Kurtis Smejkal’s review published on Letterboxd:
“This is not going to go the way you think.”
- Luke Skywalker
Originally this seemed like a line for Rey, but as I watched more of The Last Jedi, it became apparent that Luke is also speaking this to the audience as well.
This film mainly works because The Force Awakens (and to a lesser and smaller degree, this film) sets up the characters and world again in a familiar and almost predictable way.
Then The Last Jedi barges in like your drunk uncle at Christmas and fucks EVERYTHING up.
This is the best thing about The Last Jedi, it's not your typical Star Wars. It definitely doesn't betray the mythos or iconography, but it doesn't cherish it either. Rian Johnson takes calculated risks and it pays off in dividends.
The plot works quite well, the first act is mainly set up, focusing primarily on Rey trying her best to convince Luke to rejoin the Resistance; 2nd act is setup, and this drags a little bit, but the humor and action make it far more entertaining then it ought to be. I'm also not too sure if all the Canto Bight stuff fails because the Rey/Luke/Kylo Ren/Snoke stuff is so strong, that it's hard for the B-plot to keep up, or if it's just that it's bad. I dunno.
The third and final act is a blitzkrieg of revelations. Which makes it even more impressive. Johnson uproots Star Wars folks, and like Empire it leaves things in a weird place that I'm still unsure of but excited fully to see.
I'm sure 90% of you cringed when I referenced Empire, this isn't an Empire clone. I know that'll be a concern. It's not, it's a unique film.
The most interesting (and polarizing) dynamic of this film will be that of Rey/Luke/Kylo Ren/Snoke. Parallels are drawn early and PLENTY of risks are taken with this dynamic. Again. Luke told you folks, this isn't going to go how you think.
The Last Jedi is a lot of things, but I would sum it up as a 'quintessential post-modern Star Wars film'. It does interesting things while including what matters. It intelligently changes the formula in a way that will satisfy, and challenge, long time fans of the franchise.