Industry NewsOpinion

Why All the Conservative Hate for ‘The Last Jedi?’

The critics have spoken. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a worthy extension to the grand film franchise.

The eighth chapter in the series currently sits at 93 percent “Fresh” at RottenTomatoes.com. That’s as good a snapshot as any when it comes to the critical community.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official)

Here’s a sample rave, courtesy of Rolling Stone:

Rian Johnson’s middle chapter in the current Star Wars trilogy is the epic you’ve been looking for. Capped by Mark Hamill in the performance of his career, it points the way ahead to a next generation of skywalkers -- and, thrillingly, to a new hope.

There’s a disturbance in the Force all the same. Consider National Review critic Kyle Smith pounding writer/director Rian Johnson’s new film:

Redeemed in part by a solid final half-hour, The Last Jedi (henceforth TLJ) is not (quite) as bad as the prequels, but it’s like hearing 1980s hits as played by a mediocre cover band. So many elements in Episode VIII are recycled that it could have been called Rerun of the Jedi.

To be fair, Smith can be rather tough on films. So let’s check in with Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon.

…writer/director Rian Johnson also borrows from the prequel trilogy’s shoddier storytelling impulses and action set pieces….

Unfortunately, we keep getting dragged away from the only emotionally resonant portion of the film to watch Finn and Rose engage in sub-prequel hijinks on the casino planet. Everything here is forced and awful, visually uninteresting and often dark to the point of unwatchability, lousy with mawkish little kids making bug eyes at the camera as we marvel at the horror of economic inequality, and drowned in an atrocious patina of truly terrible CGI.

The Daily Wire’s Harry Khachatrian dubs the movie a “152-minute long mess.”

Here are more scathing takeaways from the new film.

You can add this critic’s pointed review of “The Last Jedi,” too.

What do the aforementioned comments have in common? They’re all from conservatives, either right of center film critics or political scribes.

Why?

The new film does offer a clunky “bash the rich” subplot. It’s hardly reason for anyone to smite the film in toto. “Jedi” features an aggressively diverse cast, a sign of our PC times, perhaps. So did the last film in the saga, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Big deal.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer (Official)

So … why?

HiT reached out to Griswold for his thoughts as to why the right/left divide is invading The Force.

“I guess the self-serving explanation is that conservatives tend to be skeptical when it comes to Hollywood/cultural groupthink, and liberals tend to get a bit more caught up in it,” Griswold offers HiT.

One point needs to be stated but rarely is in journalism circles. Film critics, like their hard news peers, are overwhelmingly left of center politically speaking. I’ve worked as a film critic for more than 15 years. I’ve spoken to my fellow critics, read their countless tweets and examined their reviews.

It’s the truth.

RELATED: How ‘Ghostbusters’ Exposed Blatant Media Bias

The best of those critics camouflage their biases while filing reviews for mainstream outlets. Too many either don’t or refuse to acknowledge how their ideology filters into their work. The latter has gotten worse in recent years, as critics integrate their Social Justice Warrior values into their commentary.

That still doesn’t explain the ideological gap growing with “The Last Jedi” reviews. The franchise, for the most part, has remained free of the partisan bickering that consumes the culture of late. Some scribes tried to transform “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” into an anti-Trump triumph with little impact.

The new trilogy’s embrace of the term “Resistance” began before the colorfully clad resistance formed following the Nov. 8, 2016’s election results.

A key “Last Jedi” figure has made it his mission to battle the president on Twitter.

That’s hardly the reason Bunch, Smith or yours truly smited “The Last Jedi.” For once this Hollywood observer is baffled. Happy to hear any thoughts readers have in the space below.


If you liked this story please visit The Hollywood in Toto Facebook Page and give it a “like.” Thanks!

Show More

53 Comments

  1. I REALLY think Andrew Klavan is on to something when he says that far too often, Conservative outlets assign movie reviews to folks whose expertise is politics, and not…movies. “To save/critique the arts, you first have to LOVE the arts.”

    1. I judge critics the same way I judge movies themselves, through a prism of pure formalism: what sort of good reasons do they provide for liking or not liking a movie, and how well do they articulate those reasons?

      1. Exactly. For me, honestly, when I read critics saying Justice League (or Man of Steel, while we’re at it) had “paper-thin characters”, I can’t help thinking “In what universe?! In the DC movies, characterization is their STRENGTH. It’s weak on plot, but not CHARACTER….”

      2. Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
        On tuesday I got a great New Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !da244d:
        ➽➽
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleNewNetJobsServiceOpportunities/earn/hourly ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!da244luuu

    2. In order to truly love the arts, you need to be at least somewhat discerning in your definition of what art is. Many liberals, for instance, consider 50 Cent to be a rap artist. It sounds like some conservative art lovers correctly categorize this latest phoned-in Star Wars episode as a hack job attempt at mass market, lowest common denominator entertainment.

        1. Got it. Conservative critics are unimpressed with this On The Waterfront-level cinematic masterpiece because conservatives simply don’t love art.

          1. Guess what, genius–people can simply scroll back up and see that our thread started with the following gem, written by you:

            “I REALLY think Andrew Klavan is on to something when he says that far too often, Conservative outlets assign movie reviews to folks whose expertise is politics, and not…movies. “To save/critique the arts, you first have to LOVE the arts.”

          2. And a silly film that even a nerd like you admits is flawed got a bad review from a conservative–a conservative who likes moves and even likes other Star Wars movies–so you leaped to an inane conclusion about conservatives, and categorized this cinematic attempt at entertainment as ART.

            Any more questions?

          3. Take a deep breath. Calm down.

            NOW…I recommend paying attention to what Andrew Klavan has said. Far too often, the guys assigned to review the arts (movies, etc) for Conservative outlets come out of political commentary, not art commentary. They apply their POLITICAL analysis to films, etc., without applying analysis from the ARTISTIC standpoint. Or worse, they try to and aren’t good at it, because that’s not their background.

            THAT’S my concern. All Film Is Subjective, and I get that. My concern is that I fear too many Conservative reviewers hyper-politicize their approach to the film, to the point of seeing problems where they don’t exist.

            SEE: Gavin McInnis blasting Rogue One and Arrival for being “feminist propaganda”.

          4. I’m very calm. This is a tired, boring, old argument from the left, but for some reason I never get tired of shooting fish in a barrel.

            Here, I edited this for you:

            *Far too often, the guys/GALS assigned to review the arts (movies, etc) for MAINSTREAM/PROGRESSIVE outlets come out of political commentary, not art commentary. They apply their POLITICAL analysis to films, etc., without applying analysis from the ARTISTIC standpoint.*

            If you aren’t aware of how brutally politically subjective mainstream reviews of films/tv shows have become–with reviewers (oftentimes WITHOUT any film background) condemning the racist/imperialist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/blah blah toxic masculinity blahblahblah in contemporary movies and TV shows, then you’re hopelessly out of touch with the culture you’re living in. As a result, film studios and TV networks have teams of P.C. police scrutinizing scripts for “strong female characters,” “Positive minority depictions,” “Social Justice narratives,” etc. etc. etc. The conservative “politicalization” you speak of is actually a justified reaction to this political tampering with the creative process. Glad I could clear all that up for you.

            Here’s a current little treat from a CNN political writer condemning kids’ cartoons for their “fascist” content. Down with Paw Patrol! Bash the Animated Doggie Fash!

            http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/22/health/thomas-tank-engine-paw-patrol-fascist-cartoon-strauss/index.html

            PS
            Already SAW: Gavin McGinnis blasting Rogue One and Arrival for being feminist propaganda, and I think he has a point. See above.

          5. Friend, let me explain something:

            It is fully, truly, 100% wrong when a “Progressive” politicizes a movie that doesn’t warrant it, let their politics slant their analysis, or otherwise let their politics overly affect their judgement of a movie AS A FILM UNTO ITSELF.

            It is every BIT as wrong when someone on our side doesn’t it. And sadly, it’s easier for us to suffer consequences of that bad judgement.

            Further, you’ve engaged in straw men arguments. OF COURSE I’m aware of the problem of propaganda in Hollywood. The way to fight that, however, is NOT to go around seeing propaganda where it doesn’t exist–or to exaggerate, and miss such things as potential “bait and switch” elements.

            Finally…if you think Gavin is right, then I don’t know what to say, except to note that throughout this exchange, you’ve just proven my point over and over. Worth noting: Even GAVIN has stepped back from that militant attitude (though he seems to be refusing to acknowledge those previous vids…). See his video about “Get Out”.

            Again, we do need to call out propaganda WHEN IT ACTUALLY EXISTS. HOWEVER…we also need to pay attention to nuance, to the possibility that it isn’t always that simple. A businessman who starts off in a film coming across as Slimy and Greedy may actually turn out to be right all along (Other People’s Money). Or a film with an anti-gun advocate as the main character may turn out to be pro-gun, with the character going through an arc.

            The point is simply that FAR too many on our side have a knee-jerk reaction that doesn’t take those possibilities into account.

            “But THEY DO IT, TOO!”

            And it’s WRONG, when they do it.

          6. Strawman? What did I write? Oh, here it is:

            “If you aren’t aware of how brutally politically subjective mainstream reviews of films/tv shows have become…. then you’re hopelessly out of touch with the culture you’re living in.”

            This is an absolutely true statement, and it is not asserting that you are not aware. You replied by saying you are. I’m not convinced, either way.

            As for fallacies, your post is riddled with them, along with confused copouts like:

            “Finally…if you think Gavin is right, then I don’t know what to say.”

            I believe that you don’t know what to say.

            I happen to know how contemporary Hollywood (and the TV, Theater, Cartoon, literary, comic book, Video Game etc. industries) work. The studios, etc. do not employ rewrite panels to make sure that fictional Republican characters are treated fairly or to ensure that traditional gender roles are respected. They exist to enforce “diversity” and to promote multicultural utopianism and a pro-gay agenda and, perhaps especially, “Strong female characters” who often come across as laughable cartoons to reviewers like Gavin. They exists to weave “social justice” into storylines. There is no need to find propaganda where there is none, because there is an epidemic of this kind of propaganda, an abundance–it is virtually everywhere. You have cherry picked what you consider to be some exceptions, and I don’t dispute that there are exceptions. I’m talking about the trend that “conservative” reviewers are reacting to, and I’m glad they are. There is a lot to mock there, and it should be mocked. We are in the midst of a Progressive war on art. This suggests that it is actually the Progressives who don’t love the arts, save polemic approaches to art that serve only to reinforce The Narrative.

            It’s more complicated than that, of course. One form of Hollywood propaganda, for instance, that Gavin is decidedly blind to is the not uncommon reinforcement of the Neocon agenda, and an unspoken censorship when it comes to subjects like, say, the plight of the Palestinians. Critics should call Hollywood out on these matters as well. But they won’t–at least not in frank terms–unless they come from outlets on the far left or far right “fringes” of the political spectrum.

            Anyway, as for this Star Wars movie, and finding agendas where there are none and all of that… Um… I’m really not sure why you are blaming conservatives for pushing back against the ham-handed agendas in this film that countless Progressive critics are openly celebrating:

            http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/star-wars/269657/toxic-masculinity-is-the-true-villain-of-star-wars-the-last-jedi

            https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2017/12/last-jedi-first-properly-feminist-star-wars

            https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/dec/18/star-wars-the-last-jedi-women-bechdel-test

            http://www.mtv.com/news/3053737/star-wars-last-jedi-feminist/

          7. Pearl, the strawman is assuming that I’m somehow unaware of the propaganda coming out of Hollywood.

            That’s absurd. I’ve been talking about that for years.

            What I’m talking about here is when those on our side respond to that legitimate problem by firing at the wrong things–seeing propaganda where it isn’t, making mountains out of the proverbial molehills.

            Gavin made his knee-jerk judgement about Rogue One before he even saw it, because “female lead” MUST equal “feminist Strong Female Character”.

            As it turns out, Rogue One was a good solid Conservative-friendly film. Jyn is highly vulnerable, and clearly is no Atomic Blonde super-chick.

            She even quotes Ronald Reagan in her speech to the leaders of the rebellion.

            My point, Pearl, is that Conservatives need to follow Andrew Klavan and CELEBRATE whenever the arts get it Right, pun intended. Examples: Anything by Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel (and frankly superhero movies in general), Arrival (as Ben Shapiro pointed out, a STRONG pro-life film)…and Rogue One.

          8. There is a record of what we both wrote here, as you know. And, again, I will point out what you already know. I wrote:

            “If you aren’t aware of how brutally politically subjective mainstream reviews of films/tv shows have become…. then you’re hopelessly out of touch with the culture you’re living in.”

            The inclusion of the word “if” keeps in firmly out of “Strawman” territory, which I pointed out in my last post. Also, how dare you perpetuate the patriarchy? The correct term is Strawperson.

            And, as you know, our thread began when you posted in response to an article that asked why conservatives didn’t like the lame new installation of Star Wars. You asserted that this was because conservatives were finding a political agenda where there is none–because conservative outlets assign film reviews to people who do not love the arts. This is absurd. As I pointed out, Progressives are high-fiving over the “feminist” “takedown” of “toxic masculinity” in this new Star Wars film. You ignored that fact. That there is obviously plenty of P.C. political agenda in this new Star Wars film, and conservative reviewers are justified in pointing this out. This is a fact you won’t accept, because you can’t admit that your post was silly.

          9. Give it a little time. There’s a lot more nuance to what goes on in this film than you seem to realize. But that’s something I can’t talk about JUST yet. Stay tuned, on this very site.

          10. shouting Rush is not getting anyone to listen…. I thought you had a point but now you just lost me

          11. My intention was to emphasize, not to come off as shouting. Sadly there are no options for italics or underlining with Disqus, at least not that I’m aware of. I apologize for any confusion.

          12. I agree with you in part. Milo and Gavin certainly can’t be trusted to tell you whether or not a movie is good. They will smash it or praise it purely on its politics. Christian at least tries to give you both. Even One Angry Gamer does a better job, and his whole schtick is anti-SJW.

            However, you are dead wrong about Last Jedi. It’s a terrible film with a handful of good performances. The more you think on it, the more it is awful in almost every conceivable way. Even the lauded fight with Snoke’s bodyguards is wrong. It’s mediocre lightsabre fare at best, and Kylo is once again shown up by Rey because she’s going to Mary Sue as hard as she can at all times in all directions.

            There’s nothing new or memorable about this movie. For all the talk about it being divergent it’s interesting that it didn’t do anything unique or new. God, even menace had pod-racing.

          13. Milo and Gavin attack films for bending over backwards to obey The Narrative. Mainstream critics attack films for not bending over backwards to obey The Narrative. The only difference is that because of the pressure to obey The Narrative, almost no films in the latter category are made anymore–the establishment’s power to censor is nearly absolute, when it comes to the mainstream “arts.” Meanwhile, Gavin and Milo’s critiques have no measurable impact on the film industry.

          14. Time will show it is a mediocre film. Force Awakened was a retelling of New Hope, Last Jedi crammed together bits and pieces of Empire and Return of the Jedi.

            They should have just re-released the original trilogy in theaters if they wanted to introduce a new audience to Star Wars on the big screen, they could then have used the off-year movies to include more women and POC or whatever without such lazy story-telling.

        1. I watched it recently just to make sure, and my brother and I got into an argument on wether Dark Maul final duel overshadows Jar Jar and baby Anakin enough to be better than the Last Jedi. We concluded that it didn’t.

  2. “Star Wars goggles,” perfect. Considering how often characters uttered “Rebel scum,” also pretty positive Johnson could score a marketing tie-in with Scrubbing Bubbles.

  3. Not a good movie? The worst? Hardly..I didn’t wish to see the prequels again after one viewing..I’m going to go see this one again. Too many conservatives think they’re owed movies or they just can’t enjoy anything..

    1. I had the exact opposite reaction. I have no wish to see this twice, but I gladly saw the prequels in theaters multiple times. While I won’t call it a complete disaster, I can’t imagine what it is in TLJ that you consider to be worth a second viewing.

  4. The original trilogy captured the fun and excitement of the great serials of the Thirties and Forties. The prequels were reminiscent of the lame feature condensations of serials that were distributed for TV syndication. This movie is like watching one of the lesser serials not a chapter at a time like you’re supposed, but all at once. It’s overlong and there are way too many false climaxes.

  5. Doesn’t help that one of the writers said of the previous film that the storm troopers were white supremacists, aka Republicans in leftist speech. Doesn’t make me want to watch the films. They’re also Disney being unoriginal in trying to cash in on a beloved franchise which even George failed at. Using characters we already loved, altering what we already knew of the history to make some bs they’d profit off of just from the curious fans no matter how bad the films are. Now they’re getting rid of the beloved characters for these new pc feminist icons that they’re not even doing a decent job making us care about, not that they could for me.

  6. It was a pretty good movie, maybe one of the best of the year. Stunning visuals and some really good acting by several of the actors especially the Rey character. There were plot holes galore, but I ignored them just so I can enjoy the movie. There was the leftist “rich people are bad subplot” that really didn’t bother me, but I hated… I mean really hated the Rose character. I could accept her whininess, but she does something to save a main character that made me want her to be force choked and I liked the character she saved! It was a fun movie that I thought was even better than Empire Strikes Back, but still not as good and fun as the first Star Wars.

  7. It comes to how the different sides view the world. Conservatives tend to be religious while the left isn’t. There seems to be a conscious effort to eradicate the mystic parts of the Star Wars Universe. I think conservatives see this as just another front in the culture wars and it doesn’t sit well with us. The right also believes in heroes and being heroic. Leftist artist always want to tear the hero down or muddle his reason for being heroic.

  8. There were two troubling themes for conservatives to overcome in this movie. First, the whole “abandon the religion and burn down the temple” theme. This sounded dangerously close to how liberals think that the problem with society is Christianity and all their stupid churches. Luke symbolizes the religious leader who sees that religion is all a bunch of bunk. Second, as you stated, is the whole “Rich people are evil” theme. I’m a conservative but I still loved the movie. I’m so used to liberal themes woven in that I just look past them and enjoy the rest.

  9. This movie sucked. Thanks for your review and input. Your review and https://www.reeyaa.com were honest and straight forward. I know these are both right-wing movie review sites and can get political- but it still doesnt take away on how bad this movie is. Even many left-wing Star Wars fan hate this movie. It really crapped on the mythology and the star wars universe. Yes – the production value was good and some scenes were nicely shot but it doesnt excuse the sloppy story telling, horrible characters, and disrespecting the old characters. George Lucas had rules in his universe and this movie just destroyed it all.

  10. Ha ha. “First, let’s compare yet another laughably adulatory Rolling Stone review to a ‘conservative’ reviewer. When a film blurbs a Rolling Stone review in a commercial, they should shrink the source down to the same unreadably tiny print they use for other irrelevant, pay-to-play whores.

  11. haven’t seen it yet, but I hated the too-perfect Rey character in The Force Awakens and hated that they turned Solo from a reluctant hero into bumbling loser has-been. These new movies are not my Star Wars. Disney seems to be doing just fine without my dollars, but it does seem like they are ultimately hurting themselves in the long term by damaging the Star Wars brand

  12. Just watched TLJ yesterday.
    I don’t really think it’s a left/right divide here. My liberal friends felt much the same way about many of the same plot holes, bad characters and bad writing choices.

    I DID notice the diversity hires front and center. Rose Tico might be worse than Jar Jar Binks. We were supposed to laugh at Jar Jar. We’re supposed to listen to Rose. (Hint: we’re doing neither). And some folks on the right might clue in on the male bashing. Leia literally slaps Poe. He gets belittled, stunned, insulted right and left. Similar fates befall Kylo Ren, who at least gets some comeuppance. It’s a matriarchal movie, no doubt about that. So that might be one cleavage.

    Honestly…it’s just a movie that’s saved from being outright ‘bad’ by some good performances and images.

  13. People often get more conservative as they age. Last Jedi is a stew comprised of scenes from previous Star Wars movies so those that have enjoyed the franchise generally feel they’ve seen it all before.

    Reviewers enjoyed it because they value liberal themes over plot, acting, or even a good time at the movies.

    1. I don’t agree as it has nothing to do with conservatives, it has to do with the story and if it is a good story…… This is not a movie with a good story because unlike Wonder Woman who trained since a child the Star Wars lead had no training and could almost defeat the evil white guy…… I can believe the story line with Wonder Woman but this is a fair left agenda

      1. Perhaps my point was badly stated, I’m not saying it is conservatives but more age that is the factor. People get more conservative with age but it is the age not the politics that is the factor as older folks will have watched all of the movies and can thus judge this one as a failed rehash where as a kid might not notice the half-arsed copy/paste of scene after scene. Liberal reviewers like it simply because they like liberal stuff rammed into movies despite quality.

  14. No training and she still can defeat the evil white male. Just another attack on white men by the movie industry. And yes I believe in God, the American Flag and that everyone in our country is not a victim…… unlike the movie industry and the media.—— and the movie was awful….

  15. Pretty sure people of all political stripes are unimpressed by the latest Star Wars.
    Trying to make it partisan sounds like a failed ploy by the studio to deflect from legitimate criticism of the film.

  16. Simple. I don’t think most of the critics that gave it glowing reviews really enjoyed it. I truly believe Disney wields considerable sway over professional movie critics. I’m not accusing the studio of outright bribery but Disney films get a pass on many of their flaws that other studios do not enjoy. So, in essence, there is no divergence between left and right reviewers on this. Right-wing reviewers are just more honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
Close