Finn & Rose: This storyline just did nothing for me. Rose is such a flat character, they spend no proper time making her interesting. Compare her introduction with Rey’s in Force Awakens. We see and understand so many things about Rey just by watching her on Jukka; her sledding down the dune, putting on the fighter pilot helmet, defending BB-8 and refusing to sell him even though she really needs the money and we feel she’s orphaned and alone by her actions and by the actions of those around her. It’s such a great character introduction, and Rose gets none of that. She’s sad because her sister is dead and later on we get to know she had a shitty childhood. We get told this, we neither see nor experience it, so it falls flat, at least to me.
The scenes at the casino didn’t do much for me either to the point where I groaned at some of the scenes. The aesthetics of the place are amazing, but the whole rescue operation of the horse creatures and the “it’s worth it now” comment at the end felt so forced, especially when you realize they left behind a whole group of slave kids! It also seems like the movie implies that they just so happen to stumble upon another master hacker in Benicio del Toro, which seems ridiculous after Maz specifically points out that these are incredibly hard to find.
But the worst part of their storyline is that, in the end, they get a bunch of people killed and their plan completely fails, when del Toro betrays them and tells Hux about the escaping transport ships.
This movie really, really does not want you to think that going on a sacrificial, hero-journey to save people, is a good idea, because it fails for more or less everyone who tries it in the movie.
Poe, Holdo & Leia: Why exactly is Poe not in chains at the end of the movie? He disarms a vice admiral at gunpoint and attempts to ruin her escape plan. And why, when Poe is holding Holdo at gunpoint, doesn’t she just TELL HIM that the First Order won’t notice the escaping transport ships? Why doesn’t Poe know this himself?! Such a ridiculous storyline. And I found Leia’s Mary Poppins flight pretty silly, that just did not work for me. I actually felt that would’ve been a decent choice, to have her killed there, to set the stakes for the rest of the movie.
Hux: This guy must be the most incompetent military leader in the movie series’ history. He doesn’t manage to block the evacuation, he doesn’t realize that Finn and Rose escape and he doesn’t see the escaping transport ships until del Toro’s character tells him. I loved the scene in the throne room where he’s just about to shoot Kylo though.
Rey & Luke: I’m not sure what I think of the scenes on the island. I loved Luke’s reaction to Rey’s first meeting with the dark side, that she just plunges in. I feel like they justified her ambivalence between the light and dark very well, but the mirror scene made no sense to me. I assumed that was a source of the dark side of the Force, but she just goes there, looks in a mirror, sees herself and that’s it? I really liked the scene with Yoda, even though it seems like the movie makes a bit of a mockery of that scene’s point when you see that Rey actually brought the Jedi scripture with her.
Kylo & Rey: The best part of the movie for me. The interactions they had actually felt real, their connection felt real and I was convinced by the supposed sympathy they get for each other. Rey’s arc here, where we actually get the feeling she may turn to the dark side – now or later – is the most impressive part of the movie to me. This is exactly what never worked in the prequels, I was never convinced by Anakin’s fall to the dark side, he just felt like a petulant, spoiled child. With Rey, I get the feeling that there’s so much anger just below the surface, that she could explode at any moment, that she’s so deeply hurt by her parents’ abandonment that she’s filled to the brim with a desire to get some sort of resolution even if that means tuning to the dark side.
And Adam Driver fucking nails his performance. Kylo feels so enraged, frustrated and sad that when he and Rey feels a connection, the relief for Kylo is palpable, it feels like this is what he needs and what he’s wanted for so long without knowing it; an ally who understands him and his rage.
During the throne room scene, however, this is all thrown out the window. When Kylo asks Rey to join him, I actually felt like it would be believable if she did. But she doesn’t and then it seems like, for the rest of the movie, all ambiguity is gone and those two characters go back to being exactly how they were at the end of Force Awakens: Kylo bad, Rey good. That felt like such a wasted opportunity to me.
Kylo & Luke: Second-best part of the movie. When they reveal that Luke tried to rage-kill Kylo I was flabbergasted, that felt so stunningly amazing and it made Luke’s shame so much deeper, so much easier to understand. I absolutely loved that I actually had to consider if Luke would now try to kill Rey. I think this movie could’ve been one of my all-time favorites if they had actually gone along with that plotline, if Luke does feel obligated to destroy Rey because of the immense darkness in her, and she then escapes, which pushes her directly into the arms of Kylo, ending up with a stand-off between Kylo and Rey, the disappointed apprentices, on one side, and Luke on the other. Then the final movie could be about getting Rey back or something. As it is now I feel like The Last Jedi ends with Kylo and Rey in basically the exact same place as at the end of Force Awakens. Rey shuts the door on Kylo, she rejects him and what he stands for, but that was already her stance at the beginning of the movie.
Luke: What the fuck was that ending? It finally feels like we will see Luke in battle and then he’s a fucking hologram? He’s not even there? I was ready to see him crush some fucking walkers! And please, for the love of God, someone explain to me why he dies afterward? If he had to die, then why not actually have him there and give that scene with Kylo meaning?