Now we can get into how I really feel.
I still like the movie. It’s still a seven. I’m still gonna buy it when it comes out. However, I can now get into the real issues I have with this movie, as well as some exceptional highlights that I previously couldn’t get into.
Something I wanted to expand upon in my review proper was the ship mutiny. I thought, for the most part, this sequence was pretty good. Poe’s character got a nice boost, it had some fun moments, and it was a heck of a lot more compelling than the casino planet. There was one thing that I felt was holding it back a little, and that was Admiral Holdo. Holdo is acted well, I don’t have too many problems with her, but there’s one major thing that could have prevented Finn and Rose going to the casino planet at all. She didn’t tell anyone the plan. Everyone on the ship (except the other admirals/commanders), was in the dark about what they were doing and why. Why? I can’t think of an actual reason. Her plan was great, distract the First Order with the big cruiser while making an escape to a nearby Rebel base using tiny ships they weren’t tracking. If we’re to go on the dialogue Poe delivers to her regarding the plan, it becomes clear that almost no one on board knew what was going on, which makes the mutiny and secret mission very unsurprising considering the circumstances. It just doesn’t make much sense to not tell anyone.
I don’t feel like I need to go any further into detail about the casino planet plotline, because a majority of my issues with it can be discussed without spoilers. Something I did want to touch on was Benicio del Toro’s character, though. I felt he was kind of flat as a character. I wouldn’t go so far to say he’s not entertaining, but I do feel like he should have been given more considering the pivotal role he has to the plot. When he betrays them at the end of his time on screen, it’s not the shocking revelation they wanted it to be. It’s kind of a nothing moment, only elevated by the First Order now knowing the Rebels’ plan.
Now, here’s something that really irked me. Finn’s sacrifice, or what could have been. All throughout this movie (and the last one), Finn is set up as a coward who just happens to be in the wrong place at the right time. It’s good for us, and for the good guys, but Finn just wants to get away from the fighting. In this movie, he attempts to make an escape, but Rose catches him, beginning their adventure together. As he progresses in the movie, he gradually becomes braver because he wants to ensure Rey’s safety, culminating in a beautiful moment close to the end of the movie where Finn is flying towards an Imperial cannon that, if it fires, will spell certain doom for the Rebellion. It’s a heart-wrenching moment. The cinematography turns from quick, aggravated cuts to slow movements. The music ebbs into an elegant string piece. Finn looks at his certain doom, and knows that by doing this, he is saving the Rebellion, but most importantly, Rey. It’s a magnificent character moment, until Rose comes flying in and ruins it. Look, I didn’t want Finn to die, but if he had to, this was the way to go. But someone thought it would be a fantastic idea to have the worst character in the movie cheapen another moment. And, as if it couldn’t get any worse, she says the dumbest possible thing she could think of: “We don’t win by fighting what we hate, we win by saving people we love.” This had to have been a comedic line, because right after she says this, the door protecting the Rebellion from slaughter is destroyed. She then kisses Finn, who was almost as confused as I am, and slumps over, dead. Just kidding, she’s fine. And she’ll probably lead to an annoying romantic triangle that these movies could really do without. If Disney honestly believes for a second that I think the man whose literal first line in this movie was “Rey” is gonna suddenly fall for someone with whom he has no discernible romantic interest, they are fooling themselves.
I wanna get positive. Let’s talk positive. Snoke’s death. That was great. That whole scene was a blast to watch. Andy Serkis, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver give fantastic performances, Driver especially. You can see the moment he decides to turn on Snoke, but it’s not overdone or obvious. It’s a simple face change. One too small to be noticed by Snoke or Rey, but big enough to convey a world of racing thoughts and resolve. The moment Snoke dies is the perfect follow-through to this change. The way Snoke describes Kylo’s thoughts but misinterprets them in a flash of pride adds even more to the scene. I couldn’t get enough of it. And the fight that follows with Snoke’s guards is very entertaining, making this entire plotline a joy to witness. I loved the resolution of it, too, where Kylo doesn’t fully turn. Rey expects him to want to help the Rebellion after killing Snoke, but his interests are purely self-beneficial. He doesn’t want any more sides, he wants to begin a new era with him at the helm. I loved this. I was so happy that they didn’t just make him a good guy and have to go through the trouble of developing a new villain in Episode 9. Rey, of course, isn’t cool with this, and escapes. Like I said in my review, the plotline with the Force-users was my favorite, and this was a huge reason why.
Something I really should have mentioned in my regular review is the cinematography. This movie looks great, for the most part. The use of color (especially the color red) was great, although there was one thing I noticed about how this movie was shot. I don’t know this for sure, but I feel like Rian Johnson didn’t care for the casino stuff that much. In addition to being the worst, it also looks the worst, with no memorable shots or visual moments to speak of aside from the practical effects they hardly use. The parts that look the best are also the parts that I liked the best, like everything in Snoke’s chamber, Holdo’s sacrifice (which, I forgot to mention, was great), Luke’s final stand, these moments all look wonderful. Johnson even throws in a few anime-inspired visuals, which translate exceptionally well to the screen. I can’t say that the casino bits reflect any of this thought or care in the visuals at all. It might just be coincidental, or it might be Disney wanting to put in a lot more of the casino planet at the behest of Johnson, leading him to not put as much care into the visual department as he did everywhere else. Who knows.
This review is getting long, so I’m gonna rapid-fire some more things I liked that I couldn’t mention before. Yoda makes a return, and it’s hilarious. He returns to the drunken hermit Yoda we all fell in love with, and it couldn’t be better. Poe not being right in his mutiny plan was huge, and it worked wonders for his character. R2 showing Luke the Leia hologram could have been poorly handled and cheap, but, to my surprise, it was sweetly done and I liked it. The Force-connection stuff is EXTREMELY well-directed and edited, you truly believe Rey and Kylo are looking at each other despite being light-years apart, and it’s culmination at the fire was a real hold-your-breath moment.
This movie is a lot of fun. I do feel it has some unrealized potential, but I like it a lot as is. I’m excited to see where the series goes next. In the numbered movies, at least. I’m not excited for Solo. Who is?
Up next: Fish Man.Connect to me