Aaron Hendrix’s review published on Letterboxd:
We are what they grow beyond
Rapid-fire initial impressions:
- Simultaneously one of the most daring and original of the entire franchise and also disappointingly safe in how it ties up some of its narrative arcs
- Both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver continue to knock their respective roles out of the park - though I still can't *quite* believe Driver as the big bad guy after seeing Paterson
- I still think Domhnall Gleeson's performance feels forced menacing rather than actually menacing
- Visually, maybe just flat out the most interesting film of the entire franchise. This movie uses color to spectacular but minimal effect and the picture is all the richer for it.
- It's Hamill's second-best performance of the year (sorry, I just love Ted in Brigsby Bear too much), but that's not a slight against his work here in any way.
- This movie balances its A, B, and C plots beautifully - though the casino section feels a bit too detour-y even if it is totally integral to the plot. And, on a meta-level, this fits quite nicely with the central themes of balance.
- Star Wars - though spiritualism has always been a central theme - has never made it quite as strong a focus and TLJ is all the better for it. The ideas of faith, interconnectedness, and balance are woven throughout this film in some really poignant and integral ways.
I'm not quite as high on this film as a lot of other people seem to be. But, this is still a spectacular blockbuster with a strong visual authorship. Rian Johnson knows how to craft a striking image and TLJ is not just one of the most striking films of the franchise, it's also just one of the most visually striking films of the year.
I give TLJ a 4/5.