My passion is in the film industry itself but has always loved writing reviews in my spare time. Been doing it since I've been in college.
I'm splitting these up because I have to talk about the spoilers so you fully understand why I think this movie is lacking in quality compared to the others in the franchise. So don't worry, I'm doing the spoiler-free review first so you can just exit out and not have to worry about spoiling it for you.
I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, so I'm going to come out say that I'm not hating on Star Wars at all. I've loved or really liked most of the things Disney has done with it until now. The Last Jedi is the first Star Wars film that doesn't feel like a Star Wars film and feels more like a two and a half expansion pack rather than a whole film. Some moments in the film are great with a lot of homages towards the original with a masterful direction by Johnson that does great things with camera movement, wipes, and other great things. Although, Johnson's Star Wars film has very great ambitions, but those should have taken a back seat to creating a good film first and not a poorly paced expansion pack of a film.
Star Wars the Last Jedi has a few things going for it and that's when it comes to the extraordinary vision of Johnson. He really seemed to want to add things in the films to really respect what's come before and really push the franchise into a new direction. The problem I have is the fact that the new direction isn't really explained and earned in the film. Some might suggest that I simply didn't understand where they're going and that's fine, wrong, but fine. The idea that this new direction isn't earned is because of pacing issues. We're thrown through different locations, some that aren't even worth being in the film and some that are interesting to the story but still quite dragged on, and we're given different characters will no need to do so. This leads to a good Star Wars films but one that's left me wanting more.
There's a lot going on in this film and they do make sure to give enough attention to each subject, giving it the longest runtime out of all the Star Wars films. This helps with the major plot points that are both killed and carried onto the next film. However, there's just too many of them that we need to understand in the next film. Too many plot points scattered in this galaxy to try and piece together in one more film but I'm excited about what they are going to do.
Overall, I like the film a lot but I think it has its problems that I will get more into the spoiler review because there's just too much in the film that I can't talk about it properly in this spoiler-free review. I'm excited about what comes next but wish this film would have given me more substance and less homage.
Fair warning, there will be spoilers in this review.
Okay, let's start off with that bad pacing that I've was talking about a lot in the last review. This comes when we're always taken back to that stupid Rose and Finn story that's both useless, plot convenient, and even a slap in the face to Star Wars. Honestly, it was quite insulting because it tried to add a corny/repetitive "political" message about animal abuse and child abuse. It slows down the films and doesn't add anything. People have said that the problem with taking it out of the film would be because they revolved a good amount of the story, finding the codebreaker, around going to this place that looks more like earth than a place far far away. However, removing it could have been easy and they could have added something else that would have worked perfectly fine. Also, Finn and Rose do nothing but unheroic shit and fail every time. Yes, the move has a message about failure, but eventually, we get it when everything in the movie is about failure. It just comes off as hitting you over the head with it and I got shell shock from it.
The main problem with the main storyline. Which is ultimately about making sure the residence doesn't die because they "are the spark that will burn the first order down". There's a small little introduction about why the residence is all of a sudden almost wiped out and only has one ship but just that only. They killed off the star killer base and seemed to be in the right direction at the end of the FA, so why are they depleted now. Could have been a simple explanation but they decided not to. Also, why are we afraid of the first order when they can't even destroy one ship from the Resistance. Also, how is Hux able to still able to be in command when he had a whole base blown up, a star destroyer, couldn't even kill one damn ship, and had Snoke's ship destroyed? Quite dumb.
The first order isn't a negative on this film, as it was established in the last film, but they're just a copy of the Empire and it is quite annoying. Even down to this plot where "Supreme Lead" treats his apprentice like shit and doesn't expect retaliation. The idea of Kylo Ren being this true evil monster and excepting his almost "Darth Sidious" level of evil was a very refreshing thing because I assumed he was going to the light side. However, they twisted it and made my expectations different. I'm highly satisfied with that aspect and brought something fresh to the Star Wars story.
All of the new things they tried doing in the film about the force succeeded. Luke's grouchy attitude and Rey's pure nature shaped both of Luke's character and Rey's character, and also made Kylo that more damaging. Also, the backstory was more interesting than I hoped with Kylo thinking that his own master was trying to kill him. It gave an idea of why Kylo did what he did and why Luke wants all of Jedi to end and nothing to be passed down. It makes it a lot more interesting.
Overall, I like the direction it was going and I like the ideas it introduces in the film. However, there are new characters that are uninteresting while cliched while making them "heroic", which is ridiculous. Rose running into Finn was both sappy, cheesy, and unfulfilling. Also, as a movie, it's not that great with bad pacing, tonal shifts, and other ridiculous things.There's a lot of idea and story arcs they add dont make any sense either and worsens the mythology when it comes to Snoke. Why is he so powerful? Where has he been this whole time? A lot of unanswered things that need to be answered but we're left with nothing. It's a good Star Wars film with a lot of new and interesting directions they're going but it's a bad to alright film. Need to rewatch it.
P.S. Almost every single joke doesn't work. It's turning into a more cringe worthy version of Marvel and doesn't work for Star Wars.
Best Star Wars films in order
1. Empire Strikes back
4. Return of the Jedi
7. The Last Jedi
2. A New hope
5. Force Awakens
8.Attack of the Clones
3. Rogue One
6. Revenge of the Sith
9. Phantom Menace