I’ll start with what I liked.
- Big fan of Holdo and DJ
- Artoo was great
- Luke wasn’t as bad as I feared, and there was still some of my favorite character shining through thanks to Mark Hamill knowing his character and acting his heart out
- Rose was nice
- The space battle was great
- The scene where Luke and Rey discuss the Force was phenomenal, full approval as a fan of the Force and its mythology
- Andy Serkis’ acting as Snoke was great and reminded me of Valkorion, another of my favorite characters
- The stuff about the war profiteers was great
- The ending was very good
Aaaand what I didn’t.
- The pacing is all over the place, moving too fast in one scene and stagnating in the next. The plot thread of the stalemate between the Resistance and First Order is a big example. The payoff was flashy, but came much too late.
- Characterization was haphazard and mostly followed what the plot demanded. Rey is a big offender, going from hating Kylo outright and calling him a monster to thinking there’s still good in him in the space of ten minutes
- Almost every single character suffers a downgrade compared to their portrayal in TFA. Poe is randomly insubordinate and impulsive in a way never even hinted at in his portrayal in TFA. He and Leia also get almost nothing to do, which is a sin in and of itself.
- Yoda somehow looks faker than he did in the 80s. Why was he even there? He was a crutch; for this supposedly “bold” and “game-changing” Star Wars film, it sure fell back into safe territory an awful lot.
- There was time for a useless Yoda appearance, and yet, despite having AN ENTIRE PLANET BUILT AROUND GAMBLING, there was no time or opportunity to bring Lando in? Fuck You, Rian Johnson.
- Luke should have used his green lightsaber at the end, if they were going to kill him
- Finn and Rose’s subplot was useless filler that accomplished nothing, and they didn’t have nearly enough chemistry or interaction to warrant the sudden romantic shift at the end
- The film does a shit job of SHOWING us the state the Galaxy is in. What impact is the Hosnian genocide supposed to have on me if you won’t show me the chaos it caused in the Republic or the First Order’s advance?
- Snoke was a fucking letdown
- The “reveal” of Rey’s parentage was laughable and an obvious lie
- Hux was in it
VERDICT: Middling. Not great, not awful. Certainly not as bad as Episode I. Left a bad taste in my mouth, though.