Why The Last Jedi Isn’t an Awful Film
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The response to The Last Jedi is stupid.
Critical reviews of The Last Jedi that came out prior to the release of the film were promising. However, the audience reception of the film was disappointing to say the least.
Complaints ranged from the film dragging in the second act all the way to a petition to remove The Last Jedi from canon with, at the time of writing this, over 84,000 signatures. The current rotten tomatoes score is a 90% for critics and a 49% for audiences.
So what happened?
Fans got spoiled rotten and can’t tell a good film when it literally hits them in the eyeballs. Lets go over some of the more common complaints among detractors.
“Rose is a useless character.”
No she isn’t. Rose serves as a guide to Finn in this world that is still very new to him. He requires someone to teach him the mentality of the resistance and help him survive in a galaxy against them. She isn’t pointless and it all makes sense plot wise. Rose crashes into Finn to save his life. Sure he would have gone out like a hero, but there is no resistance without people, and currently their numbers are in the double digits. Every life matters. You were robbed of your hero’s death but if you wanted Finn to die, you are missing the point. Why does the resistance favor small snub fighters over giant capital ships like the empire and the first order? It’s to emphasize the importance of the individual in contrast to the empire’s philosophy of quantity over quality. If you think this you are not paying enough attention.
The film has too much humor and is a tonal mess: Star Wars is and always has been a tonal mess. Look at A New Hope. Luke literally murders millions of people and then gets a medal. Han Solo even has a scene very similar to Poe’s when he speaks to the officer on the death star when they are rescuing Princess Leia from the detention block. “Uh everything’s fine, we are all fine here, uh how are you?” If anything, this humor is very Star Wars.
“Snoke shouldn’t have died.”
Why not? He hasn’t been the focus of the last two films at all. If you were disappointed by Snoke dying, you set yourself up for disappointment. The mountain of Snoke theories that appeared were a product of hype. Rian Johnson went on record saying that he took none of it into account when writing The Last Jedi. After all, when everyone picks their favorite theory, you can’t make everyone happy. So what did Johnson do? He killed him, to my astonishment. It was a true shock and an essential twist for the integrity of this franchise going forward.
I think the most egregious of the claims made, as well as possibly the most vocalized, is that Luke Skywalker was mischaracterized. Many people such as I grew up on the many books, comics and games featuring the most beloved character from a galaxy far far away. These were made non-canon when Disney bought Star Wars. This action upset the most vocal group of Star Wars fans. Even if it makes sense that Disney would want to clean up the universe in preparation for more stories, the naysayers saw no logic and screamed that Disney was ruining our childhoods.
This is why fans took issue with the de-powered and broken Luke we see in The Last Jedi. Luke was the Grand Master of the new Jedi order and was ripping Star Destroyers out of the sky. Luke is not like that in The Last Jedi. He is a broken man who has made countless mistakes and has cut himself off from the force. That’s outrageous right? Luke Skywalker! Afraid?
Why wouldn’t he be? His father murdered thousands and single handedly brought down the old Jedi Order. Luke sees these same traits in his nephew and we expect him to not act in the best interest in the galaxy that he is sworn to protect. Luke is no normal Jedi. He dances with the dark like his father, he has fears and he is not perfect. This characterization of Luke is immensely more interesting than some of legends. He is ultra-powerful but he is human.
Luke projects himself instead of fighting. Jedis are inherently non-violent. Many wanted to see him face the First Order head on and inspire a new generation in person. He does exactly that. Him not being there symbolises his ascension beyond the flaws of the Jedi, by not being drawn into a conflict that isn’t his to fight. He does this in direct contrast to Yoda’s Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Finally, in the ultimate show of strength, he chooses not to fight.
Like both of his masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, he fades away into the force peacefully. He sacrifices himself in the way Obi-Wan did: in order to preserve something more important than himself. He is the ultimate Jedi.
Star Wars is not ours. It is not George Lucas’. It is in the hands of the artists and creators in charge now. The only reason anyone is upset about this film is that it drags slightly in the second act, or they are ultra possessive over something they hold no ownership over.
We have to separate ourselves from our expectations of this universe or we will forever be disappointed.