The prevailing wisdom among movie fans is that a big-screen blockbuster lives or dies based off the quality of its main villain. It’s not hard to see why – after all, if the baddie in question isn’t a memorable or credible threat, watching our heroes triumph over them isn’t particularly satisfying.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. With the exception of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the rogues gallery of the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe have largely proven a disappointing bunch. But even so, the marketing machines behind virtually every blockbuster film – including those released by Marvel Studios – put a significant amount of effort into generating pre-release excitement around the supposed awesomeness of their villains.
Sometimes, these big bads really do live up to the promotional buzz. Brilliantly twisted creations like Heath Ledger’s Joker have since gone on to become iconic examples of what a cinematic antagonist should be, far exceeding audience expectations along the way. But more often than not, the hoopla surrounding these nefarious characters turns out to be grossly exaggerated.
Check out our list of 15Major Movie Villains That Didn’t Live Up To The Hype.
If you’re a long-time reader of The Pop Culture Studio, you probably noticed that I didn’t review The Last Jedi, unlike the other recent instalments in the Star Wars saga.There’s a reason for this: my initial reaction to Rian Johnson’s film was negative – really negative.
And despite the tone of some of my recent “work for hire” posts, being negative isn’t what The Studio is about. On the contrary, this site is supposed to be about being constructive – even when it comes to movies, TV shows or comics that I don’t like – and I genuinely wasn’t sure that I could do that when it came to The Last Jedi, that’s how unimpressed I was.
However, in the weeks since the movie was released, I’ve subsequently reconsidered my opinion of it – or looked at it from a different point of view, as Obi-Wan Kenobi might have put it – and I’ve come to the realisation that I do like it after all.
Don’t get me wrong: I still have issues with the film – major issues, in fact. But ultimately, I’ve decided that these imperfections are insignificant compared to The Last Jedi’s many good points, and what the film means for the future of the franchise and its fans.
Within the Star Warsuniverse, the Jedi Knights and Sith Lords are renowned thanks to the awesome powers granted to them by their mastery of the Force. With the Force as their ally, a fully trained member of either order can move faster, jump higher, and just generally fight better than a non-Force sensitive individual. They also boast a myriad of even more fantastical abilities, ranging from telekinesis to precognition and other extrasensory gifts.
As such, both Jedi and Sith combatants are theoretically unstoppable – except when they forget how to use their powers! If that sounds unlikely (or even a little silly), it shouldn’t. Over the course of all the Star Wars films released to date, numerous servants of the light and dark sides of the Force – including several very prominent ones – have lost because they neglected to effectively use the amazing abilities at their disposal.
There’s a real-world reason for this, of course: it’s just not that exciting to watch unbeatable characters, so the filmmakers occasionally resort to afflicting Force users with temporary amnesia. But let’s be honest – half the time, audiences are so enthralled by these adventures in a galaxy far, far away, they don’t even notice.
Here are 15 Times The Jedi And Sith Forgot How To Use Their Powers.
By now, we’ve all had time to digest the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (unless you’re one of the strong-willed souls who resisted the urge to watch it!). General consensus among fans and critics seems to be that – adorable porgs aside – Episode VIII of cinema’s greatest sci-fi/fantasy saga looks like a far darker outing than its predecessor, The Force Awakens.
After all, this most recent look at the film provided new glimpses of a grumpy, grizzled version of Luke Skywalker, good guys the Resistance on the run, and Jedi-in-training Rey being tortured by big bad Supreme Leader Snoke – at last taking a break from his giant hologram Wizard Of Oz-schtick. Heck, there’s even the suggestion that a bit of matricide might be on the cards, with tormented wannabe Darth Vader Kylo Ren seemingly poised to murder his mother, the former Princess Leia!
Ratcheting up the gloom factor has only served to further fuel comparisons between The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back – the latter of which is widely considered not only the best Star Wars episode of all time, but a perfect example of the “darker sequel” done right. And whilst it’s hard not to see tonal similarities between these two sombre films – just as it was impossible not to draw parallels between The Force Awakens and series opener A New Hope – the trailer has left me feeling surprisingly upbeat.
That’s because – despite its surface-level imitation of The Empire Strikes Back – this tantalising peek at The Last Jedi seems to have rewarded the faith of fans like me who hoped that incoming director Rian Johnson would finally taking the franchise in a fresh new direction. “This is not going to go the way you think,” promises Luke at one point – and thank the Force for that!
Cliffhanger endings have been keeping movie audiences on the edge of their seats since virtually the dawn of cinema. Not to be confused with stand alone films containing ambiguous, “open” endings, this storytelling device sees films draw to a close without a true resolution, but rather with the promise of more events to come.
First popularized in serials of the 1920s and 1930s – famous for the “To be continued” text that rounded each instalment – cliffhangers have long proven divisive among cinemagoers. After all, by their nature, cliffhanger endings typically prevent a film from having a truly satisfying conclusion.
How can they, when they’re designed to build anticipation for a follow-up movie containing the story’s actual finale? Even so, when done well, cliffhangers can be a thrilling way to wrap up a film, dramatically raising the stakes even as they surprise viewers with shocking revelations and happenings.
As cinema history is filled to the brim with famous – and infamous! – cliffhanger endings, we’ve pulled together this list of 10 Amazing Movie Cliffhangers (And 5 That Are Terrible) for your reading pleasure.
Every great movie franchise – from James Bondto Harry Potter – has its fair share of amazing deleted scenes, and Star Wars is no different. Ever since the first film was released way back in 1977, awesome footage of our favorite galaxy far, far away has ended up on the cutting room floor!
Of course, the filmmakers almost always had very good reasons for trimming these moments from their respective Star Wars episodes. More often than not, the rationale behind these cuts was two-fold – to improve the plot’s pacing, as well as to streamline the narrative.
Whilst we can all agree that a briskly-paced, tightly-focused Star Wars movie is ideal, there’s a few instances where it seems that the editor’s scissors were used a bit too judiciously. The end result is scenes being omitted that should arguably have been left in the final cut.
Over the years, Lucasfilm has shared a hefty chunk of these rejected sequences, leading fans to speculate over whether or not they deserved to wind up on the trash heap.
With this in mind, we’ve sifted through all the available unused Star Wars footage, in order to pull together this list of 15 Star Wars Deleted Scenes That Should Have Been Includedin the finished films!
Most movie cameos are easy to spot – indeed, a lot of the time, noticing these brief appearances by big names in the industry is entirely the point! But sometimes, these “mega star, minor moment” instances can fly completely under the radar.
When this happens, it’s almost always on purpose. The typical rationale for sneaking a recognizable face into a film is that the filmmakers want to do a favor for one of their high profile friends – and c’mon, who doesn’t want to be in a flick like Star Wars? – without distracting the audience.
Other times, it’s a case of those involved looking to have a bit of good-natured fun and hoodwinking the audience by hiding a major celebrity in plain sight.
Whatever the reason, spotting these often ultra-brief walk-ons by some of the biggest names in the entertainment world can be a surprisingly rewarding feeling – consider it the movie geek version of bird watching.
It also means that you’ll likely never watch certain scenes in quite the same way, knowing that guy or gal you thought was only an extra is actually a Hollywood A-lister in disguise.
So in order to totally rock your world – or at the very least, encourage you to revisit a lot of great films – we’ve compiled this list of 20 Movie Cameos You Completely Missed. Happy hunting!