Most of us have had a few weeks now to let it all sink in and maybe even get a second or third viewing of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the new Star Wars movie, don't read any further. This post discusses spoilers extensively.
I felt the need to write this article to at least attempt to shut down all the haters hating on this movie. Honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed and a little upset by the lack of answers in the film the first time around. But to be fair, I saw it on a Friday night after a long week of work and my fiance made us watch it in 3D. 3D unfortuantely gives me a headache. The combination of being overtired and seeing it in 3D probably wasn't the ideal situation to watch this meaty piece of content.
On my second viewing, everything changed. I was able to see certain plot points that otherwise went unnoticed. And now I'm a huge fan of the new movie. I actually only went the second time by chance because my family was in town and they hadn't seen it. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have watched it a second time especially after reading all the negative comments about the movie for the past two weeks. But wow am I glad I did, because I missed a lot of underlying themes and snippets the first time around.
So to spew more negativity and controversy around the film, here are my top 5 reasons why haters hated The Last Jedi (and why they're wrong).
1. You Can't Drop Bombs in Space...It's Unrealistic
This comment really grinds my gears. It's like we seem to forget that Star Wars is fantasy. Personally, I don't even categorize Star Wars as Sci-Fi. To me it's more fantasy--the only element of science fiction being that it takes place in space.
Telling me that the movie is bad because rebel space bombers can drop bombs on a massive dreadnought is no different than saying, "Dragons can't spew fire," or "there's no such thing as orcs." It's called suspension of disbelief, folks.
But I'll play along for the haters' sake. Try this on for size. Maybe the bombs had some kind of gravitational propulsion system to allow them to drop the way they did. Another theory could be that the dreadnought has its own gravitational pull; it is a pretty massive ship. Maybe they were pushed from the bomber (which had gravity inside, hence why Rose's sister fell off the balcony inside the bomber) with enough force to send them through the vacuum of space at a relative speed until they hit the dreadnought. It could have been as simple as magnets.
Let's just get this out of the way. This is the worst possible reason to hate The Last Jedi. Your point is invalid. Try again.
2. Some Characters Are Pointless to the Story
I get it. We all wanted to know for certain that Snoke was Darth Plageius, and we wanted to learn more of his tragic back story. Many claim that J.J. Abrams introduced Snoke only to have Rian Johnson strip him away with little fanfare. The first time around, I was a bit upset that I didn't know his backstory. On second viewing, I realized it doesn't matter. Maybe Snoke's only purpose was simply to pull Kylo Ren deeper to the dark side. Or maybe Disney wants to build on the canon around their Star Wars reboot, so he'll be explained in another story.
Over the past few weeks, I've actually grown to like the fact that we still know nothing about Snoke and may never know. It's also important to point out this isn't the first time this has happened in Star Wars. Darth Maul was a cool looking sith lord whose main purpose was for a light saber battle at the end of The Phantom Menace. We also never knew about the Emperor's past prior to the prequels being released. How soon we forget.
Then there are other characters like Finn and Rose who seem to be particularly targeted. Let me get something straight, you could easily say that any character in the story besides the main antagonist and protagonist is pointless. It's been so deeply ingrained in us to accept characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca that it's hard to believe they might never had been orginally written into the story to begin with. Star Wars has a long history of changes made last minute and that includes the addition of cast members. Just take a look at the history of Return of the Jedi.
3. The Casino Plot Added Nothing to the Story
At this point I think we're starting to see a trend in all the hating. Quite simply, this movie wasn't written the way that "the fans" (ie. the haters) would have written it. Well if that's why you hate this movie then maybe you should start working on your writing and start a career in screenwriting, because you're a bit behind.
I like the casino subplot. It was a great distraction from the constant space chase and battling going on near Crait--imagine if we spent the entire 155 minute movie watching a slow, grinding space chase. And sure, all those funny characters in those scenes are going to help Disney sell a lot of toys, but I thought they were funny. I especially enjoyed the leprechaun alien.
You could argue that Casino plot made the movie a little too long, and I will agree with you there. It could have been 30 minutes shorter. However, we also got a cool new smuggler character to join the story line, and he is a devious one at that.
4. Rian Johnson Changed Too Much and Took Too Many Liberties
I have no sympathy for anybody who thought this movie changed too much or took too many liberties. Yes, Johnson took risks, but they paid off in my opinion. Sometimes I feel like the people who complained that The Force Awakens was just a rehashed version of A New Hope are the same ones now complaining that Johnson didn't make a rehashed version of The Empire Strikes Back!
Star Wars needs to change to stay relevant. I'm not saying we should just ignore the previous trilogies, but the new movies need to move in new directions to keep the franchise fresh.
In the end, this movie did a great job of setting us up for Episode IX. We got to witness character growth in old friends, awesome new force powers, and new characters who can grow into the storyline. I've read a lot of complaints about how using different directors for each movie in the new trilogy hurts the trilogy as a whole. But hold on...You do realize that each film in the original trilogy had a different director, right? Sure, Lucas oversaw it all, but he didn't direct everything. However, he did direct every single prequel... and look how that turned out. Don't believe me? Well, check out the Star Wars Wikipedia page. It's all there.
Also, what George Lucas said about making new Star Wars films in 2012 speaks volumes.
Lucas told The New York Times why he wouldn't make the new trilogy and it's telling of the hatred this latest film is getting. “Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”
The point is that the writers are in the position of writing the films, not the fans. Based on what we've gotten so far, I believe they are trying their very hardest to create great content that we'll love for years while also introducing new generations to the franchise. If you don't like the direction, please leave and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
5. The Last Jedi Is Too Politically Correct
I'm a strong believer that Star Wars has always been a depiction of the time in which is was created. It's the same with all art forms really, whether it be film, music, or poetry.
The original Star Wars trilogy came out at a turning point in a world that had lost its innocence. The economy was recovering, the wars of days past were slowly fading in memory as a new generation took the torch.
New technology was leading the way to better graphic effects in movies and the home computer was on the rise. Star Wars was a technological marvel at the time and that's probably why it has built so much nostalgia over the years.
The prequels, however you perceive them, were about coming of age and losing control. In some ways you could say the world in the late 90s and early 2000s was like watching the world as we know it unravel into the new world order. This theme is very noticeable in the prequels. The New Republic is falling to its knees as democracy is crushed and the Galactic Empire rises from the ashes.
The new trilogy is now pressing on themes that we are grappling as a society in the current day. Letting go of the past so that we can build a stronger future today. Rising up to fight for values we think are right even if it feels like the odds are stacked against us.
I guess my point is that for Star Wars to continue to be the pop culture phenomenon that it is, it's going to need to go in directions that never seemed plausible for the franchise in its modest beginnings. The political correctness the new films present is nothing more than a reflection of the struggles of society today.
At the end of the day, it's just a fun movie franchise. You have the right not to like it, but it doesn't mean you're right.