This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Demi Adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
In my previous 'review' of the movie I said that I knew I wasn't going to watch this movie again– but then the WGA sent out an email with a link to a digital screener, so I said fuck it and put it on. I liked it even less! And what's worse, is that because I was watching in the comfort of my own home, I started just writing notes about things I didn't like, which is an incredibly poisonous way to watch movies and something I'm gonna actively stop doing in 2020. (Along with probably star-rating these movies altogether because I am SHOCKED this damn website has not yet come back to bite me professionally. To my knowledge. Love you, JJ!)
There's nothing more embarrassing than writing down nitpicks over conflicting points of lore about Star Wars (a franchise I literally did not care about until two years ago) and realizing you are slowly turning into one of the worst people on the internet. Anyway, I got 1:34 in before I realized that I was pretty much only watching bitterly and stopped. Here are the least insufferable of the absolutely insufferable things I wrote down:
• I still can't deal with the fact that they reveal Palpatine’s return, which should be a massive, plot-shaking franchise twist, with the opening crawl. And they don't even explain how he's back, they literally say "somehow, Palpatine returned." I still haven't seen the first two prequels, but there's no way the lines people laugh about are as ludicrous as "The dead speak!"
• Nothing represents this film more succinctly than the moment where Lando looks directly at the First Order fleet flying towards them and says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” It makes absolutely no sense for him to say he has a bad “feeling” about something that is so obviously and objectively a bad event, but he says that phrase anyway, because that’s the famous phrase from the series. It doesn’t have to work contextually, it just has to remind the viewing audience of the beloved film Star Wars, which they all know and love.
• Things I love about this movie: the amount of work that goes into creature design! The all-write room on the First Order base is beautiful– feels like the first time I've seen a room in the sequel trilogy that harkens back to the original. The fight where they're going back and forth between the ship and Kijimi is terrific! The jokes in this movie land like 95% of the time for me!
• “We need to get the dagger!” “Why” “… A feeling.” Alright, I think I hate the writing convenience that the undefined power of the Force offers at any given point. And while I'm at it, I have several questions about what it means to be a force ghost if Luke can catch a lightsaber, walk through fire, and lift an X-Wing as a force ghost! You motherfuckers are invincible! Why is there a war happening at ALL
• [Flavor of Love 'Beyonce' voice] Jodie Comer???????
• PALPATINE: “Kill Rey! Actually, no bring her to me. I’ll kill her. Actually no, Rey– you kill me. I’m going to become so damn powerful when you do it. Oh fuck, you're actually killing me! Shit, this is destroying me! Fuck!”
• JJ’s favorite camera move is dollying into characters as they’re moving towards/past the camera. It's something I've taken note of before, but there’s exactly one moment in the film where it particularly sticks out, and it's the scene where the Falcon crash lands on that planet, but it only sticks out because the move happens immediately after they do an analog zoom across the landscape into our heroes, which is truly not something that I think ever happens elsewhere in the sequel trilogy. It feels like a shot we would've seen in the original trilogy, and when put back-to-back with the JJ shot right after it, it’s easy to see what the visual differences are even in just the simple cinematography of the OT and the ST.
• Why and how do Leia and Finn know about the Palpatine connection? How long have they known? Is this what Finn was going to tell her when they were “about to die?” And if so, why? And why have they not told her? Why have they not told Poe? What is going on?
• What... is... Dark Rey.... and why does she have fangs?
• Dominic Monaghan’s involvement is wildly distracting and honestly a little insulting given how much JJ sidelines Rose through the whole film, especially knowing that a) he's only in the movie after winning a bet and b) JJ publicly gave some quote about how casting Kelly Marie Tran was the greatest thing Rian Johnson did for him. If people really thought Rose sucked in TLJ, I feel like the reaction shouldn't be to write her out of the sequel, it should be to write her better in the sequel! (But I shouldn't talk here because I think Rose was great in TLJ)
• Wait, Dominic Monaghan translates a message that’s being broadcast by the Final Order across the galaxy– can HE translate Sith?? Did they never have to go to Kijimi at all?? Isn’t this presumably the same system that would’ve been used to broadcast the message mentioned in the opening crawl (which by the way, was actually recorded and was dropped into a promotional event for Fornite instead of being written into the film which Is a whole other fucking can of worms) in which case, did he have to translate it then too??? Why is the Final Order broadcasting threatening messages that have to be translated!??!?
Anyways, without even a hint of sarcasm and with full recognition that I just wrote [*gestures with deep embarrassment to everything up there*] I am truly glad that some people loved this film. If I had it my way, we'd all love every film! Films are fun! Star Wars is fun! It is such a truly special franchise that means so much to so many people and I have the utmost respect for JJ Abrams and everybody else involved who worked hard as hell to bring even more magic to this world.
I am going to go sleep for several thousand years. Wake me up when September ends!