Star Wars : If there’s a more divisive out there, we’re yet to find it. The second chapter of the marked a huge change not only in the direction of the , but the mindset of every out there.
Some loved it, calling it the greatest entry into the since Strikes Back. Then, on the other hand, a subset of the fandom called (and continue to call) it an abomination that betrays George and everything a should be. They said it ruined their childhood.
December 2017 was a very dramatic time.
But objectively speaking, is Star Wars: a good ? Or even a good ? Well, it’s impossible to be completely objective about , that’s just a fact. But I’ll do my best to critically analyse the eighth entry into the and try to understand where it fails and where it’s actually excellent.
So, first: the good.
Star Wars : injected a fresh energy into the series
While it’s clear that the entire suffers dreadfully from a lack of a cohesive vision, in my opinion at least offers its own style and MO for the series. Where The Force Awakens and Rise of director J.J. Abrams clearly tried to create A New Hope 2.0, Johnson put his own stamp on the series.
And it wasn’t for hubris, or to be controversial, and it definitely wasn’t to ruin your childhood. I believe he did it because just two movies into the Disney series and Star Wars had already become stale. The Force Awakens was received warmly as it was essentially everything the (fluid, grimy, and fun), but looking back on it, it’s a very safe wasn’t .
Johnson said “nah, let’s not just do the again; let’s make something new.” And for that he should be applauded. Why else do you think is unceremoniously killed off and the mystery behind becomes null-and-void? It’s to keep the audience excited and invested and to avoid hitting the same beats as the .
Which leads me to believe that…
Rian Johnson (or J.J. Abrams) should’ve directed the entire
Whether you think is the best or the worst, I think we can all agree that the lack of solid direction is the ‘s biggest issue. It’s what makes the return of the beloved of Palpatine feel so horrifically jarring in ROS.
Had either Abrams — but preferably Johnson — overseen the entire Star Wars that didn’t feel like it was made by eight different people. We’d either have an entire that either essentially remade Episodes 4-6 ( and all) or one that did something entirely new, most likely creating a much more creative premise than what we got. , we’d have been given a
Personally, I’d have much rather seen the latter. But a creative vision isn’t the only thing that offered in spades.
is the most visually appealing
Say what you want about Johnson, but I think he did an amazing job with the look of this . It seems cliche to mention it, but the “sliced Star Destroyer” scene will forever be a stand out moment in the .
Scenes like the Crait Luke and Kylo Ren also remain visually striking and highly impressive. The Rise of also has some gorgeous looking moments, but is arguably more consistent. between a force-projected
Speaking of Luke …
takes a beloved and makes him real
I’ll admit, I was unimpressed with my boy Plo Koon) reduced to a bitter old man was pretty rough, especially as Return of the Jedi saw Luke become his best (and most powerful) self. ‘s treatment of Luke the first time I watched it. Seeing my third favorite Jedi (after Qui-Gon Jinn and
Then I realised it. Johnson turned this Luke turns from an archetypical ‘hero’s journey’ protagonist into a real person who made a big mistake. into a real, three-dimensional with demons and regrets.
Though I’m still not keen on him yeeting his father’s Mark , am very sad that the core trio of Luke, Han, and Leia never got to reunite on screen, I think the portrayal gets more stick than it deserves. into the distance, and I, like
Luke’s redemption is one of the coolest arcs in recent years, and regardless of what you think of the writing, we can all agree that Mark acts the hoth out of the role that made him.
However, certainly isn’t a perfect and has a number of issues.
shreds Finn’s arc for no reason
Though I’d argue that the greatly improves and expands on the stories of Rey, Luke, Poe, and Kylo, the best of the gets majorly shafted.
Finn was a breath of fresh air in The Force Awakens, as John Boyega’s quick wit paired with a genuinely interesting background made for a compelling protagonist. The trailer hints that Finn would also be force sensitive only made him more enticing.
However, pretty much obliterates Finn’s development and “resets” him for the sake of giving him something to do. His plot line is in my opinion easily the ‘s dullest, despite co-star Kelly Marie Tran giving an earnest performance as Rose Tico. I won’t even touch on the disgraceful treatment the actor received from internet trolls as she’s much more than her controversy.
Still, poor Finn basically feels like a and barely gets any screen time with Rey and Poe, making their friendship in The Rise of feel even more forced.
‘s goofy moments are next-level goofy
Every has a moment purely for the kids or a silly goof that makes no sense. A New Hope has the stormtrooper hitting his head, Return of the Jedi has the Ewoks, and has … ok, maybe is just a perfect .
But has some really silly moments. I can accept BB-8 shooting coins at a little alien and even the shoe-horned in commentary about greed and animal exploitation, but the ‘floating Leia’ bit? Come on.
The gives a wonderful performance as General (formerly ), but the moment where she uses the force to ‘Mary Poppins’ her way back to her ship is just absurd.
Some people love this moment, but for me, it is a step too far into the fantasy side of science-fantasy. Note, this is a reflection on a creative decision behind-the-scenes, not Fisher’s performance.
‘s soundtrack is just average
I believe the greatest sin a Star Wars soundtrack can commit is to be entirely unmemorable, which is sadly what both and The Rise of are.
While there are some great homages to George ‘s original movies, composer John Williams introduces no compelling new melodies. The Force Awakens did a great job with Rey’s theme, the Resistance theme, and Kylo Ren’s theme. But here? Nada.
The over-relies on the force theme more than anything else and fails to create anything new. Remember The ‘s Duel of the Fates, Attack of the Clones‘ Across the Stars, or Revenge of the Sith‘s of Heroes? Well, prepare to be disappointed this time as there’s nothing so iconic on display here.
So, is Star Wars : a good ?
Overall, in my personal opinion, is both a good and just a good in general.
The good outweighs the bad and had Darth every two seconds for cheap nostalgia. stuck to its convictions and expanded on the ideas presented here, the could’ve evolved instead of resorting to referencing
did a great -i though not flawless — job of expanding on the world of The Force Awakens and an admirable attempt to introduce new, subversive plot elements that didn’t just retread old ground.
Sadly, in my opinion The Rise of came in and clumsily and retroactively undid everything in Johnson’s to attempt to appease disgruntled fans. If there’s any in the Disney that is legitimately a bad , it’s the third entry. But that’s a story for another day.
Star Wars has survived despite this, with shows like The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian more than making up for the ‘s poor verisimilitude. Hopefully, time will allow people to see for what it is — a breath of fresh air and a radical new first step in what could’ve been.
Fingers crossed Johnson eventually gets that I’ll be first in line to see it. that he deserves.
Do you agree with my analysis of? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.