A little film called The Last Jedi came out last December. To say it was controversial would be putting it vaguely. Many hardcore Star Wars fans had mixed reactions to the film. Some loved it, others resented it. If you had read any discussions on the umpteenth Star Wars Facebook groups, you would have come to the overwhelming conclusion that the franchise was either a) stronger than ever or b) in complete distress. So, what was it about Rian Johnson’s film that had bothered some, but appreciated by others?
Numerous fans, including myself, had expectations going into this movie. With The Force Awakens leaving a cliff hanger about Luke, speculation was fueled around what the Jedi Master had been up to since Return of the Jedi. Part of the enjoyment for fans heading into The Last Jedi was coming up with theories, particularly about Luke. Would he ignite his lightsaber and fight? Would he save the Resistance from certain defeat? I went into the movie with just watching the trailers. No tv spots, no articles and no cast interviews! I went in as blind as I could to fully enjoy, and be genuinely surprised, for what I would see.
After my first viewing, I was rendered speechless. My mind was racing with questions as to what I had just witnessed. Frankly, I believe that many Star Wars fans had the same experience. The choices that Rian Johnson made were bold, contrasting and awe-inspiring. It took me a second viewing to fully appreciate the film that he created. This is where the ‘great divide’ started in my honest opinion. To be fair, many fans that did not agree with the choices had valid criticism. For example, the humor felt off at many junctures of the film for me. If you scrolled through YouTube after The Last Jedi came out, you would have been over saturated with many videos of fans expressing their aversion to the film. The problem was, many of these videos were out for ‘clicks’ rather than actually content. It became popular to hate on the movie.
Countless Star Wars fans began their defense of why they enjoyed or disliked the film. Both sides of the argument were being illogical to one another. The discussions I witnessed on the Star Wars Facebook group I help moderate were identical to one another. They would always turn personal and lead to name calling. Neither side was willing to listen and have a rational debate. The appreciative fans would expound on how visually stunning the movie was. How the story that Rian created was both bold and beautiful. The naysayers would describe the abundant plot holes the film had produced. How Luke’s character would have never tried to kill his nephew. There was even a petition to have the movie removed from current Star Wars canon.
Months removed, and the bickering appears to have subsided for the time being. Maybe the notion of moving on has finally kicked in! Whether you loved or disliked The Last Jedi is subjective. The idea that one person’s viewpoint is the correct one is absurd. Personally, I thoroughly get a kick out of hearing my fellow Star Wars nerd’s outlook on the current films and future projects that have been announced. Listening to other perspectives can enhance and expand your own preconceive theories. In the end, shouldn’t we be overjoyed that we are getting more Star Wars content then once fathomed? I know I am, and the future of this franchise appears to be in greats hands.