Les_Vampires’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've come to a very dangerous and frustrating conclusion watching 8 of the 9 "Skywalker Saga" films in a row: this is a horrendously told story. Obviously seeing my rating you know I don't just mean this film but I mean all of it. All of it is frankly garbage storytelling that falls apart over and over and over again across each film. There is of course no connective tissue between each trilogy but far worse there's barely connective tissue between each film. It's a film series that was barely functional in 1983, destroyed by 2005, and horribly stitched together in 2015.
Yet...I love it. I think what has come down for me, and why I think I will always enjoy and appreciate this film when so many think THIS is what broke Star Wars is that this was always a broken series the second the self contained first one was given a sequel. But, Star Wars is a series of incredible moments held together with bad plots and rough character growth.
That is why I finally must say that The Last Jedi is so goddamn good. It is an extremely analytical film, one that looks at the franchise in its messy pile and tries to find some semblance of order to it. Its still frankly, kinda broken? It's hard to make us care when the last movie is all mystery box. Clear Johnson doesn't give two shits about Snoke or any other massive mystery element and wants instead to introduce a little chaos to this constant checkers match between good an evil. But in that chaos is new life, a different path from the safe and forgettable.
But it's those moments that are so good, and are some of the best in the entire series. The single best visualization of what the force is. Brilliant digressions on the nature of failure. Genuine character growth for a 40 year old character who barely had any before. Amazing visuals with a breathtaking color palette. Clever reveals especially in the way characters don't live up to their preconceived early notions of heroism. A great expanding of the world. A single shot of Leia in pain, a rebellion dying with no one to care.
This is the magic of Star Wars. It's Luke on starring at the twin suns. It's Anakin storming into the Jedi Temple a la the Third Reich. It's a scavenger picking the bones of a dead mighty war machine. It's that stuff that keeps me going, and that stuff that makes this film so special. It's another weird broken object that somehow flies. Its heart is brilliant and pure and special. It's why I dread the reaction against it and going into 9 later today. I want Star Wars to be unique because it once was.
It's those characters, those moments, those invisible feelings that exist in the best of the franchise. I love this film because it understands that, it is entirely about emotional intelligence over filling in every plothole and writing every wrong in the same traditional dull way. It's just such an engaging experience, even at a little too long and a little too silly. I just find it such a blast to watch and it's the only object outside of the original trilogy that gets that same level of magic.
Also watching this movie with my SO (who was watching it for the first time) and them screaming "why do people hate this movie?!" made me want to go out and buy a ring.