Its taken me a long time to mull over all my feelings about this movie, to be able to properly review it. There is good points and bad points about this film, and there is a very clear reason why this is the most divisive Star Wars movie yet. First off the good points, all of the characters set up in Episode 7 So Finn, Rey, Poe, Hux and Kylo ,( John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver), are all developed in satisfying ways; with Rey’s journey to one of the most powerful Jedi’s, continuing to feel believable if a little rushed. Now the new characters are more of a mixed bag, Rose what can I say about her that hasn’t already been said, whilst I’m not in the legions of fans who really don’t like her I’m some where in the middle. Whilst her romance with Finn seems completely unbelievable , because its seems improbable that after less than a day that she has feelings for him, and feels more like an attempt to inject stakes into a tense battle scene. Her character does however work in the base reason I believe that she is included, and that is to capture this idea of the hope and purity the Rebellion represents. This is used to set up that moment at the end with the boy and the broom to show that hope is still alive, which Juxtaposes the idea of hope being fleeting which is explored throughout the movie. Now lets talk about the big talking point of the film, the deaths. There are 3 high profile deaths though on is off screen so don’t be surprised if she comes back in episode 9. Personally I liked what the film was doing of having Snoke ( Andy Serkis ), being this near omnipotent villain and a real clear and present danger to the heroes. So I felt his death was under whelming and hard to believe because he could use force powers that had barely even been seen before but he couldn’t notice Kylo’s trick. However I do feel like this development in Kylo Ren’s character and the end to his divided nature, will show by the end of episode 9 a great character arc, only strengthened by Adam Driver’s performance. Next up Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), she was under used in episode 7 and after fan outcry was promised to have more to do in the next entry, and I have to say arguably she had less to do this time around. Whether she had a more meaty part and it got cut down in editing, or was just not needed from a story point of view, she is still wasted in the long run. Finally and perhaps most impactful is the death of Luke Skywalker and yes we all knew that the deaths of the original trilogy stars were coming, but I thought that Leia would die in this one and Luke the next, there was even a moment they could have tastefully killed her off, but instead they used it as a huge character reveal/ moment for her. This moment resulted in more people in my screening laughing then there probably should have. Luke Skywalkers death on the whole is at least handled quite well with the appropriate stakes and level of mystery. The most harmful negative of this film comes through its inconsistent tone. With the film itself being quite serious in tone ,(not unlike The Empire Strikes back), however with the overuse of humour the tension in some of these serious scenes is completely lost. This is further shown through the casino planet side plot which feels inconsistent with the other subplots and themes, and ultimately feels like its not far removed from the prequels.
It is with all that being considered and weighted up, that I have to say to sum up this film in a word, it would be average not good or bad.
reviewed by Luke