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The burden that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” faces is a heavy one indeed. “The Force Awakens” gave the series a much-needed boost, but it did so mostly by banking on nostalgia. Now that intros (reintros?) are over, fans are expecting “The Last Jedi” to not only live up to the hype of its predecessor, but the reputation of one of the greatest sequels in existence, “The Empire Strikes Back.” And it must not only do this in a wholly original way, but in a fashion that does justice to both the new characters and the old, especially since the late great Carrie Fisher has passed. The film is dedicated to her, and indeed, she was such a vital presence that I almost forgot she was longer with us. RIP.
People are truly odd creatures. We demand conformity, but we also have a soft spot for weirdos. We love to see people achieve their dreams, but we also relish a fall from grace. We revere creators, but we are also quick to tear apart their creations if we perceive them to be too flawed. However, there’s a caveat to this very basic human trait in that we are also suckers for sincerity. So even if a piece of art is lacking, it can be partially redeemed if it has two things going for it. One, the art has to still be enjoyable. Two, the person who made it has to have that earnestness that we all find so charming.