tromber’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don’t think I am going to present this with a rating for the time being. I left the theatre in something akin to awe. But it wasn’t awe. I can’t even tell if I really liked this or not. I love almost every decision Rian Johnson made. I stopped breathing a few times. I teared up a few times. There were two moments that made me feel sick with anticipation and shock. The first was just a moment I had been waiting for and the way the scene drew it out made it hard to breathe. The second was a moment where I realized literally anything could happen and that the rule book had been thrown away.
Thematically, this tells a great story that digs into the ideas of what wars represent and what hope really means, even deeper than Rogue One did (and that was Rogue One’s whole mission statement). There are times when I’m not sure the physical transportation of the thematic ideas works, such as in long stretches of the first hour. But it’s overall worth it.
Rian Johnson effectively tosses a grenade in the bunker then walks away to let everyone else clean up the mess. And that’s great. It puts J.J. Abrams in a fascinating position. The way this ends feels like we are just getting started and I can’t wrap my head around IX ending it all, so that alone would be challenge enough. But Rian stripped away all the safeties and railings, putting J.J. in the cockpit for a very dangerous and unexpected Episode IX.
This is a really weird Star Wars movie and I’m really grateful for that. My problem and hesitancy has nothing to do with the weirdness, it’s the odd execution and early narrative decisions that make this film such a bizarre and off-putting experience. I’ll be back tomorrow to look again. I want to engage more deeply with this and now that I know what’s going on, I can lean back and see how it feels. There’s already a few small things I thought I caught but could be mistaken about and I want to see how the thematic arc plays out and I want to watch it without that itchy desire to just know the secrets and spoilers.
I’m grateful to Rian but I don’t know how I feel about his film.
I feel electrified living in a world where Star Wars means something completely different now. The film doesn’t resemble Empire all that much but Rian somehow managed to replicate (what I imagine) the feeling Lucas and Kershner gave to their audience back in 1980.
And I miss Carrie. And it’s so incredibly unfair that she won’t get to lead IX after how VII and VIII set her up.