderful" humor in Rian Johnson's latest blockbuster romp, littered through pretty much the entire run-time.
I and many others were also a bit thrown off by Johnson's decision to just not explain anything that was set up in The Force Awakens. He instead opted for quick and easy plot devices that just kind of dismantled the teases from episode 7 and hopefully quelched any further development of those teased questions from the previous film.
Obviously it looked and sounded good, no complaints in the production or music department and for the most part, the acting was just fine. I didn't completely hate the movie like many do but it definitely wasn't my favorite in the series, as Disney's option to hand over the reigns in both writing and directing completely to Ri-Joe (as I like to call him) seemed to pay off not as well as expected. It just felt like he wanted to do his own thing whether movie goers or fans enjoyed his direction or not, which is fine when you aren't trying to subvert expectations in such a way that completely alienates the previous installments of the franchise. 3 lightsaber drilldos out of 5 from me.
I don't think i've kept it a secret that I was not a fan of The Last Jedi. I will say this movie was beautiful, it had a great score, the acting was pretty spot on and it had a solid fight scene. The reasons I didn't like this movie aren't rooted in some vengeful, fan-boy comment section rants. I did not like this movie as a sequel to The Force Awakens because of it's tone and the way it handled the characters and themes set up by JJ Abrams. The last Jedi to me also failed at creating an interesting story if I were to look at it as a stand alone movie and ignore anything from The Force Awakens. I also didn't find any of the humor in this movie to be funny or clever. Now people have said that just because I don't like the way characters are handled means I didn't get the characters I wanted. I'd say that's not necessarily true. I think there are ways to subvert fan expectations in a good way but Rian Johnson didn't succeed at that, at least not to me. I will admit that I did have expectations of a sequel in the same way I'd expect things from any other sequel. The Knights of Ren, Snoke, Rey's Parents, Luke's Lightsaber, The First Order, and Luke in general were all plot points introduced by JJ. I don't think the Last Jedi handles any of them in an interesting way. I understand Rian Johnson's intentions with wanting to make a "different" Star Wars movie but I think he should have saved that for his own Trilogy which we will be getting in the next few years. Without going too much into spoilers that's about all I can say. There are a lot of specifics I didn't like but I think this is one of those movies that people will have to see to decide for themselves.
So what did you think of the Last Jedi? Do you agree that it's departure from the Force Awakens narrative was a good idea? Do you agree with the originality people have been thanking Rian Johnson for in his addition the Star Wars canon? Leave us a comment below!