The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars film, causing the pace to be inconsistent, however, there are moments that are both stunning and exhilarating. It polarized audiences for many reasons, an the main things I have observed is that the storylines, characters and certain scenes (especially dialogue) are what make people love or hate this film.
First off, the story to this latest installment to Star Wars was more original than its predecessor, "The Force Awakens", which caused some debate amongst fans. Some thought the story was too different than the original trilogy and that was bad, some thought it wasn't original enough, and others thought somewhere in between. Truth is, the original trilogy of Star Wars takes a lot of very common conventions of storytelling and intertwines them with a space war very seamlessly. To try and do the same thing (common storytelling conventions+space war) but in a different way can be very challenging. I personally am in the middle of the road with the storylines in "The Last Jedi". I say storylines because there are several going on at the same time. Overall this movie follows a somewhat similar thread as "Empire Strikes Back" although it is more subtle at times. A young force-sensitive person goes to a secluded planet where they are trained by a hermit-like Jedi master. Meanwhile their friends are in peril and this force-sensitive person must attempt to save their friends from peril. The friends go on their own mission and are trapped by the villains. In essence this is both films. There are side stories in both that make them unique. With this, "The Last Jedi" takes a hashed up storyline and adds it's own flavor to it. With all this being said, I think the newer story is fresh and enjoyable for the most part. Some of the elements to it can cause head-scratching, and some are compelling and emotional.
Secondly, the characters and the way they are used is highly controversial amongst fans. I will not spoil anything, but after waiting for two years about the backstories of certain characters, it was a major letdown. The new characters have little emotional resonance with the audience. The main emotion we get from this film is from the seasoned characters of Luke and Leia. There are character moments among the newer characters that are crucial to their development. However, outside of Kylo Ren and Rey, these characters mostly do not change or have any sort of redemption. In the last moments of the film, Poe has a minor realization, which feels more like the screenwriter thought one line of dialogue could save one of the most pointless storylines in the Star Wars universe. The one new character that I thought was done well was the villain, Kylo Ren. This film focuses in on how far Ren is willing to fall to not only become the infamous Darth Vader, but to finish what Vader started. This is done well compared to arcs of every other new character in the film. Even with the long runtime this film has, it cannot develop the new side characters adequately enough to make them compelling.
Lastly, this film suffers with audiences because of a handful of now infamous scenes. Some of the dialogue is rehashed from the original trilogy, which is just a grab at nostalgia for lifelong fans. There is some very campy dialogue that is incredibly laughable. There is a forced romance scene that suffers from feeling out of place and preventing one of the more emotional elements of the film to happen. Luke milking an anatomically correct alien feels like a weird alien biology video, and shirtless Kylo Ren is absurdly awkward and forced. Aside from some bad scenes, there are some impactful scenes. The cinematography is tastefully done as well as the sound. Star Wars is renown for its effects, and this installment does not disappoint with some dazzling visuals.
Overall, this Star Wars film is not the worst in the franchise, but it is a far-cry from the best. If you are a Star Wars fan, you obviously have to see it. If you are a casual movie fan, maybe see it just to get on the hype train. Is this a film you should camp out in front of Wal-Mart for when it is released? No. However it is a good one to eventually own just to round out a Star Wars collection. After viewing it a second time, it is more easy to like and appreciate, but it is still not the best in thee series. Overall, I give this movie a 6/10.