Or it’s just looking at basic storytelling. Things get set up, then paid off. If something is established one way for 8/9 films, a sudden change at the end of the last film will make people question it.
When it comes to powers, especially in a scene where under-developed powers are are already a major focus, adding another new and unestablished element will distract away from what’s going on. If sucking that much life out of them gave him so much more power that things have changed, why does he need them to kill him to get a new body? He’s beyond rejuvenated, what’s the point? This type of change gets in the way of storytelling.
And we can play the ageist game of “back in my day…” or whatever. That’s irrelevant. The purpose of the scene is that Palpatine gets rejuvenated. If he goes beyond rejuvenation to more powerful than before, his motives for the rest of the film no longer make sense. It’s always been implied Palpatine was stronger than he let on in other films, and he didn’t do the crazy antics like he does with the fleet, because he never needed to and it would go against his goals in those films.
I didn’t intend for my comment to be a “kids these days” comment, but even typing it I saw the similarities. And trust me, I was revolted at making an almost “kids these days” comment. Juvenoia sucks.
But I genuinely think moviemaking in the 2010s has changed, especially with fantasy stories, to appeal to this new audience of people who need to be spoon-fed every piece of information. And I genuinely think there’s been a transformation here because there’s tons of stuff that just goes unexplained in older movies that would never fly in today’s film industry. Hell, Force Lightning itself fits your definition of a new, unexplained element that changes the motivations of the villain in the third act of (what was meant to be) the final film. But audiences in 1983 used their brains and figured out what Palpatine was doing (summoning lightning) and why he was doing it (his goal isn’t just to kill Luke, but to make it hurt, although according to everything that’s come out after RotJ it might as well be his signature move or his stand or whatever).
I can easily imagine today’s audiences seeing this for the first time and saying something like “Oh, they just pulled a new superpower out of their asses as an excuse to give Vader the chance to kill Palpatine.” Hell, I’ve run into zoomers who say Empire is the most boringest one saying this about a bunch of stuff in the OT.
“They just invented the Force as a reason why Luke could blow up the Death Star!” (no seriously, someone said this to me and they weren’t joking)
I partially also blame the prequels and EU for ruining people’s perception of what the Force is. It’s not some hard magic like Harry Potter or Dragonball Z. When a character has a new “Force ability”, it’s not like they’re pulling some new power out of their ass. I’d really love to elaborate and go on a rant, seriously I’d love to, but it’s not that relevant.
I don’t mean to direct any of this at you. I’m not accusing you of any of this.
More relevant to your problems with it being unclear in particular, I don’t think it’s unclear. Red = danger, red lightning = more dangerous, or more powerful lightning.
Like I said before, you don’t need more of a reason to do it than it looking pretty, but it also reinforces the scene. We have supercharged Palpatine, and his lightning being red is supercharged lightning. Hammers it home.
It’s instant-gratification social media in general. People have self-inflicted ADD and do not have the time to actually digest the latest media, they just want quick explanations and then forget about it 48 hours later. It’s why READING is becoming a problem in society as people can barely focus on a book, much less an article–notice how articles come with “5 min read / 10 min read” at the top nowadays?
Absolutely, people are completely losing any attention span. I’ve shown two different friends the saga for the first time recently and both of them couldn’t watch the movies for more than a couple minutes max without looking at their phones constantly.
They also don’t WANT to find details. Like, they’ll miss things and be confused, but can just ask someone to explain and boom, they’ve got their answer and lost interest.
Caring about the details is becoming a lost part of the artform.
Sometimes they’ll just fall asleep in the movie theater and then complain about something that was literally explained in the movie. Half the time they might as well have been looking right at the camera explaining it. You see this a lot in modern movie criticisms.
Death of the Author