Autumn Faust’s review published on Letterboxd:
Same exact reaction to Force Awakens, in that for the first 2/3, in spite of myself, I was having fun! A dandy little Theme Park Ride, certainly with much more visual imagination than Episode VII if mainly in matters of art direction (love the flippy bikes, the death star's corpse, maybe not so much the grey color pallet but w/e), though not without a Few Cool Shots! Rips from Last Jedi in much the manner Kirshner did from Lucas; a lesser artist turning a true artpiece into Studio Sequel (nevermind that the press tour has hypocritically hinged on insulting Johnson). Totally serviceable through to the point one could expect it to be!
And then the ending. Becomes Return of the Jedi the same way Force Awakens became A New Hope. Every beat becomes stock, the lack of true emotion or deeper art no longer able to hide, every political analog from Episode VI Zeitgeist-ified so loud and one note it's like you can hear the Emperor whispering the words "LEAN IN" into your soul. Good is Good and Bad is Bad! No moral inquiry, just empty empty empty reassurance, as all art will soon become.
Stray notes: 1 A gruesome massacre of baddie grunts: this stuff kind of used to matter to Lucas a little bit but here the manicheanism is so ramped up if Lucas is trying it by being gruesome it just comes off disturbing. 2 "The First Gay Character" you fucking kidding me? just die jj how dare you insult us like that. 3 the premise of the film fundamentally upholds divine right but tell us again about how you hate midichlorians, wanker
Is this all we're gonna be able to get now? Well I won't take it but thanks I did have a lot of fun riding my motorcycle on the freeway and pretending it was a speeder afterwards. The associations of childhood wonder we have with these things runs deeper than any of the actual films, and that sucks so much ass, because it turns them into an Automatic Product: always functional on some level and not due to anything itself achieved or earned. Like a fairy with a magical joy bringing dance purchased and enslaved by a greedy cartoon businessman: it will still probably make us happy on some level, but the external circumstance of that happiness has morally deteriorated, fundamentally altering the soul of the dance. Profiteering is the extraction of soul. Star Wars is a goldmine of soul. The devil now holds the keys to that mine.