The Last Jedi is a special beast — as special as the nipply sea beast that willingly supplies Luke with that magical green coffee he enjoys so much (see: his facial expression after he drinks it). It’s different, it’s surprising and it’s kind of repulsive all at once.

The new space adventure takes place soon after the events of The Force Awakens. Rey is still kicking ass at everything she does. Kylo is still torn between both sides of the Force. Finn is still tripping over himself, and Poe is still the best damned pilot in the galaxy with an attitude to match. The movie introduces a whole slew of new characters and bends over backwards to show us just how diverse they are — particularly the members of the Resistance. I wholeheartedly agree with diversity and equality but the new additions feel mostly useless and on-the-nose. Chief among them is Rose, a Resistance repair technician who pairs up with Finn and goes on a side mission that feels like pure filler and absolute unnecessary garbage that sucks up way too much screen time. And if Holdo is Leia’s second in command, why then didn’t we see her at all in TFA?

There’s good stuff to enjoy here, however. Think of it like opening up a box of chocolate chip cookies because you absolutely love chocolate chips but you actually dislike the cookie portion. So you deal with the cookie just to get to the chocolate. There’s a lot of chocolate but there’s also more cookie than you’d probably like.

Thumbs up:

  • The dynamic between Kylo and Rey! I’d watch an entire movie dedicated to having them on screen at the same time.
  • Visually arresting and gorgeous, boasting some of the best scenes and imagery in the entire series.
  • Action scenes are tons of fun.
  • Luke.

Thumbs (way) down:

  • Rose, The Code Breaker, and Holdo add nothing to the story unless you count awkward kisses.
  • Snoke and Phasma.
  • Leia’s frozen zip lining.
  • The Canto Bight scenes are so cringe worthy you will remember Jar Jar fondly.
  • Rey’s “training” misses the mark.

We are now 66% of the way through the new Disney-led Star Wars trilogy and most of the characters are exactly where they started in The Force Awakens — with the exception of Kylo Ren, who remains flawed, three-dimensional and interesting throughout. In fact, he is the only reason Rey, who is by contrast perfect and pure, is watchable in this film, and for the briefest moment the movies flirts with someĀ  truly great implications where she is concerned but ultimately pulls its punch. When a movie has such a large cast of characters, even at a bloated running time of 2.5 hours, it’s difficult to fully develop all of them let alone the core characters of Rey, Ren, Finn and Poe (presumably the pillars on which the new trilogy is being built). Which makes me wonder all the more why characters like Rose, Holdo and Maz even need screen time if the only purpose they serve is to steal time from the Core Four. It all feels like a beautiful jumbled mess when the credits finally roll, and I truly hope the next episode sticks the landing and puts the journey into perspective.

I will edit this review accordingly once I see the movie again, as there is a lot to ruminate on with this film.

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