Fritz Lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'll have more thoughts when I go see this again in a few days...
I still didn't really care that much about the characters established in the already underwhelming story from The Force Awakens, and Rey's arc and Luke's path were both still really middling... especially the former.
A bunch of things happen that don't always work, and there a lot of stupid writing points that made me shake my head, but overall, there are so many more incredible moments and aspects that kind of trump the flaws.
The thematic values and approach to the material seemed a lot fresher and bolder than before, which really felt good, but that doesn't necessarily make it the great automatically, because there still are so many elements that are forced in, and then never really developed or answered, and not in a good way at all.
Also, I was okay with the fact that the movie didn't really focus on anyone in particular because I didn't really care about any of them, but I will say that the whole casino subplot was actually a big step forward in advancing the themes and motifs of the whole Star Wars genre into something much more grounded and kind of realistic in execution... despite it being a Star Wars movie.
And I don't mean Rogue One bullshit "realism"
I mean an actual core to the rebellion, instead of some stale Skywalker bloodline we've been seeing for the past 69 movies that all feel the same.
And it actually introduced a higher stae of classism and greed into the universe that actually didn't feel the gimmicky.
Now the people we're rooting for actually feel like real people and are at stakes that are pretty philosophically modest and relevant.
There are so many things about this that I liked and disliked, and even though I had a great experience with it overall in IMAX 3D, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to hail it as anything yet.
I'm still conflicted on it... but I really appreciate the direction Rian Johnson took this in.
He took the staleness and safety out of the storyline and characters TFA gave us, and took it a step further into meaningful territory that actually made me more invested.
I used to hate Kylo Ren's pussy character, but now I actually feel more connected to him and came to like his characteristics and shape... even if the actual connection between him and Rey in the film is so mis-developed.
Don't even get me fucking started on that Snoke scene either...