As I was one of the first to pan the latest “Star Wars” film in the J.J. Abrams’ universe, “The Last Jedi,” comments on my review have revealed what seems to be a healthy level of discontent on this (thanks heavens) Death Star lacking, more visually dazzling, more expositionally confusing, more verbally clunky, increasingly diverse, increasingly wussy (Kill a principal or two, for Pete’s Sake!) franchise.
I thought little of it. Haters’gon’hate, after all. Critics know that. Sometimes, the critics are the haters (not this time, the cheerleading little dears).
But the blowback from fans who aren’t of the same mind has been ridiculously muted. I expected worse. You know, “You’re LYING, ‘Star Wars’ RULES! Rian for President!'” Stuff like that.
Because I got a lot of heat because I didn’t care for “The Force Awakens,” either, and find both of those “Skywalker” story continuances grossly inferior to “Rogue One,” which had cooler characters, better actors, noble sacrifice, higher stakes and genuine heart. Female heroine or not, it had balls. The J.J. “Wars” are so emasculated that it’s as if the whole affair has devolved into toy selling uber alles.
I thought little of it, even as commentors and others noted the lowering “audience review” scores and anecdotal complaints piling up on the Internet Movie Database (which links to Metacritic reviews, where it has a score of 85) and on Rotten Tomatoes (93% of critics endorsed it, relatively few fan reviews are agreeing).
Deadline.com says that those self-posted “reviews” can be gamed. There’s no guarantee the person actually saw it, and a complainer can post multiple times (that seems like a lot of trouble, and a flaw in those platforms’ review system). And that also sounds like Deadline is parroting Disney’s official “spin” on the reception of this money-minting operation.
It’s even got The Times of London running (stealing, as all British newspapers do) a story on it.
The only way to tell is if next weekend is on any sort of scale as the $220 million or so Disney collected on its investment opening weekend.
It’ll be Christmas, people will be off and have the time to take the family (if “Jumanji” doesn’t suck away a big chunk of that business).
And even if the most-interested fans have already been (more than once, in some cases), if they stop repeat viewing on weekend two, the numbers will fall precipitously.
So we’ll see. Nothing against the studios making money hand over fist, but I have a hunch this blowback is a lot more real than Disney would like the general public believe.
And they’re stuck with Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, that Asian character actress who made no impression, and a trying-too-hard Oscar Isaac.