- SuperLeia is still silly (also, she becomes transparent for a bit???), and the big-picture plot is still terrible. On the latter point, another way of saying what I said in my earlier post is: despite appearances, TFA ended with an overwhelming military victory for the First Order.
The filmmakers really needed to allow some time to elapse between the films (so that the opening crawl could plausibly say that the New Republic fell apart politically and/or militarily after the destruction of their capital), but they were constrained by the end of TFA showing us Rey and Luke Skywalker.
I wonder if it's possible to edit the scenes so that TFA ends before Rey leaves for Ahch-To. Her journey to and walk up the island then gets inserted into TLJ just before her actual TLJ scenes start, and this could be some time after the new end of TFA. TLJ's opening crawl would need to be changed and do a bit of continuity work, but it feels like such an edit would give a more plausible timeline than the canon.
- I grumbled a bit in my first review about Poe (moderating my feelings on second viewing) and Holdo. I saw that if Holdo had told everyone what her plan was, then they could have skipped the whole Canto-Bight-and-mutiny episode, and not taken 90% losses. And my instinct was to find this bit of plot annoying, because of how easy it would have been to avoid it.
But that's the wrong way of thinking about it. Having fully internalised the events before my third and fourth viewings, I better appreciated what was going on – just a complete shambles start to finish, with no-one doing anything right at the right time for the right reasons. The point is that they all failed miserably by making judgements that turned out to be bad. It's not bad storytelling, it's the story they're deliberately trying to tell.
I enjoy watching these parts of the movie now, knowing how it all ends up. For in-the-moment entertainment, TLJ is now comfortably my favourite Star Wars film, and I expect it will still stay top on this particular measure even when I'm comparing them both on a laptop screen.
(TLJ is... dead last on Galaxy-scale plot, I think, so between that and SuperLeia it falls a few places in my overall ranking.)
An ironic point I saw in a Reddit comment is that Poe might have been right-for-the-wrong-reasons to continue attacking the dreadnought. If they'd all just headed "home", the dreadnought would have followed them through hyperspace, and could the cruiser's shields stop a dreadnought's firepower?
- By the end of TLJ, Finn's motivations have become well aligned to the Resistance, so hopefully he'll be more likeable in Episode IX.
- Speaking of Finn, some of the film's coherence depends on whether or not his kamikaze attack on the cannon would have worked if Rose hadn't knocked him away (the film clearly wants us to like Holdo's kamikaze attack, but it's a mixed message if we're not supposed to like Finn's). My fan-theorising is that the withering of those weapons on the front of Finn's speeder means he was just going to slowly crash (the speeder was slowing down!) into the cannon without doing any serious damage.
- I don't mind some of the plot elements that people nitpick at (I do mind some of them... it's a matter of taste). But it'll be interesting to see what they do with hyperspace kamikaze attacks, which on the face of it should have been used occasionally throughout the entire history of the series. A plausible requirement might be that the attacking ship is not tiny relative to the target (so you'd have to be giving up something valuable to take out one big enemy ship) – perhaps the energy released in the collision scales with some high power of m as well as with v2, or that shields are strong enough to stop a small fighter even at light speed.
- In my first review I'd interpreted Luke's death as being caused by the effort needed for the projection. Only on my fourth viewing did I catch some proper evidence for this – Kylo saying to Rey during one of their telepathy sessions (I think in or around the subject of what they can each see?), "You're not doing this. The effort would kill you."
- "ForceTime" is the best term I've come across for the telepathy communication.
- The moment passes so quickly that, while I see it each time, I forget to think about it afterwards (I was only reminded by this related Tumblr post found via this BuzzFeed listicle): Hux goes to kill Kylo when he finds him unconscious. Wow! I'm excited for Episode IX possibilities here.
- Maybe not too excited. To me it seems most natural for IX to start when the broom kid is old enough to fight, which would be close to ten years into the future (this also gives enough time for a broader Resistance to form and, as others have pointed out, also means that Leia can realistically die of natural causes before the next episode starts). That's a lot of time for things to change, and I won't get angry if JJ doesn't follow up on that blink-and-you-miss-it moment.
- This is magnificent (Rogue One foreshadowing the possibility of hyperspace tracking).
- Apropos of nothing, some film geek on Twitter reckoned that the opening casino scene was a reference to a film from the silent era, and someone posted the link to the tracking shot from Wings, 1927.
OK, five months till the Solo film. I'll go in with low expectations – a fun hour and forty minutes of criminals shooting at each other, but fundamentally uninteresting in the broader SW universe. I don't really care about Star Wars for the smuggling.