This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nathan Pigg⚡️’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I want to make this perfectly clear, I liked a lot of things that this movie did. Starting with the opening scene, which was impressive and visually perfect. It was absolutely perfect to make this the first scene in the movie as it was truly one of the best scenes in the movie. I also loved how Palpatine was every voice inside of Kylo’s head. This instantly adds value to the past two movies and shows the brilliance of the Emperor. The main thing that I loved was how badass Kylo Ren was through the first half of this movie. Kylo has always been a great villain in my mind, but he had always been conflicted and and I feel like held back as a villain. Not here, not in this first half. He was so so great, props to JJ and his writing crew for finally writing Kylo the right way. Not only that, but of course Adam Driver was fantastic once again. So much talent, its sad that we only get three films with him.
I really liked that they brought back Palpatine as well. It was ominous and fitting for this saga to end with the Emperor. Although, I kind of wish they explained how he lived after Vader chucked him down thousands of feet in the Death Star. Maybe they did and I just missed it. I also loved that Rey is a Palpatine, and is the Emperor’s granddaughter. That was a huge twist that I didn’t see coming and I really loved it. It shows that she truly had parents that mattered and that her story could have been so different. It also meant her showdown with the Emperor later would be that much better. I loved everything about this reveal.
Finally, I love that they severally cut back Rose’s screen time. Rose, in my opinion, is easily the worst character in all of Star Wars. In TLJ, she was so cringey and horrible. She kissed Finn after almost killing him for no fucking reason and was just an absolutely awful character. I love TLJ, but Rose is the only reason it’s not an A+ for me, she’s that bad. Whoever decided that she didn’t need to be anywhere near a camera in this movie made the right decision. I loved that Rose was severally cut down in this movie to almost no role.
This movie was going so well for awhile. I was loving it. I didn’t see why people didn’t like it. And then, it hit. Problem after problem came falling down like a damn meteor shower. The first true problem I have is when the group stumbles upon the blade that C3PO later translates (the name escapes me sorry). So how do they find this? They are being chased by stormtroopers and then get blasted accidentally onto some quicksand type material. Then they sink and fall into some underground tunnel. In this tunnel, they just so happen to find an old ship, and then the blade. Huh, what a fucking coincidence. Rey claimed that Luke had been looking for the blade for years. So wait, hold on a sec. The best Jedi ever was searching for this blade, for years, with all his power and knowledge, and couldn’t find it. Yet you just so happen to coincidentally stumble upon it when you aren’t even looking for it? Are you fucking kidding me?? That’s way way way too much coincidence for me and it shows lazy writing.
The next big problem I have was when Rey stabs Kylo, and then immediately heals him. First off, Leia fucking dies so Kylo can be sacrificed. It’s a hard decision for Leia, but she knew that laying down her life to take Kylo’s would eventually help the rebellion more so than she can. Well Kylo isn’t even dead 10 seconds before Rey revives him. So now Kylo is alive and Leia practically died for nothing. Now I know how this movie ends, trust me I’m taking that into account, so Leia didn’t actually die for nothing. But still, in that moment she did. Also, why does Rey even heal him in the first place? I don’t wanna hear that “she’s a caring soul” or “she saw what he could become.” Don’t give me that bullshit. He has literally spent 2.5 movies trying to kill her/switch her to the dark side, and you know in 10 seconds that you should revive him? What if once she revived him he stabbed her in the chest? That wouldn’t be too smart now would it? This scene could have been redone any other way and it would’ve been better. But her reviving him was some strange reoccurrence in this film. On four, FOUR separate occasions they do this fake death shit. Chewy gets captured off screen and then supposedly gets blown up by Rey. Shouldn't an iconic character like Chewy have a more noble ending? I could smell that was fake from a mile away. Then C3PO with his memory being wiped is technically a death, a death of a character we know. They faked that shit too by just passing over a line that R2D2 could have his memory, but is “unreliable.” Another death that only lasts for like 30 minutes. Then Kylo is dead for 10 seconds like I just talked about, and then Rey is dead yet revived at the end. Why was JJ so obsessed with these phantom deaths? Tricking the audience goes so far, if he played this fake death once or even twice then fine but what the fuck was it used four times for?
Kylo trying to kill/switch Rey for 2.5 movies leads me to my next point, and honestly my biggest problem with this movie, the kiss. This is something that ReyLo stans (14 year old Twitter fanboys/fangirls) have been screaming for since TFA. It’s sickening that JJ and Disney gave in to the demands of easily the most annoying and uncultured fan group in the world. It makes absolutely no sense for Rey and Kylo to kiss in that moment. They showed no sexual tension or interest in each other over the first two movies, nor did they through this one until this moment. Rey, this guy has been trying to kill you and hunt you for 2.5 movies, what the fuck? How is that attractive in any way to you? If they would’ve hinted at these two wanting to be lovers from the beginning than I wouldn’t have a problem, but this is SO forced that I think it’s the worst writing decision made in this whole trilogy. Yes, Kylo saved her life and sacrificed himself and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah soapy shit blah blah blah yeah Rey saved Kylo earlier but they didn’t kiss then. Why don’t we just have Tony Stark kiss Thanos in Endgame? Because that makes just about as much sense as this does. It’s a simple kiss, but romance is something we all love and despise. It’s drama inside of these false worlds. It’s a simple kiss, but it’s just horrible and doesn’t make sense at all in this context.
I was really surprised when the credits rolled because I was waiting for Finn to tell Rey what he wanted to. They mention that Finn has something to tell Rey numerous times in this movie, but he truly never gets the opportunity to tell her. Since they mention it so many times, it’s clearly important. So what is it? Was it Finn can feel the force? Was it Finn knew who Rey’s parents were but never told her? Was Finn going to confess his love to her? I was really looking forward to what this was about, but I guess we’ll never find out. What the fuck JJ? How are you gonna set that up and then not even give us an answer? It’s not even an open to interpretation thing either, it’s just something that doesn’t get answered. What the fuck? How do you not include the scene where Finn finally tells her whatever it was. Big problem with that JJ. Big problem. Imagine scapegoating Rian Johnson for making a “terrible movie” that “ruined people’s childhood” and then putting up this movie that’s riddled with massive flaws. Disney subtlety hinted that they weren’t happy with how Johnson did TLJ, vowing that they would fix his “mistakes.” Yeah, right.
If you’re still with me through this long review, thanks for sticking it out. Star Wars means so much to me, as it does a lot of people. I loved TLJ despite its backlash, and I had such high hopes for this movie. The trailers all looked superb, and I thought they’d know how to close the saga out the right way. Like I mentioned earlier, I liked a lot of what this movie did. Rey’s true heritage, the final scene at Luke’s home, even Poe’s love interest I enjoyed. But there were a few critical flaws that I just can’t look past. I’m not a filmmaker, and I wouldn’t make a better movie than this was. But I sure as hell would be able to make a scene where Finn confesses to Rey what he wanted to tell her all along. There are some scenes and decisions that just don’t make sense and are too forced or coincidental for me to say that this is a great movie. It just disappoints me because I truly feel that if all my problems above were addressed, this would be almost a perfect movie. This was almost everything I wanted it to be, but I’ve got to be honest with myself in those critical flaws. So close to great, yet so far all at the same time. I did enjoy this movie, I don’t want you to think I’m just tearing it to shreds. It just made too many crucial mistakes. All in all, this movie had so much potential that just left such a bad taste in my mouth.