The Last Jedi has set the record for the second biggest domestic opening of all time, right after The Force Awakens. The fan reaction though, has been a lot more mixed, so I thought I would write a quick review of the movie. This is not going to be a comprehenive review, but just a few thoughts I wanted to add to the conversation.
There will be spoilers!
Going into this movie, I had heard all the comments from the cast and crew saying this was a different Star Wars film, darker, and they were shocked about the script. I therefore went in really cautious, and wasn't very relaxed watching it, waiting for the part of the film that I was going to really dislike. It never came.
I was waiting for grey jedi, Luke to turn dark, Rey to turn dark, the removal of good and evil and complete post-modern deconstruction of the hero narrative. Again, it never came.
But it seems to have come close enough to resonate negatively with fans. I understand some may have idolised Luke to the point where they turned him into a god, and so his descent to being a broken hermet, seems to have crushed their childhood hero. I grew up watching the original series, being Jedi, Han Solo and others too, but for me the arch that Luke's journey took, makes him more relatable. Life can be hard, it can wound you, it can break you, and I understand the things that may have happened to lead Luke to where we find him in the film.
But the film doesn't leave him there, he doesn't give up completely, a combination of Rey, R2, Chewie and Yoda turn him around, and he saves the day at the end, laying down his life for his friends, his family, and good triumphing over evil.
There was one point in the movie where I was worried, where you Luke's story from Kylo Ren's point of view, but this too is turned around when you hear it for the third time from Luke, where he was reading Kylo's mind, and initially reacted, and then changed his mind. This too makes him relatable, as we have all struggled with temptation to do wrong, and needed to learn from our mistakes.
The other problems people had with the film seem to have surrounded a few other areas. Unasnwered questions about Snoke and Rey's parents, as well as a few others, and I'll go through quickly what I thought about them.
On Snoke, I actually like the suprise that Kylo took him out, this took Kylo to another level past Veda, and was better than some other device to get Rey out of state of peril. I would have liked to know a little bit more of where he came from there. It is a little different than not questioning where the Emporer came from in the original series, because he is supposed to be a very old character who had seen the rise and fall of the original empire, and so the question does reamian, where was he during this time, and were others aware of him.
On Rey's parents, again he seems another opportunity where writer/director Ryan Johnson wanted to suprise us completely. It did mean something to the character, that they wanted to know where they came from, but had to accept the pain that they were left by their family of origin, but find their belonging in the their new surroundings, their new friends, their true family. However, part of me did want a shock moment where we find out how it was all connected.
On Luke dying, I think it suited his characters story arch in this movie, but hopefully he will be back as a force ghost in the final film.
Humour - It worked for me, it's okay that it didn't for everyone, but I laughed.
Cantobyte - Some people hated this scene. I didn't love it, but it didn't seem nearly as bad as the prequels, which was as much about the bad acting and dialog as the bad CGI.
The Maz scene - This was a bit weird, making a call in the middle of a battle, and she should have talked to Finn not Poe, just would have made more sense.
Leia's force power - This was probably my least favourite part, I either wish it was more subtle, that she just uses the force to not get sucked out completely, or that they didn't have the scene. I almost thought they were going to use this scene to account for the real life passing of Carrie Fisher, but maybe they thought this wasn't respectful to retroactively change the film, along with removing her last significant peice of acting work.
The one idea I think was better, was to have emphasised Leia's ability to reach out with the force. She did this with Luke in the original series. She seemed to do it with Rose's sister Paige before she sacrfices herself to release the bombs. I think this would have been much more interesting, if Leia used the force to mentor, guide and strengthen people she was commanding in the fight against the first order. It would have been different that other force users, almost meternal, and expanding Star Wars lore.
With that all said, I thought the movie was great. I want to see it again, and I think I will enjoy it so much more the second time. Unlike others, this isn't because I had to get over my first experience of how different it was, but because I went it tempering my expectations so much that I couldn't relax. I really liked the twists, the stories, the death of Snoke, thinking Kylo had turned back, and then realising he wanted the power for himself. The action was great, the acting, the light speed sacrifice, even the suprise of where blue milk comes from, I liked.
As I think of other thoughts, I'll probably add them to this post, but in the mean time for more, check out Collider Jedi Council's review of the movie:
Mr Sunday Movies also has some great points about why Luke Skywalker isn't ruined.