Carter Friend’s review published on Letterboxd:
Okay. Um. Yes. Okay. I don’t know guys. This rating sure isn’t set in stone. Don’t know how I’m supposed to reconcile so much so quickly in my head. It’s good. Maybe very good? Maybe very very good? Something is compelling me to keep attaching “very” in front of the word rather than bumping it to “great.” Will keep it vague so as not to spoil in the slightest.
Features, bar none, many of the most exciting, memorable, dopamine firing shots and scenes in the franchise’s history. Also some top notch performances on display and hefty, genuinely interesting ideas tackled. Yet it has a tendency to, sparingly but notably, interrupt moments like these for some almost impossibly bizarre story detours and comedic beats that occasionally border on feeling altogether foreign from the franchise. Despite this, there were so many instances while watching this thing that I was tempted to call it: this is indisputably the best Star Wars movie ever made. I have a feeling that temptation will sway many.
It’s not. At least not to me right at this very moment. I think time to step back and let the faults simmer - from smaller, nit-picky, franchise characteristic gaps in logic to larger moments of motivation unclarity and pacing - as the downright incredible moments diminish in their ability to blind me from them will affirm that. But I don’t think they will take away from the incredible over time. They coexist. It’s a frustrating coexistence but one that still has so much good to offer. As the prior sentence makes clear I find myself leaning heavier and heavier towards ambiguity out of paranoia of spoilers so come at me when you all see this thing.
I leave it at this. I think this movie wants to say more and dig deeper than any Star Wars movie before. That, in itself is something. It often succeeds and can be downright inspiring or harrowing. It sometimes doesn’t, no matter how meaningful the line delivery and screensaver-worthy the shots are that project these ideas. To what degree I tip the scales between the two and what effect that even has on the overall end product an hour after seeing it - beats me.
It’s 3:33 A.M. and I’ve seen this thing once and I probably should’ve waited to write about it until at least the next day because I could very well feel entirely different about it. The first time viewing experience of this and Force Awakens remain all-timers in terms of pure enthrallment because of how much I love this franchise. But maybe that love also makes me hold them to a higher standard. But maybe this has always been a series that succeeds more on the basis of themes and ideas and music and visuals more than individually stellar movies with riveting, complex stories and characters. But maybe not.
Maybe I should go to sleep.
One of my very favorite shots in this thing is of a clothing iron? Guys I don’t know.