1.Rose and Finn’s journey to the casino planet confused me. I didn’t like how long and boring it felt. I thought that some of the animal scenes could have been cut down and wish that it was edited in differently to not take away moments from the other subplots. However, I did really enjoy the scene. War profiteering is a real issue and I liked that the movie pointed out that both sides rely on 3rd party contractors and suppliers for their own ends.
Furthermore, even though their rescue of the Fathiers wasn’t consequential in a profound way, I liked it. The resistance is about helping the oppressed and downtrodden. Every movie has them doing super serious stuff. But heroic actions aren’t only limited to the grand- even actions like these are important for the sake of achieving some justice. I think I just liked watching Rose and Finn do something good for the sake of it being good, even if it didn’t do anything super huge story wise. Sometimes, I just want to see heroic stuff- not super heroic stuff which is what a lot of the movies have felt like. It was a nice change of pace for me, which is why I didn’t mind it as much as others might have.
2. DJ (Benicio del Toro) is a great new addition to the universe and I loved his characterization. He feels like an intentional throwback to Han- a rogue who does jobs for money. When he gives the necklace back to Rose I genuinely thought everything was going to be okay. His subsequent betrayal is well earned and unexpected because of this. I believe he gave it back out of kindness, but kindness doesn’t pay the bills or keep you alive so his decision to betray them still makes sense in spite of it. Him admitting he might be wrong to Finn’s accusations is like a cherry on the top.
3. I liked two of the three scenes of the Kylo-Luke interaction. The fact that Luke has two separate stories automatically means that one of them is “false” – aka the first version he has. This removes a lot of the ambiguity in determining what actually happened and makes the first portrayal of the interaction feel like a waste. If it was cut out and we just started with Kylo followed by Luke’s “real” interpretation, I think the entire sequence would have felt more compelling because of the ambiguities in interpretation. All the first version tells us is Luke is ashamed, but we know that already from his actions and second telling of the tale, so there’s really no purpose in keeping the first telling.
4. Kylo’s arc in this film is everything I wanted and more. I love his burgeoning friendship with Rey, and you can really tell there’s some good left inside of him. His decision to spare Leia is also telling- it’s almost like he learnt the hard way that killing his family wouldn’t relieve any of the heartache he was experiencing and would only make those feelings worse.
5. I love how Rey has a villian’s backstory. She’s abandoned by her parents into functional indentured servitude. There’s no upward mobility for her because she was paid in food. Her first instinct is to delve into the Dark side with no abandon. Meanwhile, Kylo has the good guy’s backstory. He comes from the bloodline of multiple galactic heroes and is pedigreed. He’s received training since a young age and had a family who loved him. It’s a cool twist on Anakin- a bad guy with a spark of good who is pulled closer to the light. The subsequent juxtaposition of his position with Rey’s highlights just how important choice really is. We’re not condemned to follow what other people tell us. I hope this is continued in the next film and brought to fruition.