This was so much better than The Force Awakens. While there will be points you can say, oh, that's kind of like The Empire Strikes Back, it's not blatantly obvious like in The Force Awakens. It has some structural issues where a lot of stuff happens,
but... I'm wondering if it's a bad thing. Finn and Rose's trip to Canto Bite was a little odd, but we got to spend time with the characters. Characters that we won't be able to see again until 2019. It felt a little bit like they just wanted a little time to let the characters exist. I liked Vice Admiral Holdo, and was sad to see her go considering the backstory she got in Leia: Princess of Alderaan. People will question why she wouldn't tell Poe about the evacuation plan, but she knew he'd react the exact way he reacted. He went nuts and mutinied. Tell him outright and probably have him mutiny, or hide it from him for him to maybe figure it out or be forced to go along with it.
As someone who didn't like all the people theorizing about who Snoke secretly was, I laughed when Kylo turned Anakin's (yes, Anakin's) saber toward Snoke and killed him. I want to know eventually how he rose to power, but at the end of the day, who cares who he really was? He's there to serve Kylo Ren's story arc and maintain the mantra that the Dark Side will always betray itself. Snoke wasn't wrong with what he was saying. "I can feel Kylo turning the saber with his mind to destroy his ultimate enemy", which is true. Snoke is kinda responsible for ruining Kylo's life. That would make him Ben Solo's ultimate enemy in my book.
Leia was handled really well. I liked how the bloodline of the Skywalkers is so strong that Leia was able to unconsciously pull herself back into the ship with the Force. And anyone complaining about how she could have survived in the vacuum of space, there was a shield around the ship, which could theoretically block out some of the...
spaciness of space and create a bit of an atmosphere. Plus, it's space fantasy. The idea of Leia surviving in space bothers you, but space wizards doesn't?
Aaaaannnnnddddd Rey is a nobody. Whoop! Unless it's a misdirection from Kylo Ren (which IS possible) she's not descended from anyone important, so take that anyone who thinks everything has to be connected in every little way.
Also.... YODA. Holy cow, Yoda. That's the biggest surprise I've ever seen in a Star Wars film. The puppet looked really fake at first, but as he moved around and talked a bit, the effect really worked. And his wisdom for Luke about the "sacred Jedi texts"
was perfect. Great moment in the film.
Luke was done really well, and I love that he realized everything that was wrong with the Jedi Order during the waning days of The Old Republic. I was a little annoyed that Luke went from "time for the Jedi to end, there must be balance" to "nope, we'll always need Jedi and it's Rey". Otherwise I felt he was perfect.
I almost cried several times during this movie, partially because of my love for Star Wars, and because of the real-life events of Carrie Fisher's passing, which made certain things a little more sentimental. R2 showing Luke the "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi" message made the screen blur. It would have been a nice scene if what happened hadn't happened, but it was super emotional because of.
Anything I didn't like about The Force Awakens was fixed with this film. Is The Last Jedi perfect? No, but I feel it's a vast improvement over what J.J. Abrams got wrong with VII (and hopefully won't screw up again in IX). Bring on the next film to close out the trilogy.
Oh. Phasma is dead. That's all the time I'm spending on her because that's how long the film spent on her. Waste of a character.