- Disney chose to switch directors from JJ Abrams to Rian Johnson, and there is more than just tonal changes. It seems as if a lot of fans did not enjoy the amount of jokes in this film, likening it more to a Marvel film than a traditional film. It was also full of unexpected twist and turns that don't necessarily feel like it was of the Force Awakens. Also, a long portion of the film follows an old sea warfare trope, with a stranded ship waiting it's impending doom and having a sacrificial hero. The middle leg of the film drags on pretty substantially and it doesn't really recover until the last half hour of the film. There is also the interjection of the casino scene, which has seemed to be a source of criticism among fans for feeling like a waist of exposition. Granted, it was more fun than it was important to the story and it ultimately does pan out into the film, it was probably slightly longer than it should have been. (Alternatively, the ending ties in with this scene so it was important). This all leads me to my next point.
- As far as the fans were concerned, we were all under the impression that we would see more of the minor characters and the movie really didn't go in that direction. While we got the inclusion of Laura Dern's Captain Holdo and new-comer Kelly Marie Tran's Rose, Maz and Captain Phasma again got the short straw. Maz's appearance felt more like Disney saying "we still have this academy award winning actress" than actually giving her a role. Instead, she is a simple plot device that relays information about the whereabouts of the "codebreaker," makes a joke, and vanishes. While she is in the midst of some kind of conflict, that seems to be the think of it and then she is not seen again. Also, Captain Phasma who was shown in multiple trailers, has one battle scene of John Boyega's Finn, before she gets her helmet cracked and falls into the firey depths below and exploding hangar. While she might not be dead, it's kind of lame that she's been reduced to the commanding Storm Trooper who just pops in now and then, calls Finn a traitor, and vanishes. While she can totally return from the dead (for a second time) there is no indication that Gwendolyn Christie will reprise the role in the next Star Wars film so this is just another great character that Star Wars wasted.
- Speaking of controversial deaths, nothing was more shocking then (redacted, we will get to that at the end) General Snokes death. Again, why tease so heavily a character just to have him die? If anything, this is where it feels as if the difference between Johnson and Abrams directing style really comes in. From the Force Awakens, it really seemed that Snoke was going to be a very prominent villain in the franchise, only to be cut down in what was one of the better scenes of The Last Jedi. Unfortunately, we don't know a thing about him. Where he's from, why he is so horribly disfigured, and plenty of other questions. While we might find this information out in the final film, it also might not matter because, like previously stated, he was cut in half. Inversely, maybe they will surprise us and say it was a really good force projection. Skywalker managed to do this so maybe its plausible. His return could also be indicated by the fact that he connects Ren and Kylo through the force and they do it one more time towards the end of the film after Snokes death. Who knows though, who knows.
- Which brings me to the next point, the Jedi himself, Luke Skywalker. Filled with jokes and pessimism, Skywalker seems to be the focal point of most fans complaints and considering what the film pulled at the end, it's not all that shocking. Skywalker surrendering himself to the force and presumably gesturing towards a new generation of Jedi is meant to be poetic but it seems as if it was the last thing long time fans wanted to see. While I'm sure he will return in some capacity in the final film (to guide Rey or something) it looks like Hamill's run is finished and considering Harrison Ford is gone, and the tragic loss of the late Carrie Fisher, the original heroes have all left the franchise in one form or another. While a lot of people complained about the move, I found it reasonable, given their ages as the main factor. Regardless, Hamill's performance is fantastic and he is one of the best parts of the film (although, we all expected that to happen).
- While we're speaking about surprises, lets talk about the twist in the film the biggest being the force child at the end scene. In the casino scene, Rose shows a resistance ring to a young orphan boy who later shows it to the camera after force pulling a broom to him and posing with it like a light saber while staring off into the stars. The scene was nothing short of shocking but it fits the narrative of a jedi hero coming from nothing. It will be really interesting to see if the third movie will address this at all, or if that was just a fun nod to a generation yet to come.
- Also, during the scene in which Luke lies about his fated final night with Kylo Ren, he makes a startling omission, stating that Kylo took off with a handful of his students and slaughtered the rest. This is potentially the biggest revelation in the film. That means that there are other Jedi who have been trained by Luke and could still be alive and one thing that this trilogy is lacking, is Jedi. With any hope, we will get some answers about whether or not they are alive and out in the galaxy far, far away or if Kylo eventually slaughtered them too.
All in all, I had a pretty fun time but I can see some of the obvious issues with the story. Guess we will just have to sit tight and wait for Episode 9 to figure out everything and hopefully get some of these questions answered.