Not all is great with The Last Jedi, unfortunately. In fact, there are times when this film flat-out falters. The movie predicates itself as the darker next chapter of the trilogy and promises to show you something different (Luke even tells Rey “This is not going to go the way you think”), and while it certainly makes good on those promises, Johnson doesn’t always execute them with precision.

Rey isn’t given ample time to be Luke’s protégé before she’s thrust into the next part of her journey; Luke’s characterization feels rushed into the ending of the film; and Snoke (brilliantly portrayed by the always-great Andy Serkis) feels incomplete. While Johnson was eager to wrap things up with a bow on top, it doesn’t feel as if he really considered if these characters were done growing yet.

I know, I know, this sounds like the judgmental Star Wars fan harping on something that didn’t meet their extreme expectations, but that truly isn’t the case. As a true Star Wars fan, this reviewer cares deeply — intimately even — for these films and desires only the best for them as if they were an actual family member. As such, I find it only responsible to truly observe this film in all its facets and express only my truest feelings. Because, ultimately, this film does more things right than it initially seems. It progresses the narrative, pushes the characters forward, changes up the Star Wars formula, and concludes in a satisfying way that leaves you hungry for the next and final chapter.

In a nutshell:

At its core, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a film about dealing with defeat and overcoming severe self-doubt. It’s a vigorous and energetic journey filled with gorgeous imagery, nostalgic reverence, and some very satisfying moments. However, it periodically struggles to execute its grand ideas, and Rian Johnson’s vision unfortunately doesn’t always serve the film best. These perceptions will likely change for the better over repeat viewings, though. The important thing is that, at the end of the day, The Last Jedi is a film that still manages to pull off most — but not all — of its concepts in a satisfying manner.

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