Riley’s review published on Letterboxd:
“We are what they grow beyond”
This film is a fucking miracle, in the age of modern mega-franchise filmmaking, this is the rare special thing that feels wholly auteur driven, it blows my mind that this thing even exists in the beautifully idiosyncratic way that it does. A beautifully human epic (this is the rare film that truly *earns* that term) and a treatise on death, legacy, the toils of war, the inherent hope & power in myth making and symbols, the failures of the past and the young left behind in the wake of these failures trying to find purpose in a world that rejects you. This thing is a fucking behemoth and by far the most emotionally complex the series has ever been, i can understand why so many have had such aversion to this, it experiments with form and structure and expands the established visual language of Star Wars in ways that feel downright idiosyncratic, but even the parts people call out to be weirder moments (canto-byte) just to me feel like such pure Star Wars, anyone who complains about cheese in Star Wars seemingly misunderstood the entire charm of the series from the get go. This doesn't disregard Star Wars history, Lukes entire arc is about recognising that history as an ever revolving facet of life, and one thats bound to ebb & flow and evolve in time, his arc literally ends with him recognising the strength and hope that is held in legends, and the power that stories hold even to someone as small as an impoverished child on the other side of the galaxy. I could honestly go on so much longer about things i adore in this, but i want to keep it short, but It's become so much more clear to me over these last few years that Rian Johnson wasn't someone who misunderstands Star Wars, but rather someone who understood better than any of us could ever hope to.