For someone who was perturbed by the lack of originality in “The Force Awakens” I went in with tempered expectations not expecting much more than a revised version of “The Empire Strikes Back.” “I came out quite pleased with the film in comparison to all 3 films that Disney has made with Lucasfilm after appointing Kathleen Kennedy as the lead chair. Though I was pleased with the improvements they made with the franchise they aren’t out of the woods with some issues with the film.
The main issues I had with the film included the pacing with the film feeling long in the middle and having too much humor through the picture. There were some choices with how the force was used with one character that stretched the imagination for believability. I did like how the managed to create some real challenges with each of the 3 main leads in order to show them having some sort of obstacle to overcome. Rey was one of the more notable characters that had the most change with her character being removed of the status of “Mary Sue”-ness. Another thing that improved in this film was the score by John Williams there wasn’t any new notable track but it did feel like an improvement over the last entry. There were some great twists and surprises in the film that I enjoyed.
This is not going to go the way you think!
Mark Hamill gives his a great performance and honestly his most complex entry in the Star Wars franchise. There were a lot of great moments with Luke in this film. He really grew as a character and showcase the good and bad baggage that comes along with being a Skywalker. I also appreciated how the force evolved in the film with how it was being used between characters and new ways it could be used to explore what the force really is than what people think it is.
One thing I did appreciate in this film was the choice it made to say about people with the force and it really was emphasized against one character in what really matters in choosing your life decisions on how you are as a person. Some people have good and bad in them but it doesn’t mean they are only influenced by one side. Some of the new characters landed with me. I liked what the character of Rose represented for not only showcasing just ordinary people in Star Wars, but having an Asian main character in this universe means a lot more to the others in the world. Laura Dern’s character of Holdo I thought was a strong asset by the end of the film. Benicio Del Toro’s character felt like there was stuff left on the cutting room floor and Captain Phasma felt very thrown away.
One of the strongest assets this franchise has is Adam Driver and he shines on screen. His chemistry with Daisy Ridley is palpable and they work well together as actors. I am looking forward to where they take his story in Episode 9. Overall while there were some smaller story beats similar this film was different enough to please me as an audience member and hope for more creative choices going forward in this franchise to give it a new life.