Lots of passion in this thread. Wanted to respond to so many posts and realized that would be futile. So I thought I’d tell a little story, as my reaction - and contribution - to this dialogue.
I remember seeing RotJ back in the day. I was a senior in HS at that point and highly anticipated the movie. I was a fan of “Star Wars”. Not crazy over the top mind you, but I did wait in line overnight 3 years earlier to see Empire in 70 MM the day it opened, at one of SoCals best theatres (at Newport Fashion Island).
So, after the amazing surprise that was Star Wars and the breathtaking majesty of ESB, I was pretty disappointed with RotJ. RotJ came off as kind of a caricature of a “real” Star Wars movie to me, with all the main actors playing caricatures of themselves. Really over playing them to a fault (the dialogue and direction didn’t help). Playing who they “thought” they should be, rather than “being” the real deal. Especially Han. It was like they could no longer play these roles fresh, after all the years of blockbuster stardom and hype.
RotJ has plenty of wooden moments and some very lame jokes. And (flame suit on) I just didn’t fully believe in Luke as a Jedi Master. In the opening scenes at Jabba’s to rescue Han, Luke is so stiff and overly serious. Comically so. Like he’s trying so hard to convince us that he’s a Jedi Master. It felt flat to me. In fact, the way he acted in RotJ is how he might have expected to act in TLJ under different circumstances. But whatever.
Slave Leia was kind of ridiculous (pretty questionable situation for the daughter of Anakin Skywalker). And Boba Fett is there, and cool why? I never understood the nerdy facination with Boba Fett. And later - after a second (how original) Death Star gets destroyed - we get the Ewocks and the happy dance with Force Ben and Force Yoda smiling their asses off while force Anakin looks like a zombie deer in the headlights. Yuck.
And yet, ya know, it wasn’t all bad. There was some bitchin’ shit in that movie, and I reluctantly enjoyed it. Maybe only a 6.5/10, but hell, it was Star Wars, right? But after, I was kinda over it all - like Levi is now - especially once it was understood that no more movies were forthcoming. And anyway, after the middle of the road RotJ, how could I ever have such high expectations again?
Well, after 15 years the blood was pumping pretty good when TPM finally arrived! I remember watching it wanting to love it so much. Eh. There was a lot to like, and a lot not to. After the huge build up, it was a another disappointment. In truth, this was two clunkers in a row. And my expectations for Star Wars movies have been low ever since. Which is why 7,8 and Rogue One have been such pleasant surprises.
And yes, I liked TLJ. It started poorly, got kinda random for awhile - and there was plenty to criticize, and things I’d do differently - but damn, those last 40 minutes or so felt like sheer Star Wars to me. All in all it was fun and I had a good time. And for the first time in about 20 years, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what’s next. Pretty cool.
TL;DR: My kids and all of their friends that have seen the movie LOVE it. My kids looked at me in disbelief today when I mentioned the hate TLJ’s getting online and on Pinside. I explained some of the reasons and they couldn’t care less. They simply loved the movie and can’t wait for the next one.
Star Wars indeed.