Full Spoilers Opinion Rant Incoming (sorry for length):
After 1 viewing (at midnight when I was tired for full disclosure) here are my thoughts and personal opinions.
Note that I am not a critique or an OT purist. I like all the fun adventure of TFA, the political intrigue and eye candy of the prequels and the classicness of the OT (sue me).
Overall I liked it, its great. But there are some weird things which I’m just not sure about.
The comedy didn’t feel forced but natural and made me laugh. I especially liked Hux and his comedic conflicts with Poe and later Ren.
But, the Porgs felt unnecessary. I didn’t find them to be cute (I’m cuteness intolerant in general) but they weren’t annoying either. Maybe made me chuckle once or twice. However, their CG design just wasn’t up to scratch and became an eyesore when they were just sitting there on a real set.
Luke and his inner conflict was great. This was also well explored with his relationships with Rey and Ren. Overall the relationships between Luke, Rey and Ren was the best subplot of the film. Really well done.
However, I was disappointed with the lack of backstory to Lukes former Jedi school. While the 3 different versions of what happened on that night was a neat idea, I can imagine it becoming tedious to rewatch what is basically the same tent scene multiple times in future viewings (unconfirmed though). Also, the only Jedi school backstory we saw was that scene in the tent thing, but no Knights of Ren or anything else which felt disappointing and underdeveloped.
The scene in Snokes throne room had good action. I really liked the fighting choreography and I was in suspense on who would turn light side or dark side.
But, Snoke himself was very poorly handled. His CGI face looked ‘off’, his lack of backstory was very disappointing and made him a hard character to connect with, consequently, I didn’t care about his death which should’ve felt more momentous. Also, whats with Snokes shiny gold suit/jacket? It just looked bad.
The Yoda scene was…interesting. I LOVE the way the scene played out: Luke about to burn Jedi history, Yoda confronts him, Yoda burns Jedi history which then makes Luke realise that he does care about the Jedi. Very smart.
But this also left me confused. From memory, it is decided between Luke and Yoda that the Jedi should end, but at the end of the film Luke declares Rey to be the last Jedi (so are the Jedi still a thing or not?). Also, I have no idea if Yoda was a puppet or CG, I mean this in a bad way. Yoda looked like CG made to look like a puppet (my opinion). Yoda just didn’t look quite right to me, but there again he is a little green alien.
Very quickly, I’m torn about Luke’s death. It felt underexplained, out of left field and consequently unfair as it seemed like he died for no reason. But at the same time I can respect the mysteries of the force that the movie earlier set up. The force hologram was cool and made for cool action and reveal, but I’m just still not sure about if I prefer the mysteries of the force or needing new force powers to be better explained and fleshed out.
The visuals, cinematography, music and acting are all masterful! I especially loved the red dust exploding during the Krayt battle, the lightspeed suicide bomber moment and opening bombers attack on the dreadnaught.
My only downside in this department is that while I remember the music sounding good, I can’t remember any new tunes which I can hum (but only after 1 viewing at midnight).
In terms of story; the bad is the entire Finn/Rose/Casino arc, the good is just about everything else.
The entire films pacing felt weird, and while I can appreciate them trying a new sort of story structure it just may take some getting used to. I could’ve sworn that the film was minutes from ending after the throne room battle and then the lightspeed suicide attack. It really did feel like the film was about to end (not remembering that the Krayt battle was still to come).
Also, the film felt really long which may be due to the unfamiliar structure and pacing. It felt like the film was a half hour too long, and it just so happens that there was a half hour arc that was completely uneventful (casino).
Casino/Finn/Rose arc Rant
The Casino arc was pointless!
- How does Poe know Maz Kanata and why do him and Finn think she can help.
- The arc had lots of real world commentary about animal cruelty and people making money off of war which personally felt out of place but that may be just me.
- DJ was uninteresting, had no charisma (again my opinion) and disappeared at the end anyways leaving no impact.
- The alien horses didn’t look the best and really felt completely unattached from the rest of the film.
- The entire arc accomplished nothing: they didn’t complete their mission, they didn’t interact with other main characters making them feel detached from the main story, and their actions didn’t impact the story (Phasma dying was meaningless).
- Finn and Rose didn’t grow at all as characters which was a big missed opportunity and time waster. Finn started off by acting like a cool guy who’s full of himself (acting like a war hero when trying to get to escape pod) and ending acting like a cool guy who’s full of himself (he might as well have said a cheese '90’s action movie line when he killed Phasma), Rose started off by adoring Finn and ended still adoring Finn (granted for 5 seconds she thought he was a traitor but this is very quickly forgotten) while Finn’s feelings toward her barely changed (a glance at her unconcious body doesn’t mean much). And while Finn does learn that greed and gambling is a by-product of War or something, this does not impact the story, his relationships or probably long-term character at all.
I could go on but ultimately I just felt that the Casino arc was meaningless, uneventful and the least interesting part of the movie.
On the good side, the film had lots of really cool moments that I just loved. I loved all of the battles and again the lightspeed suicide attack (although this does bring up plotholes about it being an overpowered but underutilised attack method).
I could probably go on but I’m starting to forget some things. I really want to see the film again just to grasp my head around everything.
I will conclude by saying that the film is great but for each group of great stuff there is a section of it that feels not fleshed out. I.e. lots of great characters and relationships but Finn, Rose, DJ and Snoke fail in many reagrds, and the overall story is good but the Casino just doesn’t work for me.
Also the final shot is absolute bulls&*% (broom boy). It’s barely relevant to the film (and only relevant to, in my opinion, the worst part of the film), If there is a message about ‘hope’ or ‘legends never dying’ it was never fleshed out enough, I feel like it’s just trying to sell toys or is at least focused towards kids only, and I am 99% sure that they are trying to shoehorn in a tease for episodes 10/11/12 which is far too soon and uneccessary.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts!