The Force Awakens:
At the Time - I really liked it and thought it was a fine bridge for bringing back fans who were disappointed by the Prequels and introducing a new era. However at the same time I didn’t think it would age well as it didn’t sit right with me how it lacked any kind of originality or anything new. Rey was truly the saving grace. I loved her character at the time and was really looking forward to exploring where she came from and how it connects to the present plot.
In Retrospect - I’m happy for the fans who love it but it’s nothing more than nostalgia bait in my eyes. It’s there to evoke warm fuzzy feelings we had with the Original Trilogy while disguising itself behind likeable characters who upon thinking about them are carbon copies of their superior counterparts. It’s even more jarring to watch the film when you watch it as a continuation of Return of the Jedi. I only really love Rey’s opening montage on Jakku and when she pulls the lightsaber from the snow. The scenes on Takodana are pretty fun too. Otherwise I can barely stand it and don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find any genuine enjoyment in it again.
The Last Jedi -
At the Time: I didn’t really like it but I didn’t hate it either. I definitely felt numb and burnt out after the throne room scene. I was ready for it be over at that point. It felt too distant and far removed from anything related to the saga as a whole.
In Retrospect: I really like it a lot and even love aspects of it as long as I make the distinction between it and George Lucas Star Wars being two seperate entities. It’s far from perfect but it’s still a very intriguing film with a good amount of thought and depth behind the majority of its decisions. It had a tough task continuing off the mess The Force Awakens created. I think Rian did his best with what he had to work with. He could’ve been a bit more aware and conscious of continuing an ongoing series but I appreciate at the same time that he tried something pretty different. It still has nostalgia bait but it’s done in a slightly more tasteful way. I think it’s great how it got back to the roots of Star Wars in being both an art film and entertainment film. The art film aspect really captures a lot of the spirit of Star Wars but the entertainment aspect definitely plays more on the Disney side of the spectrum. I also really like how it portrays the Force apart from Rey Nobody and Broom Boy. All and all it’s a good to great film with serious flaws. It’s solid overall though.
The Rise of Skywalker -
At the Time: I enjoyed it and had more fun with it the first time I saw it compared to when I saw The Last Jedi. J.J. is good at giving something on the surface level that’s usually pretty fun to look at. I definitely didn’t like Rey being a Palpatine but all and all it was good.
In Retrospect: It’s fun but mediocre. It has some fun moments but overall it’s pretty much nostalgia bait in the same way as The Force Awakens. There’s no depth to any of its ideas. I love the Aki Aki Festival and the idea of Luke and Leia training together. I also can enjoy other things like the scenes on Kijimi but overall I don’t really feel anything other than mindless fun with rare exceptions.
Rogue One -
At the Time: I enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away by any of it except for the scenes on Jedha. I liked the introduction a lot as it reminded me of my story I’m writing. I didn’t like the CGI characters but did love all of the callbacks and parallels to the Prequels that nobody noticed or seems to still not notice for that matter. Overall it felt like a harmless film that served as a bridge to A New Hope. I liked Chirrut.
In Retrospect: It’s definitely pandering with nostalgia but it at least has a story to tell. Chirrut is my favourite character from the Disney era. All and all I really like it for what it is. It does enough right to make it so I am able to appreciate and enjoy it.
That’s pretty much my thoughts. Solo is the one I can’t really get behind in changing my initial reaction. There’s some fun to be had and intriguing elements but it feels like a checklist instead of a movie. I’ve not watched Mandalorian except for a few minutes of the first episode. I’m not sure it’s fair to judge it yet. I like Rebels for the most part and find my thoughts have stayed pretty consistent. My enjoyment and love for the Prequels and Originals only grows with each day.