I wasn’t terribly impressed by this movie. I guess it’s…okay, but it just felt kind of like a mess to me.
I give it credit for being more creative with the story than TFA, but there were still parts that felt like they were included just to reference moments from previous films. The frustrating thing is that these moments have these superficial veneers painted over them to try to make them feel more original, but it’s so shallow and obvious that it comes across as pandering. For example, there’s another AT-AT assault against a rebel base. But don’t worry, it’s at the end of the movie now! And it looks at first like the ground is covered in snow, but don’t worry, we’ll have a character look right at the camera and tell the audience that it’s actually salt! It’s the same problem I had with Starkiller Base (it’s not technically a Death Star…) Btw, how were those speeders supposed to stop the walkers? They didn’t have any weapons.
I have really mixed feelings on the subplot with Finn and Rose. It feels like it goes on too long, and it’s unnecessarily complicated. They make a big point of needing to find the guy with the flower pin, they find him, he’s in the movie for like 2 seconds, then they just happen to meet another code breaker (who’s annoying as hell, by the way) in the jail cell, then he betrays them, etc you get the point. I’m always saying I want Disney to take more risks with these films and show us something new in the Star Wars universe, but I can’t help but feel that the casino scene felt really…out of place. I don’t know…it just felt a bit too close to a real-world casino inhabited by Star Wars characters.
I think one of the biggest problems for me is that there are several parts that are downright cringe-inducing. Some that come to mind are Leia’s “Mary Poppins” moment, the awful Yoda cameo (Force ghosts can apparently summon lightning now?), Luke milking the sea cow, and the MCU-style humor between Hux and Dameron at the beginning. Actually, most of the humor in the movie didn’t really work for me.
I was also disappointed with the complete lack of any exposition about Snoke. Who the hell is he? How did he corrupt Ben? He looks old, so is there any connection between him and Palpatine? I’m the first to agree that not every detail needs to be spelled out, and I like it when there are things left to the imagination, but it would have been nice to at least know something about him.
However, it’s not all bad. I liked most of the scenes between Rey and Luke, and between Rey and Kylo. I liked how Kylo destroyed his mask, further distancing him from Darth Vader. The fact that he started out as a Vader wanna-be is part of his character, and I liked how it visually symbolized him growing beyond that. I liked the fight scene in the throne room, and I was actually genuinely impressed with the twist at the end. I have mixed feelings about Luke dying, though. It actually shocked me that they killed him off, considering they just killed Han, and Carrie Fisher passed away. Although, in a Star Wars movie, it doesn’t really matter that much, since he can always come back as a Force ghost. I’m very curious to see how Leia’s character will be handled, moving forward.
This turned into a bit of a ramble, and it’s not nearly as well worded as I would like. The movie had its moments, I guess I just wish it was a bit more focused and not as long.