This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Mike’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS.
*ORIGINAL TRILOGY KLAXON*
First up my boring "I'm older than you" play. I owned a toy Death Star as a kid and saw the original trilogy on release in the cinema, queuing up for three hours to see The Return of the Jedi (one of the first films I went to watch without my parents). I have even played the Star Wars role-playing game. My credentials are beyond question.
This, wasn't bad. First third a break from the usual with action happening in space. A tick for that.
I love Rey. She may well be my favourite character now in the entire series.
Middle third is a minor slog.
Final third is almost great. Loved the battle even if it was Hoth-lite.
I thought Luke deserved better. Quite enjoyed the actual fight but the lack of visual intimacy at his demise took away what should have been an emotional explosion and I barely felt a thing. That was a big disappointment for me. Luke IS Star Wars and he WAS the centre of this film, though the film failed to satisfactorily juggle his story of those of the new (that middle third again).
Whilst watching the film I had two to three hearty laughs. Poe mansplaining and getting feminized was hilarious. There were also a few unintentionally funny moments.
Big thumbs up on some of the subtexts, which worked well. The Resistance is an obvious one but also the way in which they injected some much-mentioned spirituality to enhance its own morality. "Spirituality is true religion not bibles and scripture" worked well although I'm not sure it maintains continuity with how the force has been presented previously. My main nerd flip that.
I don't want to nitpick because I'm sure others have done video essays explaining the parts of the story that contradict the milieu's own rules.
Final point, the closing scenes. There is now going to be no end to this. Instead of a beautifully realised story folk can look back on, it's Star Wars and chips now for tea, for the rest of your lives. From here on in, it's Disney's universe not our's. From our cultural heritage to just another product on their production line of uniform cinematic widgets. Perhaps Rey can save us from both undesired endings.