Without question, Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is proving to be divisive. Several audience members are praising the film for tearing down preconceived notions of what a Star Wars sequel can (and should) be. At the same time, others are taking issues with some of Johnson's bold decisions, asking if a Star Wars movie really IS a Star Wars movie if it acts like something entirely different.
Sure enough, we polled the staff at CinemaBlend and asked them what they thought of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The replies were... well, they were all over the board. Here, then, are a few quick takes on The Last Jedi. With whom do you side in this perpetual battle of Light versus Darkness?
The Last Jedi Changes Everything We Thought We Knew About Star Wars, And That's Exciting
I have been a massive Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember but I have never had an experience watching a Star Wars movie like I did watching The Last Jedi. The film takes so many risks, and I loved every single one of them. Every time the movie has an opportunity to take the safe path, it diverges. The small band that needs to complete a mission to save the larger fleet? They fail. The one who has succumbed to the dark side who might still have good in him? Not so much. The heroic return of the missing hero who saves the day? Well, yeah, but... Everything about The Last Jedi subverts expectations, but in a way that still feels like Star Wars is growing. It means we need to open our minds to new possibilities within the world of Star Wars, and that's exciting for the future, making this movie a turning point in the franchise.
I Get What The Last Jedi Did, But It Was Still Kind Of Boring
There's a lot of chatter in the days following Star Wars: The Last Jedi that if you didn't like it, you didn't understand it. I reject that notion. I see, with total clarity, what Rian Johnson was trying to do with his movie. Every time you expect the movie to zig, it zags. Each time it establishes an invisible goal, something punts the films away in a different (mis)direction -- by design. Assumedly, this is meant to keep Star Wars faithful on their heels, second-guessing what might be coming an ultimately being very surprised with the results. And this happens. But during the execution of said rug-pulls, I found myself losing interest in the sheer amount of running in place that the movie does. The detour to Canto Bight to find a code breaker? Frivolous. The First Order waiting for the Rebel ships to run out of gas? Tedious. Luke's disgruntled-trainer routine? Irksome. It's true that The Last Jedi was not the movie I expected. That's fine. But it failed to entertain me. And I think a Star Wars movie should at least manage that. No?
The Last Jedi Succeeds Through Subversion of Expectations
Star Wars fans are unquestionably some of the most invested individuals in all of pop culture. Since the release of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, they've spent hours (if not days and weeks) speculating about exactly how Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi goes down. And it's ultimately the new blockbuster's response to this that makes it so fantastic. While the movie does have its shortcomings, its regular brilliance shows itself in pure subversion of every single expectation. Rather than just giving the audience everything that they want, Johnson flips the script at every possible turn, creating an incredible string of surprising events and revelations that repeatedly have you rethinking everything you know about the heroes, the villains, and their perpetual battle. It adds tones, flavors, and twists never before experienced during a Star Wars movie, and in doing so establishes itself as one of the best that the franchise has to offer.
The Last Jedi Has Some Of The Best Star Wars Scenes Ever, But Also Some Of The Worst And That's Okay
Star Wars: The Last Jedi ain't your daddy's Star Wars movie. Rian Johnson takes care to not only subvert what makes a Star Wars movie, but also a tentpole event. That mystery you spent two years agonizing over? Doesn't matter. That big bad villain with a mysterious past? He's dead. The Last Jedi takes risks, something blockbusters don't do often, and while some of them don't work out at all -- cough, space Leia, cough -- a lot of them do. The entire sequence involving Snoke's throne room, from Rey's arrival to Kylo's betrayal to their battle with the Praetorian Guard, is straight FIRE. The Canto Bight stuff feels like a distraction, and the Resistance subplot spins wheels, but characters come first, and when this movie is firing on all cylinders, it's absolutely amazing. While it's not a perfect movie, the good far outweighs the bad, for me at least.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Fine
I'm not the target audience for Star Wars super fandom, but I've seen all of the Star Wars movies, and I had a genuinely fun time watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I expected to feel the same about The Last Jedi, especially once early reviews were positive. Instead, while I found plenty of moments in Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be quite enjoyable, I had trouble getting past some of the decisions that were made in order to move the film's plot forward. Questions plagued me through the movie's runtime: Why did Holdo have to wait until like 3/4 of the rebel fleet was demolished before she made her big move? Did Luke just die? The end result is that I found Rian Johnson's film to be beautiful, sometimes funny, occasionally dull, and often confusing. To sum up: I probably won't feel the need to watch it a second time.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Risks Pay Off More Than They Fail
It's clear that Rian Johnson crafted Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be significantly different from other Star Wars movies, and for the most part, he succeeded. While I, like many fans, was interested in having certain questions left by The Force Awakens answered, I was more impressed by how Johnson subverted expectations and took the Star Wars franchise in an exciting and bold direction for Episode IX. Johnson could have played it safe and given fans a conventional Star Wars movie that would still have been enjoyable. But by taking these risks, he delivered a story filled with surprises, thus making it more compelling. The Last Jedi isn't without its issues, from the runtime being a little too long to Leia at death's door pulling herself back with the Force truly being a "jump the shark" moment. But as a whole, it's another fine addition to the saga set in a galaxy far, far away.
A Bloated Masterpiece Is Still A Masterpiece
You would be hard-pressed to find a single story in the history of the Star Wars canon that takes as many big swings as Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While this decision to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks sometimes bogs the film down, it doesn't change the fact that it's one of the most beautifully-shot and thematically-charged entries in the series to date. Yes, the trip to Canto Bight ultimately feels like an unnecessary detour from the meat of the story, but Johnson's willingness to skillfully upend most well-worn conventions of the Star Wars universe (and create a grand spectacle in the process) is something worth celebrating. _The Last Jedi _is a bloated masterpiece that doesn't land every beat that it attempts, but it's a bold and confident step forward that surpasses most other entries in the series.
The Last Jedi Showed Us What A Star Wars Movie Could Be, And I'm All For It
Going into Star Wars: The Last Jedi, my hype meter was as buried in the red as most folks, but I tried to steady myself before the film, nonetheless. By the time I was finished my first viewing of Rian Johnson's entry into the universe, I really liked what I saw, but needed some time to parse it all out. By the time I saw the film a second time, I knew I loved it. It subverts the formula, while teaching valuable lessons in a socio-political climate that could use them. But at the same time, this movie kicks so much ass with its action set-pieces, tributes to Star Wars lore, and an overall air of something familiar being pushed to the limit. The Force Awakens showed us what Star Wars movies have always been to the world. The Last Jedi showed us what they could be, if you dare to do something brave.
Who Do You Agree With?