The Art of Crafting Satisfying Surprises
It is interesting how now the fans of franchises become the enemies of the filmmakers. We are in a particularly interesting time. Am I saying that filmmakers should always cater to their fans every whim? No. Absolutely not. But the remarkable hate exhibited by Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy toward their own cash flow is abhorrent. I'm going to be completely open, I did not like The Last Jedi. At all. However, the reactionary hate filled rhetoric by a vocal minority of Star Wars fans is detestable.
Despite this rhetoric more than HALF of the viewers of TLJ did not like it. Rian was trying to do something different with this movie. I do believe Disney needed to take a breather on TLJ and wait out release. Maybe then they would've taken into account their astronomical plot holes. So Rian reacts with degrading pandering of the fans intellect. Rian Johnson was attempting to surprise us but did the exact opposite. His 'subverting of expectations' was at the expense of the story. Most people really don't grasp the magnitude of what he actually did, so thus follows a list of his 'subversions;'
- Bombs dropping in space.
- Marvel-esque humor *(your mom jokes)*.
- Luke chucks his long lost lightsaber over a cliff.
- Luke drinks giant space cow green milk.
- Rey's parents are nobodies.
- Jedi training actually doesn't matter.
- Half-naked Kylo Ren
- Withholding Holdo's plan for absolutely no good reason.
- Leia flying like Mary Poppins
- Using light speed as a weapon
- Luke as a force projection
- Luke dying from force projection
- Canto Bight
...I could go on for days, honestly.
A multitude of articles came out from critics before the release of TLJ that all praised the movie for 'subverting our expectations'. No. Just no. The movie was a mess in terms of its story arc and and plot development. The reason why there was such a public backlash was due to the fact that this hadn't happened so terribly in the Star Wars universe before. Many fans of the original trilogy did not enjoy the prequels, however, the prequels were still a Star Wars story. The Last Jedi feels entirely foreign. As a middle movie in a trilogy, it fails in so many aspects.
If you are looking for the antitheses of The Last Jedi, then look no further than three movies earlier in the chronological Star Wars canon. The Empire Strikes Back is regarded as one of the most influential pieces ever put to film. It successfully subverts our expectations while setting up the last movie in the original trilogy flawlessly. It left you wanting more at the end. It did not end happy, or successfully. Vader is Luke's father, Han is frozen in carbonite, and the rebel base on Hoth has been destroyed and they are on the run. George Lucas did not sacrifice story just to cater to fans or to spite them. Did the movie have issues, yes, but they were minor in comparison to TLJ. He executed his vision, in writing, and successfully cemented himself as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. There is a way to subvert expectations that leaves you wanting more and TLJ failed to do that. So this isn't supposed to leave you with sadness about what has happened but 'a new hope' for the future of Star Wars. Hope that the fans will be heard and a new story will rise out of the ashes after all the dust has settled from the sequel trilogy. But it doesn't really matter despite the fact. After all, it's just a movie.