I just got back from my second viewing of The Last Jedi. I loved it and hatted it even more with my second viewing.
I REFUSED to see anything about the movie before my first viewing Sunday night of opening weekend, not a single youtube video speculating, not a single review, not even anything beyond the first trailer. I wanted to go into it completely open minded and was genuinely disappointed by no preconceived expectations.
I did not take issue with the film because I “hate wamen”, I did not dislike the movie because my favorite youtube cringe-lord fan theorist was wrong. I loved TFA and I will admit, I see where the crowd that shouts “Muh-Rey Suuuue” are coming from, but I felt that she was actually a good character. When Luke in SW77 was presented with his call to adventure, at first he rejected it because he cared about helping his family. When his family was killed he accepted the call and went with Ben. Rey on the other hand, rejected her call to adventure almost throughout the entirety of the film, even when multiple people told her that her parents were never coming back and she really doesn’t fully accept it. To me, that was the most compelling aspect to her character and her charismatic performance just sold it to me on repeat viewings. I LOVED TFA, and I felt Rey’s character was a clever inverse of Luke.
I stick by my critique of the Casino planet pacing issue, with how dumb it was not to let a loose cannon like Poe who openly disobeys orders in on the plan, how every tense and dramatic scene was undercut by a joke that made me groan and cringe (a la Guardians of the Galaxy), how inconsistent the tone was, how strange the pacing was at times beyond the casino planet, the weird social commentary etc. These are all nitpicks, that have varying degrees of impact on the movie. Some large, some small.
What I found the most disappointing was Rey. I loved seeing her flirting with her darker temptations and her training as well as the Heroes come from nowhere angle (until it had the subtlety of a ballistic missile in the ending shot of the film). I really would have liked to see Rey grow more as a person. Earlier, when I thought her character was a clever inverse of Luke, I thought that after training with Luke she would have accepted her parents would never come back and been a better person. Or that she would have had a moment of weakness like Luke when he was training and rushed to face Kylo, which she does. But by the end of the movie, it feels like she learned nothing. It feels like she was overtly told that Heroes come from nowhere and by extension the audience. It doesn’t feel like she GROWS.
There are a lot of things I liked and a lot of things I disliked, but that’s the one thing that’s been on my nerves since I saw the movie a second time. If you’ve made it this far, God bless if you believe in that sort of thing.