★★★★ Rewatched 20 Dec, 2019
Because this film created so much controversy I haven’t felt to come back to it until now, a few days before Episode IX. First time around I liked it overall, especially the direction and technical aspects, slightly less the story and the characterization. Most of all I was left with a bitter aftertaste due to the way Luke was treated.
The second time around after two years my prejudice subsided and I went into it with an open mind. I knocked down half a star, but I still feel it’s a good movie and a solid addition to the new trilogy. Which became very clear to me has its own distinctive feel and style. Just as both previous trilogies. J.J.Abrams has set the tone, blend of old and new, which was retained by Rian Johnson, despite the fact they both have their own personal styles.
I noticed more details now and the dispute between Po and Holdo made more sense and didn’t bother me at all (like it did previously). Finn’s character development also became clearer and how the bond and mutual respect with Rose developed. Rey’s arc still feels a bit clunky, but is solid at the end. Reason for Kylo and Rey being pulled together from the opposite sides and empathizing on emotional level also makes sense. I’m baffled where some people see a romantic connection between the two. I still don’t like where Luke has gone, but I don’t just understand it, I also excepted it to a point that it doesn’t taint my viewing. It took me a long time to come to terms with that and now I know I finally did.
The problem is that you are presented with so many different unexpected turns and character development that it’s hard to follow everything during the initial viewing. So I still feel the biggest issue with this movie is that is the middle part of the 3rd trilogy of universally beloved Star Wars saga, which was up to that point quite easily accessible modern mythology. If Rian Johnson would make a stand alone Star Wars story I’m sure the controversy would get entirely avoided. With that said I’m still interested in original take on Star Wars universe Rian was supposed to do (and I hope he still does).