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  1. Published on: 14/12/2017 08:29 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: Episode eight of the main saga sees Rey join up with Luke Skywalker to take her first steps into the Jedi world.

    What is now becoming a regular event now, mid-December every year now means a new Star Wars film is coming out.

    Now while I did have fun with The Force Awakens and enjoy it every time I watch it, the safe approach and similarities to A New Hope was too much to ignore. So that's why I consider Episode VII to be good rather than great. So I did come into this new installment with some trepidation, but still some excitement. One reason for this was that director Rian Johnson has been set for the next trilogy once this one has included. That obviously shows that the studio is happy with his vision for the future of the main saga.

    Well one thing is for, is that Johnson has gone for a unique approach with many bold choices and new routes for the main saga to take. There is a lot going on and the information that you're having to digest will probably take a fair amount of time to get your defined opinion on the film. It could very well require another viewing, if not more.

    My feelings throughout were very mixed. There were plenty of entertaining moments in-between the unsure and problematic moments.

    From the cast, there were a good amount of strong performances. The connection between Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley could well be the strongest part of the film. As for the individuals, Hamill was great. It's as if he has never been away and he seemed to miss a beat of the Luke Skywalker we all know. For Ridley, I think enhanced Rey really well and it felt very believable and I continue to be a big fan of her character.

    Andy Serkis did a great job as Snoke. He gave him such a presence and a force to be reckoned with. Plus the visual effects on him looked incredibly real and felt more like a practical effect.

    I'm still unsure what to make of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. The performances was fine. It was the character and the conflicted route that he's taking that is making me question whether to care for him.

    Carrie Fisher did a solid job in her final role as Leia. It was certainly sad seeing her first moments on screen knowing that this is the last time we'll see her. But like Kylo Ren, there were times that her character went to a place that I struggled to get on board with, but in a more extreme way.

    John Boyega did not feel that memorable for me. He was fine, but nothing more. His sub-plot with a new character that was well played by Kelly Marie Tran was solid for the most part. Then there was certainly a forced moment that I did not agree with at all.

    I really liked the addition of Benicio Del Toro's character. From his introduction, I could tell this was a character I needed to know about. It certainly gave us an insight to another part of this galaxy playing their part in this war.

    As for the other notables, Oscar Isaac I felt did a solid job, I liked that Domnhall Gleeson was less involved and tone down his over-the-top performance from The Force Awakens and Laura Dern did not give me much as this character I'm afraid. Had no real impact, except partly contributing to a pretty cool moment just before the final act.

    One final thing I will mention was that I liked the use of C-3PO in this film. Did not come off as annoying as I felt he was in the final act of The Force Awakens. The way they used was very reminiscent of his characters chemistry with Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.

    For the most part, I liked some of the choices that were made. The execution of those moments were either solid, good or very good. One thing in particular that I don't think will spoil the film is the light-sabre sequences. They were great to watch. There were moments that I have been wanting to see in a light-sabre battle that I got to see in this one. I was completely satisfied with that aspect. But there were plenty of unsure moments, and were certainly some moments that completely did not agree with at all.

    The lore and mythology has certainly been expanded and evolved in this one, and it will definitely spark debate. But I think it will do that in a good way. Lots of it I was finding it difficult to make a instant reaction to. So maybe over time, I will form an opinion and the expansion of this part of the story.

    I liked the humor for the most part. There were small moments when it didn't work and there were certainly times where it felt like it shouldn't belong in a Star Wars film.

    While I did enjoy many moments and set-pieces, I found it hard to get fulfillment of the entire story, and I think that might be something to do with the flow of the film. I think the pacing matched well with the tone. But it was the flow that did not work that much. To me there felt to be scattered transitions between scenes or moments. Dare I say it felt all over the place.

    John Williams is back with composing the score, and I honestly don't know what to make of it. It just felt a lot of familiar pieces and hardly any new ones.

    Sadly, there are plenty of other things I would like to comment on. But to avoid spoilers, I will say no more.

    What I will say is that, I admired the risk and boldness Rian Johnson and his team took with this one. I wanted something totally different, and I certainly got that. Did it work? Did it end up being a cohesive story? I'm not sure that it did.

    There's a healthy amount of rich content. I liked the chemistry and development between Luke and Rey, there were cool light-sabre moments, I thought Serkis as Snoke was very menacing and he felt like a genuine formidable villain, there are some cute new small additions and I really enjoyed Benicio Del Toro's characters.e

    But I have many unsure feelings about it as well as problems. You can certainly feel Johnson's love for the material and trying to expand this universe into many different places. But I think they were trying to cram too much new information that they forgot to create a well-rounded story that felt like it could stand by itself. I fear this maybe just a platform/set-up for us to process these new details in preparation for future main saga films. Marvel did that with 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' and it definitely felt like Star Wars did it with this. My enjoyment might get elevated after a 2nd viewing, as it gives you very little time to breathe. But I highly doubt it.

    Plus the 2hrs 32mins run-time felt a bit unnecessary. It did not feel it deserved to be that long. There were plenty of sub-plots that were pointless, went nowhere and could have easily been cut from the film.

    Thankfully, I did like enough of it and I welcome further ballsy approaches to the next installments. You're bound to hit a home-run with one of them. With Johnson being the director of a new trilogy that we don't know where in the timeline this will take place, I will approach them with caution but excitement as to what he will give us next.

    As for episode IX, there is something that they're building up to, but episode VIII did not get me as excited as I feel I should be.

    Rating: 7/10

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