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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Why Does Everybody Hate ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’


A divide between movie audiences and critics occurs all the time — especially with highly anticipated blockbusters like ‘Star Wars.’

This was the case with ‘Justice League,’ which brought together big-name superheroes, receiving a rating of 79 percent score from audiences while only registering a 40 percent from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. There was also 2016’s ‘Batman v Superman’, with a 27 percent score from critics and a 63 percent score from audiences, resulting in a 36-point gap.

These gaps are to be expected. High budget blockbusters tend to put more effort into creating an entertaining, action-packed experience for audiences rather than focusing on the quality of the story, writing, and plot. Just look at the award shows, when’s the last time a movie like ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Justice League’ ever won an Academy Award? They might not be as thoughtfully written as ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ but fans still tend to like them anyway.

A pattern develops. Critics destroy a blockbuster. Audiences feel it’s better than its reputation. And on goes the world.

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However, it rarely happens in the opposite way. Critics aren’t supposed to like blockbusters more than the general public. They’re supposed to be pompous, casting shame and disgust at all of this populist garbage. And even if this sort of disagreement happens occasionally, it’s certainly not supposed to happen with ‘Star Wars’. The ‘Star Wars’.

Except it has. Despite a 90 percent “certified fresh” critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, ‘The Last Jedi’ (the most recent of the ‘Star Wars’ saga) has the lowest audience score of any ‘Star Wars’ movie on Rotten Tomatoes. As of February 2018, it’s at 48 percent. That’s lower than all of the prequels. As only an average ‘Star Wars’ fan myself, I thought it was a bit slow in the beginning, and had some unnecessary scenes, but in the end, I really did enjoy it. That’s why I was so surprised when leaving the Uptown theatre with six of my friends, to hear every single one of them bashing the entire movie. Curious, I asked them why they all hated it so much. Warning, spoilers ahead. But realistically it’s been over a month, and you should have seen it by now.

Senior Sebastian Bossu-Ramos spoke to the movie’s failed attempt at creating an interesting and developed story.

“The movie catered to fans who were less concerned with cohesive and fulfilling narrative and preferred flashy big-budget action as a quick reward for buying a ticket,” Sebastian said. “There was a focus on battles and explosions rather than the geopolitical climate of the galaxy. We never heard of what happened between [The Force Awakens] and [The Last Jedi], or even if the Republic government relocated. Also, there were no memorable sequences of dialogue. I remember no quotes.”

Sebastian also expressed his qualms with the movie’s addition of new underdeveloped characters, along with poor send-offs for the beloved ones who died.

“There’s also the introduction of purposeless characters, like Rose or the Purple Hair Lady [Admiral Holdo], with no relevance whatsoever to the macro-narrative or protagonists. Snoke, the supposed Sith Lord, had like 10 mins of screen time and died,” he said. “They’re killing all the old school fan favorites for no real reason, beyond having justification to throw in more characters that no one likes. They killed Han Solo, and Ackbar, and Luke. Ackbar, one of the most beloved members of the Resistance, was killed off, with his final moments no more important than your nameless stormtrooper.”

Senior Luis Ferrer echoed Sebastian’s sentiments and proceeded to give a brutally honest take on Rian Johnson’s ‘Star Wars’ picture.

“It proves that Hollywood’s only tactic to mop up money is by targeting viewers’ nostalgia while adding new actors only for their profile and using the original actors who clearly lost their talent,” Luis said. “At the same time, the director was an amateur and failed at originality by adding unwanted twists.”

However, that isn’t to say that all fans hated the movie. JDS senior Nicole Schwartz expressed her interesting take on the spiritual aspect of the movie.

“I thought it was one of the more spiritual ‘Star Wars’ movies that I’ve seen. There were a lot of allusions to Buddhism and meditative practices,” Nicole said, as I shot her a perplexed look. “I see the way you’re looking at me right now, and I can promise you I’m not the only one who’s said that!”

Overall, I think that the reason for this backlash is that the new ‘Star Wars’ is for everyone, not just diehard fans who have avidly followed each of the past movies. The Disney owned franchise is making movies that will be the most desirable to a large audience. Having that big of a reach means you’re inevitably going to make a lot of the original fans upset. As the Star Wars franchise continues to grow, it will likely stray away from its roots, but to continue being a major force in pop culture, it needs to keep adapting.

By Jair Alleyne

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