I had high expectations for the movies in this trilogy, so the first viewing was disappointing. The same wasn’t true for the stories (Rogue One and Solo). I got over that, and these are great, but I still have quibbles.
First, bad title. It’s not paid off until the coda at the end and doesn’t fit the pattern. Palpatine has a line about the last stand of rebellion that I think would have made a better title, though I don’t think any of the past episodes had their titles in dialogue.
The pattern breaking bothered me in other ways as well. The opening scene was too unlike any other. I appreciated seeing the back story of how Kylo got the navigation device, but maybe it could have been one of a series of shorts on Disney Plus instead. We never saw how Luke’s lightsaber came to be in the possession of Maz or how it made its way from the end of the last movie in two halves to the beginning of this one, so those could be shorts also. And how did Palpatine go from falling down the interior of the Death Star to Exagol?
I don’t like the ever growing powers of the force. Why should these characters have abilities that we’ve never seen before? The diad argument is pretty weak. Pulling ships out of the sky and lightning disabling the fleet both make sense as extensions of what we’ve seen in the past. But Luke’s ghost catching the thrown lightsaber, healing, and whatever Palpatine does to suck life out of Kylo and Rey I find strain credulity.
The stakes of the trilogy films has always included the fate of the galaxy, but the scope has been limited to a small number of planets visited in each film. This episode blows that away. I understand that the story called for the characters to be separated each time a new planet appeared, and I loved Babu Frick, but maybe that planet and the Threepio memory subplot could have been cut.
This was a long movie with a ton of action packed in and I can’t help but think that removing some of the story elements would have given everything more time to breathe. A little bit more editing would have made this a better conclusion to the epic saga.