So this final part of the new trilogy came out a few days ago and I was wondering if anyone here really cares all that much? I'd say I'm a "big" Star Wars fan in that I enjoy the world and character and most of the movies but unlike some of our more lore-entrenched moderators I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the ships and timelines etc. Back in my high school days I read a few of the better books like the Thrawn Trilogy but nothing serious.
That said - just to get it out of the way - I'm of the mind that the Last Jedi was not very good while I thought Force Awakens while safe did setup some interesting pathways to further explore (which the Last Jedi subsequently abandons completely). Now I'm not of those folks that sent Rian Johnson hate mail and death threats. I simply didn't think it was a well written Star Wars film. A lot of it seemed goofy and even by SW standards unrealistic.
So going into Rise of Skywalker lets say my expectations were low. Then after reading a few reviews that basically said it was the worst thing in the world those expectations fell even lower. So maybe going in with the mindset that this movie will be awful helped me actually enjoy it to a certain degree.
Like as far as action movies go that have lightsabers and some of my favorite space ships and sounds, it does a good job at delivering that. The saber duels in this one are pretty great. There are plenty of cool shots of iconic Star Wars spacecraft doing cool space maneuvers. Technically JJ Abrams is a very competent director that is able to put together an exciting story with cool setpieces that moves forward at a clip.
As far as the story goes? Well it's all over the place. Much like Johnson ignored JJ's stuff to make his own movie it seems like JJ is just picking up where he left off at the Force Awakens finale. There are even a few bits of story that get twisted back from what Johnson set them to be. It is very much an "everything and the kitchen sink" type of film. Almost every possible call back and bit of fan service is called into play here. The moment you even stop to think slightly about the actual premise of how this story works it all starts to fall through your fingers.
I kind of feel bad for John Boyega. I recently rewatched some early interviews with him before TFA even premiered and they had him hold lightsabers and all this stuff. The audience and I think him to a smaller degree, thought he was gonna be THE GUY. Turns out Finn is a pretty much underdeveloped character that never really comes into his own except for being one half of the Poe/Finn amalgamation of Han Solo. Rey continues to grow in power and skill exponentially to the point where you wonder if there is anything she can't do. She is a great mechanic, a great pilot, a master sword fighter, incredibly athletic and a prodigy with the force. It's hard to follow her struggles when she is more powerful than the most powerful jedi we've seen in Star Wars period and the movie is only halfway done. Poor Kelly Marie Tran gets absolutely relegated into the background. I feel bad for her as well as she is included in all these late night group interviews and she is barely in the movie. The inclusion of Leia is incredibly distracting and obvious in every scene she is in. Each time the camera pans from one over the should perspective to another. Each time she says some very broad thing to which people in turn reply very broadly. They should have just cut it and let her pass in the second film.
Worst of all.
The most heinous crime.
I think @zombiepie will be distraught to learn that the Star Destroyers in this film, outfitted with modern technology, feature the X shaped exterior tractor beams unique to the ISD-I model.