Posted on December 28, 2017
TL;DR: A lot of hardcore fans take exception to this movie for daring to branch out in a new direction. I am all for it. This is a great, fun movie that reminds me of the originals.
Spoilers for The Last Jedi follow.
The Force Awakens is sometimes criticized for basically retelling A New Hope. I don’t really argue that beyond the fact that it’s a bit reductionist, because I believe it was necessary to get the movies started again. And now that I’ve seen The Last Jedi, I believe that more than ever.
If JJ Abrams’ intention was to do the same thing with Star Wars that he did with Star Trek, break out of canon so the writers would be free to tell new stories, then he had to retell A New Hope with some slight changes to get us all situated in the new universe.
The Last Jedi’s job, then, is to make the break from the past and make it possible to go new places. Now, I agree 100%, that Star Trek has squandered that opportunity with one bad movie (Into Darkness) and one meh movie (Beyond), but that may be largely because Abrams left the franchise to helm Star Wars.
If you have problems with a change in direction, try to remember when you first saw Star Wars. They were making up “canon” as they went along. They were three new stories, retconing the whole time. That’s what made them so much fun. The prequels, I would argue, suffer because they are so hidebound to the canon which was largely laid down in a million paperback books created just to fill the void when more movies didn’t come out.
Well, you now what? I never read the books. I never thought of Star Wars as a literature experience. It was a visual experience, so seeing the fun and spectacle return in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I’m absolutely thrilled to see what comes next.
So put away your crush on the past and go into The Last Jedi as if you’re setting foot on the first step of a journey, the way you did when you saw A New Hope. You’ll love it.