A feminist activist on the appropriately named blog Bitter Gertrude, wrote an amusing hissy-fit which attacked criticism of The Last Jedi.
It’s too draggy and long
It’s too fast-paced
It is magically both draggy and fast-paced
It’s too much about one family
It’s not about family
The plot is terrible
The plot is fine but the acting is terrible
The plot and acting are fine, but the pacing is terrible
The plot, acting, and pacing are fine but the characterizations are terrible
It needed more humor
It needed less humor
It needed a different kind of humor
Not enough character development
Too much character development
The stakes were too low
The stakes were too high
It’s too much like the original trilogy
It’s not enough like the original trilogy
I’m skeptical that some of these were actually expressed.
Usually, when a film is genuinely bad, we’re all in agreement about at least a few areas of obvious badness.
Not necessarily. This assumes that there’s a heated disagreement as to why The Last Jedi is bad. Rather, what this merely shows is that there’s multiple reasons why The Last Jedi is bad. Moreover, movie viewers are allowed to have differing opinions as to why they might not like a film, just as they are allowed to have differing opinions as to why they might like a film. This really isn’t evidence of anything more than the existence of differing opinions. Differing opinions are what happens when people aren’t forced to comply with the consensus of the collective.
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” ~George Patton
There’s not much controversy about the general awfulness of Jar Jar, Hayden Christiansen’s acting, or the wooden love scene dialogue of the prequels. Sure, there’s the occasional outlier insisting they love Jar Jar, but on the main, these are obvious, agreed-upon flaws.
In fact you’ll find a wide variety of opinions about the Prequels, particularly among those who grew up watching them as kids. The widening of these opinions increase as time goes on. Many of those who saw the Prequels as kids, who are now adults, like these films despite their often noted flaws. In fact, you’ll find folks in this age group quoting those movies. For myself, I find the Prequels to be a mixed bag. There’s some things they did very well, and other things they did very poorly.
Yet there’s no agreement about The Last Jedi. Instead, I’ve seen dozens of contradictory opinions, and at least half of them are stated like this:
“I’m fine with female-driven films, but I just hate this particular one for reasons.”
The Last Jedi has become the Hillary Clinton of filmmaking.
And thus we come to the crux of your real issue with criticism of the film.
Yes, WE ALL KNOW YOU HAVE REASONS. So many reasons, all of which were no problem when they were part of male-driven films, but are now somehow egregious, film-ruining faults. And yes, we know you all know a real, actual human female who ALSO TOO did not like TLJ so HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE ABOUT GENDER EVER QED.
Actually, they were ensemble driven films.
And actually, there are multiple women, who are also complaining about The Last Jedi. Are you attempting to marginalize their opinions?
It’s about gender.
No. It’s not. There have been strong female characters in Star Wars for 40 years. This is nothing new.
What this is really about, is feminist ideology. Remember, the female gender and feminist ideology are now two separate things in the modern era. I explain the distinction here and here.
And, because these issues are intersectional, it’s also about race.
What isn’t about race for the race obsessed SJW? That might make a shorter list.
ROSE TICO. Kelly Marie Tran, the actress who plays Rose Tico, has been harassed and threatened by angry internet men, so this seems like an obvious place to start.
Is this anything like the purely imaginary black stormtrooper nontroversy?
What do so many men hate and fear about Rose Tico? In short, Rose Tico is played by a woman of color and isn’t constructed solely to please the men in the audience. She wears practical work clothes, not Hollywood’s version of “practical work clothes” for women (skin-tight coveralls with a low-cut top). The camera didn’t linger over her ass as she bent over; she doesn’t suggestively hold her tools. She’s not presented as women are usually presented– from the straight male characters’ point of view, as a proxy for the straight male audience members’ point of view.
Are you sure you haven’t been watching Star Wars burlesque instead of the actual films?
Forthright, awkward, brilliant Rose Tico is presented as a real, well-rounded person exactly the way we portray male characters.
Brilliant? I explain the very deep stupidity of Rose Tico’s social justice lectures here, here, and here. But let’s be clear, this is the woman who sentenced the Resistance to death, when she stupidly collided her fighter into Finn’s, in order to save what she loves, or something. Without that monumentally stupid act, the First Order’s battering ram weapon may have been rendered inoperable, allowing more than a couple dozen Resistance fighters to survive. The word brilliant simply doesn’t apply to the Rose Tico character on any level. Unwise would be far more accurate.
Because she’s a woman who isn’t presented as an event in the life of a man, she’s everything from a flaw in the filmmaking to an affront to fragile masculinity.
I would argue that sabotaging what could have been Finn’s tragic hero moment was quite the event. So was the decision to free space horses rather than enslaved children.
When Rose declares her love for Finn, people complained because it wasn’t presented the way we have come to expect– telegraphed through presenting the female character as the object of male desire. Because she wasn’t objectified through Finn’s admiring gaze, their relationship has been criticized for “lack of sexual tension” and a “lack of chemistry.” If he had been chasing her throughout the film, her declaration of love would have fit neatly into the sexist trope of men “winning” women. Instead, her declaration of love comes as a surprise, but this, again, is an extremely common trope in filmmaking– when the declaration comes from a man. If the sudden declaration of love had come from Finn, it would have passed as unremarked as it has been in literally thousands of films.
Or because the silly scene was written with cringe-worthy on-the-nose dialogue. Much like those in Attack of the Clones which also was raked over the coals. Finn’s disinterest in her, which you describe as lack of objectification, might have played a role in that as well.
There’s nothing particularly unusual about this character, the way she’s used, or her sacrifice apart from her gender.
Except for her unusual command decisions which lead to the death of all but a dozen or so Resistance fighters.
“Why is Holdo’s sacrifice seen as brave and Finn’s seen as foolhardy?” The parallel sacrifice to Holdo is Luke, not Finn.
Especially when we don’t want it to be.
Both Poe and Finn ignore orders from women to stand down and escape in favor of chasing glorious, but pyrrhic, victories.
And, again, all but a dozen or so Resistance soldiers are led to their deaths as a result.
The Last Jedi spends an enormous amount of time and care on the theme “sometimes escape is the more sensible option, and glorious victories too often come at such a high cost they become failures.”
A higher cost than destroying your only heavily armed capital ship, leading to the deaths of all but a dozen or so Resistance soldiers?
Women in the Resistance are constantly fighting against cocky young men chasing glory, constantly trying to save lives that these cocky young men would sacrifice for that glory.
Yes, I know.
This is a film about discretion being the better part of valor.
That’s because it was written by people who know nothing about warfare.
It doesn’t take much analytical skill to see why some men are so upset by that, and Holdo is one of the characters at the center of that narrative.
Or much imagination for that matter.
The angry male internet was, evidently, outraged because “suddenly” Leia could use the force.
Well no. The more educated fans were laughing because Leia was flying through the cold empty airless vacuum of outer space like Superman. The reaction would have been the same were it the very male Admiral Ackbar performing the same ridiculous feat.
In the original trilogy force ghosts, space stations that have the power to destroy planets, and people with powerful telekinetic abilities who still somehow need to fight with swords are all accepted without a peep.
There’s a significant difference between what you’re listing here, and flying through space like Superman. Even in fantasy worlds like Star Wars, you have to work within established rules or suspension of disbelief is shattered. For instance, why not team Rey up with Mickey Mouse? Both characters belong to Disney, and after all, it’s a fantasy? Why can’t we have a Star Wars movie like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
A world with exactly zero female pilots, techs, or ground troops is accepted without a peep.
That’s because war is predominately fought by men. Sign up for Selective Service and then we can discuss your peep.
A world where Biggs Darklighter’s mustache makes sense is accepted without a peep.
Bigg’s Darklighter’s mustache? Really? Are you sure that your problem here isn’t your own misandry?
The most common complaint from the angry male internet is “REY IS TOO POWERFUL.” She is no different than Luke was in the original trilogy in that respect. She is naturally gifted in the force, just as Luke was, yet Luke’s power is accepted without complaint while Rey is begrudged hers. Luke, a farm boy with no fighting experience, receives a bit of training from Yoda that seemingly contains zero combat skills, then leaves before his training is complete, but is still somehow able to stand against Vader for a lengthy lightsaber battle before escaping. Rey begins TFA at least knowing something about fighting, and is shown practicing with a lightsaber in TLJ. Yet once again, where Luke’s combat prowess was unquestioningly accepted, Rey’s is held up as a flaw in the filmmaking.
When we first meet Luke, he’s a naive inexperienced farm boy, who complains about wanting to hang out with friends, gets scolded by his Uncle, gets knocked unconscious by a Tusken Raider, gets pushed down in a bar by a drunkard, has to be defended by an elderly Jedi, gets his hand slapped by Han when pointing at the flashing light on the dashboard of the Falcon, gets condescended to by Han when saying that he could pilot a ship, gets insulted by Leia for being too short for a stormtrooper uniform, gets mauled by a wampa, and gets his hand cut off during his very first lightsaber duel.
Not Rey though. She gets to skip the first phase of the hero’s journey in The Force Awakens so hear her roar! Somehow, she can pilot the Millennium Falcon and use a lightsaber all without any training at all. Sure she fumbles a bit getting the Falcon off the ground, but in only a couple of minutes, she’s evading Tie Fighters and deftly flying through the tight spaces of wrecked Star Destroyers. Not only is she Han Solo, but she’s Luke Skywalker too! Effectively fighting off a trained Knight of Ren, whatever that is, in her very first lightsaber battle. But don’t you dare question her girl power you misogynist, even though it doesn’t leave much left for Finn to shine with. At least Disney will be selling plenty of Cover Girl Star Wars make-up.
When she finds Luke in The Last Jedi, rather than be trained, she lectures him about what he’s done and why he did it, as though she were there. She then bests him in a lightsaber battle. No training necessary. It’s silly, silly stuff that one would expect to find in the multitude of Star Wars knock-off films from the 1978 to 1984 period.
Writing about the films requires watching them.
There’s much to be said about race in the new trilogy.
Only because SJWs can’t seem to talk about much of anything else.
We can always do better, but the diverse Lucasfilm story team, currently headed by a woman of color, is pushing everything in the right direction. What I consider to be the “right direction” is definitely at odds with a sizable number of white men. You’ll see white men all over the Resistance as pilots, techs, bridge officers, and soldiers, but because there are no white male leads by the end of the film but villains, many white men have complained they are being pushed out of the series entirely. They forget that, even now, the vast majority of films star white men, and women and people of color are expected to enjoy those films despite a lack of representation. When women and people of color discuss issues of representation, they’re denigrated as “feminazis,” “snowflakes,” and “whiners,” and even met with harassment, threats, and coordinated attacks like Gamergate. Many white men see themselves as rightfully at the center of all narrative, and believe any narrative that doesn’t feature them as heroes, even when they are featured in supporting roles, has displaced them.
Why do you hate the white men who predominately fight wars?
While not every white man who dislikes The Last Jedi overtly dislikes its gender balance or diversity, many feel a level of discomfort with this film that they can’t name, and that expresses itself through a wide variety of odd, conflicting complaints about its filmmaking.
I can name it; it’s the pure unthinking idiocy of feminist ideology.
What solidifies this for me is the apparent need for men to publicly pronounce their dislike of the film. Hollywood releases dozens of mainstream films a year, and the only films I’ve seen men rush en masse to publicly criticize in the past few years, all for their “flawed filmmaking,” were the all-female Ghostbusters, Mad Max: Fury Road, Wonder Woman, and The Last Jedi. I saw hundreds of men openly loving deeply flawed projects like Stranger Things, Deadpool, and the Blade Runner remake. We all love things that are sloppily constructed, politically problematic, or internally inconsistent. Hell, Hamlet is all three of those and you’ll have to pry Shakespeare from my cold, dead hands. But when you see thousands of men all rushing to the internet to publicly denounce something for its “flaws,” all of which contradict each other and all of which are routinely tolerated in male-driven films, including the original Star Wars trilogy itself, something else is afoot.
Apparently you’ve never heard of Battlefield Earth or Waterworld. Or indeed, of Ishtar or Cabin Boy. Honestly, you’re focusing on the criticism that displeases you the most, while excluding criticism that doesn’t conform to the narrative you’re crafting here. It’s fairly transparent. Wonder Woman was widely well received by all sexes. Only the feminists seemed to have an issue with it. Mad Max: Fury Road was criticized for the feminism, not for the female characters. It was also criticized for the bait and switch nature of the marketing. The all female Ghost Busters was criticized for being a reboot rather than continuation of the original GB universe, not for having female ghost busters. Blade Runner 2049 has received much criticism. Criticizing bad films online is as common as running tap water. For gosh sakes, where were you for the 7 years or so that the Prequels were raked over the coals? Probably in your mother’s arms getting poop wiped from your butt.
The real problem here is that like the shell shocked soldier, you’re fighting a cultural war that was fought and won 40 years ago. You’re not blazing a trail. Rather, you’re on a very well worn beaten path.
What about Terminator, or the Alien franchises which both showcase prominent strong female characters and both which are highly thought of by men? What about Firefly that has a strong female of color lead? What about the V miniseries from the 1980s that had both strong female heroes and villains? What about The Fifth Element with Lela? The list goes on and on. Why aren’t you mentioning any of these films? Because they don’t conform to the narrative you’re crafting. Or you’re just unaware of them.
I don’t think every human who disliked The Last Jedi is an evil, evil misogynist. I do think that we have so deeply internalized sexist narrative tropes that we see them as “correct” and “good filmmaking” while seeing their absence as “flaws.” We read female characters differently than male characters, and we have internalized expectations for female character arcs. Instead of seeing this film for what it is, people are criticizing it for not conforming to the expectations they have of female characters. It’s fine to dislike something, but we should all spend a little more time thinking deeply about why before we charge onto the internet with “I’m fine with female-driven films, BUT . . .”
Or maybe some people just like to wring their hands over problems that don’t exist.
If she can fart like a man too, then maybe she can Force Fart Kylo Ren away. How’s that for a new Force power?