wosko’s review published on Letterboxd:
I wasn't a massive fan of TFA, and even less of a fan of R-1, so I went into this not expecting too much other than a bit of fun, which I had for the most part...but it's Rian Johnson's stamp on this that really helped lift this film, and in doing so he has set the bar for this new era of SW films
For me, 4 stars means 'I loved it', and as much as I did enjoy this installment, I didn't love it. Just like certain SW characters that struggle with the constant internal battle of the light and dark-side, I too had an internal struggle (for the whole run-time!) of how I felt about this film. Rian Johnson's overall vision for TLJ, his direction, and the visuals alone were enough to pin 4 stars on it, but unfortunately for me it just kept being knocked down a peg due to a few certain things that hurt the film a bit for me
A few likes and dislikes that come to mind right now;
1) 85% of the "humour" did not work for me. I'm not at all against 'fun' or 'comedy' being integrated into a film like this but it's got be PERFECT to work right, and I just felt a lot of it was just too corny/cliched...basically "Marvel-esque comedy", if you will.
2) The pacing was a bit off, and the middle act kinda dragged a bit for me. Overall film length could have been slightly trimmed too.
3) I found some of the performances, their characters dialogue and their actions, to be a tad *meh* IN PARTS; in particular Ridley and definitely Gleeson. The character, Rose, kinda irritated me and just seemed a bit like a one dimensional, broken record.
1) The AMAZING visuals, and battle sequences.
2) The new locations, set pieces, and new creatures. (On that note: I'm not totally against Porgs, but they really do not serve any purpose whatsoever other than a merchandise hook for Disney, and that does grind my gears a bit).
3) The use of silence in a particular scene - super effective and cool!
4) Seeing my boy Justin Theroux kill it in the casino.
5) The hot female gunner on the bomber in the opening act 'Paige Tico' (played by Veronica Ngo). "Hoochie Mama!!"
Overall I did really enjoy this film, but I wanted to 'love' it! But the negatives (mainly the "comedy") hold this back IMO, but it's definitely a major improvement from TFA and R-1 so that's a plus!
There are many moments, and dialogue, within TLJ that really emphasize Disney's desire to breakaway from the past stories/places/characters that so many of us have known since '77, and to build a new era for a new generation, and with that in mind Rian Johnson did a pretty awesome job overall, and it was mostly an enjoyable and exciting chapter of the SW saga. There is still hope!