As time has gone on, and the number of movies I’ve watched has grown exponentially, I’ve found that i’d much rather a movie be good than be “new.” Movies taking chances and failing are still unpleasant to watch, even if the intentions were noble.
Also, there’s something to be said for expanding horizons to other areas of cinema if you’re looking for new and experimental, or prioritizing its presence over practiced execution. I don’t think it’s a knock on Star Wars if some other movie made a big innovation instead of Star Wars, and I don’t think it should sour my enjoyment of Star Wars when I watch something groundbreaking happen in some other great movie that I enjoyed the hell out of, either. Again, it’s not really a competition.
Star Wars doesn’t have to be constantly pushing boundaries, and honestly, many of the boundaries it did push most successfully were primarily technical, and those advancements were only pursued because the story couldn’t be served otherwise… but the stories have never been particularly groundbreaking at all. Not as stories. They’re all sample-heavy myth pastiches. The last time Star Wars was truly groundbreaking was purely on a technical level, and those groundbreaking efforts weren’t really in service of the story, but were in service of the creation of digital filmmaking pipelines on an industry-wide scale.
I think placing the burden of “the new” on Star Wars as a primary motivating factor for watching it is only complicating many people’s ability to enjoy the films for what they’re individually trying to be.
I know that can sound like I’m making the case for lowering standards, but I’m not, really. Roger Ebert’s famous quote is something along the lines of “Judge a movie on how well it succeeds at being what it’s trying to be.” As I get older, I find that statement to be even more true. If Star Wars isn’t trying to be big bold new things all the time - there’s other stuff that IS trying to be new, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that stuff right alongside Star Wars. Star Wars doesn’t always have to be a testing ground. If it is, that’s cool (and you can argue that’s exactly what Mandalorian is, in a way that blends the best of OT and PT Star Wars’ innovations - VFX leaps being made because that’s the only way to get this story onscreen, and those leaps being made as a means to streamline and normalize production pipelines for future films). But I feel like holding “but you’re not NEW AND INNOVATIVE” against a film that isn’t really trying to be, and honestly doesn’t NEED to be in order to work precisely as it’s intended, is just another way for Star Wars fans to stack the deck against Star Wars, and stay slightly dissatisfied beyond the actual quality of the movies and shows AS movies and shows.