Well kids, it’s Christmas time for us all…unless you’re Jewish. The new Star Wars film is here which is something EVERYONE can celebrate. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. What do I think? Glad you asked your favorite film snob cause I have many thoughts. And before we get started, here’s my rankings of the films so you know my preferences:
4, 6, 5, Rogue One, 3, 7, 2, ——————1. That’s how bad Phantom Menace is, lower than Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad. Hell, I’ll put the punching bag known as the Star Wars Christmas above PM.
We start TLJ off in a dark time, the Resistance is getting decimated by the First Order (a La Empire Strikes back but don’t worry, this film isn’t an Empire reboot as Ep 7 was like Ep 4). Rey is about to meet Skywalker and learn about the path of a Jedi. And of course, cry baby Kylo Ren is back being tormented by Supreme Leader Snoke how he’s not much of a man with that mask. Ren then destroys the mask and then destroying my wishes that he’d keep the mask on so we don’t have to look at his stupid face. And they say bullying is bad, bullying gets shit done…to a degree. Good news in this installment, not many emo temper tantrums out of Ren!
The Resistance, led by Princess Leia (yes, you’ll spend most of the time guessing if and where she gets killed off to coincide with Carrie Fisher’s death) needs a codebreaker to crack the code of being able to track a ship through hyperspace. Speaking of Carrie Fisher, they must have paid her for the Force Awakens in gallons of gin and Virginia Slims. Her voice sounds huskier than mine. Folks, it’s been a LONNGGGG time since she wore that metal bikini. But I did enjoy her having a larger role here than she did in Episode 7. Anyway, the ships’ shields can only hold up for so long as Finn and new character Jane escape to find said codebreaker. I’ll tell you now that you’ll find Jane ALMOST as annoying as Jar Jar Binks. Not a fan. She is going down in the Star Wars annals as one of the most unlikeable characters, I’ll guarantee it. And there’s a whole 15-20 minutes with Finn and her that on their search for the codebreaker that could’ve been cut. Meanwhile, Rey attempts to learn why Skywalker became a hermit and no longer a teacher of the Jedi. We also learn more why Kylo Ren made the choice to commit to the dark side and I found it to be a nice twist.
Chewbacca doesn’t get much screen time in this one and you’ll find yourself saying, “Where the hell is Chewie?” There’s also very little from R2 and some of 3PO. BB-8 does get a solid haul of screen time and he’s enjoyable as usual. BUT, you also get a couple of cameos, including one great surprise that will easily put a smile on your face.
I will say that this film is a lot funnier than most BUT after the halfway point, I felt that the jokes were becoming a bit overkill. I don’t need comedic lines like Caddyshack in a Star Wars film. I just want good story and good action. By all means, sprinkle a few throughout the film. But this has a LOT more; maybe more than all of the films combined. So that was a bit off-putting.
Let’s also talk about Daisy Ridley playing Rey. She’s fantastic and for everyone trying to shove female heroes down our throats for the sake of, take note of this. You know why this works? Cause it’s natural. You BELIEVE that this girl can be a Jedi knight and enjoy her journey. But when Hollywood forces all female reboots or DEMANDS we have more female superheroes just to check a box, people seize up. When you feel like you’re trying to be sold something, you freeze up and reject it, right? Well Rey doesn’t do go that route, bravo!
The action scenes are great. Dogfight scenes are rock solid and the lightsaber battles? Top notch, top notch!
Without delving too deeply into the story, a lot of shit goes down in this film that you would’ve expected to happen in the final film. TLJ will definitely throw you a few unexpected curveballs, some pleasant and even an, “Ahhh shit” moment. A lot of people were worried that this would be too much like Empire and there are a couple of moments that there are similarities but overall, it’s quite independent of Ep 5.
This film does drag a BIT; as I said above, there’s easily 15-20 minutes that can be cut. And you’ll wonder during the final battle why it’s going on so long but it does pay off nicely.
And now, the verdict. I really liked this film and I think it’s better than Force Awakens. Why? Because it wasn’t a “greatest hits” like Ep 7 was. It’s dark. And they do answer some questions but you’ll wish they expounded on more of the story. The stage was set relatively well and I’m hoping they just close the loops nicely with episode 9.
I give it a 7.5 out of 10 and in the rankings, I put it after Rogue One and before Force Awakens.