Old licensed sets had a touch of LEGO's own creativity in them. Models weren't perfect recreations, and that's where the soul lies, since you use your imagination - or even better - improve them yourself, and thus draw enjoyment from them. Nowadays every licensed theme has specific unique pieces made for them that are designed specifically after the original thing from the source material.
Why make a star wars blaster out existing pieces and your own imagination when you can just make a one-piece mold of a blaster, right? Why try to build anything instead of just making specific molds for everything like all other toys do?
Why stop there, why have your own pirate theme you can do anything with and make incredible shit (like Vikings) when you can just license POTC and join the mainstream? Why have a cheeky aussie explorer when you can just make Indiana Jones the only cheeky explorer in existence? No need for originality.
I excuse Star Wars '99 because LEGO Space/Tron series was long retired and there was a vacuum in space themes around that time, but doing it too much just makes it pointless. What's the point if it's just an imitation of existing media? All other licensed toys already do that. It makes me sad, but I guess you have to follow the money sometimes.