Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★½

I've come to realize I have a hard time being honest with myself when it comes to Star Wars.
When I first saw The Phantom Menace, I came out saying I loved the film, and convinced myself I did, even though I knew deep inside how truly disappointed I was and how incredibly flawed it was. Only years later did I truly admit to myself just how bad it was. I repeated this mistake with Attack of the Clones. Revenge of the Sith, while a vast improvement over the first two, was similarly flawed and yet for a time I convinced myself that it was everything I wanted it to be. (It wasn't)

Fast-forward to The Last Jedi. When this came out it was a very divisive film. People loved it or hated it, and I convinced myself that I loved it, though I admitted a few shortcomings here and there. I have defended it against its critics. But re-watching it now, I have come to terms with the fact that this one, too, was incredibly dsappointing. After seemingly finding their footing with The Force Awakens, the saga once again stumbled as Rian Johnson decided he wanted to subvert expectations and make bold decisions with both plot and characters. The result was a movie with many aspects I enjoy, but plenty I don't as well. I found myself frustrated and almost angry realizing how they wasted 1/3 of this new trilogy with a film that not only didn't improve on the story, but also felt like a big step backwards.

I love franchises that bring in different directors. I love seeing what different voices can do with a property and to add a different style. That being said, I hate when directors are handed a franchise and don't respect it - They treat it carelessly like they are more concerned with being edgy and subverting expectations - like Johnson did it here, and how Lord & Miller tried to turn Solo into a comedy (you can easily recgnize the goofy parts left over from their time on the film - the infamous "naming" scene, the fake thermal detonator scene, etc.... but I digress, that's not this film.)

I don't hate The Last Jedi. I actualy do enjoy it to an extent. There is enough to like that it balances out the parts I don't. But it just feels like such a wasted film.