My problem with TLJ:
When I go to see a Marvel comic book hero movie, I don’t care how closely the story follows the comics or how faithfully the character is represented as long as it’s not jarring. This is because I don’t have a lot of emotions mixed up in any Marvel comics (or any comics for that matter) so I couldn’t care less. As long as I feel entertained, I’m fine.
When Superman broke Zod’s neck in MoS, I didn’t care. Supe isn’t that important to me, so if they wanted to “challenge expectations” then whatever, as long as it distracts me for a couple hours.
But with Star Wars, a franchise I’ve dumped a lot of money and time into with games (video, miniature, board, and card) and what not, spent a lot of time discussing the characters and having my imagination sparked and ignited over it all, I’ve got a lot of emotions permenanty welded to its universe and its characters. Even TFA got me to get invested emotionally in Rey and Kylo, wanting to know where’d they go.
But when someone takes a dump all over something I love, smears it everywhere and says, “we’re challenging expectations, and this is what you should like” and refuses to show it the respect I feel it deserves, I’m going to take issue with it. RJ basically shoved it all in a garbage bag, lit it on fire, and threw it out the window. (Including the stuff from TFA; I wonder how JJ feels about having the anticipation he worked hard to build being flushed down the toilet.)
I’m firmly convinced that the majority of repeat viewers are those who go to see SW the same way I go to see Marvel Comics movies: it doesn’t truly mean a lot to them, they just want something interesting for a couple of hours.
RJ didn’t have to show this much disdain for the OT. Luke tossing his old saber over his shoulder, and then Kylo/Rey snapping it in half, were all obviously meant to be symbolic of what RJ wanted to do with the OT. While we can’t live in the past forever (we certainly need to move the story forward), I really despise the way RJ/Disney did it in TLJ.
Changing an established personality into something fundamentally different is not “challenging expectations” it’s just sloppy, lazy writing. And keeping a character consistent is not “just wanting a rehash.” It’s entirely possible to show meaningful, powerful growth in someone while staying faithful to that character’s core.
Also, the ending. Hey Biggs! Gold Leader! Dak! Everyone who gave their lives for the Rebellion, who fought so hard at Yavin, Hoth, and Endor: it was all for nothing. The Rebellion is 20 people in the back of a freighter. That’s what you worked so hard for. What you died for. This is what it’s come to. None of the sacrfices you made brought any kind of meaningful difference for very long at all. You can thank Poe, Finn and Rose. In the long run, none of what you did really mattered.