Yeah, I know. I’ve already proclaimed that Star Wars is dead to me. I should just let this go.
And I have, to a certain extent. I’ve already written my anti-review for Rise of Skywalker and I’m not going to watch it. I did the same for The Last Jedi and I still haven’t watched it. I will be content to go to my grave leaving those films unseen.
What burns me up is all the excuse-making I’m seeing from fans and critics alike. It’s pathetic.
Bad Plot + Flat Characters = BAD MOVIE
I’ve said before that it burns me up that Star Wars is now its own genre of movies and that – likes James Bond – it’s a genre of sub-standard movies.
This wasn’t always the case. Gosh, before 1999, Star Wars was the gold standard. If you mentioned them, it was an example of excellence, a series of films where each was just as good if not better than the last. (And yes, Return of the Jedi is the best of the bunch.)
All that’s gone now. The Prequels started the slide and it’s only gotten worse. I see people using terms like “fan service” or “fans will like x” because Star Wars is now just a collection of pop-culture references stapled into a special effects demo reel.
Is This Even A Trilogy?
Another batch of excuses come from the fact that Disney swapped out creative teams, who clearly had wildly different ideas.
“J.J. Abrams did the best he could,” is the polite way for saying “this film series is incoherent.” Also known as “garbage” in any other context.
When a movie stinks, you say it stinks. No one had a problem with dumping all over Game of Thrones when they botched the ending just like I said they would.
It’s one thing to look at a daring film that failed to find immediate success or a flawed work of strange genius, but there is none of that in play here. This is a corporate franchise produced by committee, not a bold vision crafted by a lone auteur. There is no excuse for these films to be this bad.
Even the title is stupid. Rise of Skywalker? Wait, didn’t that happen from 1977 to 1983? From a certain perspective, the original story arc was in fact a succession dispute for the Imperial throne. That’s part of what gives it such a sweeping, epic feel. It also hearkens back to concepts of leadership and power that resonate from Greek drama to The Lion King.
It can also imply a recovery after a fall, as in The Dark Knight Rises.
Did anyone fall in The Last Jedi? Did Lightsaber Mary Sue lose a hand or something? Get her back broken? What exactly is Skywalker rising from?
Trash the Secondary Universe and Get a Cookie
One of the challenges in writing a story is keeping things within the bounds of reality. This is particularly difficult when you introduce elements like magic or advanced technology. Star Trek famously grappled with this and obtained mixed results.
So far as I can tell, Disney Star Wars doesn’t even bother. A character faces a dilemma? Just change the rules of physics or invent new and unheard-of Force powers!
Again, any other films that did this would be instantly and universally condemned, but in Star Wars, the continuity standards are now lower than a 1960s TV series.
Guess what? Sometimes writers find themselves at a dead end. It sucks. You know what you do? You go back and re-write it.
My fearless prediction is that in a few months, people will take a second look and realize these are basically unwatchable. There is no theme, no character evolution, no joy of seeing an epic quest fulfilled.
Without the nostalgia-powered dopamine rush, people will see these as what they truly are – expensive failures, unworthy of comparison to even middle-weight films.