The Last Jedi: Enjoying Corporate Cinema’s Quasi-Risks While They Last

The Last Jedi

Following my Bright Lights Film Journal reviews of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, I wrote a piece on Disney’s newest Star Wars spin-off, The Last Jedi.

“To date, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has supposedly encountered ‘polarizing’ reactions. I wonder how this could possibly be the case, seeing as Johnson’s film lifts most of its framework and sensibility from the safer-than-safe ‘coming attractions’ reel that was The Force Awakens. The main difference between the two films is that Johnson’s work shows some evidence of authorial perspective and formal attentiveness, whereas Abrams’s carries the uncanny sense of something carefully and neurotically manufactured by a corporate collective in an effort to appease fans’ broadest, basest desires. Given the purportedly divisive reactions surrounding Last Jedi, I also wonder to what extent Disney’s marketing team is manufacturing or at the very least magnifying voices of dissent – why should a well-crafted and intentional variation on The Force Awakens incite animosity and disdain? Amplifying voices of disagreement would make sense as a marketing move, given Force’s swift downward critical trajectory. The first spin-off celebrated hyperbolic praise during the first month or two of its release, but its reputation seems to have drastically slipped in a surprisingly short amount of time. The popular critical and cultural narrative now deems it “too much like A New Hope,” which is puzzling, given that George Lucas’s complex and visually dense prequels have been retroactively damned for steering too far from their predecessor’s ‘roots.'”

Read the full review here.

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