Setting all the controversy aside and judging purely as a Marvel and movie fan, it's okay. Neither the mess detractors want it to be and not the greatness that supporters tout it to be. It falls squarely in the middle. It feels like a phase 1 or 2 movie and that's disappointing considering the quality of Marvel's movies as of late. Some parts work well but others either fall flat or don't reach the peaks it so desperately wants to. Sometimes it tries too hard, sometimes not enough. The result is a painfully average and uninspired journey that suffices but never excels. 2.5 out of 5 stars, a Rotten rating
Despite the twists and turns that make the movie feel more refreshing than the previous entry, The Last Jedi is plagued with a script that feels slapped together and doesn't really know what it wants to be. It just knows it wants to be 'different', which wouldn't be too bad if it weren't a Star Wars Saga film. That's what the spin off films are for...experimentation. The Saga films are supposed to be for legend and lore.
There are so many problems with this movie. Even if you take out 'Star Wars' and everything related, it still has a lot of issues. Flat character arcs and no chemistry between the cast, humor that misses or takes you out of the movie, new characters that no one really cares about, many of the effects still needed a lot of work, and so many twists and turns that it becomes a guessing game of "what's going to happen?" instead of simply just experiencing what's happening. It tries so hard to be unpredictable, subvert expectations and be different from traditional Star Wars that it forgot to simply...make a good movie.
But the real atrocity happens when the previous films are taken into consideration. The Last Jedi feels like it hates everything about The Force Awakens and systematically tries to do the unexpected, even at the cost of good storytelling. It values unpredictability over setup and execution. That last scene from The Force Awakens was built up to be a magical moment in the eyes of so many fans and in this movie it's treated like a bad joke from a Marvel movie and is simply discarded. The two veteran characters feel like shells of themselves and their actions are highly out of character. Finn and Poe's individual adventures slow the entire movie to a halt and their personalities fall much flatter than in the previous movie. Rey ends up feeling more like a supporting character. Instead of building and enriching the things that were set up in the previous movie, it DESTROYS it and tries (unsuccessfully) to do it's own thing.
***SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD***
Other random issues with the movie include: the entire 2nd act is basically the bad guys (who have superior technology) chasing the good guys at matched speeds until the good guys run out of fuel (basically a non-chase), Luke has devolved into a damp towel that doesn't budge at all until the 3rd act, the Leia scene (you know what I'm talking about), the only lightsaber battle is pretty forgettable after a few hours, the entire sequence at the casino planet felt like a deleted scene from the prequels and went on way too long, Snoke was very underwhelming, not enough crazy alien space monsters, not enough planetary exploration, not enough droid and alien sidekick action...and DEUS EX MACHINA EVERYWHERE!!!
***END OF SPOILERS***
That's not to say there are no redeemable qualities. SOME of the humor works, there are a few beautiful visuals, Adam Driver brings his A-game as Kylo, everyone else does a good job acting with the material they were given, and there's a pivotal moment given to an unnamed character that felt genuine. Unfortunately, the issues and misguided decisions far outweigh what's commendable. The Last Jedi is proving to be a very divisive film and with good reason. It's not a very good film on it's own merits, but once you factor in the mythology and lore of Star Wars it becomes one of the worst entries into the franchise. It's a shame considering this is both Mark Hammil and Carrie Fisher's last hurrah and it leaves me considerably less enthusiastic for the finale.