Frank Ritz’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ya know, expectations really dictate everything, don't they? Going into this, and Solo, expecting just trash, made me come out liking them more than, seemingly, everybody else. I dare say, at this moment, I like this more than the other two in the trilogy, but I also like Return of the Jedi more than Empire.... so. What're ya gonna do? 🤷♀️
But in all seriousness, I thought the first 30 minutes were kind of appalling; just quickly zipping through plot development at a rapid pace, I thought my brain was going to explode. Once they get to Kjimi, and until the end of the film, I was honestly engaged and riveted (and I promise it's not just because Babu Frik is the best character ever written). I found C3PO's dilemma to be emotionally powerful, and continued to find these small moments to be effective as such (original Chewie scene got me a lot). Rey and Ren continued to be the most fascinating parts of this new trilogy, and anytime it diverged I was definitely less interested. I also had the major twist/reveal spoiled for me, so maybe that helped, because, while I do agree it's kind of stupid, I had already accepted it pre-movie, and was okay with it while watching.
It does feel like every film was completely disregarding the one that came before it, but as a stand alone piece, I found this to be the most entertaining, and engaging, and actually made me feel something. The passing of lineage, both in the positive, and negative, is something that often rattles me to my core, and that felt most present here - much as it does in Jedi (Return, I mean). The waging war inside will always be more compelling than the war raging outside, because those come and go, but what we choose to let define us is something that alters the course of the universe permanently. At least our own.
I do plan to re-watch all the films this year because my lady friend has only seen Force Awakens (it's not her fault, don't be upset), so I'm very excited for that, knowing where it ostensibly ends. I do predict my ranking won't even remotely stay the same, but for now, it is what it is.
Plus, this has Babu Frik; I mean, come on.