Quick review: On par with Return of the Jedi for me, will watch again. Yay Star Wars!

The non-spoilery part:

It's only been a day, and it was a long film. There's still a lot to digest. I suspect that some of the flaws I didn't notice right away will come back and bug me a little. But that said, right now at this very moment, it's on par with Return of the Jedi for me. It's not perfect, but oh MAN did I love it. It was 2:33 and I didn't wonder why it wasn't over yet. I was completely into it, drawn in. I found certain scenes very predictable but I was satisfied because I think they were the Right Way to do it. I'm disappointed by a couple of storytelling choices but not in a big way. There's some unusual humor choices for Star Wars and I still need another viewing or two (at least) to decide what I think. They didn't feel like they undercut dramatic moments like they did in Ragnarok, but they DID evoke a bit of awareness that this is a movie, not a story. But really they were no worse than the "humor" in Jar Jar or the battle droids in the prequels, and the pseudo slapstick of R2D2 and C3PO in the originals.

I've not read a LOT of people hating on it, it's not really coming cross my timeline and I'm not really going out and looking for what bad people have to say. That said it seems to largely be people disappointed by Luke's storyline.

I get that, but I just don't agree with it. When we left Luke, he had become a Jedi, he had gone against what Yoda and Ben told him and he redeemed this father who then went on to fulfill his prophecy. Luke was young and successful and he was going to do great things and restore the Jedi. That's what the title of the movie told us, right? Return of the Jedi.

Flash forward 30 years, and Luke tried to do just that. Aaaand it went pretty wrong. Character flaws that he worked around or even helped him in his saga worked against him. The impatience he had was still there, and in a moment of weakness it cost him everything. So he retreated.

I admit that I half-called what happened on Crait; Luke showed up, looking every bit the Jedi Master that we expected. When he showed up there, I thought to myself, "He got a haircut, how odd." And when he was still there after the laser blasts, I assumed that he was a force ghost, doing something neither Obi-Wan or Yoda could do: actually go out and affect things. Okay so it turned out he wasn't a force ghost, he was just a really, really powerful Jedi doing things that other Jedi couldn't do, or maybe we just never saw them do it. I'm okay with that. The Force is mysterious and not fully explored.

And his death scene? People complained about that, but I for one loved it. The twin suns, calling back to one of the first times we saw him on Tatooine? Disappearing exactly the way Yoda did. Alone and in hiding. Only finally understanding one of Yoda's most important lessons, that the biggest moments of learning come from our failures. Me, I found that beautiful.

I get that people are unhappy with the direction Luke went, and I think it's safe to say it's not what Abrams had set up. I heard Hamill wasn't happy with it at first, but came around.

The scene with Snoke went exactly the way I expected. Like, seriously, if I were writing it, that's what I would've written, with one exception: I would've found a way to tell us who the hell Snoke IS. Clearly that doesn't matter, though, or at least Rian Johnson didn't think it mattered. I think it does, a little bit, but whatever. I never once believed Ren would actually turn. He might always be a little bit ambiguous. He will always have some struggle between light and dark in him. And I expect he's going to be a terrible leader, but let's be honest: Leading was never one of Vader's qualities either. He was good at a LOT of things, but leading wasn't one of them.

I liked the bit that Luke understood the true failure of the Jedi, that they really had lost their way and that's why Sidious happened. And that restoring the Jedi would not be a good thing for the galaxy.

I LOVED the Finn & Rose story. I feel like Rose was a bit of a metaphor for the audience. Here she is, there are her heroes, her HEROES, man, and they're just people. They get built up, but in the end, they're just people.

I liked the bit with the Vice Admiral whose name I'm not remembering, but who actually had a pretty good storyline even though she was new to the film and had interaction with only one character. She taught Poe a lot in a very short time, and had a lovely little arc.

I went SQUEE when they suddenly switched to old school music when the Falcon goes into the canyons. That may've been a little overdone fan service, but it hit me right where it should. There were other little bits, places where shots were clearly intentionally framed to mirror shots from the original movies. Lines of dialogue pulled in to evoke those memories, yet without having the same substance. Things to constantly remind you of the earlier movies, pulled from all over the place.

I cried when Leia talked to the Vice Admiral who was off to sacrifice herself. It felt like Leia was talking to Carrie Fisher and tears, man. Just tears.

I've been going back in my head over some of the humor. Some of it doesn't sit that well as I think on it. Hux needed to be a bit less like a comical Nazi, I think, and a little more competent, a little less with the overdone facial expressions. I feel a bit bad for him in retrospect.

I don't think I believe Kylo Ren about Rey's parents. I think he either doesn't know and was just trying to use that to bait her, or he does know and doesn't want her to know, and felt like he could manipulate her with that information. Even if he's telling the truth, it's okay that she's not a Skywalker, but if he IS telling the truth I would like an alternate reason for why she's SO VERY GIFTED with The Force. Remember, in the canon, the Force went very quiet for awhile, and something triggered an awakening. We didn't touch on what that was, so presumably that's still coming in the third movie. Typically that would've been addressed in the second part of a trilogy, I think.

All in all, my biggest disappointments are just in things that weren't revealed and may never be revealed. I see no reason why episode 9 will discuss Snoke's origins at all, unless it's directly related to the Force awakening and covering it is a side effect of that. I'll be disappointed if they drop that plot thread for the third movie. We'll see.
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