The critics are definitely warming to Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the film nabbing the best aggregate scores since “The Empire Strikes Back” and numerous reviews saying a variation on the line that it is the best film of the series since that one. A big part of that is risk with the film taking some chances with the franchise.
Here is a series built on formula, classic models of good vs. evil, and themes of legacy – one that embraces nostalgia in the way “Star Trek” embraces diversity. But whereas both ‘Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’ so heavily anchored themselves with nostalgia you could argue they were creatively drowned by it, ‘Last Jedi’ breaks free at points – deliberately deconstructing hero worship, offering unexpectedly subversive takes on existing characters, throwing in some experimental comedy, and boasting a few genuine surprises.
It’s a very different animal to the two films that came before, and that has led to some divided reaction in the first scores online from fans as audiences flock to see it. On Rotten Tomatoes the film is currently scoring just 59% (vs. critics with 93%) with 61,125 votes counted. On Metacritic, there’s a real gap with critics giving it an 86/100 vs the public’s 5.3/10 score which consists of 254 positive, 223 negative, and 79 mixed reviews.
‘The Last Jedi’ is proving surprising polarising, especially as it’s the first film of the new era that was surprisingly smooth sailing with little to no studio interference. With ‘Force Awakens’ the common complaint was it being ‘A New Hope’ rehash with some trying to justify the lack of creativity with the logical but false assumption it was necessary to get people familiar again with the property.
With ‘Last Jedi’ the complaints are more varied, and frequently a variation on the ‘this is not my idea of Star Wars’ model. However some specific issues with both the Canto Bight subplot, the long runtime and the film’s use humor have popped up regularly.
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