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!
But, as I lack Jedi clairvoyance, I wasn’t able to foresee the arrival of the Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi teaser trailer earlier this week, and thus realise that my intended next post would soon be headed the way of the Death Star.
Still, what you lose in variety, we all gain in excitement – because The Last Jedi teaser is exciting. VERY exciting.
This first sneak peek at director Rian Johnson’s new adventure offers fleeting, tantalising glimpses of Leia, Finn, the Millennium Falcon and at least one breathtakingly epic space battle, all of which are enough to give fans genuine goosebumps of anticipation.
Even so, these brief moments – whilst undeniably cool – are virtually nothing compared to what else is on show, which is why I’ve pulled together this rundown of the biggest talking points across the galaxy (or at least, the internet) surrounding the teaser, and what they might mean when The Last Jedi hits cinemas this December!