Cody’s review published on Letterboxd:
Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon. Regardless of seeing the films, it's rare to find a person who has not heard of Star Wars or any of the major characters in the series. For the past several years, Star Wars has had a rebirth, starting with The Force Awakens, going on to Rogue One, and now with the latest episode The Last Jedi. Theaters are absolutely packed, people are talking, and Star Wars is as relevant as ever.
Yet, The Last Jedi seems to be the most controversial film in the series to date, even with the enomorous amount of people going to see it. There are going to be people who are diehard fans seeing the film, as well as people like me who leisurely enjoy watching the films. It's interesting seeing initial reviews, especially from people who are diehard fans of the series, since many of them tend to be negative, saying that this film is "incoherent" and has bad writing, acting, and direction. They blame it all on Disney, when really there is a problem with how they percieve change.
The Last Jedi is a drastic change from the traditional storytelling of Star Wars. This is a film that is willing to take risks, risks that end up being beneficial in the end to create a film unlike anything the universe has seen yet. Diehard fans were proclaiming The Force Awakens was a bad film because it played it "too safe", yet criticize The Last Jedi because they feel that it is too far from the original trilogy. Whether they like it or not, the Star Wars universe is going through a change that feels fresh and new, especially in a series that felt a little redundant after 6 similar films.
Many of the criticisms for The Last Jedi say that Rian Johnson ruined the series through his writing and direction. This film is one of the most brilliant and colorful films of the series, if not beating out The Force Awakens in use of color (which could have been a little more suble, especially with red, but it is Disney so it's understandable). The landscapes are brilliant, the cinematography is gorgeous, it's an outstanding film visually, and when paired with John Williams' score, this film works wonders.
Ultimately, the film wouldn't have worked without the characters, especially the characters met in the original trilogy. Star Wars is essentially based around nostalgia, a sense that is definitely felt through the great chracters, whether they be new or old. Rian Johnson, with the additional help of Carrie Fisher, fleshed out some fantastic characters, that make the story continue on in a very interesting way. Attempting to avoid spoilers, there were some creative decisions that were made that seemed a little hasty, but will be interesting to see how they affect what happens in Episode IX. But Johnson's writing was great, offering some of the funniest moments, as well as some of the most heartbreaking. There was absolutely no problem with an "incoherent" plot, just a couple of decisions that were a little different than what was expected.
The Last Jedi continues on just as strong as The Force Awakens, aided by the great characters, Rey and Kylo Ren surprisingly being the best of this film. Poe, Finn, Rose, Leia, and Luke all are great to see, especially when all of them are together. There's not a lot that can be done that manages to surprise in the Star Wars universe, but the interactions between these characters and some of the scenes are incredibly striking, leaving you in awe (there being at least 5 scenes that left me personally stunned). This film took risks, did some things that are a little different than what we're used to in Star Wars, but it feels like it's a step in the right direction for the series.
While this film is being criticized by many diehard fans, as well as many other normal viewers, The Last Jedi still stands as one of the strongest installments of the Star Wars franchise. Where The Force Awakens seemed to play it a little safe, this film managed to throw in some curveballs that made it all the more enjoyable to see. Seeing this film in IMAX 3D also managed to help out a little, making the film as magical as ever. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Last Jedi is a wonderful and beautiful film that manages to take some risks that many big budget Disney films woudln't even consider taking. This film doesn't play it safe, but manages to create a better universe in the end.
Rest in peace Carrie Fisher.