Disclaimer: This post contains MASSIVES SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has just hit theaters, and based on the very polarized reactions to the film, it seemed to have hit with the impact of an atomic bomb. Critics may have loved the film — as did general audiences, as evidenced by the A CinemaScore — but there is one group of fans that find themselves decided split. I’m talking about the hardcore Star Wars fans. Those who consume everything Star Wars, and find themselves constantly steeped in the mythology we all know and love.
Just peruse through our comments for a minute or two, and it’s very clear that many are not very happy with the direction of the latest film. If you’re brave, venture onto YouTube and read some of the reviews, and you start to see a real trend in the comments being made by naysayers.
Many complain about Luke Skywalker’s move to kill Kylo Ren, Snoke’s death, Rey’s parents’ revelation, and the idea of a young, untrained Force users actually being able to competently utilize the Force. This film takes all of our preconceived notions about the mythology and twists them to their own ends. Additionally, it takes many fans’ speculations over the past two years and renders them inconsequential.
Fans responded in a fury, with many claiming it’d only be a matter of time before we missed George Lucas, and that Disney was destroying the Star Wars movies.
And if the numerous comments were enough, some YouTubers themselves have gone on to say why they think Star Wars Episode IX is in trouble thanks to the actions of The Last Jedi. You can check out one of those videos below:
While the points made are childish at best, the overwhelmingly positive rating the video shows that he’s not alone.
But are they right? You’ll note that my review for the film was incredibly positive, and after seeing the film a second time, I stand by that review. With that in mind, you may be (understandably) quick to brush off this piece altogether, but at least hear me out.
Before I get into why so many fans are wrong, I do want to say this: if you don’t like the film, that’s okay. While I absolutely loved the movie, there are more than a couple reasons why viewers could legitimately not care for the film.
No, not all the different plotlines are equally interesting, and yes, there are some clashes in tone. Those aren’t the only things that can be rightfully poked and prodded. So if that’s you, then we have no problem.
However, if your opinion on the film somehow skews into “what I wanted to happen didn’t happen,” then you’re going about it all wrong.
So with that in mind, here are a handful of reasons why many hardcore fans who hate The Last Jedi are wrong.
They Are Too Invested In Mythology
Let’s face it. With any film franchise that has a lot of baggage. Fans have been bitter with Lucasfilm ever since they rendered the old Extended Universe non-canon. No longer are the countless books, comics, and video games that they grew up consuming a part of the ever-growing mythology, and every step this franchise takes away from the the EU (now dubbed “Legends”) is another step away from what they loved about the franchise.
But let’s say for a second that these fans still loved new canon Extended Universe. They probably read up on the backstories of such characters as Snoke and Captain Phasma. These are characters who are featured in The Last Jedi, and after getting a taste of what these characters were like in these books, some audiences were likely all too eager to see their favorite aspects of these characters portrayed on the big screen.
Unfortunately for them, the film was more interested in going its own way, and less interested in servicing the secondary characters that had been built up in the books.
While being minorly disappointed in not getting what you wanted is understandable, the fact that the filmmakers decided to go a different route than you would have should not be held against them just because you fell in love certain aspects of the material. The reality is that few people read that material to begin with, and that the filmmaker is free to emphasize on whatever aspects of the universe that helps them best tell their story.
They Are Too Invested In Their Own Theories
If you’ve been on the internet for the past couple years, you may have realized how many videos, articles, and podcasts there are dedicated to Star Wars. Hell, you may have noticed how many of those things are dedicated not only to Star Wars, but to perhaps a single aspect of Star Wars. Who are Rey’s parents? What’s the deal with Snoke? Will they delve into Finn and Phasma’s relationship?
Ever since Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, fans have had two full years to speculate as to what the answers to these questions will be. Not only have they had two years to speculate, but they’ve had two years to stew in their own ideas, to surround themselves with those who believe in those same theories, and to remain convinced that it’s the best way the next film could answer unfold.
Of course, we’re all fans here, but we’re also more than aware of how toxic entitlement can be. After spending a lot of time with their own ideas, fans not only expect the answer to fall in line with their own thinking, but they become personally insulted when their theories don’t pan out, and angry when a filmmaker pretty much renders any speculation moot.
No longer do they go to a film wanting to be surprised. No, they go to a film wanting their own personal expectations of what should happen, to be fulfilled. Fans know what they want, and when those desires aren’t met, they get upset.
They Are Too Invested In Their Own Opinions On How Characters Should Act
Luke Skywalker was a very contentious character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. After decades of having spent time with him on screen, and decades more on reading up on his follow-up adventures in the now-defunct Expanded Universe, fans think they know what’s best when it comes to the characters.
The problem is, they often assume that characters don’t change after we last see them.
This may somewhat fall under fans becoming too invested in mythology. However, the sad reality is that there is pretty much no such thing as happily ever after, and after the credits rolled in Return of the Jedi, real life continued on in this world, and the years were not-so-pleasant for the former lead cast. While Luke may have redeemed Vader, he would likely have been mentally scarred by that situation.
Given the things he’s seen, his fear of the Dark Side is more than understandable. And despite any growth he had in Return of the Jedi, there were decades for that work to become undone. As such, given the information we know, it’s more than possible that he’d become the crotchety old man we saw in The Last Jedi, even if it’s the less than ideal version of him we wanted to see.
Too many comments have I seen of people saying Luke should have been as wise as Yoda, but Yoda wasn’t even as wise as Yoda until The Empire Strikes Back. Plus, at the end of the day he’s still human, and Luke having massive character flaws shouldn’t be a controversial thing.
To top it all off, what qualifies a fan to know exactly how a character should act after decades of not seeing them? Sorry, but unless you know what this character has actually been through, your opinion doesn’t really matter. If you say Luke should be as wise as Yoda, you have no foundation to stand on other than your desire to see him become the wise old man we hoped he would be.
They Don’t Understand (Or Care About) Storytelling
Here’s the big one. Now, I don’t want this to come off as overly mean and aggressive, but this is a big part of it. A lot of fans simply do not understand — and maybe don’t even care — about storytelling. Like those who are overly-invested in the mythology of the franchise, many aren’t here to see a story told.
They don’t want a story told so much as they want to see what happens. The evidence of this can be seen in the countless comments that popped up in spoiler-filled critic reviews that popped up before anyone outside of critics even had a chance to see the movie. The comments were littered with comments by how “VERY disappointed” they were in what they heard about the film.
There were comments about how much better the prequels were than The Last Jedi, and how the franchise needed to be seized from Disney at all costs. I’m sorry, but if prior to the release of the movie, you were one of those people who made those comments, the sad reality is you don’t care about storytelling. You care about things happening that you wanted to happen. And if you were already angry based on spoilers you’d heard, then chances are you went into the film ready to hate it, strengths aside.
To a lesser extent, I’d also like to address some other comments that revolve around characters making stupid decisions. While not all the decisions made by characters in the film were smart ones (Poe, for instance), it bears reminding that people make mistakes. That is one thing that we often lose perspective of as audience members. We see the film from a near-omniscient perspective, and become incensed when characters make decisions we wouldn’t agree with.
While there is a limit to how much that’s acceptable in storytelling, it’s worth at least stating that audiences should try their best to see things from their characters’ perspectives before crying foul. Just because actions taken by Poe eventually led to the Resistance getting betrayed doesn’t mean that the characters knew it was going to happen. That ain’t how life works. Life is full of obstacles, and it’s even more full of the mistakes we make trying to overcome them. I can’t think of a film that better illustrates that point than The Last Jedi, and it makes for some strong storytelling.
Before I close out, I’d like to reiterate one point: You’re allowed to not like the movie. All movies and stories are subjective, so there is no right or wrong. However, those claiming the film is an awful mess based on the “what” and now the “why” or “how” should really take an extra step back to evaluate the film on its actual merits, and not what it does to the Star Wars franchise they love so much.
What do you think? Do you disagree with some of the statements made above? Let us know your thoughts down below!