Colin McLaughlin’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I watched this back to back with Force Awakens for the first time and I have some thoughts.
I think what frustrates me about the whole "Well, Force Awakens is just A New Hope remixed" argument is A) reductive, and, B) snide in a way, like these guys (was gonna say "people", but, come on. it's dudes) think they've uncovered some flaw in the system. Like Abrams and Disney ran out of ideas on set and started mining what had come before.
And sure, everyone gets their own opinion, but that particular one is just so boring. Because if you watch Force Awakens, sure, it looks like Star Wars. There's storm troopers and lightsabers and the millennium falcon. But, really, if you're coming into 7 from the 6 previous movies, the Force Awakens certainly doesn't feel like Star Wars, at least as we've known Star Wars up to that point. They way it's shot, the way it's edited, the way Abrams captures movement and action are all new experiences to these movies. Abrams needed a familiar-feeling story to satisfy us while he changed the very DNA of this franchise right before our eyes. He moved the lens through which we see this universe, and thus opened the door for all these new voices to follow. The idiotic, ignorant assumption that Abrams and Johnson somehow managed to work completely independently of each other in order to feed some conspiracy that Abrams is now "fixing" Star Wars after Johnson broke it just doesn't grasp what's really going on here. Star Wars is changing. It has to, in order to survive.
Which brings us to Last Jedi, a movie that's as interested in it's own history as it is in setting fire to everything that threatened to hold SW back. It's a movie about how, given enough time, every legend eventually fails to live up to its own legacy, and how life will still go on despite that fact. The theme of failure (which, isn't really that radical given how Empire ends) is so prescient, especially right now that our real world is at the mercy of an unstable man child with daddy issues who would rather burn the whole thing down than face the challenges of being an adult.
I think, twenty years from now, this will be a favorite, as Empire is now. Or not. I know it's my favorite, at least for this current age. Only Star Wars could so effectively capture the culture of the moment like this; it's a movie about change vs. stagnation that set fire to a culture war between those who are so afraid of change that the world they're fighting to preserve doesn't exist anymore, and those who, though fearful, embrace the radical shifts that await us and whatever challenges they may bring.
But I'm sure I'm rambling here. This is really just an ok movie with some adorable porgs.