Evan Grohowski’s review published on Letterboxd:
UPDATE (2nd Viewing):
I still stand by my previous review, however, I do admit that my point of view was a little one-sided. The first time watching The Last Jedi, I was particularly focussed on the plot. Watching it a second time allowed me to properly analyze the cinematic experience, rather than the "loyal fan"/plot based experience.
In my previous review, I was frazzled, and upset at the changes made to the Star Wars universe. However, when I looked at it from a "simple moviegoer's" perspective, those changes seemed minute in comparison to how incredible the composition in this film was. Rian Johnson may not be a perfect director, but he sure knows what DP can get the job done AND MORE.
Don't get me wrong, the movie still has an excessive amount of character flaws and plot holes that almost anyone could notice. Ex: Leia using the force in space, and not to mention that the acting is mediocre at best. However, if you are not a Star Wars fanatic, this film isn't just bearable, but actually fairly intriguing and an overall visually beautiful cinematic experience. (Still worse than Revenge of the Sith)
Mockery. Disappointment. Confused.
These are all words that went into my mind when watching The Last Jedi.
It pains me to write such a negative review, but as a fan of the franchise, this was an abomination to everything I knew and loved from past films. The only people who genuinely enjoyed themselves when watching this film either:
A - Have only seen Episode Seven, and only care about "new generation" characters. OR
B - Are huge fans of the franchise, and are lying to themselves about how "innovative" and "creatively different" Rian Johnson made this film out to be.
First lets talk about the Good:
The visuals in this film were second to none as the cinematic experience made the gaping plot holes almost bearable. There were certain shots that had me in awe. Easily the best looking Star Wars film to date. Also, the score was an improvement from Episode Seven; I felt reconnected with some of the creatures within this crazy universe (to an extent)
Now... Lets talk about the Bad:
If I were to explain, in detail, all of the issues I had with the characters and overall plot in this film, I would go over some form of word limit. So, to save both you and I some trouble, I will only go over the moments where I felt personally attacked as a fan of the franchise.
First: When I saw Leia Organa, our beloved princess, open her eyes in the vacuums of space and float to a door to get back on a resistance cruiser, I, along with the rest of the audience in the theatre, physically laughed out loud at the bigotry displayed by anyone who was apart of writing the script.
Second: WHY DOES ROSE EXIST. Please. Someone tell me why she was a major role in this film. She is insignificant in every way possible, and it honestly made me angry every time I saw her on screen. Her romance with Finn is not even close to being believable, and their kiss is the cringiest scene in 2017.
Third: Why introduce so many new characters with mysterious backgrounds, if you aren't going to explain any of it. I was a fan of the original trilogy AND Episode Seven, so to see all of Abrams' possible links and setups be completely destroyed made me upset. Snoke was seemingly more powerful than the Emperor, and we don't even know how, who, or where he is from/how he got mixed in with Kylo. I was so excited to finally find out his true origins, yet Johnson simply decided to cut him, and so many other interesting connections from the The Force Awakens, out.
Fourth: WHY DOES LAURA DERN'S CHARACTER EXIST. I am being completely honest, the reason I say "Laura Dern's character" is because I genuinely don't even remember what her name is; THAT'S how insignificant she was. I know I can easily look it up, but it just proves my point even more. She didn't need to exist, and the fact that the audience was supposed to feel sorry for her when she goes kamikaze is ridiculous considering that we had no previous connection to her as viewers. It would have been so much better if, per say, she didn't exist, and Admiral Akbar was the one to save the Resistance fleet. That would have been a perfect connection to the original trilogy, and an emotional moment for true fans. But instead, his death is barely acknowledged.
It's little things like that which make me feel like the writers were simply lazy and uncreative.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a horrible movie, it's just a horrible Star Wars movie.