Point is: Disney has a plan, they always have a plan to beat and defy the odds. Disney hardly missteps and when they do, it's because they become arrogant or take too big a risk. They are basically the Golden State Warriors of American entertainment, they are their own worst enemy. All this must be remembered when viewing The Last Jedi, because this film has Disney's psychotic blueprints all over it, even in the midst of all the risks they clearly take in the eighth installment of the beloved and slightly polarizing franchise. The Last Jedi is a visual feast, a dramatic work that will flood the fanbase with controversial decisions, and overall yet another step in the right direction for a franchise that was sputtering just a decade ago. Disney has indeed made treasure out of trash, and has given an intense breath of life to a series that has spanned five different decades-from film to comics and books.
This span hinders the current trilogy more than anything. In the real world, people age, people die (look at what happened to the Harry Potter and Matrix series after key actors passed), unexpected twists and turns occur, and screenplay decisions sometimes has to bounce off what is happening once the cameras stop rolling. The Last Jedi is most definitely affected by Carrie Fisher's passing, the aging of multiple actors, the sheer amount of time and scope since it all began, and of course a legion of hungry yet hesitant fans that have been collected in different generations, leading to differing views on where Star Wars has been and where it should go. This movie is great, yet polarizing. It will have its enemies and defectors, and Disney doesn't care.
To say I agree with all the events of The Last Jedi is inaccurate, but nonetheless within the 150+ minutes there's a passion, a magic that cannot be explained. The camerawork, the soundtrack, the visual effects are top-notch and keeps in line with the Star Wars look and feel. Rian Johnson's take on Star Wars mixes the same formula with a few unique quirks and some subtle and not-so-subtle contemporary commentary on the way the world (or in this case, universe) works. The dialogue isn't as wooden, and the characters aren't as one-dimensional as what we're used to in Star Wars. The original trilogy in the midst of all its greatness was pretty darn black-and-white. Just like in The Force Awakens and especially Rogue One, The Last Jedi doesn't operate this way. From Rey to Luke to Kylo Ren, their motives and emotions constantly shift and develop.
The story in the eighth installment is actually much more grounded than the previous films, as it mainly involves a race against time as the First Order is inches away from fully destroying a small Resistance group led by Leia that is desperately just trying to escape the clutches from the overpowering legion of enemy ships. At the same time, Rey is trying to figure out her place while also attempting to convince Luke Skywalker to join the tiring fight that seems to be tilting heavily towards the First Order. The Last Jedi is a mental and physical race, as everyone is running out of time, patience, options, and most importantly hope. The theme of hope in a cruel world is very much prevalent here, much like in Rogue One.
All your favorite characters from The Force Awakens returns, even though some are very short on screentime (because your entourage of questions and hunger for more content will lead to book sales for Disney; and yes they are evil). I assure you, some of you will walk out disappointed in the lack of focus on some. And yet no matter how lengthy the build-up feels, the payoffs were consistently gratifying, and then we have cameos left and right tossed in for good measure. There was plenty of action and different locales, but we needed more. There was plenty of interaction between the new school and the old school, but we needed more. The Last Jedi felt like a main course that was plentiful, yet left you hungry for more. And if you think this is an accident, then you are missing the entire picture.
Disney (once again) prevents one of their films from going truly mad and absolutely crazy, once again not all the cards are left on the table. This was the biggest problem with Force Awakens, and other massive Disney blockbuster movies like Age of Ultron, Civil War, and especially Dead Man's Chest (which just missed being an all-time blockbuster masterpiece)-just a cinematic tapping of the brakes. You see three movies making up a trilogy, Disney sees seven through nine as three episodes of a massive television series, each with their cliffhangers to keep you thirsty and desperate for resolution and answers.
Force Awakens was the salad and drink, just to start the process. The Last Jedi, as enjoyable as it was, definitely felt like the hearty appetizer leading to a (hopefully outstanding) main course that we won't receive until 2019. You can disagree with this direction, as even Empire Strikes Back didn't quite feel this empty by the final frame. But, this is the current system of Disney filmmaking and as long as they keep getting top-tier talent to produce top-quality content in a current age of cinema that can become frustratingly dry in large sections, this is a formula that will not change.
The Last Jedi is quality from a filmmaking and production standpoint. From music to cinematography to directing, this film is no slouch and is even deserving of some Oscar nominations (although lack of screentime really hurts the outstanding Adam Driver and even Mark Hamill from theirs). However, this movie will upset fans, especially some of the old-school fans guaranteed. Personally to me Star Wars has become so big that we each have our interpretation of the franchise. This is why only some love the prequels (those poor souls), why only some enjoy the Clone Wars series, only some enjoy the current films, and why only some will truly hate this film. Putting on the fandom hat, I definitely expected and hoped for something different, and might need a second viewing to digest it all. Taking off the fandom hat, I can't deny the fact that aspiring big budget filmmakers and movie studios need to see this as an example of great storytelling, pacing, and a genuine care of the main characters--exactly how Disney wanted.