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Disney Star Wars Is It Actually That Bad?

Mercurius

Legend
Anyhow, I feel like the Star Wars is like a student whose first report card is A, A+, A-. You think, "Wow, what a student!" You imagine what is to come. But then, of course, the student disappears for over a decade, perhaps backpacking in the Andes, and when they come back are never the same. Occasionally they show little signs of their previous potential, but clearly something was lost in the Andes.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Anyhow, I feel like the Star Wars is like a student whose first report card is A, A+, A-. You think, "Wow, what a student!" You imagine what is to come. But then, of course, the student disappears for over a decade, perhaps backpacking in the Andes, and when they come back are never the same. Occasionally they show little signs of their previous potential, but clearly something was lost in the Andes.

....we know what happened in the Andes, Mercurius. Oh, we know.

How did the "long pork" taste, Young Skywalker?
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Oh yeah I also forgot to mention that the part at the end where the kid force pulls the broom into his hands is the most powerful moment in any Star Wars media ever (I'm literally getting goosebumps just typing about it), and deserves to be universally recognized as such.
 

But that was a lot of my issue with Last Jedi (and note I did enjoy it, it was a fun movie): it’s sooooo meta. I got the commentary and the vindication. I guess my point is I didn’t find the subject about the fandom itself anything but intrusive. That’s why the kill the past speech stands out like a sore thumb for me. There was a lot of palpable emotion and drama in that scene: I think building on a foundation more relevant to the characters themselves would have been way better than building on online chatter about the movies

And I agree about Rey; she is great. The actress who played her had the perfect presence, performance and was believable doing all the physical stuff too because she seemed athletic. I liked a lot of the characters. One of my criticisms of the third film is it relegated rose to a side role and clips the romance that she seemed to have with Finn by the end of the movie. I just didn’t need the movie to be a meta discussion of Star Wars itself: I wasn’t looking for validation or criticism as a fan; I was looking for an enthralling Star Wars movie. I got a good movie but the heavy use of subtext is one of the weaknesses. Where they start with the Luke character to achieve that another weakness for me.

Just my opinion of course. If you like the way it handled the subtext there isn’t anything wrong with that. For me it felt like it became too much of a priority and impacted dialogue and parts of the story
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
But that was a lot of my issue with Last Jedi (and note I did enjoy it, it was a fun movie): it’s sooooo meta. I got the commentary and the vindication. I guess my point is I didn’t find the subject about the fandom itself anything but intrusive. That’s why the kill the past speech stands out like a sore thumb for me. There was a lot of palpable emotion and drama in that scene: I think building on a foundation more relevant to the characters themselves would have been way better than building on online chatter about the movies

And I agree about Rey; she is great. The actress who played her had the perfect presence, performance and was believable doing all the physical stuff too because she seemed athletic. I liked a lot of the characters. One of my criticisms of the third film is it relegated rose to a side role and clips the romance that she seemed to have with Finn by the end of the movie. I just didn’t need the movie to be a meta discussion of Star Wars itself: I wasn’t looking for validation or criticism as a fan; I was looking for an enthralling Star Wars movie. I got a good movie but the heavy use of subtext is one of the weaknesses. Where they start with the Luke character to achieve that another weakness for me.

Just my opinion of course. If you like the way it handled the subtext there isn’t anything wrong with that. For me it felt like it became too much of a priority and impacted dialogue and parts of the story
That's totally reasonable. Rian Johnson is definitely a director who leans on metanarrative subtext, and while I eat that crap up, it's not going to be for everyone.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Oh yeah I also forgot to mention that the part at the end where the kid force pulls the broom into his hands is the most powerful moment in any Star Wars media ever (I'm literally getting goosebumps just typing about it), and deserves to be universally recognized as such.
Yet they did nothing with it. Nothing! It is rather baffling.

Anyhow, not to pick on you, Gradine, but your rant above sort of illustrates a problem with today's online discourse. What I think ends up happening is the most extreme, vitriolic voices get magnified, and people react against that, as if it fully representative of anything that disagrees with one's view, or one's side (and everything is about sides, tribes, etc). Just to be clear: I'm not saying that you are vitriolic, but responding to vitriol.

So let's take the rather controversial Nerdrotic. His brand is hyperbole and vitriol. I actually agree with some of his criticisms of Star Wars and LotR, but with about 5% of the vitriol and hyperbole. Frankly, I just don't care as much, nor am I nearly as offended by the "sacred lore" being changed.

But do I agree with the gist of some of his criticisms? Yes. The problem, then, is when people who don't like Nerdrotic assume my view (or others who agree with some of what he says, or say somewhat similar things) is the same as his and lump us into the same category - a category that, to begin with, already makes assumptions about Nerdrotic (I am not here to defend him, though I think some of the accusations against him are as hyperbolic as his rantings).

So everyone gets pushed into two camps, two extremes which make caricatures out of each other and thus don't really converse. There's no dialogue.

So when I hear your view on The Last Jedi, I find it reasonable and it even makes me want to view it with fresh eyes. I don't feel the same way, though I don't think it was a terrible film and would rank it ahead of Rise of Skywalker and the first two prequels, and probably the inoffensive but forgettable Solo. I actually liked it better on the second viewing, which is always a good sign. So for me, it is middle of the pack among Star Wars films.

Did I like the portrayal of Luke? Not really. But it is less about the things you say, or him drinking blue milk, and more about his whole story arc and what it did to the feeling at the end of Return of the Jedi. So it is a problem with the entire Disney trilogy: It basically said, "You know all that? Well, it didn't last - and things got worse, and all the hope is gone."

Now having a film trilogy requires bad stuff happening. But I think they could have done it in a way that didn't diminish Luke's triumph, or turn Han Solo into a shadow of himself and a sacrificial lamb for Kylo Ren's story arc. I have some ideas, but not only is it a moot point, but I don't want to go on too long. But the point is, I think it is valid to feel like something was taken away from us - that the original trilogy was diminished in the process.

Secondly and related to the above, what happened to a general attitude of "different strokes for different folks?" It is possible for two people to have very different responses to The Last Jedi or anything, and not accuse the other of being a cry baby or a fanboy, etc etc. This is not to say that there aren't folks who are over-the-top in their hyperbole or fanboyism, but that the collective jumps too quickly into these hyper partisan modes where everyone is on one side or the other of every issue.

Another complaint I have is epitomized by Oscar Isaac. He's one of my favorite actors to have emerged in the last couple decades, yet his character was basically forgettable. Without watching them again and analyzing, I'm not entirely sure why. I think it is part of the nature of the Disney trilogy in general and how I imagine the protagonists were conceived. They probably told Daisy Ridley: "You're basically the female Luke, but without any faults." And they probably told Oscar Isaac, "You're sort of like Han Solo, but without any character or edginess, so basically Bland Solo." I don't know what they told John Boyega, maybe "You're basically a cipher, and we're not really sure what we want to do with you, but we'll figure it out as we go along." Instead of saying, "Let's create entirely new characters that grow out of your own personality. In fact, help us figure out who these characters are - this is a co-creative process."

All three were pretty good, but I can't help but feel they could have been so much better.

In a way, it is understandable, because it would have been really hard to make a trilogy that would please the vast majority of people. They oscillated between fan service and trying to do something different, and ended up doing neither all that well, except in moments.
 

Another complaint I have is epitomized by Oscar Isaac. He's one of my favorite actors to have emerged in the last couple decades, yet his character was basically forgettable. Without watching them again and analyzing, I'm not entirely sure why. I think it is part of the nature of the Disney trilogy in general and how I imagine the protagonists were conceived. They probably told Daisy Ridley: "You're basically the female Luke, but without any faults." And they probably told Oscar Isaac, "You're sort of like Han Solo, but without any character or edginess, so basically Bland Solo." I don't know what they told John Boyega, maybe "You're basically a cipher, and we're not really sure what we want to do with you, but we'll figure it out as we go along." Instead of saying, "Let's create entirely new characters that grow out of your own personality. In fact, help us figure out who these characters are - this is a co-creative process."

I tend to agree with this. He is great in everything I've seen him in (I first saw him in Agora and loved that movie). But beyond what natural charm he was able to bring to the screen (which isn't insignificant) the character did not quite fill the shoes of the Han type (whereas I felt Rey filled the Luke shoes pretty well).

I think John Bodega got told three different things, one for each movie, none of them every coming together. His character was really interesting when they first introduced him. Then they kind of dropped all that stuff about him being a storm trooper (and whatever they had planned for him and Po)and we got a buddy/love section with him and Rose (which I thought worked). Then it is like they just didn't know what to do with him in the third movie. They gave him a girlfriend and it's like he just faded into the background. And there was also apparently something very important he needed to tell Rey, but I don't think they ever even figured out what that was (unless I missed the reveal when I stepped out for a moment). I could have enjoyed a thorough treatment of what they started with in the first film, or where they went int he second. But by the third, if you liked Finn and was interested in seeing where his story went, the third film gave you nothing satisfying at all
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
They probably told Daisy Ridley: "You're basically the female Luke, but without any faults."
Now see, I want to take all that you have to say to heart, and I generally do, but then I get to stuff like this, the baseless claims of "mary sue", and it becomes hard to take seriously. Rey has plenty of faults. She in fact spends the entirety of The Last Jedi failing until like... the last thing she does. Which is move a bunch of rocks. Rey spends the entirety of The Rise of Skywalker rushing headlong into every moment without taking stock or even considering the people who are trying to help her.

Rey, objectively, has more faults than Luke had. Hell, she may even top Anakin here. If only there were some specific key trait Rey brings to the table that Luke doesn't that would explain the willful refusal to acknowledge her actual, very evident flaws.

Anyway, I'm also not inclined to blame The Last Jedi's excellent setup on Disney backing down and reversing course in The Rise of Skywalker, though I guess I can again see why it could hard not to criticize the trilogy as a whole for lacking any sort of cohesiveness.
 

Oh yeah I also forgot to mention that the part at the end where the kid force pulls the broom into his hands is the most powerful moment in any Star Wars media ever (I'm literally getting goosebumps just typing about it), and deserves to be universally recognized as such.

This I didn't really get. Maybe I misunderstood what they were going for here. I always assumed people other than those with family members with the force also would be force sensitive (that is was either something that kind of bounced around, sometimes could be passed down, and maybe could even be cultivated through effort). This struck me as them saying "Everyone now has the force". I tended to see Luke being strong in the force as not much different from someone who has a natural aptitude for playing music whose father was also a good musician. Or the son of a boxer who is naturally talented as well. That doesn't mean there aren't other people out there, naturally talented whose parents weren't boxing champions or concert pianists. And it doesn't mean something with less natural aptitude can't get good through hard work and training. Something I would much rather see than "Everyone is strong int he force now: which is how I kind of read that scene, and a world populated by Jedi seems like it would be a little too gonzo), is someone who is only slightly force sensitive developing into a powerful Jedi through training and cultivation of knowledge about the force. To me the needing to train to be exceptional is an important part of this kind of movie. This scene makes me feel like I was missing some kind of conversation or debate in the fandom that was circulating at the time (which I think I got vague traces of, but really I don't get too deep into Star Wars conversations usually).
 

Now see, I want to take all that you have to say to heart, and I generally do, but then I get to stuff like this, the baseless claims of "mary sue", and it becomes hard to take seriously. Rey has plenty of faults. She in fact spends the entirety of The Last Jedi failing until like... the last thing she does. Which is move a bunch of rocks. Rey spends the entirety of The Rise of Skywalker rushing headlong into every moment without taking stock or even considering the people who are trying to help her.

Rey, objectively, has more faults than Luke had. Hell, she may even top Anakin here. If only there were some specific key trait Rey brings to the table that Luke doesn't that would explain the willful refusal to acknowledge her actual, very evident flaws.

Anyway, I'm also not inclined to blame The Last Jedi's excellent setup on Disney backing down and reversing course in The Rise of Skywalker, though I guess I can again see why it could hard not to criticize the trilogy as a whole for lacking any sort of cohesiveness.

I don't even think the criticism of a mary sue, the way people use it today, even when its accurate, is valid. The force did seem to come a little too easy to Rey, but I think there was an in movie explanation for that. I wouldn't personally considerer a mary sue. And she did have to train to develop her abilities further (I really would have liked to see them lean into things like the accidental killing of another character to emphasize this----which doesn't happen when you take the death away a moment later). There are tons of genres where characters are just great from the beginning or early on in the story (I've seen a ton of wonderful wuxia movies where this is the case for example). You could argue a character like Neo is a Mary Sue as well. I found him perfectly entertaining. People invoking mary sue doesn't really change my opinion of a character if I like that character and the actor works well in the role. To me 'thats a mary sue' is the same as someone complaining about lens flare. It seems like a criticism people learn largely online but never notice unless others point it out to them (it doesn't strike me as an authentic critique)

But I do think the Last Jedi handled this aspect of her character better. She actually had to go to the temple and train. That is a time tested trope, and gave me 36 Chamber of Shaolin vibes. Entirely appropriate in my view.

My only critique here is I do think JJ sped things up with her in the first film to save time so he could have a fast paced movie. I would have liked to see more slow down in The Force Awakens (which we got but with Han, which doesn't really afford the kind of tutelage we got from Ben with Luke in the original).
 

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