The film misinterprets basic concepts of the Jedi and the Force … acting like the Jedi are meant to be pacifists.
I don’t think TLJ is the one misinterpreting basic concepts of the Jedi and the Force.
That’s not what Yoda meant in context. The Jedi are meant to defend the innocent, and that often involves striking down those who would harm others. ANH has Obi-Wan cutting off an assailant’s arm. They absolutely are willing to resort to the use of force to fight someone who threatens innocents. That’s why they carry lightsabers in the first place. This notion that a “true” Jedi doesn’t actually even use his saber to defeat someone is a misinterpretation by Rian Johnson of what the Jedi actually are. Striking down Kylo, or at least genuinely trying to talk him down, could have saved countless lives and ended the war. This notion of a Jedi being purely pacifist never reflected George’s vision or intention. Rian doesn’t know Star Wars better than its creator. In fact, I think there are a lot of people who understand Star Wars better than Rian does.
Called it in the inb4!
What? Look, I don’t want to go through the motions of this argument again, so here’s a flowchart that debunks the whole “Jedi are pacifists” thing, which really is just an invention of Rian Johnson’s imagination.
Jedi don’t initiate violence, but defending the most vulnerable often means actually using that laser sword on your belt.
The PT has massive amounts of worldbuilding. The sheer volume of worlds, species, factions, and cultures introduced
Like what? Like who? The closest thing we get to that I can think of is that they have some new alien designs, but that’s art design again, not worldbuilding.
in the PT provided so much fertile ground for new stories to tell and history to flesh out.
The EU picking up the slack for the PT does not make the PT good. The EU doing worldbuilding does not mean the PT had any, in fact it just highlights the sheer lack of worldbuilding in the PT.
We finally got to see the Republic
We get to see the Republic is a really shallow ripoff of the United States government made by someone whose understanding of the US government clearly didn’t go beyond, like, 7th grade civics class. We don’t know anything about how it functions other than that the Chancellor is the leader of the executive and that the Senate has some legislative authority, and there is a third branch that is never relevant, despite us being told it’s supposed to be in, like, 2 lines?
Compare, like, literally any other fantasy Republic, or even any other fantasy government. There’s so much more interesting nuance that could be here, but is ditched for a really shallow-ass allegory about how Bush did 9/11 or some shit.
Maybe it could be said that spending too much time on the functionality of the Republic would be a bad idea and detract from the story. I’d probably agree. But that’s a justification for the prequels’ lack of worldbuilding, the fact of the matter is that there is a lack of worldbuilding, and the little bit that is there is downright uncreative.
We got to see the different corporations that formed the CIS.
Aside from the Trade Federation, we get name drops for the different corporations that formed the CIS. That’s it.
You don’t even have to leave Star Wars to see this done right, compare the depth the CIS gets in the EU and TCW to the complete lack thereof in the prequels.
Even the Trade Federation is literally just the GOP. They’re not even trying to hide it. Nute Gingrich + Ronald Raygun = Nute Gunray. While I hate the Republican Party, the Trade Federation as a criticism has the depth of tin foil. We don’t know anything about their beliefs, private or public, we don’t know anything about why their policies are bad, we just know that they’re evil and greedy and mean and they’re in league with George Walker Hitler.
As an instance of worldbuilding, they have even less depth than tin foil.
The fall of the Republic is not a straight allegory, least of all for the Bush administration or 9/11, though it was accused of being one. You’re just dismissing all the political worldbuilding by saying it’s ripped straight from real life, when it’s simply inspired by real world history, like any other worldbuilding. The Trade Federation is not the GOP. If anything, they have much more in common with groups like the East India Company. The prequels wouldn’t have been able to go into exhaustive detail about the motivations and ideologies of every faction in the Republic, since these are still ultimately movies meant to be watched by kids. You can argue that they should have spelled out some of these details better, and that the worldbuilding lacked depth, but it’s clear that there are many conflicting factions and ideologies at play in this galaxy, so you can’t say that the world lacks breadth.
We see how the corruption in the well-meaning Republic paved the way for Palpatine’s rise to power. The steps are there, plainly visible. The state of the galaxy is established (something the sequels seem deliberately vague on), and the galaxy as a whole feels expansive and diverse, rather than just a series of action movie sets. We finally get a sense of a full-scale war being fought among many different worlds, with different species on opposite sides of it. I wish we had gotten more of that, but what we did get was quite vast, if shallow.
The prequels actually added something significant to the story.
I really have to disagree hard on this. The Last Jedi feels like an actual contribution to Star Wars. It developed on interesting characters introduced in TFA, and gave Luke a character arc I was interested in. It contributed to the Star Wars mythos, and I kind of think you have to ignore the whole movie to say there wasn’t a lot of passion and care put into this movie or that it didn’t add anything significant to the story.
I’d say the opposite. You’d have to ignore large portions of the movie to claim that it was a product of love and care for the mythos. The film goes out of its way to debase and trivialize what came before. It repeatedly trips over its own messages (i.e. the message about whether self-sacrifice to defeat an enemy is good or bad). And it’s filled with so much bloat that’s not deep or cerebral in the slightest and drags the movie down from whatever lofty heights it was aiming for.
But a lot of criticisms made against the ST seem to be because they weren’t totally vapid. Especially ones having to do with Luke Skywalker.
There is a massive middle ground between “pathetic hobo Luke” and “invincible Force god Luke.” Luke in the OT was a great character not because of his power, but because of his kindness and compassion. He was the right person to restart the Jedi Order because of his wisdom and moral quality. TLJ doesn’t make Luke more interesting. It just removes all of Luke’s personality traits and surgically transfers them to Rey.
I don’t think the prequels were a straight cash grab, because it looks like there was actual effort put into the Phantom Menace. But overall we have:
-One movie with an actual story, but none of the events of this movie really end up being all that relevant, and it’s not even like this story is all that complex
-One movie that feels like it’s trying to be the setup to a new trilogy, but doesn’t have much of an interesting story of its own, and, you know, it’s actually Episode 2, and should be starting to wrap the story up.
-One movie that starts off by dropping all the setup done in the previous movie, farting around on Coruscant telling us exposition for over an hour, then acts out backstory we already knew from the OT (really inaccurately I might add), then goes on an ANH fanservice montage it didn’t earn or justify
Actually, we know behind the scenes that they kinda hard pressed the reset button after TPM, which is why pretty much nothing in TPM is relevant. I wonder if they also did that between AotC and RotS, although more of a soft press this time. Every single movie feels like the first movie in a prequel trilogy, but (believe it or not), they’re not all the first movie. So when the end of Revenge of the Sith rolls around, it feels like the story of an entire trilogy is crammed into the last 40ish minutes of the movie, and a ton of that time is devoted to overly long SFX sequences, not the actual story.
I’ll agree with you that the gap between TPM and AotC feels like a soft reset, but that can be largely attributed to the large time gap that was necessary in order to age up Anakin. AotC and RotS, on the other hand, actually are fairly well connected and feel mostly like a continuing story (with a missing middle film about the Clone Wars, which is what Episode II should have been). I disagree with this idea that RotS was any kind of reset. It had to cram a lot of plot in two hours, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the first film in a trilogy.
As for context to the OT characters, it’s so incredibly unclear that it doesn’t even really seem to matter. Mainly, Anakin’s reason for becoming Vader changed behind the scenes for all three movies, and even the final movie where it’s supposed to happen can’t seem to make up its mind on why.
No, it didn’t. Anakin’s reason for turning was already being set up in TPM.
“Afraid to lose her, hm? Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger…”
Anakin was especially vulnerable to the Dark Side because of his attachments, to his mother and to Padme, and his fear of losing those he loved. That was always intended to be the primary reason for his fall.
“I will be the most powerful Jedi ever. I will even learn to stop people from dying.”
“Fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side…Attachment leads to jealousy…Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
You can argue it was sloppy, but the work George put in is all there. It was being built up to throughout the trilogy. George knew from the beginning how Anakin was going to fall. There was no mind-changing behind the scenes. It was definitely planned.