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Saturday, December 16, 2017

"The Last Jedi" Debate: Seeing It From Both Sides

Well the word is out; "The Last Jedi" is great!

Also, "The Last Jedi" is awful!

Don't you just love the Internet in all of it's infinite wisdom.

With Friday, December 15th being the official official release date of Lucasfilm and Disney's latest cash cow, there's been plenty of talk about where "Star Wars: Episode XIII The Last Jedi" falls in the conversation of greatest "Star Wars" film. We had the same conversation two years ago when "The Force Awakens" was released and we'll have the same conversation again in two years when "Episode IX" is released.

But there is disturbance in The Force for Rian Johnson's sci-fi epic. Whereas JJ Abram's restructuring of "A New Hope" was met with almost universal praise with nostalgia galore and some actual moments that shook the film universe and fanbase to it's core, this time around there seems to be more backlash than ever.

Perhaps this is just the world that we happen to live in now. People love what they love, and people love to shit all over what people love. The people that love the thing they love will defend it, and the people that love to shit on the thing that people love will continue to argue until either their mom turns off the Internet in the house or those people move onto the next thing they decide to shit on. Personally, I love to have a rousing debate, but we've also gotten to a place in this world, and by world I mean the world of Twitter, message boards on Reddit and anywhere else where people can have an opinion until they can't afford it anymore because Net Neutrality is gone (but that's something else to bitch about for a different time) and there is a simple sense of being way too sensitive that someone might not have the same opinion as you. There is also letting the troll win and controlling your emotions in a way that make you re-think what you may really like. Or there is the even more trap of going down to a troll's level and insulting their intelligence because all logic has been thrown out of the window.

These types of things always seem to rear their ugly heads when it comes to fandoms. We rarely see this type of dissension for dramas, comedies, or action films, but it could also be the case that we've all put ourselves in bubbles of protection with like-minded people who all agree on the same thing, and when our opinions are challenged, we usually strike back quite forcefully.

My point is that, sure, you are always going to have to deal with the few people out there with 45 Twitter Followers who bring up a "hot take" and yet we'll go out of our way to re-tweet, or answer or have the classic post "look at this stupid idiot," and at the end of the day, what's the point?

But with all that being said, I love reading an opposing review because honestly most of them are interesting to read. Within our bubble we have built of the safety of protecting all things we hold dear. But isn't it healthy to actually read another opinion and maybe challenging your thinking about something. You might not agree with it, but there are some people that make some compelling arguments, even if you feel those arguments are petty and silly.


Honestly, and let's get into it and stop standing on ceremony, I liked "The Last Jedi." Did I like it more than "The Force Awakens?"

No.

Does that make me a monster? I certainly hope not, but by saying this isn't the best "Star Wars" film, period, is already putting me in the line of fire and leaving my "Star Wars" card up for grabs by the masses that have already anointed this film the greatest.

Why did I like "The Force Awakens" better? For me, it was simply more fun and exciting. I got plenty of nostalgia with "The Force Awakens" and while it introduced some new and exciting characters, it still gave me a lot of what I was used to and wanted to see.

"The Last Jedi," while introducing some new ideas and creating some new relationships, come the end of the film, which for me clocked in at a pretty bloated 2 hours and 32 minutes, had my mind a little fried. But this could have been the poor sound mix in the theater and maybe the fact that I had been up for just about 15 hours after the credits rolled.

Let me just get this out of the way with the gripes: Not a fan of the way Snoke was treated, and the same goes for Luke. The middle sagged. Not a fan of Canto Bight and it's something that could have been cut down to help the run time. Finally, Porgs are just reasons to sell toys, totally worthless.

Could there be some things done in "Episode IX" to fix some of my issues? Of course, and I hope they are and hopefully my worries are assuaged.

On the other side of the coin, there was plenty I liked; The opening space battle sequence. The middle sacrifice. And the ending battle sequence. There was a great scene in all three acts, with two in the final act. But looking at it now, the things I liked don't add to the overall progression of plot, they are more set pieces that look awesome and give "The Last Jedi" it's grand scale.

But at the end of the day, are there fundamental flaws with the film? Sure, but there are fundamental flaws with most Hollywood Blockbusters. Should everyone be able to make their own opinion about a film like this without being accused of not being a fan or having someone say "they feel sorry for them" for not liking something that they happen to love? Of course! But just having to justify why you have an opinion is a microcosm of the world we're living in now. There is always an opinion of someone else's opinion, and if that opinion doesn't match someone else's opinion it is almost always thought of as the wrong opinion. We don't listen anymore, we simply react and shoot off a "hot take" which can be read in so many different ways.

There are times that I long for the days before the Internet. Those days when you would talk about the movie you saw over the weekend with your other friends. And even if you disagreed, you at least had to look someone in their eyes and explain your stance. Those days are gone and everyone is anonymous and hidden behind a keyboard and can say whatever they want without a point or purpose with the benefit of not being found out.

But hey, what do I know. I'm the biggest hypocrite there is most of the time. But at the end of the days, let's all just have a civil conversation about these things and agree to disagree without saying we're all idiots about the things we can't all agree on.

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