After returning home totally gobsmacked by Avengers: Infinity War I ended up also checking out my new Blu-ray copy of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that same night. At face value you might think it is jumping from one extreme to another in terms fan reception but looking at them both I’m wondering now if they are actually more alike in terms of the goals that they set out to achieve and their success in doing so.
I’m not going to try to avoid spoiling Infinity War – you really should go see it because it’s titanically awesome – but I’m sure that most people realise that with Earth’s mightiest heroes facing off against the mad god Thanos there’s bound to be some game changing events taking place. Over the years the Marvel comics have held such events to change the status quo and force change on their characters but it was only until Captain America: Civil War did the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) attempt to do the same and it was only the beginning of what was to come later.
Now going back to The Last Jedi, it seemed that the biggest criticism of it from some fans has been the willingness of the film’s creators to push the reset button on everything. With so much of the franchise’s lore tied to the original trilogy that concluded back in 1983 (with Return of the Jedi) I suppose there was bound to be a moment when we were going to see new blood take the franchise in a direction that didn’t keep stories beholden to those first three films but it still hit hard. To be true to these movies (not accounting for the prequels that ended in 2005 with Revenge of the Sith) must be a lot of pressure creatively and it was going to happen eventually. On the other hand the MCU has a decade of almost twenty movies building up their characters and events towards Infinity War where there’s been an expectation that things were going to change in a big way thanks countless cameos and end credits sequences.
Imagine if the prequel trilogy from the early 2000s had instead been replaced with a post Jedi trilogy that continued the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia. Even if the paths taken by the characters didn’t line up with what they would eventually become in the new trilogy I think it would have satisfied fans enough for what would eventually happen. So now I’m feeling that the main problem with The Last Jedi‘s intent was that there wasn’t enough of a solid foundation built up before it was eventually taken away. Fans were only given a tiny tease of what a Jedi Master enabled Luke Skywalker could do and that was it – thirty years is a long time to wait for such a small reward. All the time was spent on his downfall and very little on how he would come to be in that position in the first place.
Hopefully when the dust settles on this new Star Wars trilogy we’ll see a new direction for the franchise that might help drive them into a direction where the next time a reboot is in order they can do their own Infinity War. And speaking of Infinity War, I’m pretty sure I haven’t said it before but you really should go see it because it’s titanically awesome… 😉