Well, I saw it, and against the trend and to my own surprise didn’t like it at all. As a stand alone movie I think, it’s pretty good, but as a Star Wars film it has so many issues, it’s hard to ignore.
There are many twists and turns, which were refreshing, but what are we really left with at the end? The New Republic is completely erased from existence at the start of the film, and we end up with a few dozen rebels as they are now once again called in a single ship having to defeat the FO, who now controls the entire galaxy. Talk about bad odds. Snoke became a plot device, only to be replaced by his incapable luitenant. Let’s not forget Kylo got his *** handed to him, and since this film directly follows TFA, and his training has not been completed, our main antagonist for episode IX remains just a boy in a mask (only his helmet is now too big), as Snoke called him, a pretender to the throne.
However, things are much worse on the side of the good. Whereas Luke took three films and the trials of Job to finally become a Jedi, Rey is now on her way to Jedi Knighthood after just three lessons. Three lessons reluctantly given by Luke are apparently enough for him to pass on the batton, and then just die. We got some Jedi history, which is nice, but apparently Yoda feels Rey and her three lessons worth of Jedi training are already more important than the collected wisdom of the Jedi masters of old. This attitude perfectly encapsulates this film.
I really liked TFA despite it’s derivative nature, mostly because of the new characters. However, what does TLJ really do with these characters?
Rey who’s set up as a character with a mysterious background, who inexplicably has these great powers, but with a strong moral fibre, ends up in exactly the same place she was, only without the mystery. She’s still a as good natured as ever, only now she really just randomly has these amazing powers, that she hasn’t earned. She turns out to be a nobody, who’s now on the fast track to becoming a Jedi with only three basic lessons from the great Luke Skywalker. There’s no explanation why the Force awoke in her, it just did. The vision she had in TFA just turns out to have been a red herring.
Kylo has been set up to be an immature boy hiding behind a mask. He’s presented in TFA as the inheritor of Darth Vader’s legacy, but is ultimately exposed by Rey to be somewhat of a fraud. He get’s to go back to his master to lick his wounds, and hopefully reinvent himself. Sadly, this doesn’t pan out. He’s more or less cast aside by Snoke, and while this in of itself might have been an interesting starting point for his further development, he’s finally put in charge of the FO, not by his cunning or abilities, but because Rey hands herself to him, and Snoke is the dumbest fool in the galaxy.
Finn get’s sent on a useless mission only made possible by Holdo’s poor communication skills. He fails his mission, but I guess wrecking a casino, and killing the severly underdeveloped Phasma is enough for him.
Get’s a reasonable arc in this film, even if he seems like an unsuitable candidate for the leadership of the Resitance turned rebels.
While Mark Hamill gives a great performance, this incarnation of the famed Jedi has him contemplating his nephew’s murder, because he has a bad vision. Remember this is the same character who couldn’t kill his father who was space Hitler. In the end it takes an appearance of Yoda, who inexplicably chooses this moment to reappear, and burns down the GFFA equivalent of the Old Testament as a joke to get Luke to see the light. His purpose is now to distract his mad nephew, such that his extremely inexperienced student can take his place to defeat Kylo (again), something the far more experienced Luke could have done in his sleep. Luke just dies, because he’s tired, I guess, and they need to give Kylo a fighting chance.
Leia didn’t get much development in the previous film, and while being a dignified presence in this one, ultimately get’s to give up on her son, going against the main theme of hope and redemption that underlied the saga thusfar.
A villain seemingly older than time, a mysterious dark side user turns out to be nothing more than a plot device. This evil dark side master, who displays an awesome control of the Force, after showing his cunning, foresight, and inteligence, suddenly feels he’s invincible, and get’s cut down like a chump by his immature apprentice. Who he is, and where he came from is irrelevant now, I guess. The fact that this fool was somehow able to seduce Han and Leia’s son, and Luke’s student is completely glossed over. I suppose Kylo was just a bad egg.
I just don’t understand the praise for this film to be honest. It would be an entertaining blockbuster on it’s own, but as part of the now eight part saga it’s a massive letdown in my view, that not only undermines the six part Lucas saga, but TFA as well. I wish, I could love this movie like so many here, but ultimately this film doesn’t really respect what preceeded it in my view.