Where do you start with the latest installment of one of the most beloved movie franchises in the history of American cinema? Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened up in the United States last Thursday night to an extremely diverse group of reviews. With 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, the second movie in the J.J. Abrams/Rian Johnson trilogy to close out the Skywalker saga became one of the best reviewed movies of 2017. Yet Rotten Tomatoes audience score came in at a paltry 55%. In comparison, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams homage to the original trilogy created by George Lucas had an identical 93% on Rotten Tomatoes critic review, but the audience score came in at 88%.
Some would say that Force Awakens came under critical review since the movies release, based on the fact that many saw Abrams “homage” as a complete rip off of Star Wars: A New Hope, which when released in 1977, created one of the biggest phenomenons in history of Hollywood.
This is odd. Normally, a blockbuster, if it’s going to get panned, gets jackhammered by the critics, but scores much higher with the public. Take Justice League, which is currently at a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes reviews, but has a much higher audience score, at 79%. No, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the end-all and be-all of how a movie should be viewed, but in this case, it’s really hit on the dichotomy of feelings of a movie that was looking to answer a slew of questions put forth by Abrams in his 2015 installment.
Without giving spoilers, perhaps when you balance characters that have become as beloved as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, with a new cast of characters, it’s hard to give the platform to those new performers. In Force Awakens, and I’m sorry if you haven’t seen that movie yet, because this is a massive spoiler for a movie that’s two years old, but when Han Solo was killed by his own son, there was an inaudible gasp in the theater that I’m not sure I had ever seen before. While everyone knew it was coming, it was still hard for people to take.
I mean, they killed Han Solo.
My point here is simply that there really isn’t a good way to handle beloved characters, because there are always going to be the social media warriors that think they hold the key, and have the right to take care of the characters in their own way.
Past that, when you are dealing with an arc as a writer and director, Rian Johnson, in the second movie of a trilogy, has the tough task of carrying along a story that won’t be completed until the third installment. With Abrams back on board for that final installment, it’s possible that a lot of the perceived internet issues with Episode VIII are simply going to get resolved in Episode IV. Heaven forbid a story gets a chance to develop.
WFNY’s Jake Burns and I have a pretty fun conversation about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is ripe full of spoilers, so don’t listen if you haven’t watched. We’re fans, and I suppose we’re Star Wars geeks. No, we aren’t mythology buffs of the film, but we probably know a bit more than the average fan. That said, our opinions are our own, and our love of the film varies in some places, and comes together in others.
What I will say is this: Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, and Daisy Ridley as Rey, are extremely good actors, and watching them handle the material alone was worth the price of admission. The typical Star Wars fanfare is there. The light side, battles the dark side, and if you have any knowledge of the Skywalkers, from Anakin to Luke to Kylo, the two sides of the force are often muddled together…and that’s where the real fun begins.
Give the pod a listen, and give us your thoughts…AND YES…THERE ARE SPOILERS…LOTS OF SPOILERS…ALL THE SPOILERS!!!
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