So I am sure by now that many of us have finished watching the latest Star Wars movie: The Last Jedi, and thus far, the movie has been somewhat weird in terms of becoming a Star Wars movie that we used to know, as we have discussed earlier here. But as of this week, the film has become what is seen to be the most divisive Star Wars film in the franchise with critics and audiences rating the movie with a stark difference. Here take a look:
This is an interesting statistic, as usually, it is the reviewers who are usually more critical when giving out ratings and the audience are those who usually back up the movie, but in this case, the roles have been reversed, and the fact is, it is not really surprising.
Many review sites such as Vox, or BBC have been trying to explain as to why this disparity is happening, and while they got some points right, they are still missing out on the core issue that has divided the fans. Disclaimer: The following context is entirely based on pure opinion and mostly from a pessimistic side.
So the first thing the fans are commenting on would be the entire disregard of the plot in The Last Jedi. some say “Oh but it is politically correct and look at all the strong female casts” while others are more “Why is there no explanation to what happened in Force Awakens? What’s the point of all these new characters?. At the end of the day, it’s structural coherence. Granted, Star Wars is in no sense the example of a movie made with perfect coherence with the whole Episodes 1,2, and 3 but it does have a direction that leads somewhere, and usually, that means it uses characters to drive the plot to where it needs to be. In the Last Jedi’s case, however, it seems the plot is moving at a certain pace, while the character development was left by the side of the road along the way.
The next phase would be the essence of Star Wars, by essence I mean the key recipes which gave Star Wars its nostalgia, Critics are saying how Rian Johnson is bold in this movie, while others claim that Disney has destroyed the franchise. In my opinion, I believe its a combination of both. To strive for a unique difference in a franchise that has built on fandom is no easy feat and Rian Johnson did what he thought was possible in the Star Wars universe, but the fact remains that if you did it by destroying the links that fans have made to Star Wars, then you might as well rename the franchise to “Generic Space Movie”.
An example of such a recipe is the lightsaber fights, Star Wars have always been known to bring us some of the most spectacular awe-inspiring fight scenes with the iconic lightsabers, often with an overexaggerated choreography, but in The Last Jedi, there was a messy fight scene which translates more into a street fight than an action scene. But some would say, this is how we are making the action more modern., but the problem is, you are not making it modern, you are just taking the fastest route out.
One of the biggest peeves I believed that The Last Jedi created was a new ignorance of lore. Star Wars lore is considered to be sacred for some fans while others treat it like light reading, but nevertheless, it is there and it is always good to know that there are tidbits that lead up to a certain arc or act in the movie if one notices those subtle hints within the lore. In the Last Jedi, any hint of lore explanation created by Force Awakens is treated like the flyers given out by desperate salesmen, ignored and thrown away. To many fans, not only is this infuriating, but it creates a vacuum as to how tangible these characters they are creating really are.
All in all, The Last Jedi is in retrospect a good film, albeit not a complete one, hence it is no surprise that the fandom would also be a big community but a separated one.