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The Last Jedi Polarizes Star Wars Fans

Rachel Baldauf, Editor-in-Chief

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi certainly had a lot to live up to. Not only was the movies one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year, but it also had to live up to two years worth of fan speculation and theorizing. Even more, as the second movie in the new Star Wars trilogy, the film lives in the insurmountable shadow of the second film in the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, which is widely regarded as the best movie in the Star Wars canon. As if that was not enough, the film needed to expand upon several of the decisions made by its predecessor; it needed to explore the mysterious origins of protagonist Rey and villain Snoke as well as loosen the trilogy’s dependency on the plot of the original series.

 

So, did The Last Jedi fulfill these lofty expectations? Well, it depends on who you ask. Currently, the film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a soaring critic score of 93%. However, the audience score is significantly lower at a mere 54%. With this vast disparity in opinion, this film may prove to be one of the most polarizing in the entire Star Wars saga.

 

The central issue with The Last Jedi is inconsistency. When the film is good, it is nearly flawless; when it is bad, however, its cheesiness threatens to rival the dested prequel trilogy. Relationships between characters grow in depth and meaning, and the storyline explores themes previously left untouched by the Star Wars universe.

 

But while the film makes great strides forwards, it also takes significant steps backwards. The humor is too often slapsticky and cheap. Plot holes abound, and one particular side story ultimately amounts to nothing, despite taking up a significant fraction of the film’s runtime. While the film does improve on several aspects of The Force Awakens, it also throws away several good things that the movie cultivated; many questions left unanswered by the original movie remain unanswered, and other ideas are trashed altogether. Oftentimes, solid storytelling decisions are thrown away in lieu of shock value, leaving the movie with a slightly aimless feel.

But while there is certainly no shortage of flaws in The Last Jedi, it is not a poor addition to the Star Wars saga. Ultimately, the majority of disappointment arises not from the poor quality of the movie, but due to its squandered potential to do something truly unique and unprecedented.

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