After not posting on this site for a long while, I’m back to piss everybody off by saying I loved this movie and it’s by far my favorite of the sequel trilogy. Up front, I don’t know how anybody can read leaks to a movie and then be upset about it. Obviously if you read something and decide you don’t like it before seeing how it’s meant to be presented, then you’re setting yourself up with disappointment. I also don’t watch any trailers for anything, so outside of Palpatine returning I was going in pretty blind. So if anybody who hates this film is confused why I enjoyed 95% of this movie, those are pretty big contributors. Lastly, I may just be dumb, but I don’t know what people are talking about when they relate JJ Abrams’ style with shaky cam. I’ve seen TFA dozens of times and I cannot recall a single shot in that manner, but I can think of extreme shaky cam in every other SW movie since.
On the topic of retconning TLJ, I found nothing to actually be a retcon itself. The only thing that comes to mind is Palpatine being Snoke the whole time and Rey being a Palpatine. The Snoke part isn’t a retcon because they never revealed his backstory in the first place. It probably just comes across as a retcon because it’s obvious that Abrams and Rian Johnson have different visions for the story. Rey being a Palpatine was obvious to me the moment he showed up and said something along the lines of “… who she really is.” I thought to myself “well, I guess we’re doing that then.”
I definitely wasn’t thrilled as somebody who felt one of the few great things about TLJ was the handling of Rey and the decision to keep her as a nobody. I’ve been saying since TFA that she was never confused about who her parents were, just depressed that she was abandoned by them. Then suddenly in TLJ, Kylo tells her he knows who her parents are, but even before that moment she only ever said she wanted to see* her parents and where they are in the dark side cave. In my opinion, the identity of her heritage only came up in TLJ and TROS because everybody made a big deal about it. I will say that although I wasn’t thrilled with turning her from a nobody to a Palpatine, the way they brought it to her attention by making her suddenly burst force lightning and thinking she killed Chewie was a powerful moment among my audience. Rey’s continuing fear of her past and bloodties affecting her, and Palpatine returning in the first place makes me forgive the change in character. I don’t think I’d like Rey Palpatine if Sheev himself was completely absent, because it’d just feel pointless to have a connection.
My only other complaint for the entire movie was the Reylo kiss at the end. I’ve never understood why anybody would support a happy ending or any kind of romance between the two characters, as all we’ve been told by the last two movies is that Ben is a psychopath who slaughtered innocent Jedi students, keeps his victims’ ashes in his interrogation chamber, who lashes out at any sort of bad news and breaks everything in sight, killed his father, emotionally manipulated Rey constantly just so she would be on his side, etc. I am completely down with his “redemption” in this movie and I loved the way they did it, but I find zero romantic chemistry between the two and it felt like a “we need our biggest male and female characters to kiss at the end because love” moment. Also I don’t remember Adam Driver talking at all once he arrived to help Rey. I was expecting some really emotional final words when he saved her and she realized he was dying, but they just kissed instead and he vanished immediately after.
Despite my long critical paragraphs, I truly did love and adore this movie. It personally felt like a love letter to Star Wars as a whole, and there’s not much more I can type without turning into a novel on everything I loved.