The force may not actually be with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
That’s according to some genuinely harsh reviews we found about the latest addition to the “Star Wars” franchise from the likes of CNN, The New Yorker and The Kansas City Star.
To be fair, the Disney-Lucasfilm movie did receive an impressive 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its wide release in theaters. Translation: the “The Last Jedi” received mostly high praise.
However, the critics cited below still lobbed some pretty severe words toward the Rian Johnson-directed film expected to make $425 million worldwide in its opening weekend including, “maybe the Jedi should have been allowed to just die out.” Ouch.
Editor’s note: There are no spoilers in this post. We can’t make that same spoiler-free guarantee if you click through the reviews we’ve collected.
‘an unoriginal, tone-deaf mess’
The latest film in the long-running saga is an unoriginal, tone-deaf mess.
Redeemed in part by a solid final half-hour, The Last Jedi is not (quite) as bad as the prequels, but it’s like hearing 1980s hits as played by a mediocre cover band. So many elements in Episode VIII are recycled that it could have been called “Rerun of the Jedi.”
Maybe Luke was right. Maybe the Jedi should have been allowed to just die out.
As it turns out, although “The Last Jedi” meets a relatively high standard for franchise filmmaking, Johnson’s effort is ultimately a disappointment. If anything, it demonstrates just how effective supervising producer Kathleen Kennedy and the forces that oversee this now Disney-owned property are at molding their individual directors’ visions into supporting a unified corporate aesthetic — a process that chewed up and spat out helmers such as Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. But Johnson was either strong enough or weak enough to adapt to such pressures, and the result is the longest and least essential chapter in the series.
Despite the enormous scope and visual spectacle, too many key components of the film — including those that have kept die-hard fans guessing and debating — prove unsatisfying.
What precedes that overall, alas, represents a creative step back, not a leap forward. Optimistically, "The Last Jedi" leaves plenty of intriguing possibilities for the climactic installment. But there's also the kind of room for improvement that remind us when it comes to "Star Wars," such hopes — new or otherwise — spring eternal.
‘tamed, tamped down’
In “The Last Jedi,” that world has been tamed, tamped down, boxed in, neatly packaged, to a chilling extreme. It fixes its heroes in an abstemious, militarized world of twenty-four-hour-a-day work for mere survival, in which no personal life remains outside the realm of official function, a de-mentalized world that the movie presents, moreover, as appealing.
“The Last Jedi” is a story about the Resistance, but the film itself is a cinematic masterwork of the First Order.
‘it seems like it might never end’
“The Last Jedi” suffers from “The Lord of the Rings” syndrome — it seems like it might never end. It also poaches scenes, ideas and moments from “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
And even though “Star Wars” has never been known for its subtlety, “The Last Jedi” is often heavy-handed.
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