Prologue: I wrote most of this post well past midnight on a work day back in January. Earlier that day, I had decided to go for back-to-back shows of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Greatest Showman because the tickets were < ₹200 in total.
My filters were down when I wrote this post so it’s really raw and rant-ish. I am also not a movie buff or a fan of Star Wars. I have been hesitant about hitting publish on this draft.
In the end, I reasoned that this post is more about how the movies made me feel than about the movies themselves. Expression.
The Greatest Showman and Star Wars: The Last Jedi could not be further apart.
One is a celebration of human emotions, while the other is cheesier than a pizza. I was so disappointed with Star Wars that I actually left during the intermission. Seriously. I just walked out of the theater, grabbed a burger and waited for the movie to end.
SW:TLJ dismantled the carefully crafted emotional experience that the franchise had created and vainly throws it against you hoping to strike nostalgia. The acting is weak, the dialog is even weaker, and the comedy is more predictable than this sentence.
Now look, it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (that would be the latest Justice League), but if you went into the theatre with anything resembling expectations, you were going to leave disappointed. That is, unless you are a Star Wars fan.
“Lost the plot” is the best way to summarise this Star Wars movie. The characters and story were so generic that you could substitute them (aliens and all) into the storyline of any other action-thriller and release it next December.
The Greatest Showman was at the other end of the spectrum. Ironically, it was this movie—compared to the one that takes place in a galaxy far, far away—that made me feel like I was dreaming with my eyes open.
The story was not rushed, the emotions were real and the movie engaged me. It made me feel motivated, charged, ready to make something happen. None of these can be said about Star Wars.
I left Star Wars disappointed. There was potential to do something different, something good—look at how Marvel broke the superhero mould with Deadpool or Black Panther—but the directors chose this nostalgia-fest route.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have such a contrasting reaction if I hadn’t watched the two movies back to back. But in any case, I maintain that TGS is objectively better than Star Wars. There. I said it.
Epilogue: [14 July 2018] I arrived in Manila a few days back, and was greeted by TGS soundtracks in malls & cars. Looks like the movie released late, on 10 April 2018, in the Philippines.
I have also read a few professional reviews of Star Wars. Critical response is generally positive, with a lot of critics writing about subtleties that I missed. But I am not a true Star Wars fan, and I don’t expect a vast majority of movie goers to be either (no matter what they claim) 🤷🏻♂️