The Last Jedi recognizes that status quo is failure, and pushes the envelope to create an instant Star Wars classic.
I typically purchase my movie tickets about a week in advance, but I guess one week isn't enough for an installment in the Star Wars saga. When I tried to buy tix, all the good seats were gone! And since I'm a stickler on theatre type, seat location, etc., I had to wait a hot minute to see The Last Jedi. (I actually ended up seeing it spur-of-the-moment while Christmas shopping with the wifey, and since others were busy doing the same, the matinee showing I caught only had 4 other people in it! #winning.)
I'm gonna try to take a subject that's complicated, and simplify it best as I can. IMHO, Star Wars: The Last Jedi could potentially be one of the best films in the franchise...Some of the scenes were quite charismatic. The blue and orange sunset tones during the final face off between Kylo and Luke. Or the distinctive nature of the planet they were on in the first place. That snow-covered red sand was such a good idea, it's no wonder they ended up using that same color palette on the posters.
I felt this installment was more distinct than the last, and that more of what was good about Episode VII was fueled by nostalgia, rather than the truly outside the box thinking that's present in Episode VIII.
(It's important to point out that the first installment in any series, trilogy, etc., should be weighed differently than the films or episodes that follow. For example, I'm sure most of us felt very different 1 or 2 episodes into Game of Thrones, vs. how we felt 5, 6, or 7 seasons in. It takes time for the mind to adapt to change, and grow fond of new names and faces.)
I think a lot of fandom was worried that some of the inadequacies in The Force Awakens might rear their ugly head in Episode VIII, but hoped that wouldn't be the case. Ultimately, our patience paid off, as Rian Johnson and friends took everything that worked with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, sprinkled it with their own creative flair, and ended up creating a superb product.
There are always going to be naysayers. Especially when it comes to such an iconic, genre-defining saga such as Star Wars. And if you think about it, some of these old-school or hardcore fans are never going to be pleased. But nitpicking aside, everything that needed to be present to make this film a good one, was.
All Images: Lucasfilm
If we really want to, we can separate the films into two segments. Core episodes vs. spin-offs or stand-alone films, but these two most recent installments in Rogue One and The Last Jedi have been Impressive, Most Impressive. Episode VIII really went above and beyond.
One might argue that due to the significance of these films, and the talent, manpower, and dollars that are put into them, how can you go wrong? Well apparently you can, as more often than not, The Force Awakens doesn't live up to the expectation. I think making sure not to repeat VII's "mistakes" was one thing, but then how do you take a 40-year-old sci-fi saga that's arguably the most popular film in the world, and improve upon it? What a monumental and intimidating endeavor that must be.
Some of what Rian Johnson and crew did with the color palettes we referenced earlier, the killing of the audio as Vice Admiral Holdo ripped through a First Order vessel at light speed, as well as the expansion of The Force itself, is evidence that this production crew felt and knew they were really going to produce some next-level shit to succeed, and they did just that.
I feel this film's stock price is only going to increase with time, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing more Star Wars, both core saga episodes as well as stand-alone films.
J.J. being back onboard for IX is a little concerning, I'm not gonna lie. But I think IX should be easier than VII, because VII was the first in a brand new trilogy, with more of a blank slate and uncharted territory.
I was definitely concerned in the beginning, that Star Wars was going to get beat into the ground, overexposed, the way Marvel films have, but based on what Disney has done with the property so far, I'm no longer worried about Mickey being at the helm of the resistance fleet.