What can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said by many others already, even myself? I guess there’s only one way forward – just vent.
I’ll start by saying this – I loved the movie, so much so that I would in fact consider it one of my all-time favorites, that list not being confined to Star Wars. I’ll get to why further down this wall of text. There are some obvious flaws, and I want to start with those.
The porgs are a marketing tactic – there, I said it, and I’m fairly certain that this one thing most people can agree on. They serve no purpose save giving Chewbacca something to do. They take too much time away from the actual good parts of the movie. That’s all I can say about them.
The subplot with Poe and Holdo – in the end, it just felt like artificial drama that was put in to give the theme another leg to stand on. However, my feelings on this are mixed. There are really only two things I despise about it. The first is that it makes Poe, the most talented pilot and battle commander in the Resistance, look like a glory-seeking moron. They could have taken so many other directions with this subplot without cutting it out completely, but it was put in so Poe could learn the difference between glory and sacrifice, and that’s it. However, the fleet was in a no-win situation, and I understand the reluctance on the part of Holdo, so that kind of balances things out. The second thing, though, is that it also spawned the Space Vegas sequence.
Let me be clear – the only reason why I despise Space Vegas is that it, once again, spent too much time focusing on something that, in the end, didn’t matter. It meant nothing, it had no bearing on the rest of the story, no difference was made. But, again, that kind of balances itself with the theme of the work. I’ll leave it there. EDIT: I actually have one more thought on this - the only reason it's necessary is because of the drama stated above. It added yet another leg to the theme. It did also develop Finn's character a bit, which was fine.
The way they temporarily removed Leia from the picture was both awesome… and ridiculous. Enough said there.
Lastly, the film was extremely wishy-washy in many areas, as if the writers couldn’t decide what they wanted to have happen, or what they wanted to be true. That ended up sinking into the plot, but not the characters, and that’s the first thing that this film got right.
It was extremely gutsy. It focused on a concept that was briefly touched upon in some of the other movies – failure. It defied audience expectations at just about every turn, sometimes for good, sometimes not so good.
Be warned, this is where I become a bit more biased.
Snoke’s death is, arguably, the hardest part of this movie for me to swallow. I feel like Ben just thinking about it – inner conflict and turmoil. In the end, I decided I couldn’t exactly pass judgement on it until I see what it means for the final movie.
The way they handled Luke… I can’t actually put it into words how much I enjoyed Luke’s character arc in this movie. The way they went against the grain, the way they established him as one of the central figures of the theme, it was unexpected, yet extremely refreshing, something that this film desperately needed.
Then there’s the bond between Rey and Ben (I say Ben because that’s who it feels like Rey is connecting with, not Kylo) – oh. My. Goodness! That still has me gushing and hoping that they continue to evolve their relationship in Episode IX. It’s also one of the things that makes me scared for Episode IX.
But by far, my favorite part of this movie is how much it made me feel. I felt for these characters, I felt for their circumstances, and in the end, I felt like I was “being torn apart”, the film invoked so much in me. Maybe it’s because I’m a wimp, maybe I’m just a sucker for delicious angst, maybe it’s just because I can relate to the characters, but after I saw the film (five days ago), I spent the whole time since thinking ‘No! They can’t leave it like that!’ But, of course, they could, they did, and in fact, they had to.
Remember how I said I’m a sucker for delicious angst? My personal counter to that is it needs an equally satisfying end. I’ve never been so full of hope, yet so lacking in optimism. And the thing I hate the most is that I must wait two years to see if everything does, in fact, fall to crap.
So, yeah, I love this film, but I’m unsure I’ll be able to handle seeing it again until the next one comes out.