Mad’s review published on Letterboxd:
(I wanna preface this review by saying that going in to rewatching this film I went with no preconceived notions of being purposefully contrarian or biased as I am a huge fan of Rian Johnson. I just went in as a huge fan of Star Wars.)
What do we talk about when we talk about The Last Jedi? It's a film that took the entirety of the social media landscape by a storm. It's rightfully so considered as the most divisive Star Wars film. I'm not gonna try to defend this film from any criticisms (most of them that are just stemmed from this current generation of nit-pick obsessed CinemaSins fans), and I'm definitely not gonna talk about the awful, horrendous, terrible "Fandom Menace", that can't stand a single sight of any one that is not a super-powered white man or a woman there for their viewing pleasures. As Joe Pesci said in The Irishman, "fuck 'em. fuck 'em."
What I am gonna talk about is my love for this movie, and this movie's brimming love for Star Wars. Much like TFA and Abrams, Johnson infuses every frame of this film with such an admiration for Star Wars. But while Abrams has a love for the past and the familiar, Johnson has a love for the familiar as well as the future. This film bursts to the seams with energy, excitement, action, drama, and all the operatic moments that we love in this saga. But it feels like for the first time in forever, this is a SW film that has something to say. Johnson's willing to take a big risk and dig deeper into what these characters mean to the world and what they actually feel. Not a single character feels underdeveloped or lacking in motivations or depth. He has the best and most thoughtful understanding of the lore and the myth since Lucas.
Lots of people latch on to Kylo's words to say that that's what the film means. "Let the past die, kill it if you have to." Kylo remarks to Rey. But the film literally goes out of its way to prove him wrong. Kylo wants his past to die, he wants to grow forward, let the old things die, but he can't. His past is too filled with guilt for him to get rid of. And the only way forward is to acknowledge your past failures, rather than getting rid of them, and grow beyond them.
This is the best Star Wars movie put to screen, and I'm so glad I've come to terms with that now.