It’s one of those things that could have made some sense if you had a TV show and some time to explain how it worked. Obviously you’d have to be standing in a very specific place for it to work, and it would, ironically, be pretty useless to the person who built it, because they’d already know the right place. It was particularly confusing because it wasn’t clear that the “extend-y thing” had reached maximum extension and if not, how the fuck did you know it was pointing to the right place?
I’m sure in some earlier version of the movie there was some sort of explanation for how they knew to stand in exactly the right place to use it, but that certainly wasn’t present or even really hinted at in the final version of the movie.
I agree. The pace holds up and it manages to obscure most of them, but there’s a lot of clunky or bad stuff. I mean, just off the top of my head:
The “skipping” sequence is visually amazing but not very dramatic and makes so little sense that you actually start asking questions. It’s right at the start of the movie and it really summarizes what is to come, in that there’s a lot of jumping around and not a lot of explanation that makes any kind of sense.
Meeting Lando and the speeder chase that follows. The whole meeting with Lando is a bit weird and confusing and apparently this Jedi hunter dude just went out into the desert and Lando and Luke were like “SHRUG I GUESS HE DED” (which, to be fair, he was), which lead to more questions (unanswered), and then the chase itself was absolutely dire. Like so bad. Not only undramatic whilst ridiculously dramatically scored, but there was a lot of actually bad line delivery, the peak awfulness being “They fly now!” - which in the right movie, with an already-threatening enemy, especially a barely-known one, could have been very effective, but with stormtroopers, and the delivery they had? Just seemed stupid and like they were trying for something they couldn’t have. Even the double-crash at the end seemed utterly contrived.
What exactly was the point with Rey killing Ren’s TIE? It was a real “cool nothing” scene, where it was visually impressive and stuff but served little purpose. Then the “force tug of war” actually worked pretty well, until they were like “Aha there was another transport”, and it’s like “Uh, that was a bit dumb then”.
The whole stuff with Zorri. I love that actor and I’m glad she was in SW, but like, what a lot of silly business which went nowhere. She didn’t really join them or even help them - she just didn’t get in the way, which she’d be initially threatening to do, but that was only because of some unspecified shit with Poe, which seemed slightly out-of-character (in TFA and TLJ Poe never seemed “dodgy” or involved with criminals, just a self-regarding hotshot fighter pilot who thought he knew better than everyone).
We’re barely any way through the movie even - I mean I could go on for probably an easy dozen points more but does anyone want that? It was a mess. An inconsistent mess.
But then there were bits that worked. Ren/Ben’s redemption arc. It’s a better redemption arc than Vader has. It worked really well and was, somehow, shockingly, believable and felt right, and not cheap or excessive or too melodramatic. How did they get that right? Luck? A spark of genius in a mire of mediocrity?
All the “Force Dyad” stuff worked really well even before we knew what was going on, too. The necklace-snatch much earlier was so dramatic and shocking that it was awesome. Had that happened in TLJ, of course, angry fanboys would have written 20-paragraph rants about that specific incident “destroyed Star Wars”.
Of course then we have the weird shit with Rey going to talk to Luke which just really didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose, esp. as Luke was just “Hey moron, there’s LITERALLY ANOTHER ONE right in your dumb Sith spaceship duh! Good thing you somehow didn’t burn it in the rage fit you just had!” (how he knew this, god knows).
But then we get to the whole final battle, and that worked really well, like that’s one of the better “final battles” in sci-fi and adventure movies. Far better than GotG1’s final battle (minus dance-off of course), for example. Palpatine is nailing it. There’s awesome Warhammer 40K vibe going on. Palpatine, standing in for Boomers everywhere (remember, contrary to sonson’s slightly drunk accusations, SW is not, primarily, a Boomer thing - it’s a Gen X thing), drains the dyad-force of the kids and shoots his amazing but somehow believable Force Lightning. And there’s the resurrection-death deal and that worked. Oh and the stuff with the chanting acolytes was terrifying and awesome. That’s some of the best acolyte-chanting in movies. Better than Kali-Ma even, I dare say (also way less racist/xenophobic). How did they get that so right when so much was so wrong? The Knights of Ren got curbstomped as they should (they also all have hilarious Warhammer 40K backstories I note, thankfully not present in the movie). Again, had that happened in TLJ (and it nearly did), people would have thrown a fit. JJ is apparently graded on a different scale.
But then they have to mess it up with the weird saccharine scene at the end. Sure, taking the Skywalker name is a good message - you aren’t who your parents are, honour the people who mean something to your and make yourself who you want to be, but returning to that farm? I find it hard to believe either Luke or Leia’s Force Ghosts would actually want that (but they’re terribly nice so I guess they play along). And the ending shot being similar to the classic ANH shot just felt… way too on the nose.