Look, I believe, as well meaning as this article is, that it presents a false binary.
I was a Star Wars fan who loved The Force Awakens despite its over-reliance on repeating the past. I loved it because of many of the factors which I agree kept the brand evergreen: updated ethnic and gender roles, hints at moral complexity, the failure of the white male at being the ultimate at everything, introduction of many key figures [Knights of Ren? Snoke? Maz? Etc.] I loved all of that!
What I was hoping for in The Last Jedi was a development of these characters and themes.
What I got were failures of narrative. It is good for Leia to be a powerful force user, but she needs some backstory or at least some reaction of awe and maybe a [I just don’t know how I did that] to explain her sudden transfer into what Jedi masters might not be able to do. I wish it had been introduced in TFA, or at least built up to in TLJ. As it was, we got a deus ex machina of the worst kind.
In addition, I think dismissing Snoke without explanation of how he rose to power, or what he was doing through the prequels and the OT, was narrative failure. I loved the mystery in TFA, but I think TLJ dropped the ball in not developing this at all. Especially how Kylo was brought in his fold.
Luke and A-choo were just an embarrassment here, too. It wasn’t so much that Luke was a disgruntled and frightened old man — it was how his character was written to be that disgruntled and frightened old man. It was like a Sunday comic pages sketch of what he might be like, rather than a mature explanation of what his character must have gone through. Also, the CGI effects brought me back to Late Lucas indulgences which were, simply put, humiliating for the franchise then, and a striking and dumb regression here. Milking a CGI sea-cow? Porgs? Custodians who seemed like ugly racial and/or gender stereotypes rather than full characters? A sea dragon in the distance filling up space for the purpose of filling up space? It all seemed like Johnson refusing to let the Prequel past die [and the enhanced OT], instead relishing its worst parts.
I can get behind changes to the characters, expanding the roles of women and minorities, and growth and development from a simple Skywalker focused narrative about good [Jedi] and evil [Sith]. I’m not a neanderthal. I just want better writing.
After the prequels, we deserve it.
Rogue 1 was awesome in almost every way. TFA was a good start, but left some novelty wanting.
The Last Jedi got novelty right but sacrificed established narrative agreements to do so, and not in a ground-breaking awesome complicated narrative way — in a kill it if you must way, which dispensed with good storytelling.