“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” may be one of the most critically acclaimed entries in the franchise (IndieWire gave it an A- and called it it the most satisfying “Star Wars” film in decades), but it’s passionately dividing fans in a way most “Star Wars” films don’t. Unlike the universally beloved reception to “The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi” isn’t every fan’s up of tea.
“The Last Jedi” currently holds a negative 57 percent Rotten Tomatoes user score after over 83,000 responses, which pales in comparison to the 88 percent “The Force Awakens” ended up with after over 200,000 user scores. But while the Rotten Tomatoes user score indicates a more-negative fan response, the IMDb score is currently at 8.0 (even with “The Force Awakens”) and received an ‘A’ CinemaScore (also equal to “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One”).
All of these metrics are based on reactions from the movie’s first 24 hours of release, which is often attended by the most die-hard fans. While CinemaScore grades and Rotten Tomato user scores hardly give a definitive answer as to how a movie is being received, it is obvious that “The Last Jedi” is dividing the “Star Wars” fandom.
[Editor’s note: Spoilers for “The Last Jedi” follow.]
One reason “The Last Jedi” is proving so divisive: Rian Johnson’s script is reckless with any number of fan theories that came out of “The Force Awakens.” A fan who spent the last two years obsessing over Rey’s parentage (is she a Skywalker? Or maybe she’s a Kenobi?) was likely disappointed when a conversation between the character and Kylo Ren revealed there’s nothing special about her parents. By the end of “The Last Jedi,” we learn that Rey’s parents were commoners from Jakku who probably “sold her off for some drinking money.” That revelation is probably not the answer fans were expecting.
Other theories that went out the door applied to Supreme Leader Snoke. Fans had been debating the true identity of First Order Supreme Leader Snoke for years, with some suggesting he was the evil Darth Plagueis, who ended up being the mentor to Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. But in the end, Snoke isn’t terribly important to the saga; Kylo Ren assassinates him with ease during a tense confrontation in which Snoke is tormenting Rey. It couldn’t have been easy for Snoke conspiracy theorists to witness the character exit the franchise with zero fanfare.
“The Last Jedi” is clearly screwing with the expectations assembled by “The Force Awakens,” and it’s either thrilling fans or making them frustrated. Fortunately, “The Empire Strikes Back” wasn’t universally embraced when it first opened, either, and it ended up being the most beloved entry in the franchise. As Yoda might say, patience you must have.