‘The Last Jedi’ Is Leaving Fans Divided, A Strong Backlash Has Emerged

For many, the joys of Star Wars come from the comfort of familiarity, the mythology Lucas created. "The Last Jedi" erases all that. I knew "The Last Jedi" would likely rub purist fans the wrong way. The primary intent of the film was to reinvent the franchise. Of course, these purists want things to stay the same, but watching "The Last Jedi" you can sense director Rian Jonson trying to, as Kylo Ren says, "let the past die." It's a theme that resonates throughout the film.

With all that being said it is then no surprise that the fan response has been mixed. The audience score is lower than expected. Hell, lower than Justice League. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, despite endless critic raves and a score of 93%, the audience score is down to 56%. That can't be as bad as "Justice League," right? Wrong. The Snyder/Whedon fiasco is at 80% on RT.

"The Last Jedi" has so much meta-humor that it caught "Star Wars" fans off-guard. I've heard of screenings where fans were left dumbfounded once credits rolled, that no applause could be heard and even boos. Everything we thought we knew about Star Wars or expected this movie to be was turned upside down, much like what "The Empire Strikes Back" did to the series back in 1980. Personally, I really liked the new movie.

So what are people complaining about exactly?

  • The little moments that make up this backlash are not "little" to fans of Lucas' original films. Rey handing off Anakin's blue lightsaber to Luke, who then goes on to toss it over his shoulder and brush off Rey? That's a nono. Luke doesn't even believe in himself anymore.  The mythology, his legend, was, in fact, a sham according to this new movie. 

  • The notion that the only way for the rebels to win is to abandon everything they knew and start fresh? That's sacrilege. What happened to "trust inthe force to defeat the dark side"? Oh, and that whole disappearing act Luke pulls on Kylo in the climax? That had a Saturday evening audience here laughing, and some boos were heard.

  • Kylo Ren destroying his Vader-esque mask and continuing his battle, unmasked? Say goodbye to the toy collectibles. This is a fully-fleshed villain that is unlike any we've seen in the "Star Wars" universe before. He doesn't hide behind any facial armor, he is flawed, unmasked, destroyed by his inability to make up his mind and, oh yeah, conflicted.

Chances are you either hated or loved these new ideas. Episode IX looks like it will go along those lines as well. All this backlash is very ironic given the fact that the main complaint about "The Force Awakens" was that it was a rehash of "A New Hope." For now, we have no idea where "Star Wars" is going, something that hasn't been the case since anticipation for "The Empire Strikes Back" grew at a fever pitch more than 37 years ago. Let us wait and see what JJ Abrams holds for this trilogy's final moments in Episode IX,  due for release in 2019 , before we start hammering down this trilogy as a failure.