So, I saw the movie for a second time this morning. It’s interesting, unburdened by expectation, how a movie can change for you upon a second viewing. I liked it even more the second time, although some flaws were definitely more apparent the second go. So, just my top 5 favorite things and Top 5 least favorite things. Warning. There be SPOILERS ahead:
Top 5 Favorite Things:
1. Magic Space Princess Leia – I teared up the first time I saw it. I teared up EVEN MORE the second time. It’s such a beautiful scene. It’s pure fantasy. There’s no science at all to it, and it’s beautiful and triumphant and I’ve been wanting to see Leia use her Force powers on-screen for decades.
2. The Kylo/Rey story beats – I thought this was just so successful. The ForceTime calls between them could have been repetitive and annoying, but I really liked the way they were able to connect through them. Their team up was great. Ren’s turn and expression of his ideology and Rey’s rejection of him all worked well.
3. Yoda – God, I missed Yoda. The GOOD Yoda, free of the general persona and flying around with his lightsaber. I’m not saying that wasn’t fun the first time, but I prefer this older, wizened Yoda full of wisdom and mirth. A truly wise man would be happy and enjoy fun, I think. And his basic truth he shares… that you can learn from failure… I loved it so much.
4. Luke – Hamill was perfect in this. He played the darker Luke so well, but he played the scene with Yoda amazingly well, too. He was like the old Luke there. I loved him poking Rey with the leafy frond when she stuck out her hand. And on the battlefield… amazing. In fan fiction, he’d be slamming all those FO machines around with his mega-Force powers. But what he did was SO much more appropriate to the light side. I HOPE we get to see a lot of him as a Force ghost, and he’s a joyful character ala Yoda to help Rey.
5. The depiction of Ahk-To – I loved everything about this island. The caretakers. The Porg. The tree with the Jedi books. the strange hole to the dark side.
Top 5 Least Favorite Things:
1. Canto Bight – Now, I did not hate this section. I liked the general message, and see the importance of it to express the general themes of the movie about the fact that people are still suffering, talking about the evil of a system that props up the First Order in the name of selfish self-profit. Etc. But, because there’s not much time to develop this, I felt like dialogue got a bit clunky and obvious here. I didn’t love the main child actor, either.
2. D.J. – I just did not find him that interesting. I like the idea of the development of Finn here. He basically has to choose between his selfish impulses and DJ’s path or be a hero like Rose. But DJ felt too affected for me. I didn’t like his vocal tic(?) too much either. I liked his function in the story well enough, though.
3. The slow-moving caravan of death – As others have said, this makes very little sense. How do Rose and Finn come and go if the ship is going FTL and the FO can’t catch up? I think it would have been better and more tense to have the Resistance keep making jumps or try to shake the FO in different ways.
4. Poe’s body count – Poe messes up a LOT in this movie. Nearly every Resistance member death you see can KIND of be traced back to him. I actually appreciated his arc, and I like the thought of him becoming more than just another pilot and becoming a true leader. But putting so much death on his head is rough.
5. Phasma – I feel like JJ Abrams keeps setting me up to be disappointed in her. He talked up Christie’s performance in TFA. And we barely got anything. Then he said they were going to do a lot more with her in the second movie (or was that Kennedy?) and they really didn’t. I DID wonder if she survived again. I’m not sure I’d like it or not if she did. Still, her Hot Toys figure looks awesome on my shelf.