Maciej’s review published on Letterboxd:
Right off the bat, this is a good movie.
The "right off the bat" part is important, because I didn't like "Force Awakens" that much at first, it had to grow on me. Yeah, this quasi-review is going to be filled with comparison with Episode 7, you have to accept it. So, let's discuss Episode 7 a little. At first - and I mean not even having seen it whole, but from the very first scene - it was clear that it was "A New Hope" revamped. In the end I do think it was the same movie done better (while I recognise the first "Star Wars"' importance and place in popculture and movie history, "Force Awakens" was just a more polished and carefully crafted movie telling basically the same story) and I think I just expected more from it, that's why I didn't like it that much at first.
As I said, it grew on me, mostly with likeable characters and with what it had done with the mythology. I loved how the Force was shown in Episode 7 and I'm glad they continued that road in 8: that the Force is not "lifting rocks" and heavily choreographed lightsabre duels that are too epic for normal people, but that it's not that black and white, that it's much more elusive and ethereal and that it's shown mostly through acting and clever sound design. I like this Force!
But Episode 7 was "A New Hope" in more meaning than just literal: it also gave me new hope for the Star Wars movie franchise and that the movies to follow would present a new quality. "Rogue One" didn't fully deliver because it collapsed under fanservice and appealing to nostalgia, so for Episode 8 I had but one hope: I wanted to see a movie I haven't seen before. I did worry it'll be the case, as this is also the middle part of a trilogy and we were to expect the Jedi training to be a big part of the plot, so it smelled like "Empire Strikes Back", the closest to a perfect movie Star Wars can get (or at least got so far).
In the end there are more elements of "Last Jedi" resembling Episode 5, but they are much less on the nose and from beginning to the end is not a rehash, but its own story. Story told competently (although some parts dragged on needlessly while others could be extended), presented beautifully (it is a very pretty movie), filled with just the right amounts of pathos and comedy and entertaining all the way through. I'm happy with the way the series is going and it does make me want more.