Cross post, here’s my review from FE.org:
You have to appreciate a big swing. Spence has admitted that he doesn’t usually edit films he really dislikes, and it’s an understandable position to have. With something like TROS, if you changed everything you didn’t like, you might not end up with anything at all. Spence’s approach is kind of along those lines, taking out as many offensive elements as possible before the wheels go flying off and the whole thing falls apart.
Working from Hal’s solid base, Spence does the admirable (arguably necessary) job of cutting out Rey’s Palpatine heritage. Further focusing it on the new characters, he also kills off Leia in the first few minutes. We’re left with a movie that matches Spence’s intent - carrying on the character arcs where TLJ left them off. The question is, how much of a movie is it at this point? The first act is the toughest part, where Spence is really ambitious in terms of reshaping the narrative. I think the narrative he creates is clear, although perhaps a bit too rushed - no fault of his own, considering the original was too rushed to begin with. Things fall into a more manageable pace once the heroes reach Pasaana, but overall, it still feels a bit empty. I’d argue though, again this is the original film’s fault. While some of the running threads have been cut out, they were entirely empty threads to begin with, so nothing of substance is lost.
Ultimately, while the drastic cuts overall make the film feel a bit clearly fan edited, it’s a compromise I imagine many would be willing to take. The film isn’t magically great now, but it is a fun time, where you can watch it and see the hanging plot threads of the trilogy tied up without having to deal with any of the most egregiously offensive moments of the theatrical. Or, at the very least, you can get a sense of how things could have been better had they designed the film a bit differently. A highly recommended watch either way.