Ever since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans have been waiting eagerly to find out what would happen next in the Star Wars saga that so many have grown fond of over the years. Many had high hopes for this film and the critics seemed to love the film as it currently has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. However, it had a mere 48% approval rating from fans. To be clear that is lower than the very highly known two worst films in the franchise in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. So according to fans, this film has now become the worst film in the franchise. What do I think?
Well, let me delve into that. Initially, after leaving the theatre, I was stunned by everything I saw. I never thought I would see the Dark Side of Luke Skywalker. I never thought Snoke was going to get killed in this film and in such an anti-climatic way. I also never could have envisioned basically every plot twist set up by The Force Awakens being absolutely meaningless.
It made many, including myself, feel like Disney was tearing away at what Star Wars actually has been for the last few decades. They completely destroyed one of our favorite characters, in Luke Skywalker. First of all, the storyline for him basically made no sense. In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke refuses to kill Darth Vader because it is his father and he feels the good in him. However, we are supposed to believe he was willing to kill his nephew, Ben Solo (Kylo Ren), because he sensed a little bit of the Dark Side in him.
Another part of this film that was quite terrible was the lightsaber battles. None of them were epic by any means and there was nothing interesting at all about it. Fans have been waiting for almost four decades to see Luke Skywalker pick up a lightsaber again and duel. Instead, we basically just see him concede to Kylo Ren in his fight so that he could become one with the Force.
Now, moving onto some of the good stuff about this film. It did manage to delve deeper into the Force and showed some cool abilities of it. Snoke was able to manipulate Kylo Ren’s and Rey’s ability to communicate with one another through the Force. It was also kind of cool to see Luke Skywalker able to send himself to a planet without actually going. The film also managed to successfully not focus too heavily on the Skywalker family. In the past, the films have made it feel like only that family is important to the Galaxy, but this film deviates from that significantly and makes it feel like the Rebellion is a team effort that has a lot of moving parts.
I think what this movie showed is that a trilogy should never be split between two different directors. J.J. Abrams gave Rian Johnson so much to work with. He gave him the potential of Snoke, the cliffhanger of Luke Skywalker and where he has been, the origin of Rey, and the ability to link the films together through the use of these options. However, Johnson clearly wanted to go in a different direction and with that made some risky decisions. I give him props for taking so many risks in this film, but some of them were not very calculated and did not take the sensitivity of the Star Wars fanbase into account. I don’t know that I can rank it as bad as the fans on Rotten Tomatoes, but I certainly cannot rate it as high as the critics on the site either.