Wait. Was the new Star Wars a good or bad movie?
Critics and fans rarely agree on anything, least of all whether or not Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a good/bad movie.
Take the reviews of a movie like Justice League, which critics hated and fans loved—an obvious disparity seen in the (not exactly scientific) polling on a site like Rotten Tomatoes, where it has a 40 percent from critics and a 79 percent from fans.
One thing fans and critics normally agree on, though, is Star Wars. Episodes I-VII, on average, had a 5.75 percentage of variance between what critics' scores and audience response. These numbers are often compiled from hundreds of critical reviews and up to millions of fan reviews. They're not perfect by any means—all art is subjective—but they do provide the best idea we can get.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hit theatres this month, is already the most polarizing film in the saga. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a critic rating of 93 percent (full disclosure: I also really liked it) and an audience review of 56 percent. This is based on 287 critic reviews and 106,815 fan reviews.
A few things to note: this is only 106,815 immediate fan reviews, compared to the 1,203,446 people who have reviewed Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and the millions more who saw The Last Jedi this month.
It's also important to note that fans and critics watch these movies for very different things. Fans are there to be entertained, to immerse themselves in a beloved universe. Critics aren't just going there for thrills; they're watching the movie to analyze the craft and performances, too.
What director Rian Johnson and critics view as bold pivots for the narrative in terms of this film and the franchise as a whole, fans are more inclined to view The Last Jedi as "not Star Wars." Take for example one user's take on Rotten Tomatoes:
...Were you intrigued about Snoke? "Well it just won't matter"...Want to know who Rey's parents are? "Well, it just won't matter"...Want more Phasma? "Well, it just won't matter"
And this type of storytelling is certain to annoy fans, given Star Wars has—maybe to a fault—over-explained every connection and detail. Yet, critics, along with myself, agreed with Johnson's thematic exploration of killing your past. These are unexpected and fresh twists in the Star Wars narrative. As Johnson told me recently:
I’m sure some fans will be disappointed and some fans won't. Having been a Star Wars fan myself for the last 40 years, I know how deeply we all care about these movies and every one of us has a thing that they want from the film. In all the things that you mentioned, whether it’s Rey’s parent thing or Snoke, I arrived at those decisions based entirely on dramatic necessity.
Certainly, time will tell how this will fit in with the quality (or lack thereof) within the greater saga. It's possible fans might come around. Change is hard sometimes, and Johnson took some bold risks with this film that fans may get used to. Plus, many more fans probably haven't even seen the film and may have more positive knee-jerk reactions to The Last Jedi.
Plus, the story isn't done yet. It's still to be seen how J.J. Abrams concludes the greatest sci-fi saga in film history.